I work with donated, repurposed, lace and linens in site-responsive sculptures and installations. Mending, remembering, collecting and preserving are present in each action and each work. The aggregation of tiny individual stitches of lace into monumental textiles makes visible the hidden economic labor, and labor of care, in the domestic and work lives of women. A sewn form has enormous structural integrity, while maintaining resilience, flexibility, and portability. Repurposed bio-degradable materials allow me to create monumental site-responsive works with a small ecological footprint. The work responds to the machismo of large installations through a soft object, one that collapses into parts, that can grow in scale without a corresponding destructive use of resources.
Textile is an intimate form that touches our bodies from birth to death, they protect and adorn, comfort and cover. They reference the presence of a body, recording this history in its fibers. As this work developed, many textiles arrived at my door; lace, linens, skirts, aprons, napkins, handkerchiefs, tablecloths and duvet covers, embroidered in colorful threads, crocheted in complex patterns, or with unfinished needle work, from a mother, grandmother or great-grandmother. The ties of aprons read as forlorn arms in search of a body to wrap around, an anthropomorphic reflection of domestic autonomy and strength. These intimate items have no commodity value, created for a home they might never leave. They are tangible acts of love, a labor of private care circulating inside the domestic sphere. The monumental sculptures reference female bodies as architecture, of the home, of the world, of the community, gathered within the voluminous petticoats. In their exaggerated scale and insistent tenderness, the objects are manifestos of strength and femininity. This seems urgent in a moment where women’s bodies continue to be in the particular peril of legal and social control by governmental and religious institutions and individuals.
The Lace Archive
Recent textile projects began with family lace from my Italian and Irish grandmothers, Ermenegilda and Rebecca, and grew during the pandemic to an outpouring of initially unsolicited donations from around the world. These donations often arrived with letters, stories, and pictures of the family and maker. Recognizing this as an historical community archive, I founded The Lace Archive, a record of thousands of pieces of donated lace and family histories. Each textile and document is photographed and measured before being used in a work. Donors are acknowledged and the community invited to participate in ongoing dyeing and sewing of the works, in workshops and sewing circles at exhibitions and in the studio. The care and generosity shared through these donations is instrumental to the work, through intimate stories about the lace, the makers, the family who preserved it, and the desire for it to live on in the work and in the archive.
The lace is alternately hand-dyed with natural dyes chosen for their long cultural history; including cochineal insects, oak gall wasp nests, indigo, and clay, and sewn into tapestries, sculptures, and installations. The works are layered with aprons, handkerchiefs, doilies, as well as books and objects of lamentation akin to ex-votos, reliquaries, and other ritualized forms traditionally offered to saints in request, gratitude, or devotion.
curatorial and consulting
I curate at MAPSpace and independently, and work with artists in critique and professional practice both privately and in the Crit Lab. With decades of experience in teaching professional practice to undergrad, grad and working artists, I have developed practical structures that support artists in in making visible their vision, articulating this through their writing, website, and in representations of their work in the digital space. I offer consulting for writing statements and preparing portfolios for grants and proposals, website analyses, and the many business skills of being an artist. Every consultation incorporates an ethical and socially conscious framework for building a sustainable practice suited to each artist's unique situation. Artist-run culture and community are fundamental to all of my work.
Patricia Miranda is an artist, curator, educator, and founder of the artist-run orgs The Crit Lab and MAPSpace, where she developed residencies in Port Chester, Peekskill, and Italy. In 2021 she founded the Lace Archive, an historical community archive of thousands of donated lace works and family histories. She has been awarded residencies at the Constance Saltonstall Foundation, I-Park, Weir Farm, Vermont Studio Center, and Julio Valdez Printmaking Studio, and been Visiting Artist at Vermont Studio Center, the Heckscher Museum, and University of Utah. She has received grants from Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (2021); two artist grants from ArtsWestchester/New York State Council on the Arts (2014/21); an Anonymous Was a Woman Covid19 Relief Grant (2021), and was part of a year-long NEA grant working with homeless youth (2004-5). Miranda has developed education programs for K-12, museums, and institutions, including Franklin Furnace, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian Institution. She is a noted expert on the history and use of natural dyes and pigments, and teaches about environmentally sustainable art practices. As faculty at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (2005-19) she led the first study abroad program in Prato, Italy (2017). Her work has been exhibited at 3S Artspace (Portsmouth, NH), Jane Street Art Center, Garrison Art Center (Hudson Vallery, NY) ODETTA Gallery, Williamsburg Art+Historical Center, The Clemente Center, ABC No Rio, and Wave Hill (NYC); The Alexey von Schlippe Gallery at UConn Avery Point, (Groton, CT); the Cape Museum of Fine Art, (Cape Cod MA); and the Belvedere Museum, (Vienna Austria). Her solo exhibition at Garrison Art Center (2021) was featured in the Brooklyn Rail.