Gender and feminism are prevalent in the ethos of Tiegan Handley’s work, and the interrelations between them, both in the public sphere, and in their own experience, are a foundational part of their practice. The boundaries and blurred lines of their own gender identity and queerness, and their own thoughts about them have become the pillars of their work.
I have a complicated sense of self is a quilt made with conventional quilting traditions in mind, utilising reclaimed textiles from friends and family, and techniques learned in childhood. The work treads the line between domestic quilt making, and the origins of quilts within the art world – 70s California art-quilts.
Research into gender studies, the history of feminism, and the history of quilt making allow for a rich variety of references which are incorporated into this quilt. It exists in a contemporary quilting world which uses social media as a means of communication and communal practice, alongside historical and traditional manufacturing methods.
The work is a physical consideration of radical statements about themself – gender expression, queer identity, and place in the world, both as a non-woman within the highly gendered sphere of textile art and craft, and as a ‘craft’ practitioner within the fine art sphere.
“ I work primarily in textiles, in a way that allows me to be physical – to work at something with my hands, mainly in hand-sewing or machine sewing – and to explore all directions of interest within a project or piece of work. my practice is currently concerned with expressive statements about myself, my queerness, and my identity as a queer person, with a focus on language, quilt making, and its associations with craft.
My quilts are large in scale, taking up space on either the wall, or the floor. It is important to me to be environmentally effective when working, and I make a point of utilising all reclaimed, recycled, or second-hand fabrics, following the historic traditions of quilt making.”