Wednesday, 26 September 2012

WSP Future Cities: how the Regeneration gown came to be

This is the last of three posts where I explain how I came to create each of my pieces for WSP's Future Cities project

The third theme I was set was Regeneration.  It was the one that excited me the most, as my mind instantly went to recycling, which is important both in my work and my life. This became the basis for the piece before I even knew what the design would be - to me, it was crucial that the yarns used to create this piece were recycled, or reclaimed.

I started out with a chunky jersey yarn, which is salvaged from the floors of t-shirt factories.  Before sheets of jersey are cut for garments they automatically trim 1cm strips from the edges. This would be thrown away, but some clever person realised that it could be collected up and stitched together to create cones of yarn. I then asked a talented recent Central Saint Martins graduate, Irem Arig, to hand spin the yarns with some home-dyed British mohair.  What she came up with was an incredibly chunky and unusual yarn with which to build a textured, structured garment.

Having done some extensive research into the origin of the word 'regeneration', the concept that came up over and over was rebirth. I wanted to create a silhouette where one part of the garment emerged from something else - one being born from another. From there, I crocheted some swatches and realised I could make a heavy, sculpted bodice in one piece which would envelop the torso, with a long flowing skirt emerging from the bottom, to create a gown.  The yarn I used to knit the skirt is from British yarn company Rowan and is made from recycled silk and cotton. It has a beautiful drape, so compliments the armour-like quality of the bodice beautifully.

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