Photo Credit: Astrid Reischwitz, A Crown from the Past, 2014-2018 Photograph, embroidery, cloth © Reischwitz
September 24, 2021 – January 23, 2022
Growing up in a small, rural village in Northern Germany, Astrid Reischwitz remembers women gathering in local “Spinneklumps” or Spin Clubs, to spin wool, embroider, and stitch fabrics. She recalls the activity and frequent conversation — everything from gossip, to stories, to wise advice. Likewise, she recalls family dinners, her family’s farm estate, and the daily activities, social customs, and spaces she would interact with as a child. Despite some changes, the women of Astrid’s village still uphold the tradition of Spinneklumps, although now over tea and cake instead of chores.
On her occasional travels back to Germany, she continues to enjoy the remnants of her childhood and the old way of life, yet is also reminded that it is fading.
Through combining old and new photographs, embroidery, napkins, wallpaper, cloth, and other materials found at Spin clubs, Reischwitz revives a personal memory and the far-reaching effects they had on her life, as well as those of her ancestors. Many of the materials used in this show have been passed down through Reischwitz’s family from generation to generation, leaving a historical path for the viewer to follow in the material and stylistic changes.
In this artistic retelling, Reischwitz reflects on her past while ensuring that her legacy and this often overlooked way of life is never forgotten. In her own words, “Every decision we make is influenced by our history, our environment, and the society we live in. The tapestry of my life belongs to me, but is stitched through with the beauty and heartache of past generations.”
About the artist:
Astrid Reischwitz is a lens-based artist whose work explores storytelling from a personal perspective. Using keepsakes from family life, old photographs, and storytelling strategies, she builds a visual world of memory, identity, place, and home. Her current focus is the exploration of personal and collective memory influenced by her upbringing in Germany. Reischwitz is a graduate of the Technical University Braunschweig, Germany, with a PhD in Chemistry.