My inspiration began with Judy Goldenberg’s studies about terror management theory and creatureliness concerning women. Terror management theory suggests that humans are the only animals that suffer from death anxiety, and to combat that stress, we use cultural worldviews as a buffer. One of these worldviews is that humans are a unique race and superior and apart from animals. Therefore, similarities between humans and animals (e.g. body hair, bleeding, sex, etc.) are considered creaturely and are usually viewed as disgusting.
Goldenberg’s research suggests that women are the most creaturely sex due to menstrual bleeding and their ability to facilitate childbirth and breastfeeding. I focused my works on the feminine form. Introducing cochineal into my textiles as a form of blood and life, pockets as a metaphor of vulval shape, and silk to allude to flesh and hair.
Creating beauty from stigma.
With this research, I am created a textile collection emphasizing the creaturely aspects of the human’s natural state. With this, I began the process of working with the creatureliness of hair. I have felted my own hair onto silk organza, achieving a result similar to hair growing through fragile skin. I have also felted samples of sheep fur onto silk organza and cotton voile to create a hairy effect by using curly wool varieties.
I have also worked with leather, which I am used as a visual metaphor for flesh. Inspired by the stretch marks that can be created during pregnancy, I have manipulated leather to create stretch marks, scars, and burns. I have also experimented with felting leather to create pores. Working with fur, I have shaved and chemically treated goat hair samples with a depilatory.
In order to make my textiles more wearable, I’ve work with raw silk in place of hair when knitting a felting. I have also used alpaca yarn, which has a hairy texture, to create knit textiles. I also experimented with natural dyeing by using cochineal on pre-consumer recycled fabrics pre-treated with color remover and alum.
In line with my intentions to use sustainable techniques, most of my materials have been remnants, found, recycled, or ethically sourced. I plan to create fashion as a sustainable service, allowing my customers to add a little piece of themselves or their loved ones into a textile or garment. This allows consumer to create ancestral threads with these materials that continue to be so alive.