The traditions behind quilt making play a large role in Lindsay Stead’s work. Most of her designs are based on traditional quilt patterns and each quilt is entirely hand quilted. The tiny, slightly imperfect hand stitches add contrast to the minimal designs.
In machine|made|modern Stead singles out and magnifies four traditional quilt patterns in order to reimagine the busy and varied patterning that quilts are known for. What results are stark and minimal wall mounted tapestries where cozy and kitsch were once expected. Instead of repeated patterning we see clean lines, tiny stitches, and bold, block colours. The precision of which call to mind the machine made. In this case, however, Stead’s own hands have cut and painstakingly sewn each of the thousands of stitches. The hand quilting process, then, becomes a defiance against the machine. The title of the exhibition playfully misleads the viewer while the quilts seem to wink at us, whispering their secret to those willing to listen.
With the stitching together of historical mores and Minimalism one can’t help but recall the lost history of the first technology, one founded by women: the making of textiles. Due to the gender-based division of labour and domesticity, the history of the textile as technology or art form has faded from public consciousness. Tapestries were some of the earliest art forms, the oldest being dated from the third century BC. Stead’s work reconsiders what has been called the 'domestic arts,'textiles, tapestries and quilting, and challenges their place in history.