Hello everyone, I hope you are all well. You may have seen one of my posts on social media recently about old cotton cloths that I eco dyed with various plant extracts (indigo, gallnut, madder, blackberries). Old cotton/linen cloths have become more and more part of my work in the past few months. Each time I go home to France, I love to hunt for textiles and spend quite a bit of time looking for old fabrics starting in my family cupboards. As you might have read already, my mother used to be a seamstress/dressmaker, so I was surrounded by fabric from an early age. I remember the sewing room filled with shelves of fabric, threads on the floor, paper templates and the loud noise of the strong Singer sewing machine (still owned by my mother now). Some of my earliest memories are of going to the vast fabric market every month with my mother. A treasured memory.
I love these old cotton and linen sheets with their thick texture and strength. They seem to survive overtime with so much ease. Belonging to my grand-mother, then passed on to my mother, to an aunt or a family’s friend, they carry the mark of time. And each one seems to tell a story. These old fabrics are especially important to me as they have an emotional meaning attached to them. Women of the same family have handled and used them. I find their worn surfaces and imperfection beautiful. You all probably have old fabrics that have been passed on in your family and have memories associated with them. I find the texture, sometimes soft, sometimes rough, that results from the aging process so interesting and transformative into a new story. The material itself is an inspiration to me. A mark, a stain, a tear must stay. Always on the lookout for these type of materials, I also came across some beautiful old hemp fabric. It’s quite thick and was mostly used to hold grain in the past. The texture is very soft but at the same time so strong. Although I don’t know their specific story, I know it was used for carrying grain to and from a mill. Historically, farmers grew hemp or flax and used it to weave fabric for a working purpose. Sacks were made to hold what their harvest as well. I am quite impatient to give it a new life but also retain the original essence. What will this new story be…
What stories are woven into your family?
Thank you all for your visits and comments,