Louise Bourgeois. Self Portrait. 2007
Deborah Wye: Bourgeois did not start using fabric in her art until the 1990s when she was in her eighties and she decided one day that she didn't want all the clothes that she had saved her whole life. But she had saved them because she felt that they were her past. And actually, she thought that if she made them into artworks, then they never would be thrown out. She began to cut up these old fabrics and make sculptures from them. Then in 2000, she began printing on some of her fabric items.
When she first got the idea, she just asked her printer, Felix Harlan, to take a copper plate down to the printing press on the lower level of her house and see how it might ink up on a piece of fabric. She loved the result. She loved the way the ink absorbed into the fabric. And she loved fabric being so tactile. So fabric became her preferred printing surface for most of the last 10 or 15 years of her life.