Jeannie Olwyn Clark

Artist | Printmaker | Teacher

The Alchemy of Clothing

Title: Tallit / Tallis
Medium: System3 Acrylic
Process: monotype and screen print


The Alchemy of Clothing. This work was based around the theme of “Alchemy”. This connects with my interest in the narratives associated with clothing. Clothing can hold a potential key with which to communicate the narratives of peoples’ lives, their histories, and memories. For this work I have been engaged in collaboration with a willing participant Shane Morgan Russell, and her chosen item of clothing – her grandfather’s prayer shawl. The knots on the prayer shawl were of particular interest as they carry a religious meaning and act as visual symbolism of faith. They are also the key element of the garment that would have been touched in mindful gesture, and would hold the memory of personal human trace.


The conversations that took place between Shane and myself created the magic of insight and a new beginning. The artwork that evolved from these conversations is titled, “Tallis “. My intention in this work was to represent the memory of human touch, loss and recovery, through the mindful meditation of a loved one. Recovery takes place during collaborative conversations with my participant and continues in the form of an audio narrative within my artwork.


Meaning of the Knots on a Tallit/Tallis:
The knots symbolize the 613 guidelines for conscious living through a Jewish lens that are found in the Torah called mitzvot [pl, singular is mitzvah].


My artwork consisted of four images – representing the four corners of the prayer shawl .I invited visitors to hold one of their hands just above my artwork without touching it directly? Incorporated within the artwork was a proximity sensor and this detected the presence of the viewer , and so triggered an audio narrative to play explaining the importance of the prayer shawl to my art collaborator Shane Morgan Russell