"Play Money" by Joan Martin - December 2012

I asked Joan to tell us about her thinking and process behind making this fabulous works. Online you're not really able to appreciate the attention to detail and craftsmanship ... they really are beautiful.  

I started making this series (Play Money) in response to the new everyONEcounts campaign against human trafficking. The brief is to make an artwork 30 x 20cm on an unframed support. Not having worked in fabric before, I thought this was a fantastic opportunity to play around with different materials. 

Finding a solution to this theme was difficult – I knew I didn’t want to depict any particular person so I started by looking for images of children that I could turn into a silhouette shape & found this image of a little girl Since most of the motivation behind human trafficking is money, I thought it appropriate that the silhouette of the little girl is made out of a ten Rand note. (I scanned a note & then transferred it on to fabric using acrylic medium.)  The presence of the rhino (found on the front of the ten Rand note) is also important in this work as it points to another form of trafficking in our society. In the first two pieces I outlined the rhino’s horn in black - this cuts quite violently into the silhouette of the little girl. 

In all three pieces I have stitched bread tags on to the background, the expiry dates with the red crosses stitched over them add another layer of meaning to this artwork. 

In the backgrounds of the three pieces I have added tea bags, buttons, old embroidery projects and in one the head of Botticelli’s Venus (this was on the front of an item of clothing I used to wear). The domestic setting suggested by this paraphernalia, contrasts sharply to the theme of the exploitation of children for profit.      

When I was finishing off Play Money 2, I accidentally burnt the face of the Venus. I was at first horrified & then thought it appropriate considering the theme.

Joan Martin - Play Money 1,2 and 3 - Fabric and ephemera - 2012