Last night I gave a talk at the Stitchery as part of their Goin’ Local theme for July. As I prepared for the talk I was reminded of what drew me to study fashion and textiles ages and ages ago. It all began in 1994 when I was fifteen and began making a patchwork quilt. I used the English technique of covering paper hexagons with fabric and then piecing them together. I used my family’s old clothes – pyjamas which my sister and I had long grown out of, left overs of the fabric used in my mother’s wedding dress, my dad’s tweed coat which he bought as a 21 year old in the distant 1970s (and which he wore almost up until 1994), bits of hated school uniforms, scraps from other people’s forgotten projects.
You can see some of those scraps above – I know it just looks like a rag bag of rubbishy mass-produced poly-cottons – but to me each piece locates a particular memory. So when I was thinking about goin’ local, and how decidedly not-local the bulk of clothing and textile manufacture is in Australia…I thought of my raggedy quilt and how each scrap represents a garment which in turn represents the body that once filled it. And that alone localises and makes specific and precious otherwise banal mass produced clothing.