Veil 2001

This is about my relationship with my father who was an arachnologist. Spider’s webs are a traditional binder for healing wounds. I collected the webs over weeks and while I was spinning and weaving the threads I could recognise the different smells from the barns and sheds in which I had found them. The spinning and weaving took months.

The veil has many different uses and meaning in different cultures. They have been used to represent humility, psychic protection, erotic power, un-touchability and also as symbols for the hymen. They had been used as shrouds – for dreamers, initiates and the dead. In some places they are sometimes seen to represent male dominance and possession. Also, putting a veil over something is said to increases its action or feeling – like putting a cloth over yeast bread to help it rise.

The word ‘weaving’ comes from old English ‘wican’ and middle English ‘wrought’. Metaphysically, spinning and weaving hold the feminine principle of spinning and weaving the threads of life. Two parts of spinning machines are called The Maiden and The Mother of All. There is also evidence that the making of thread and cloth were once religious practices used to teach the cycles of life, death and the unknown.