Article about the artist and photographer Carolyn Drake whose project Internat engaged her with a group of young girls who had been isolated in a Ukriane orphanage.
Amy Twigger Holroyd is interested in sustainable knitwear, amateur activities that happen in the home such as repairing and actively seeks out ways to support amateur and small scale activities.
Like me she is keen to understand PEOPLES LIVED EXPERIENCE of these activities. will read her PhD Thesis which is about Amateur Fashion Making. I appreciate her methods of articulating this work and the distinct vehicles she is using to do this i.e. design-led, knitted garments.
She has a book coming out in 2017, called Folk Fashion it seems like it will be worth reading:
‘In Folk Fashion: Understanding Homemade Clothes, Amy Twigger Holroyd explores the vibrant world of amateur creativity and unpicks the contemporary experience of making and mending clothes for ourselves to wear.
A dynamic resurgence in sewing and knitting has emerged in the last decade, supported by the connective power of the internet. Today, many people are making and mending their own garments at home, and deriving great pleasure from this creative process. However, making clothes is not a consistently positive experience: conversations with makers reveal many stories of homemade garments languishing at the back of the wardrobe. Twigger Holroyd draws on theories of fashion, culture and craft to help makers understand their mixed experiences of wearing homemade clothes in a society dominated by shop-bought garments.
Many folk fashion makers are motivated by concerns about the environmental and social impacts of mass-produced clothing, and see that creating their own clothes can lead to a slower and more satisfying experience of fashion. However, the relationship between amateur making and sustainability is more complex than it may first appear. Using an unexpected metaphor of fashion as common land and incorporating a focus on individual well-being, the book critically examines the potential contribution of domestic activity to a sustainable fashion system.
Taking an inclusive approach, Folk Fashion looks at the making and remaking of both individual garments and the wardrobe as a whole. Twigger Holroyd combines her own experience as a designer and knitter with first-hand accounts from a diverse range of folk fashion makers to provide an array of perspectives on this fascinating, yet under-examined, area of contemporary fashion culture. Examining both mainstream and emerging practices, she not only develops an understanding of what is happening now, but also suggests ways that folk fashion might continue to flourish, diversify and evolve in the future.’
Again, another idea that I am exploring. I am not a good photographer but the idea that taking images with a Polaroid adds an element of loss of control. I am not suggesting that amateurs do not have control [I believe the opposite is true more often] but there is certainly an element of informal training, learning by You Tube or from an off the shelf magazine.
I am keen to explore making paintings that are of something that has not perhaps worked as planned. i am also not sure if, at this point it is the real reason but i will engage with making a number of small painting studies from polaroids. having done a few more, i hope to get a better understanding of my purpose. For now, here you can see one such example.
I have done a few more painted studies, this time of the leftover bits of fabric from a new quilt that is being developed.
Quite pleased with these, not because they are life like but I get a real sense from looking at them of the stage of quilting I was at the time of halting to make these studies.
I got chance to go over to The Peoples History Museum this month to take part [with Jade and Zi from work] in what I thought was a talk but pleasantly turned out to be a workshop. It was called The Fabric of Protest and was organised by Helen Mather and Lisa Gillan [email@example.com]. Helen is an independent artist, painter who is interested in banners [and quilts as paintings as I discovered through chatting – there were so many connections].
The workshop that I took part in was one in a series in which people to come along on a monthly basis, in earlier meeting that I had not attended they had come across the story of the Matchstick Girls. This is very basic but essentially, in a factory down south, girls of 14 and maybe younger were employed to make matches and pack them up. Part of the process involved putting the matches in there mouths and as a result they would develop horrendous mouth cancers. Alongside this was the very poor standards of working conditions and at the time, they were considered as unskilled workers and were therefore unrepresented by a Union [which only worked for skilled workers at the time]. On one day a girl was fired which resulted in the entire workforce walking out and marching down to the local Union representative to demand support. This, I understand was the birth of the modern Union’s.
This workshop had decided to make a banner that represented this action, previous weeks had seen the design for the banner develop and this session saw the beginning of sewing happening. We managed in a=our small groups to get the lettering cut out and started some sewing before the session finished and for other in the next groups to continue with. There were so many similar practices happening in this event and the MQB, there shared experience of working on one item was particularly rich.
I am hoping to get along to another session in the future before it is finished but it is during the week and so may not be possible.
The phrase ‘It Just Went Like Tinder’ was a term used by someone at the time of the incident to describe the reaction of the girls / workers when they decided to take action and not stand for the mistreatment any more.
I cannot remember the name or date of the event but I understand the banner is going to be used as a backdrop for a musical event in Manchester during December. I believe the singer is possibly an artist in resident at the Manchester Peoples History Museum and is doing a concert in response to this residency. Will endeavor to find out more.
OK – this is probably a more accurate account… http://www.unionhistory.info/matchworkers/matchworkers.php
I have realised that I need to develop a greater understanding of some of the materials that I associate with amateur craft makers who particularly rely on shops such as Hobby Craft or Magazines available in local newsagents. I am trying to engage with making as an amateur [which I believe I am] BUT, I operate professionally [in my job] within a design and craft arena in which I have access and a breadth of knowledge of textiles. As a weave tutor, I teach about professional applications of design and as such this requires a high level of engagement with contemporary yarns, dyes, equipment and methods.
I believe that switching and using those materials that we may choose to not use within a design studio but will find in abundance in a local craft’ing’ shop will expand my visual vocabulary.
I have started to tentatively explore this through stitch and am looking forward to the next phase of this research in which i will fully submerge myself in this world of wonderful materials: pom poms, scoobies, hama beads, sequins, ‘fuzzy’ felt sheets and pipe cleaners.
In a few months I will be starting to write a report for the Progression Panel in September. I am a huge fan of mind maps and use them for everything, it is the only way i have found useful when reading texts to break down what I find interesting or useful.
Part of the report will need to discuss how the practice element of this research is going and where it will go. It feels quite up in the air and a little all over the place but these diagrams highlight my thoughts currently.
textiles – felt – ready made objects – shower curtains. weaves between the structure of frameworks she creates, fluid mature of textile. Is a weaver and considers grid like influences [of weave] with connections to labour, mass production and capitalism.
I have selected these two images due to the slightly unweildy look of the textile, they seem at odds with the clean design of the framework – which could have been a simple DIY job [although it may not be].
There are a number of things that I associate [as do others] with perhaps typical hobby outcomes. Cross stitch is one such craft and it felt appropriate that I should explore this further. Like a lot [if not all] of the textiles I make, I consider them as drawing. if not a direct observation of something I see, it is an action that takes time and consideration as it creates marks on a surface.
I have done a number of samples that include cross stitch but have not been able to find the focus or stamina to follow a pre-printed edition. Instead I tend to stitch intuitively although [as can be seen in this sample], I may draw some guidelines for shapes on the ground first.