by patient fingers,
Not invisibly secured,
not cut a certain length.
Left to themselves,
subject to disarray.
Reminders of the time invested
to weave them
to draw them.
The original German title is a pun on the terms “Werg” (tow) and “Werkstücke” (work pieces) referring to flax processing and semi-manufactured goods. The title relates to linen, the material used for the main parts of the collection, and to a raw and seemingly unfinished aesthetic. "werGstücke" is a collection in its literal sense: an assembly of unique pieces.
I have always been interested in the reviving of traditional cultural techniques and developing them further. A researcher's approach to merging handcraft and the use of modern machines helped me explore a traditional technique to find contemporary potential. Hemstitching on linen, known as an ornamental finish to dowry items, informs and inspires the structure of the garments. The manipulation of the fabric provides a range of visual and tactile experiences. The open-worked areas influence the drape of the garments and serve as a substitute for cuts. The plain weave determines the direction of drawing threads at right angles. The orientation of the open-worked areas forms the origin of pattern construction, which leads to bias drape and cut in uncommon places such as the centre front of a frock-like piece. Square areas are segmented into triangular shapes, allowing for symmetrical work and creating a soft flow along a bias cut line. This method results in angular hemlines and triangular shapes which are quoted in dart lines and divergent seam allowances in other garments. The bias cut creates a soft fall along body curves which makes most conventional shape defining seams redundant. Flowing shapes complement tailored elements and translucent areas contrast with the woven surface.
Garment silhouettes and textile details show Asian and European influences. A motif inspired by the bourgeois blue onion porcelain decoration is machine embroidered onto an open-worked area, fixing the floating threads in random array. The design also refers to the assimilation of cultures as this “European” heritage motif is in fact a traditional Asian design depicting melons. A Kimono-like garment is adorned with embroidery, a chance product developed from wrongly adjusted thread tension; the resulting loops remind of delicate Shibori dyeing. Bias cut silk chiffon with copper and golden sequins, which are fickle and never perfectly arranged, complement the white linen fabric and its volatile immaculacy. Shades of copper and verdigris, the colour of the oxidised copper patina, are valued as equal and represent the beauty of transition. Time may lead to more dissolution, a raw and seemingly unfinished aesthetic.
Handcraft means slow work, a conscious and intuitive process that requires time as much as practice, knowledge, and skill. The collaborators in this project should relate to their work and value it as much as they value themselves. The person wearing the garments should also feel this respect for the craft just as much as she esteems herself. This appreciation becomes lucid in two photo series. One is dedicated to the wearer who may feel more mellow, stronger or more beautiful, the other is dedicated to material and detail to demonstrate respect for the value of each garment.
In collaboration with VIA Werkstätten Berlin, workshop for the handicapped.
Special Thanks for generous sponsoring to:
Michele Solbiati Sasil GmbH (linen) and AMANN & Söhne GmbH&CoKG (threads)
Garment photos: ©Anne Wanders
Model Photos: © Joel Sheakoski
Model: Rosalie (Izaio Models)
Hair & Make-Up: Sabrina Kamke