Anna Phillips, Like Mom’s Hands






 

I remember I wore a sweater my mom knitted when I was a child. Another good friend that kept me warm during the cold winter every year was a scarf she also knitted. So, when thinking of knitting, I think of mom. I felt the same when I met Anna. She sat knitting whenever she had time. Although it is simple work, it could make you infinitely absorbed into it. She truly enjoyed it. Surprisingly, a material she used for knitting was a plastic bag.

To simply explain her working process, she collects every usable plastic bag while walking on the street or going shopping. She gathers plastic bags suitable for a particular piece she is designing, i.e. those of suitable color and texture. She cuts them in strips like yarn and pieces them together to make threads. She then knits with the ‘plastic yarn.’ The pieces she created in this way vary; from small but witty pieces to grand and magnificent carpets.

Anna Phillips, Like Mom's Hands - Wisdom's Webzine

Anna Phillips, Like Mom's Hands - Wisdom's Webzine

She sometimes also does a kind of quilt, sewing plastic pieces together. When they are in pieces, they are useless. However, they are joined together as one piece; something useless is recreated as ‘something usable.’ It truly has a mom’s touch. Just like mom’s heart, Anna’s pieces are created slowly but beautifully.

Anna Phillips, Like Mom's Hands - Wisdom's Webzine

Anna Phillips, Like Mom's Hands - Wisdom's Webzine

When seen from a distance, you can appreciate a harmony of colors and a beauty of patterns. But upon closer inspection, you would be surprised by how delicate they are. If you hear how they are created, you cannot help but admire her patience. It is this special ‘patience’ that only moms have when raising their beloved children: the spirit embedded in DNA of all the women in the world. As you can feel the universe mind that embraces and endures everything from Anna’s works, they are even more illuminating.

Her imagination, that reuses plastic bags dumped on streets, has something: sometimes like the Milky Way of the night sky,

Anna Phillips, Like Mom's Hands - Wisdom's Webzine

Sometimes like a love-full dinner mom prepares,

Anna Phillips, Like Mom's Hands - Wisdom's Webzine

although it looks plain, it has something that deeply moves our heart.

That would probably be a mother being, a figure that we all miss in our mind.

Lastly, an artist’s note is attached with her beautiful knitting hands.

Anna Phillips, Like Mom's Hands - Wisdom's Webzine

For the last seven years
I have been interested in the semiotic properties of plastic,
a modern medium of our consumer culture.
I believe that plastic is often overlooked
for a broader aesthetic purpose.
Rather, its utilitarian values and
its inexpensive reproducible qualities are more considered.
I felt I could reverse this belief or, at least,
attempt to display plastic in a better light.
To let it shine and be considered as a beautiful thing,
not just an object of imitation.
My intention is to display plastic as an object of beauty.
As a consequence of this conviction,
I make art from plastic shopping bags.

Plastic bags are strong,
almost impossible to pull apart with bare hands,
yet remain vulnerable to the cut of sharp scissors.
Yet, the content of a plastic bag is, more often than not,
the promise of a new garment from a shopping excursion.

Its function and inventive uses are endless,
its array of bright colours and imagery
are always considered an important part of its aesthetic.

I feel I have learnt a great deal
about the exciting medium of plastic bags.

Crocheting is traditionally considered
a feminine domestic leisure activity;
however, by combining such a lowly status craft
with such a modern medium, plastic,
I feel I have liberated both substance and activity
into a new realm of opportunity.

– Anna Phillips