Rule of Three


Macaleni Iintozomlambo

by Nicholas Hlobo
Textile art

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A tea stain reaches across a piece of clean, white paper, leaving two circles untouched at the centre. The work’s title alludes to a riverside ritual carried out by skinny-dipping boys, who respectfully throw rocks into the water before entering. The rings may be the stones slipping in, displacing the surface and rippling outwards. Or this may be an aquatic creature, with spaces for eyes. The light brown extremities of the slithering spill become tentacles, decorated with colourful ribbon. Its swim has been unsettled by the splash, its crimson trim the blood lost after impact, its empty sockets staring out at us with a startled gaze.

Words by John Wadsworth

Hate and Power Can be a Terrible Thing

by Tracey Emin
Textile art

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A soft, pastel-pink blanket provides the backdrop to a blistering personal and political attack, spelled out in crudely cut and stitched words. Tracey Emin does not shy away from confrontation; the target of her fierce fury is made explicit in the inclusion of the large St George’s Ensign. The flag, along with the work’s various snippets of text, seems to denounce Margaret Thatcher’s leadership during the Falklands War. The craft of appliqué, traditionally associated with femininity and domesticity, seems an ironic choice of medium for an assault on the ‘Iron Lady’. Far from decorative drapery, Hate and Power is both an act of protest and an exploration of the position of women in politics.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate


developed by Thatgamecompany
Video game

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We stand alone, a red-robed figure surveying a sun-scorched sandscape. A distant mountain peak defines our goal. As we traipse across oranges and browns, we stumble upon ruins, glimpse glyphs, and catch scraps of tattered cloth. The fabric extends our scarf, enabling us to soar above the dunes; the symbols show the path ahead. Moving by land and air, we may chance upon others, near-identical to us. We may be greeted with a friendly chime, offered a helping hand, or left to our own devices. Once the trek has ended, we may choose to start over again, our circumstances changing along with the embroidered pattern at the base of our garment.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

Macaleni Iintozomlambo: Read more about the artwork on the Tate website. View more of Nicholas Hlobo's work on the Lehmann Maupin gallery website.

Hate and Power Can be a Terrible Thing: Read more about the artwork on the Tate website. An introduction to Tracey Emin is also available on the Tate website.

Journey: Watch the trailer here and a playthrough here. Jamin Warren has interviewed the game's director, Jenova Chen, for Kill Screen, as has Kevin Ohannessian for Co.Create. Jorge Albor has written about Journey for PopMatters.

Today's connection

Hate and Power Can be Terrible Things and Macaleni Iintozomlambo are examples of needlecraft, as is the embroidery of the figure’s robe in Journey.

Question of the day

Which artworks connected to the word 'Needlecraft' would you recommend? Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

The Vanity of Small Differences, a series of tapestries by Grayson Perry. (→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)

Read more: Fashion and textiles