Talking Textiles with Hardeep Pandhal





Who are you and what’s your relationship with/ connection to threads and textiles?


My name is Hardeep Pandhal. I used to show knitted garments made by my mother, who has been making jumpers for me to wear since my childhood. I currently share a language barrier with my mother, which I intend to bridge in the near future by taking Punjabi lessons. More recently, I have been reworking my mother’s knitted garments with my own hand embroidery. I make work to reflect on my parent culture and to confront experiences of racism, through flights of fantasy.


What part does the tactility of the material play in your desire to work with it rather than say paint?


Painting and drawing are tactile media too in my opinion. I smudge graphite and allow people to stick their heads through my painted signs, if that counts? I can take my textiles home with me to work on further, wear them and wash them. For me, textile art feels more integrated with domestic life perhaps, rather than painting. I guess it depends on your approach to painting and your lifestyle!?


Why do you think there’s an increased interest around textile art right now?


I think textile art can be useful to evoke issues around histories of gendered labour, or labour conditions more broadly. Perhaps there’s also an implicit desire to feel less alienated from the abstract technological processes that structure our daily lives, when working specifically with handmade textiles as I do.


Everyone uses textiles in their daily life, does that help or hinder its standing as a fine art material?


I think it helps. Anything can be a fine art material.


Whose textile art do you admire? Is there one piece, or series of pieces you return to, and think ‘how did they do that?’


All of Mrinalini Mukherjee’s work, whose work I only recently came across.


What are the particular challenges and rewards of working in this medium (pin pricks, aching fingers, anything good or bad!)


For me, I am rewarded by being able to work with my mother as part of an art career.


What is specific about the long term care of textile work for a collector?


Respect. Each work will have different requirements. Accurate information, with regards to the history of the artist's life and work is also key.


What’s next for you, and what’s next for threads and textile art?


I am working on a few knitted garments right now, showing them in exhibitions as ongoing/unfinished works, in tandem with the other media I work with, such as animation and rap.