An exhibition by Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles
The pieces have been exhibited at Lady Sew and Sew Warehouse in Henley and at the National Needlework Archive in Newbury. The final opportunity to view this exhibition is at the West Country Quilt and Textile Show in November at UWE, Bristol, 12-14 November 2016.
Visitors have been fascinated by the stories and how the chosen garments have been interpreted in textiles and stitch.
Thank You Mr Rice by Heather Brand
Tights/panty hose are generally one of the most taken for granted items of women’s clothing and yet their invention has had a profound influence in our culture. These unassuming and now disposable essentials not only liberated hemlines but gave ordinary women the freedom to enjoy a more natural and comfortable lifestyle. For this they should be respected; thank you Mr Rice!
Materials & Techniques: Printed organza bonded to pelmet Vilene is attached to stockings knitted with crochet cotton.
Finery by Ros Crouch
A worn family photo with ‘Aunty Polly at the ball’ written on the reverse was the inspiration. It is possible to still see that Aunt Polly’s dress was a confection of lace from head to toe. As I know little about this aunt the image is intriguing and a little mysterious to me. I made a scarf to wear myself, to dress up a casual outfit in unique distinctive fashion. Wearing it comfortingly wraps me in reminders of my own genetic inheritance and of a cultural inheritance of women’s work in textiles.
Materials & Techniques: Cyanotype print on cotton with added cotton lace. The monochrome and indistinct image suggested cyanotype printing. Aunt Polly was in service and not of grand lineage so it seemed fitting to print on old sheets. Family lace and photographs, including some of my own textile work, are included in the print. Thanks to friends Chris and Sandie for steering me through the cyanotype process.
Patched Memories by Sheila Dunscombe
My inspiration is a Viyella nightshirt made by Aunt Mary (my mother’s old school friend) for my father. No such garment ‘with collar’ was
available commercially. Mum had the fabric and Mary had the City & Guilds dressmaking skills. The elbows were long since patched and
darned to the limit.
Materials & Techniques: I have made a quilted calico bag with applique blouse parts. The Indian one denotes Mary’s many travels. The other classic style denotes her shared schooling with my mother. My cyanotype patches are on the elbows, and the gussets and handles are hand dyed. The top of the bag is the hem of a skirt Mary made (Liberty Plus) and the lining is a remnant from a batik evening bag I made for her world cruise in her eighties. The blue buttons were hers.
Legacy by Kate Findlay
Quorra’s costume from Tron is the inspiration. Tron – the film, came out in 1982 and was followed up with Tron Legacy in 2010. The costumes interest me as they are lighted, using electroluminescent lamps and a light tape. The disc on her back is lit with LEDs and was radio controlled. The technology involved in making the garments is impressive and in line with the futuristic theme of the film. The costumes also had to be sewn in such a way that the stitches did not appear, as the virtual environment of the film suggests that clothes would just materialize, with no need for zips etc. The suits were made out of foam latex fitted to a scan of the actor’s body. The actors had to be compressed to compensate for the bulk of the electronics – I am not quite sure what they mean by this!
Materials & Techniques: The colours that are dominant in the film are black, turquoise and silver, so these gave me my colour scheme. To enhance the futuristic look I have contrasted black cotton with black PVC fabric before adding the silver lines inspired by printed circuitry. Naturally, I wanted it to light up, which gave me an opportunity to explore electro-luminescent wire and panels. These are hand stitched to the surface. The unit can be powered by either battery or mains.
Reborn Sari by Merete Hawkins
The garment that inspired me was a silk sari; it had belonged to the mother of a friend of mine from Singapore. “My mother loved her saris.
She had lots but a sari must be worn or the silk will start to perish. Cut it up, make something from this sari,” she told me. I didn’t have the heart to cut it, but true enough, the silk started to perish. So now was the time to re-fashion the sari into a completely different garment.
Materials & Techniques: The piece is made from silk sari. It was cut up, stitched into strips and then nuno felted.
A Moccasin Journey by Mary Parry
My inspiration is Iroquois moccasins bought in Canada by my grandparents. They emigrated there around 1907 and set up home in
Calgary. The moccasins travelled back to England with my grandmother and her two young boys in 1916. Her husband was fighting in WW1, with the Canadian troops. After two years on her own she decided to return home. The little shoes are very well worn and remained as a keepsake of their Canadian adventures and have eventually been passed down to me.
Materials & Techniques: I have aimed to work in the materials used in the moccasins: chamois leather, cotton cloth, velvet, woven braid and beads. The story of the journey of the moccasins is displayed in patchwork inspired by the shapes of materials in the shoes. Panels are illustrated with photos and travel tickets from the time, reproduced using photo transfer paper.
A Gold Handbag by Marion Robertson
I have always loved handbags, so my inspiration is a handbag made of fine gold leather and a cream satin lining. It was a Christmas present from my husband in the 1960s. I used it on many evening occasions
and for weddings but rarely use it now. I wanted the piece to represent snippets of memories from the special occasions in the past and what
would have been in the bag, eg a lace hanky or an invitation.
Materials & Techniques: Recently I did a workshop with Gwen Hedley at CQ’s Winter School and I felt her techniques would work for my piece. I began with metallic gold silk, a fine cream cotton, and a hand dyed cotton sheer. I used old lace and some wedding invitations for rubbings to make marks on the fabrics. The snippets of fabrics were sewn together with invisible thread before being finished with hand stitching and embellished with beads.
Seams by Sandy Snowden
Kamlaika, waterproof parkas, were my inspiration. When I visited Alaska, I saw original waterproof parkas made by the indigenous
peoples. Gut from different mammals was worked to make waterproof strips. Seams were carefully sewn to join the strips. Stitch and thread types meant the kamlaika protected from freezing water.
Materials & Techniques: I have focused on the importance of the seams, using wax paper, linen, hemp threads and garden twine with hand stitching and pleating.