I am working on a series of quilted tapestries made from used moving blankets. Growing up, I was raised Catholic. There is a spiritual process called transubstantiation where, through ritual, wine and bread turn into the blood and body of Christ. This idea has stuck with me, how an everyday object can be transformed into something much greater through a process. I continue to think about materials in this way, thinking about the everyday and mundane turning into something greater through a ritualistic transformation.
When I am not making art, I work as a mover, moving families from one place to another. When you work a job like that, you have a lot of time to think while you do physical tasks. You start to take in your surroundings, what’s around you and what you use everyday. Something that I became fascinated with is moving blankets, because they show the wear and tear of labor and the history of their use. They are something that we use as an assist, a thing that protects and holds but is then put away; never the main object or the important object. Never in the forefront; leftover; only having a utilitarian purpose; forgotten. When moving, the blankets always touch so many things that hold so much family history to the customer. The blanket envelops these precious objects and gains a charge, similar to Joseph Beuys’ idea of charging objects.
There is something magical and encompassing when the moving blankets are transformed by a residue of touch, including stains and rips, that show their history. Household objects and furniture get from here to there, but often we forget there was a person involved. There is sweat and touch mediating between both the physical body of the porter and the blankets. Thinking back to the transubstantiation idea of the body and blood, the mover’s body is intertwined with the blankets through their sweat and labor, transforming a blanket into a spirit of labor. The scale of the work is important so that the viewer feels encompassed, covered like the objects being moved. You can see the stains and rips of the used blankets, faintly smelling like lacquer and sweat. There is a power and charge when you see the moving blanket transformed into a tapestry, this fabric that has a history of protecting and porting things now becoming spiritual and large.
To more of Nick’s Art work go to https://nick-fagan-studio.com