I had a giant orange blanket as a child, a type of blanket which in Cantonese translates literally to “towel blanket” (毛巾被). The material of a towel blanket is thin with a texture that resembles a rough beach towel that has been washed and dried many times over. The blankets often feature elaborate depictions of flowers and patterns, illustrated and drawn through alternating areas of thick and thin material.
As far as I could remember, the blanket I owned always had a hole in it. The hole would only grow as I did. Small clusters of thread would form and tangle creating small nuggets of dense material. If you look closely, you can see a few lines of burgundy thread wrapped up within the orange, a time when my mom tried hopelessly to stitch up the hole. I slept with the blanket every night until I left my parents’ house when I was eighteen, at which point my mom got rid of it. This is the only portion of it I have left.
Besides this blanket, I have a small group of stuffed animals that I still hold every night. They are shared with my sister and we trade them every time we meet. I have only recently begun to unravel my intense attachment to items from my childhood, a result of a combination of pain and joy. All the factors that contribute to why I still cherish these items today tangle and wrap around each other, not unlike the way in which this little ball of thread formed.
Daniel Chew is an artist who works collaboratively with Micaela Durand to make films and CFGNY to create performances, installations, and garments.