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Edith Barton: The Refugees

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“During a painting workshop, I began playing with foam, squidging and squishing it into funny people like shapes. I thought they were weird, but wondered if I could take the idea further and translate them into fabric sculptures. I chose plain calico, painting canvas and a remnant of my machine embroidered white fabric. I used the original foam sculptures for guidance and produced the simple, organic, slightly disturbing people like shapes. I sat with them for several months – not sure of how to push them further, eventually embroidering eyes. I felt them talking to me, they seemed lonely and frightened. I knew I had to keep them together. I removed their stitched eyes, machine embroidered words onto a painted base and contained them inside a Perspex box. They are the simplest of my sculptures, but to me, they provoke the most powerful emotions. They need to be together for comfort and security. Most of my sculptures are light and fun. The Refugees touch me deeply as both sets of my grandparents were refugees.” Edith


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