Karen Barbé Workshops

6 Apr 2015

An intentioned embroidery

Can stains, dirt or anything worn or that has a non desirable quality, for that matter, inform the creation of new pattern designs that are capable nonetheless to convey beauty? This is the idea that has been guiding my approach to designing new motifs for embroidering.

If daily use and natural material decay will inevitably leave a mark of wear on textiles, can we designers understand these signs and elaborate our designs from there using the language and codes of deterioration? I marvel at the possibilities that stains, smudges, discolorations, snags, glitches, tears can provide for a new conception on beauty and desirability in textiles, homewares and clothing. I'm not thinking of a sort of overall-stone-wash-effect for garments but a more subtle angle: I'm pursuing the idea of designing pieces in such a way that their shapes, motifs, colours and materials will receive beautifully the traces left by regular usage.

We'll see how this apron changes (hopefully in enriching ways) with use.


¿Pueden las manchas, la mugre o, de hecho, cualquier cosa deteriorada o que tenga una calidad no deseable, informar la creación de nuevos diseños que sean capaces, pese a todo, de expresar belleza? Esta es la idea que ha estado guiando mi enfoque al momento de diseñar nuevos motivos para bordar.

Si el uso diario y el envejecimiento natural de los materiales dejarán inevitablemente una marca de desgaste en los textiles, ¿podemos los diseñadores comprender estos signos y elaborar nuestros diseños a partir de ahí usando el lenguaje y los códigos del deterioro? Me maravillo con las posibilidades que las manchas, suciedades, desteñidos, enganches, fallas, rasgaduras pueden aportar en la concepción de un entendimiento de lo que es bello y deseable en los textiles, accesorios de casa y vestuario. No estoy pensando en una suerte de efecto stone-wash generalizado para las prendas sino en un acercamiento más sutil: estoy abocada a la idea de diseñar piezas de manera tal que sus formas, motivos, colores y materiales reciban hermosamente los rastros dejados por la utilización regular.

Veremos cómo cambia (ojalá de manera interesante) este delantal con el uso.

/ \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \

Nuevas fechas para el taller de bordado (nivel 1):

· VIERNES (10.00 - 12.00 hrs): 24 de abril
· MARTES (19.00 - 21.00 hrs) : 5 de mayo

(+) http://www.karenbarbe.com/workshops/


Mariana said...

Qué cosa tan bella. El texto y el delantal bordado. Amor total.

Karen Barbé said...

Gracias querida Mariana.

Montse Llamas said...

Qué curioso me parece que publiques sobre este tema! Tengo que hacerte una confesión. Estos días estaba mirando el delantal con el estampado copihue que te compré, con sus manchas del uso y me estaba dando mucha pena. Tengo que decir que lo uso poco, para lavarlo lo menos posible y que no se estropee, así que me dio por pensar que debería deshacerlo y hacerme un cojín con la tela.

Por un lado me parecía mal hacer tal cosa, por lo bien que está cosido y por respeto a tu trabajo. Y por otro estaba pensando en esto que cuentas, porque ya habías hablado alguna vez sobre las manchas y cómo podían formar parte del diseño.

Creo que tengo que mirarlo con otros ojos y dejarlo envejecer.

Un abrazo, Karen.

Montse Llamas said...

Y lo más extraño es que en mis creaciones me gusta mucho jugar con telas desgastadas my rotas...

Karen Barbé said...

Montse, qué interesante lo que cuentas. Qué quieres que te diga, te encuentro razón que quieras «salvar» la tela del delantal de copihues antes que se arruine. Eso pasa con los estampados, es una pena verlos perder sus colores e intensidad original. Pero eso mismo es mi punto: muchas veces los diseños trabajan con la «impecabilidad» como atributo de belleza... ¿Pero cómo hacemos para mantenerlos así durante los años?

Me encantaría que le dieras una oportunidad y dejaras que el delantal envejeciera sin más. Luego quizás hasta lo puedes remendar o pegar algún parche. Nada, pienso en voz alta...


Montse Llamas said...

Sí, sí, eso he pensado... :)

Unknown said...

Me encanta esta manera de ver la belleza, apreciando y aprovechando también las huellas que va dejando el tiempo.

oSoFine said...

You are such an inspiration! Every time I find your blog again, I am astonished at what you have created and your exquisite designs and photographs make my eyes smile. :)

The question posed in this post makes me think of Japanese Boro cloth. Repeatedly patched and darned indigo "rags" that have become beautiful treasures. Your "Creative Mending" posts were a revelation to me when I came across them years ago. I haven't seen any darning stitches that are better than yours (and recently, your student's). I've accumulated quite a large pile of garments that I hope to mend and reinvent, though sadly my skill doesn't match my imagination. I think buying mass-produced ripped jeans is ridiculous, but hand mended jeans can be wonderful.

It is ironic that in the early 60's and the 80's most futuristic images imagined everyone wearing shiny new, molded plastic, unblemished, uniform outfits and here in 2015 we have more appreciation for handmade, individualistic, original textiles than people have since before the Industrial Revolution. Of course we also have far too much fast, mass-produced, cheap, practically disposable clothing and other textiles, the production of which is harming our planet, textile workers, and our souls. Still, no one is wishing for a Star Trek jumpsuit! I think most of us feel ambivalent about our technology and it is fascinating how, for example, most people pay extra (whether buying something or making it) to dress our phones in different cases. While there is a lot of ugly machine embroidery, there are people who are using the technology to extend their creativity whether by making or modifying designs, or incorporating the machine stitching into handmade items (that is the most generous thing I've ever said about machine embroidery, lol). Information is the commodity of our time, and the more good design (design being a form of information) that is communicated and disseminated into the world, the more it raises the aesthetic standard for everyone. Websites like yours are perhaps the greatest gift of our time. But I'm getting off the topic....

The apron is gorgeous! I admit I feel a bit uncomfortable with the idea that something so beautiful, that must have taken you much time to make, is going to be used as an apron should be used. I had the same feeling watching the documentary you posted (wonderful!) where we see you stitching so carefully on a tablecloth. These are utilitarian objects that are like shields going straight into battle and will no doubt incur injury. Part of me wants to guard them - an almost maternal protective instinct. Then I remind myself that like scars and wrinkles, stains and wear can be beautiful. I hope you will photograph your apron in a year (it could be an interesting photography assignment to document how it looks over time... a photo a month maybe?) and a year after that so we can see how it evolves.

Thank you for sharing your work and your thoughts! :)

Karen Barbé said...

Dear oSoFine,
I haven't found your email to reply personally to such an intentioned comment! I have enjoyed every one of your words especially when you mention that the idea of futuristic clothing perhaps it's not what we really need by 2015. That gives me lots to think and get inspired by!

Thanks for your words.