By Staci Barr
The project “Golden Seams” is an exploration of cloth and textiles inspired by traditional mending techniques, such as darning and patching. The pieces produced in this exploration are constructed with weaving and embroidery techniques. These concepts reflect on how textiles can be mended or enhanced to repair our connection with them. By doing this, the garments or textiles are cherished and so have a longer life, out of the landfill.
With many garments and textiles becoming cheaper, and therefore lower quality, we are losing our connection to them, as they are then easy to throw away. This leaves an extremely large number of textiles being added to landfills. This project aims to explore ways in which we can repair or elevate the connection to the textiles already in existence.
In this project, traditional mending techniques were a primary source of inspiration, with an emphasis on darning, patching and stitching. To mirror this vintage technique, the theme was inspired by vintage cottage floral designs. Focusing around simple motifs of roses and leaves that could easily be translated into embroidery. Both the techniques and the theme were used together as inspiration and were explored in a more contemporary setting. To help with this some modern techniques were incorporated into the project, such as water-soluble fabric, metallic thread and scrap fabrics.
A key inspiration in this project was kintsugi, a Japanese technique where damaged ceramics are fixed by using gold resin to repair the broken pieces and put it back together. Kintsugi has many principles in common with this project, especially in how it puts emphasis on the life and aging of an object by making it visible and beautiful again. This is shown throughout the work as a fine gold thread was used to give an accent to the pieces.
Embroidery was one of the principal techniques explored within this project, alongside water-soluble fabric which assisted in the making of lace. Scrap fabric was used to explore how textiles could be re-used in a woven way to repair and add to existing garments and textiles.
The colour palette was heavily inspired by scrap floral fabrics and as a restrained palette of the primary colours with the addition of other colours such as navy to give some depth and contrast. Using these colours, the imagery used was simplified linework of roses and leaves as to make them easy to translate into embroidery.
These swatches and concepts are textiles by themselves but can also be applied to damaged or used textiles, garments and homewares. The concepts explored in this project can be used to repair, or simply add interest and re-fresh old textiles and give them a longer life. In any way these concepts are used, they add value and interest back into the textiles so there is more of a connection between owner and cloth.
The final artefact brings together a couple of the most successful playtypes and applies them to a second-hand garment. By taking this garment and adding embroidery and woven scraps, it is getting a new life through being cared for and as a result has a higher emotional value as it is now unique and special.