Casing In // Finding The Value // York St Mary’s
4 July – 2 November 2014
‘Casing In’ explores the relationship between decay and preservation. Responding to a collection of objects bequeathed to York Museum by local business man Peter Madsen, I chose to work with silkworms and their fascinating spinning techniques to mend and preserve books from the collection, which had been subject to damage by insects and the decay of time.
For ‘Casing In’ I created different environments that magnified these uncontrollable interventions of nature and time. The title alludes to the book-binding process of ‘casing-in’,(attaching book covers to sewn book blocks) and to the cases or cocoons woven by the silkworms.
Silkworms are the only creatures that spin silk, one of the world’s most valuable fibres, yet the worms themselves are of little value, bought on-line for pennies. They spin a cocoon from one continuous thread wrapped countless times around their bodies. To harvest the thread for silk manufacture, the silkworms must not be allowed to transform into moths, they must be killed.