Carry that weight (2019)

Carry that weight leverages the discontents of the secondhand clothing trade through the process of weaving in a collaborative setting. Produced with students in grades 7 - 12 from Sandgate District State High School, the objective of this project was twofold: To educate students about the process of weaving as a means to subvert the boundaries between art, fashion and craft, and to explore concerns related to post-consumer textile waste. 

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Secondhand garments, cotton

twine (2m x 2.2m)

 The student community donated approximately 650kg of secondhand clothing for this project. After selecting garments and cutting them up into spiral shapes, the students interlaced the yarn using DIY looms to produce small woven objects. Some are consistent, precious and articulate while others are messy, imprecise, and violent, each forming a physical representation of the student's internal world. Garment features remain in tact (buttons, labels, stitching, collars, cuffs and so on) to highlight the process of transformation from wearable clothing item to inanimate art object. Students were also encouraged to play with questions of authorship by weaving in their initials and by chopping, stretching and twisting branded clothing into new and unrecognisable forms. Works left unfinished by students in one class were then completed by students in the following class, allowing them to relinquish a sense of ownership in order to deepen the collaborative nature of the project.

 

The individual woven pieces were then sewn together in an unplanned, haphazard way to create a large, soft sculptural form with no clear orientation. In contributing to this work, students were encouraged to slow down and contemplate the enormity of the problems related to clothing waste in an accessible – rather than overwhelming – way. By working together on this project, the community effectively produced an alternative outlet for secondhand clothing, escalating the value of these unwanted goods through contemporary art practice.

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EMILY McGUIRE