Hello everyone, I have wanted to do a post for a while on something that I feel very strongly about (and I don’t think can fit into one post). And is something that I feel is a sort of political stance and does affect everyone in one way or another. I’m talking about knowing where your clothes come from. As it affects you, the economy, and the environment.
About a year ago I saw this interview with Rebecca Burgess who wears a 150 mile wardrobe. And she points out that people rely on overseas manufacturing to bring in clothes for them to wear and have little understanding of the making process of these clothes. And I do agree with Rebecca and believe that we need to turn our eyes to the textile manufacturing industry and be educated in it as it is an industry that has a huge environmental impact.
And my project Canning Sustainability was based on this idea as well as the possibility of reclaiming our textiles:
Sustainability has two definitions: the ability to be upheld and to not be harmful for the environment (Sustainability, n.). Over the years the textile/fibre industries sustainability has declined significantly. Society has become reliant on factory produced clothing and the industry produces more and more oil based synthetics such as polyester, acrylic and spandex.
We have become unaware of what and how our textiles are made because the majority of people in the western world do not make clothes. We have transferred our textile industries over-seas which in-turn has distanced us from the knowledge and know-how of textile production. This lowered cost of production has resulted in western mass consumerism, a decline in personal knowledge and a decline in our own personal sustainability
“Canning Sustainability” is a light-hearted critique of this modern epidemic of unsustainable production and synthetics by using traditional natural textile (linen), natural dyes and the motif of home canning.
The hand stitched linen vegetables in canning jars speak to how the old methods and textiles are still sustainable and that they never stopped working. The vegetables made of found linen, represent the strength, durability and historic nature of textiles.
Linen dates back to the Egyptians and has been used ever since. It was an indispensable tool for England in World War II because of its durability. It was used for parachutes, camouflage, webbing, etc. (BBC Two). Plant based dyes were used for thousands of years until the Victorian discovery of synthetic dyes (Flint 23) that produced the predictable colours needed in mass production which in turn replaced them.
These “preserved faux vegetables” asks the question of why cannot we reclaim these materials, techniques and elements that were not ineffective but became outmoded in the name of progress and mass production. They are still there; we just do not use them, and they are waiting on the shelf ready to be reintroduced. “Canning Sustainability” is a reclaiming of sustainable textiles and dyeing and asks the viewer to consider where they come from and how they were made and why can’t we reintroduce these back into the fibre industry?
“Episode 7.” Wartime Farm. BBC Two. United Kingdom. 6 Sept. 2012. Television.
Flint, India. Eco Colour. Loveland, CO: Interweave, 2008. 23. Print.
“Sustainability, n.” Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford University Press, December 2015. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.
I just want people to have an awareness of where their textiles come from. How they were made, the environmental impact and the qualities these fibres should have versus what they do have now when produced on a mass scale.
I have more to discuss on the topic but I will leave it at that for today and discuss it further in a future post.
What do you think about our fibres industry today? And do you care about where fibres come from?
What do you value in your textile goods?
Do you sew or know someone who does?