An aspect of my research practice is to make garments, to design, cut, sew a toile (a practice piece in calico), fit, modify, unpick, sew again, modify… From the toile, I make a paper pattern from which to cut fabric, sew, fit, modify etc., to create a design with unforeseen additions, removals and yet again – modifications.These whole processes (which are but parts) engage in the use and application of EXTRA in the guise of paper (whether sketchbook, ‘dot and cross’ or brown), fabric (be that calico, swatches or chosen textile), threads (meaning reels for tacking, overlocking, sewing, hemming, even buttonholing), metals (of the scissors, the pins, the rulers, the weights…) and the mechanicals (e.g. machines with their flat feet, edging feet, zip feet, piping feet).
The PROSE PIECE below does not engage in the waste narratives that are prolific within FASHION and its INDUSTRY, but it does engage with the sense of EXCESS as found within the minutiae of two methods of stitching.
One may, at first, appear to be less ADDITIONAL than the other.
The two-column narrative runs parallel as double stitching does, but unlike their mechanical counterpart (the sewing machine) they resist interlocking momentarily as they would from a bobbin below, hooking over a top stitch and dragging it down, but rather will interlock METAPHORICALLY… SYMBOLICALLY.
Pervasive thoughts surrounding the palpable nature of MORE are tackled in the narrative within column one by mulling over ‘running stitch’ and the repetitive up & down & up & down of a threaded needle that predates but cannot emulate its technological equivalent.
Questions ABOUND with regards to stitch length, strength, security, closure and containment of SOMETHING enrobed by a joined piece of cloth, making the flat circular and the straight curved by the simplicity of a cut and stitched graduated line. And yet, with this stitch comes a seam of traditional size, calculated to avoid being rent, withstanding stress and tensile FORCES, simply because it is EXCESS.
Ruminations form column two re the iterative nature of hand sewing a ‘blanket stitch’ edge that seemingly contains material and reduces the SURFEIT of cloth necessary to keep two pieces joined. Being utterly unable to split, but to make MORE is persued….
This non-seam creates a GREATER fabric which, if working with remnants can be sustainably and usefully re-employed, restating what may be otherwise known of as WASTE, questioning notions of the SUPERFLUOUS.
Is WASTE ‘waste’ or can it be MORE and, by being ‘more’, can it be VITAL?
SEAMSTRESSES are ABUNDANT no MORE.
–— – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
GLUT IS GOOD
When they call me, if they call me, they will
call me a skein of floss which makes me feel
quite Nordic, maybe Scottish but I am not,
I am other than those, as they too are other
than Nordic, Celtic, Scottish, even Gallic.
I circumnavigate myself over again and over
again, entwined, twisted and twirled.
Their rotund generosity is oft comforting.
They can be prickly at times and acute,
acerbic even, but they can also be smooth
and swift, engaging and succinct, easily
graspable, clutchable. I see their orifices
and they too observe my warped and
wrappedness, ready to engage and invite
me in. I enter, silently, stealthily, calmly.
We peruse our plane and decide where to
inject ourselves and judge our distance as
near or far or inbetween, invariably opting
for, plumping for, betwixt edge and origin.
Diving down in air, we arise through cloth,
breaking the surface, narwhal like, proud
but halting, waiting to be swathed in our
tall tails, caressed by our length and silky
smoothness before returning to the deep.
And so we continue, my loved one and I,
interlinked and interlinking the edges of
our realm, creating three-sided squares of
edges upon edges whilst edging and
containing ends of ends, rendering them
endless for as long as we are endless, for
there lies the end of our existence and
duty. We have created the non-seam of
more, reducing the observed superfluous
materiality of the material we conjoin.
Performer, costume and sound score designer, writer, DJ, and educator, Dellores Laing performs internationally, often in collaboration with Jonathan Faiers. Dellores is currently both a Senior Lecturer in Fashion Theory and a PhD research student at the University of Westminster. She continues to make artwork, is Reviews Editor for Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption (Taylor and Francis), and publishes poetry and prose, having established her own independent imprint, Legg & Wallis, in 2013. Following a firm belief in, and having curated events that generate an interdisciplinary approach, Dellores’ artistic practice engages in the potency of fashion, sound, space, culture and society within an interventionist methodology.