26 Nov 2016

Rust Dyeing

When a rust dyeing workshop became available I was quite pleased as I had never tried this before. My intrigue stems partly from the fact that rust is a naturally occurring chemical reaction and also because it is permanent. I was really pleased with how easy this process was and also how cheap it was! After a rummage in my garage, I found a handful of rusty things and experimented with a few pieces of fabric; old curtains and shirts that were lay dormant. The results, although intriguing, I wasn't quite sure where I could make use of them or how to develop the sample further. Maybe some embroidery?

I came across the work of Alice Fox which I love. I love the progressive nature of the work, how it changes with time and constantly looks different. Alice uses found objects in her work which add to the narrative and give an element of mystery and wonder when you try and imagine what they were once part of or who's hand had touched them. I also love how she has thought and purposefully placed the objects within the fabric to encourage a certain outcome.

Alice Fox 25 Beer Bootle Tops:
Beer Bottle Tops

Alice Fox rust diaries (detail):
Safety Pin

Alice Fox 76 Hair Grips1:
Hair grips

17 Nov 2016

Wabi Sabi

Having recently taken Andrew Juniper's book out of the library 'Wabi Sabi, The Japanese Art of Impermanence'. I am wondering why I haven't come across the term wabi sabi before. 'The term wabi sabi suggests such qualities as impermanence, humility, asymmetry and imperfection. These underlying principles are diametrically opposed to those of their Western counterparts, whose values are rooted in a Hellenic worldview that values permanence, grandeur, symmetry and perfection'. (Juniper, p.2). The idea that Western values are linked to that of perfection, which is unachievable, a goal that can never truly be fulfilled and is ultimately a cycle of frustration and deflation. 

These ideas make me think of my own practice and the materials I might use and what is used in wabi sabi art. Wabi sabi art is often made from natural materials. Natural materials change with time and react to their environments and are asymmetric, imperfect and impermanent. Some materials such as glass and plastic are built to withstand the tests of time. I am wondering if we expect less of natural materials in terms in terms of aging? If I had a glass table and a wooden one and I chipped them both, I think the wooden one would still be functional as you almost expect wood to chip and you could sand it and it might not look so bad. Whereas, the glass one would be sharp and potentially dangerous and need replacing. Making wood 'the less durable material' more sustainable in a number of ways.  Could this theory regarding natural materials be applied to designed objects and artefacts to make them more sustainable? Would we be less frustrated with our objects if we knew in which way they reacted over time and if it was expected of them? Rather than throwing something away everytime it shown signs of aging. 

Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House with alabama chanin:

9 Nov 2016

Textile Society Conference - Textiles Futures

Last weekend I attended the Textile Futures Conference in London. I was really in awe of all the speakers and can honestly say that I took something away from everyone of them in some form. The link to science with all of the speakers was significant in some way. I was looking forward to hear Carole Collet speak because of my interest in sustainability and was amazed to hear she did not come from a science background but had just experimented herself in her shed. She reminded us that in nature everything has a use and there is not one thing that goes to waste. There is no extreme temperatures or lengthy processes that waste gallons of water, it happens effortlessly and perfectly. The earth takes back all the waste, it breaks it down quickly and efficiently and the cycle continues. Carole takes this concept and uses nature as her inspiration as with some other speakers, using nature as a blueprint. How can we use nature to progress?

Suzanne Lee - Grow you own clothes

Material grown from green tea, sugar, microbes and time.


Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny - Beeswax Sculpture

Using the power of nature, an expert beekeeper and his bees, designer Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny created a metal structured before letting the bees take over to takeover and create this masterpiece.

3 Nov 2016

Lauren DiCioccio

I love the work of Lauren DiCioccio especially the collection "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)". For me, it represents all the objects that become obsolete and abandoned over time. By recreating them and embroidering them, Lauren gives them a new dimension, she makes invaluable objects valuable as well as bringing obsolete objects back into the forefront of our mind and reminds us of their existence. I love how these ordinary objects have become so enchanting.


The loose threads are appealing for a few reason. Firstly, the fact that they let you identify what the medium is. They look so good, I can imagine that they could be misidentified from a distance. Secondly, the shift away from perfection, knots tied and embroidery looking as good from the back as it does at the front. These pieces move away from tradition and have their own perfection.