Artist Statement, 2022:
As an artist, folklorist, and educator, Danielle Burke is interested in the coauthorship of objects and the legibility of textiles. Her studio work is produced in connection to archival and ethnographic research, making material the space between ‘the expert’ and ‘the novice.’ Weaving, lace-making, and analogue photography enable Burke to consider the relationships of craft to technology and single authorship to community-based expressive practices. With her loom and lace bobbins Burke traces “the event of a thread” (Anni Albers). She documents not only finished work but the process of making itself, considering material culture to be a verb. Therefore, traditional women’s work is tied to modernity and labor studies, intellectual genealogies are made known, and the presence of past makers is traced through gestural (re)performance—while sitting at the loom Burke engages with movements that connect her to past weavers; by using their archives she re-fabricates their artistry. Positioned in the work as (re)producer, how the archives or data sets are interpreted by Burke, and then by viewers, raises epistemological questions on the transmission of knowledge and what constitutes readability.
Recently, Burke has begun to experiment with cyanotypes as a record-keeping method for textiles. With thread’s fragility over time and its connotations of domesticity, she is interested in the perceptive shift that photography offers. By arresting time, the textile can exist in the conversation of posterity in a wholly new manner. The sun simultaneously makes the print happen through chemical exposure and inevitably deteriorates, incrementally, the vulnerable cloth— in the generative act of making a record the original is damaged. Materiality and evaluative hierarchies underpin how such a cost is managed. Furthermore, as a contact print and with the painterly edges of a cyanotype, traditional art historical methods can be applied to the textile-made-photograph, the object-made-image.
Though her studio practice is overtly focused on textiles, co-authorship, and legibility, these ideas overlap in her folklore studies and pedagogical engagements. By learning from communities of makers, and when teaching, Burke aims to celebrate creativity in everyday life. She is interested in expressive practices that are meaningful to communities in their own terms and contexts.
Burke’s scholarly work and studio practice aims to “listen to the constant sermon of things,” (Hernan Diaz) by engaging with materiality, textuality, and maker communities. The mediation of objects and language to describe experience root her theoretical and methodological approaches. Or, to leap off from a more poetic foundation, Burke is interested in the Gertrude Stein proposition to “Think in stitches. Think in settlements. Think in willows.” From those material thoughts to the hands of makers and their environments, Burke in interested in the potential of objects to record and tell stories.
Danielle Burke is an artist and folklorist. She studies textiles, craft pedagogy, and artist communities; her studio practice focuses primarily on the process of weaving.
She is currently a PhD candidate in Design Studies with a focus in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.