Mechanical Drawing: The Schiffli Project 2007
An exhibition at The Holden Gallery Manchester, of work by fifteen artists, who produced their work using an historic, 100 year old, embroidery machine called the Schiffli, a multi-needle embroidery machine that can mechanically stitch repeat patterns over a two metre piece of cloth. Used extensively in the 19th and 20th centuries to produce decorative embroidery, it is now the last remaining machine of its kind.
Maccesfields Albion Mill was cited as the place where Schiffli machines stitched 50,000,000 badges for the armies, navies and airforces. Rozanne thought of the women standing hours on end at the machines and of the men around the world wearing their badges and representing
'Mechanical Drawing' raised questions about obsolescence, technology and globalisation and Rozanne created a poignant response, Anthem for Albion, referencing global conflict. One of the smallest of her images, Anthem for Albion was a black silk moiré sash decorated with a parade of uniformly stitched badges, individualised by hand painting would-be portraits of young soldiers transfigured by their battles.
It takes up the theme of the imagined versus the real, by visualising the journey from eager recruit to hardened soldier, to corpse. Reading from left to right, the final badge enclose s a double skull wearing the victors crown of laurels, a representation of both the ultimate sacrifice and never ending irony of war. Rozannes message was reinforced by her choice of accompanying text from Herbert Asquith's Nightfall; 'Then give Death the crown - For here no Emperor hath won, save he'.
The exhibition toured to a further 6 venues in the