Blog, Exhibitions

SCRAPS an Exhibition of recycled textiles

Sorry you’ve just missed it, as it closed the 14th January. Palm Springs art museum held a fabulous exhibition SCRAPS: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse. I am posting this now as I feel it is so important that we understand the world has finite resources, and those that recognise this and try to do something about it should be applauded and publicised. The exhibition featured the work of three women, from three continents, who put recycling at the heart of their design process. Luisa Cevese from Italy, Christina Kim from Los Angeles USA and Reiko Sudo from Japan all share a profound respect for scraps as repositories of raw materials, energy. labour, and creativity. Inspired by the long tradition of using handcraft to give new life to scraps and cast-offs, each takes an entirely different approach to contending with textile waste.

Christina Kim the founder of the Los Angeles-based fashion brand Dosa, has always drawn inspiration from traditional textile cultures around the world. Working with local artisans, she provides sustainable livelihoods by engaging in long-term collaborative relationships and paying fair wages. Her longstanding reverence for hand woven cloth led her fifteen years ago to jamdani

-the gossamer cotton saris worn in Bengal, India and Bangladesh became the fabric for her 2003 collection. Recognising the cultural history and human creativity embedded in the cloth, Kim collected the cutting-room scraps and had them pieced and appliqued into a wholecloth by skilled embroiderers in Gujarat, India. A second generation of clothing was cut from the re-engineered fabric in 2008, and the scraps gathered from this collection were made into tikdi, or small dots, appliqued on silk scarves until all the scraps were used. Equally important to Kim’s zero-waste approach is her intent ‘to help keep different traditions alive… investing the human hand with more or as much value as the material itself.”

         Reiko Sudo is Japanese she was born in 1953

She has been transforming how we think about textiles for the last three decades. She is the principal designer and managing director of Nuno, founded in 1984 and known for combining Japanese handicraft tradition with textile technologies to create extraordinary futhe silk cnctional textiles. Always conscious of the impact textile production has on the environment, Sudo has recently explored the creative potential of silk waste. Since 2007, her primary focus has been kibso – the outermost layer of  the silk cocoon that protects the delicate silk underneath.

Retrieved before the silk reeling process, kibiso is too coarse for industrial weaving, but working in collaboration with the city of Tsuruoka, Sudo has converted kibiso  into finer yarn that can be machine woven. During her kibiso experimentation, Sudo discovered another silk waste, ogarami choshi, a residue that sticks to the spinning shaft and has to be cut away. When the layers of the tightly curled material are peeled apart, they can be pressed together to create a translucent patchwork paper.

Sudo takes kibiso  fabric scraps and machine embroiders them onto a water soluble mesh that is then dissolved to give an open lace-like effect.

Luisa Cevese was born in Italy in 1955

In India there is very little wasted, used saris are cleaned, repaired, and sold on the second hand market. Luisa uses the waste  from the sari refurbishment – damaged borders that are cut when the saris are re-hemmed. One of her ongoing fabrics since 2009 is Muticoloured Taj textile  scraps of sari embedded in polyurethane.

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