Thursday, 19 November 2015

Worn Threads

I have finally found some time to begin sampling for the Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles exhibition Worn Threads. The items are due in January, but this Saturday we are having a session where we are showing ideas and thinking about aspects we might develop. So, as the Co-Ordinator, I wanted to have something out of my head into a sample.

The idea is to take a garment as inspiration for a new piece. This could be one worn by you or sentimental to you, but it does not have to be. So, I thought this was time for something I have had in my head for a long time.

Over 10 years ago we went to visit my sister in Alaska. I never got to see the photos I took, because my SD card got full and my husband downloaded them to his computer...where they have been ever since! But at last this week I got him to transfer them for me.

Which was a bit sad in some ways. My son warned me that the camera I had then was not as good quality, so the photos might be pretty rubbish.
Most are okay, but the ones I took in low light of museums or behind glass at the airport are not very good.

I was Very Impressed by the 'gut parkas' made by the indigenous people. Your original waterproof jacket. Kamleika is a seal gut parka and the word comes from the Chukchi people. The Unangan name for the gut parka/rain coat is chagtalisax. Alutiiq word is kanaglluk.
One of the airport photos is tolerable. So, I hope it will do.

I did a bit more research about them - one of my favourite parts of making work is the research - and got more of an idea of how they were made.
I liked the translucency and had thought to use something like silk organza - following on from some of my other transparent type work. But I thought the fabric was not really related in any way.
I thought maybe lutrador/spun woven material. But when I was rummaging in my storage of spun woven types, I found a piece of wax paper I had tried using for something else.
Ah Ha!
Besides the fact that I really already have a project in mind for the spun woven fabrics at some point, the wax paper is more translucent and has the added benefit of being waterproof already!

So, I have been making some sample seams. In my research, I found some ideas on how they were actually stitched.

Here are some of the threads I am trying out; including bleached and unbleached fine linen, hemp, and twine.
I will probably do some more explaining when I begin the making. I don't intend to do a reconstruction, just work with the wax paper and concentrate on seams made in a similar way to the ones on the waterproof parkas.

Not sure at this point if I will add any kind of decoration. Still thinking.


365 Dresses said...

Fascinating! I'm always intrigued by your inspiration, and your research. Are you making a parka or just a piece inspired by the parka? Isn't it marvelous how camera/phone technology has improved? In the past, I rarely took photos of my garments/projects because it was too much of a hassle. Of course, now I really, really wish I had photos of everything I'd ever made.

Celia said...

This looks really exciting! Is that the sort of waxed paper used in packaging? Enquiringly minds need to know!

Maggi said...

Looks like being a fascinating journey.

Uta Lenk said...

It is a bit similar with my printing experience that I have had - I took a class with Ann Johnston 10 years ago and just never got around to following up on it - baby, move, new environment, fabric club - and now...! Sometimes things need time to develop. I am pretty sure your brain has been harboring these pictures and 'working' on them despite the fact that you could not see them. Let's see what will come from that gestation period!

Margaret Cooter said...

Those seams ... pojagi comes to mind - quite a fusion of different traditions!

Stitching paper is very satisfying, somehow.