Vintage Photo Project: Rebecca Clifford

Vintage Photo Project: Rebecca Clifford

Rebecca Clifford Cards

Today's featured Vintage Photo Project is by artist and a shiatsu practitioner Rebecca Clifford, who says: "Like streams feeding into a river, these lines of work are complimentary. Shiatsu is like an open map. It simultaneously offers me space and a framework to work with, and this supports my art making."

She has long dabbled in art and recently got her textiles degree from Norwich University of the Arts. Here's what she told us about her work:

What do you make?
My degree is in textiles, and I have recently been looking at coloring with dyes (natural and manmade), stitching, layering, and stacking fabrics. I use found objects for printmaking and small-scale 3D work. My work acts as a form of meditation - making the same stitch over and over again or taking careful notes on colors and shibori ties is contemplative and gentle - and offers me a well of deep peace.

Why did you want to participate in the Vintage Photo Project?
When I saw the notice on Facebook that the American Craft Council was giving away archive photographs to be reworked, I was intrigued to see what the material would be. I had recently experimented with overlaying fabric over old text, and I liked the effect. I thought that perhaps the photographs would lend themselves to this kind of work and stretch me to work differently.

How did you use your vintage photos?
I used the photographs to make a pack of cards. The project was very much a step into the unknown for me. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the photographs, and I was drawn to the photographer’s marks, stamps, and typed information sheets. These marks seemed as important as the images. After making mock-ups on copied images, I decided to keep the design of the cards quite quiet, using just block print and fine-liner to depict numbers and suits and collage to represent the royal cards and jokers. Similarly, I kept the backs simple with a print from a found object on each card.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from observing my everyday world, nature, language, physical gesture, dance, the interactions between people, objects, light, shadow, textures, and sounds. Any one of these things may spark off an idea that can lead me far from my original thought and then back and away again. That I may have a point of focus - a notion of where I hope to go, but that the work leads me, challenges me, and ultimately chooses the way forward is the joy of creating.

What is your favorite/most read art, craft or design book?
Back in the late '90s, the NUNO Corporation brought out a series of books: Boro Boro, Fuwa Fuwa, Shimi Jimi, Zawa Zawa, and Kira Kira. I was lucky enough to come across them when I was attending a textile exhibition, "Textural Space," at the SCVA, Norwich. Since then I have repeatedly referred back to them for inspiration. For me they are the link between textiles as a craft and textiles as art.

The Vintage Photo Project is a participatory challenge in which duplicate copies of vintage photos from the American Craft Council Library's archives have been transformed and re-imagined in myriad ways. View more Vintage Photo Projects.