Discarded fabric ropes - installation and sculpture

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In an emotional reaction to the rise of hate crimes and racial tensions, I started an installation series representative of human connections. 


Ropes came to mind as a symbol of connection, probably because I grew up seeing Shimenawa (sacred ropes) in Japan. I was attracted to their universality and ancient history that goes back to 28,000 years. Recently I learned that my grandmother's family ran a rope manufacturer until the war. I'm feeling a strange affinity for rope-making.



Starting this series, I ordered some cotton ropes but they were expensive and lifeless. So I taught myself to make them with old clothes. A bag full of handmade ropes together looked alive like an organic creature. 



Even as I knew that my making ropes would not save the world, and I had no idea how I would present them as art, I could not stop making them. To weave a rope, you twist one thread outwards as you bring the other side inward. Two opposing forces repeat to create strength. The process became meditative, like a prayer for a divided world to come together again.



Earlier pieces were more like woven sculptures with smaller ropes. This year, I stepped back to focus on the rope itself rather than making something with it. I'm weaving more details directly into the rope by patch-working different fabrics and patterns from all over the world, further increasing our sense of inter-connectedness. I'm choosing to present their natural forms, such as tangling, looping, tying, or hanging.

© 2020 Tomo Mori

Kimono Soul

2017, 6'x6.5' This site-specific installation was about the modern history of women. I attempted to portray the beauty of strong women who are oppressed by the society. The red and pink colors are suggestive of the blood we shed. The vertically hanging ropes represent the storyline of our lives. I feel women’s souls dwell in traditional clothing like a kimono worn over many generations of a family. Exhibited at The Yard City Hall Park, curated by Jessica Porter.