Sojourn 2019: The Artist's Journey
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To ‘take a breath’ describes a physiological process and a moment of pause or meditation. Our breath connects us to the world; it provides the rhythm of life.

Supported by a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England, Sojourn 2019: The Artist's Journey enabled Darbey to receive mentoring from internationally renowned architect
Samira Boon, at Boon’s studio in Amsterdam, and to spend time at TextielLab in Tilburg, Netherlands learning the textile technique of passementerie.

This opportunity – for learning, pause and reflection – will now inform a new (phase two) project Drawing Breath. Taking inspiration from the function, symbolism and structure of the lungs Darbey will create a large-scale installation. A suspended ‘lung canopy’ built from several passementerie ‘hollow drawn’ structures will figuratively immerse the viewer within the breath.

Darbey’s approach to passementerie (which is usually used to produce corded textile embellishments) is original. She combines a wire base with various yarns to produce large, sculptural ‘big threads’; allowing her to draw large-scale in three dimensions. Her sample sculptures are based upon lung corrosion casts, researched at the Gordon Museum of Pathology, Kings College London. Corrosion casting uses resin to capture delicate structures within the human body. These three-dimensional casts visually represent the lungs whilst alluding to multiple meanings of pathways, branches and networks, Darbey has translated these through the passementerie technique. Her samples will be enlarged and dramatically lit, creating an environment that invites the audience to reflect upon their own existence as a breathing-being in a vast universe.

Drawing Breath continues Darbey’s fascination with the link between the body and wider environment. Stemming originally from her own experience of illness, her installations combines scientific knowledge about the body with a sense of enchantment at the miracle of life.

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