Project 1: Selecting and Identifying – My Definition of Textiles
Textiles to me is a very broad discipline. It incorporates natural and man made fibres and materials. These textiles are created with a variety of approaches and processes including alternative surface treatments, digital and manual manipulation, hand processes, multi-media and printing.
Textiles have always appealed to me because they have texture – for example: smooth, rough, prickly, soft, hard. Textile artists are pushing the boundaries of what constitute a textile – for example: usual surfaces like stone, concrete, metal and wood and using nature like leaves and shells being stitched.
This means that traditional techniques may be used alongside new technologies and substances. So there is much scope for innovation and experimentation and on the other hand electing to undertake activity that develops a sustainable approach. I also think it is so important to value the contribution of traditional approaches to textiles as practiced by peoples of many countries around the world and the opportunity it provides us to take this work in different directions.
Textiles often have really interesting stories or narratives attached to them.
Some examples are a garment held in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. The boy’s dress was worn by the two year old son of Australia’s “flogging parson” and colonial sheep farmer Samuel Marsden.
The boy fell into a boiling pot of water on August 14, 1803. He unfortunately died but his little red cotton dress survived. The dress was saved as a memorial to the boy. The dress is made of red unbleached cotton and printed with a white geometric pattern and was believed to be handmade by his mother.
The second example is held in the Smithsonian in USA and is the flag that inspired the National Anthem of the USA. In the summer of 1813 Mary Pickersgill was contracted to sew two flags for Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. The one that became the Star-Spangled banner was a 30 by 42 foot garrison flag. The flag remained in private ownership for many years before being passed to the Smithsonian in 1912 .It has recently been carefully restored and is on exhibition.