Gathered Threads - Roshni Senapati

Gathered Threads

Gathered Threads is a new collection of sculptural vessels that explore the notion of memory and connection. They are made from two materials – porcelain and thread.

I start by building a’ memory-scape’ into the wall of the vessels, a collage of coils and fragments made such that the lines and the method of making are evident like striations and textures in a landscape. I work with the image of layered thoughts, some buried deep and low, while other memories float near the surface. Little gaps and fissures evocative of memory lapses serve as a point of connection between the two materials.  Silk thread is inserted into the openings to anchor the memories with knots or ‘stitches’. The threads are drawn from old family garments, mainly saris that belong to my mother or from her collection of fabric remnants and embroidery threads. The thread connects her practice to mine and continues the cycle of making.  It also allows me to explore family history and cultural practices. In each knotted thread resides a story. It is rich in memories of people and place. It opens conversations about family gatherings and shared times, about rituals and practices that I am unaware of or just forgotten. These recollections often reveal gaps in memory which are filled after conversations with other family members.  And so, the connections grow and are enriched and finally anchored by a knot with a single thread.


I work out the number of holes needed for the seam, then pierce them carefully when the clay is leather hard. I need to ‘see’ the way the thread will sit long before I actually use it, because once the vessel is fired, it is difficult to add a hole.

I join little pieces of porcelain such that they leave visible lines in the wall of the vessel. I think of these as ‘memory lines’ and pierce holes along their contour to hold the thread.

Works that deserve special mention:

SER2015 – Knotting the thread vertically across the rim, connects the outside to the inside.

SER2014 – The little printed silk knot originated in Mumbai and came into our family as a gift to my mother when a cousin got married. Saris are exchanged traditionally as gifts during family weddings.  This sari was given to my mother in her capacity as the groom’s only aunt.  It is a cream printed silk with a floral pattern in maroon and pink. (SER2014)

Some vessels have one strand of gold drawn from an old cushion cover and on strand of silver from an old sari blouse.

The gold and copper combinations – gold from the cushion cover and copper from sari blouse fabric.