Amy Rusch is an interdisciplinary artist and maker working in a number of fields and across mediums. She has an ongoing practice exploring waste plastic bags as a material for making, working with different processes – repetitive cutting, stitching, heating, pulling and binding. These experimental practices move between slow and meticulous rhythmic motions and faster interventions with tools and machines, addressing an interplay between concealing and revealing the material.
Each piece made is a departure point from what has come before. In a similar way, what one makes next can have an impact on how one looks back through time. The repetitive motion of the needle moving up and down as it loops the thread concealing the plastic beneath, aids thought. This extends from the physical act of choosing the colours of the threads, finding the plastic piece to work into, and the meditative movement of the stitching – an interplay between concealing or allowing the material to be revealed. The tactile nature of this making practice, the hand eye coordination in guiding the needle through the plastic requires attentive focus. Thoughts move from where this particular piece of plastic started its journey and how it ended up being used in this way. Till slips found in many of the plastic bags used give hint to some of the story – a lot is imagined, and this can change with time.
The Shield bugs and magnifying loupe series are pieces made in celebration of insects and time spent getting to know different species and individuals. Walking makes space for chance close encounters and these observations have been the guide and starting point for the making process. A similar aspect of chance is reflected in the stitching. These pieces have their conception linked to shield bugs observed and photographed using a small magnifying loupe – a beautifully intimate process with the insect, requiring time and letting go of expectation – a submission to time and process. Perspective shifts of zooming in and out facilitate intimacy with the insects observed close up and at a distance. When making the stitched works a similar process of examining and perspective shifting takes place. The abstracted forms and colours draw attention to the wonder of the natural world and celebrates the time necessary for attentive looking and seeing.
The Ocean contours series are blind contours which were drawn while sailing, a transatlantic ocean crossing from Rio to Cape Town in February 2020. The way the threads pull through the plastic making little dots and lines, reminders of the noon plots, a dot and a line marking navigated movement through time, toward home.