Elsa has sought out the treasure-trove of printed-cotton patterns and developed a personal relationship with printed cotton (which is based on block-printing technique) as well as asking herself how this could be introduced into her own art as well as into the Traces of Existence project. Under the guild system cotton fabrics were not available to everyone. In spite of the rules, cotton could sometimes make an appearance in the lining of a coat or as a petticoat. Colors and patterns changed over time and, in due course, spread throughout Sweden. Elsa Chartin has studied and developed pattern repetitions and deviations, producing a hybrid of different influences and techniques. History and printing techniques have permeated her work as an artist, and have been refined and shaped into a powerful personal perception of a multi-layered history. The delicate cotton fabrics that she has both dyed and printed are not just translucent in revealing their patterns but they also reveal layers of history, dissolving our perception of time itself.

Elsa Chartin is a masterly exponent of patterns and of tactility. Her unique artistic method combines a purposeful approach with serendipity, carefully thought-out notions with unintended results. On the first occasion that I met Elsa and her fabrics I was struck by her relaxed and natural approach to her work as an artist. An approach that welcomed me to a new and unfamiliar artistic process. It is in her work that pattern repetition and mistakes meet up with each other and in which nuances of color tones become meaningful. I understand, anew, how knowledge is produced as well as unintended results; mutations give rise to new effects. Elsa Chartin has long worked with Shibori which is a Japanese pattern-printing technique in which the cotton fabric is folded, tied tightly together and then dyed. This appears like a magical formula. Calculations and advanced logic unfold into a narrative. It is in the process of translation, the transformation of language and meaning, that a new interpretation can be undertaken. Elsas methodology becomes a metaphor for how fragments from past history can be folded, tied tightly together, and then dyed; then to be reinterpreted and unfolded to create a new experience. 
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