Marbling is a millennia-old surface design technique in which pigments are dropped onto the surface of a thickened liquid, spreading out and melding into one-another, creating organic blob-like forms. Patterns form and a subsequent print can be taken on a flat, natural-fiber surface such as paper or cotton.
Used as the impetus for this film, the process of marbling is documented along with imagery of the resulting silk garment worn on the body. Footage of bodies of water are interspersed with the marbleizing imagery to create a non-chronological visual narrative of the process of using the element of water to create a patterned piece of cloth.
The conceptual frameworks for the film address the topic of water and connectivity. We often fail to recognize that everything in this universe is connected. From the micro to the macro, one way this fundamental principle can be explored is through visual representations such as patterning. Seemingly random patterns such as those created with the dispersion of pigments in marbling, are governed by the same physical laws that form biological structures. As a result, the patterns created from marbling greatly resemble cellular anatomy. In the video marbling is used as a visual representation of biological matter under the microscope. Cells are the fundamental building block of all biological systems. Made from organic looking circular shapes, cells that make up different organisms may look incongruous, but their composition is largely the same.
Our anatomy is composed of a high percentage of water and through systems such as osmosis, water flows though every one of our cells. The film aims to captivate our imaginations and bring awareness to the integral role water plays in life on earth. If we can be more cognizant of how all life is made of the same matter, we can take steps towards living more sustainably.
Samples of textile pattern designs for various projects
Mormo Pale, 2017
Subconscious Mind, 2015
Knit Pattern, 2014
Reflective Study, 2016
The Dead-stock Project
At work, I use a wide array of fabrics and findings on a daily basis. Often, the trash-bound offcuts and leftover yardage leave me filling bags with perfectly good fabric that I just can’t stand to see thrown away. And so it came to be that my hoarding tendencies gave birth to a new ongoing project. The Dead-stock Project is a personal and continuing endeavor where I conscientiously breathe new life into unwanted fabrics, trimmings and findings. Through a range of textile manipulation methods, including dying, felting and sewing, the resulting garment’s humble beginnings are easily forgotten. These pieces are all one-of-a-kind and address my personal fashion philosophy, inadvertent sustainability through playful innovation.
These three curated monochromatic looks are one part candy kid and one part grandma’s basement, styled with vintage accessories, they make up the first collection in the Dead-stock Project.
The series was exhibited as part of Fashion Art Toronto, 2017
Floral Design: Iris Karuna
Photography: Mike Morris
xela capsule collection
Spring 2016 - Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Inspired by how beautiful traditional Guatemalan textiles contrast with the harsh realities of the environment in which they are created, each piece of this small collection is handmade and one of a kind. During my time spent in Xela, Guatemala near the base of an active volcano, materials would often need to be dusted off in the morning because parts of the walls would crumble from nocturnal earth tremors. I incorporated techniques learned from indigenous artisans in Xela (Quetzaltenango). Processes of making include, Jaspe dying, hand-weaving and knitting. My motivation came from the way a textile is a protection and yet is an inherently vulnerable object. Focus is put on visual interest, which is achieved using with a range of unexpected contrasting materials including silk chiffon, fur, reflective trimming and plastic tarp.
Photographer: Benjamin Telford
Makeup: Leyla Goku
Models: Shelly McGrace & Lily Spare
Back-strap Woven Textiles
Winter 2016 - Oaxaca, Mexico
During a three-week instructional residency in rural Oaxaca, Mexico with Arquetopia, I created a collection of textile samples using back-strap weaving techniques. A back-strap loom is a simple horizontal loom that dates back to pre-Hispanic Mexico, Central and South America. As the name indicates, the loom straps onto the weaver’s back and uses only a few dowels and the weaver’s own body to hold the tension.
While working one-on-one with a master Zapotec weaver, I learned about the historical significance, symbolism and contemporary practice of back-strap weaving. To create this collection of samples, I implemented traditional methods using contemporary, synthetic, and non-textile fibres. Materials such as reflective tape, feathers and metallic thread were combined in an unexpected way. Fibres were sourced both in Toronto and Oaxaca and the resulting textiles, while aesthetically cohesive, explore a range of textures and luminescent qualities.
Toujours x Fidèle - Suburban Daydream Collection
Spring 2014 - Toronto, Canada
Toujours x Fidèle was the premier collaborative collection of myself, Amy Jenine Wong, Kendra Pegg, Devlyn van Loon and Andrea Kott. Aptly named ‘Suburban Daydream’, the pastel palette and girlish silhouettes are unabashedly adorable.
My role within the collective was primarily textile design and sourcing. With the aim of being both eco friendly and stylish, all materials were sourced as dead-stock but were carefully selected for their quality and appearance. Working closely with the two apparel designers, textiles were dyed using all natural dyestuffs. Black bean dye and Shibori dying techniques created irregular grid patterns that played with proportion, while a tannin-based teas produced subtly variegated beige tones. The collection focused on quality and no detail was overlooked, from the vintage floral cotton used to bind seams to the tiny hand-embroidered logo inside each of the pieces. The collection came to fruition for the month of March 2014 with a full store pop-up shop in Toronto’s trendy Dundas and Ossington neighborhood.
Photographer: Benjamin Telford
Models: Cindy Li & Ally Hall (The Pack Toronto)
Makeup: Kay Zhang
Styling: Amy Jenine Wong
Clothing: Toujours x Fidele
Culebreado Accessories Collection for TRAMA Textiles
Spring 2016 - Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
I was offered the unique opportunity to collaborate with women from rural regions across Guatemala, and the result was a small collection of accessories. Working at TRAMA Textiles as the volunteer designer, I created this collection which includes a backpack, a fanny pack and a bucket hat. These accessories marry the beautiful Culebreado hand-woven pattern with contemporary functionality and style.
While learning about the historical significance of weaving and its role in modern day Guatemala, the pieces were made by working one-on-one with several skilled artisans. In Guatemala, weavers are often taken advantage of from middlemen and foreigners. TRAMA Textiles is changing this by providing a platform for women weavers to set their own prices and support their families with their livelihood. Working in a dramatically different cultural climate provided many challenges, but they were well worth it to be able to help these weavers capitalize on their beautiful hand-woven textiles.
Photographer: Mariana Pinto
Skin / Cloth - OCAD University Thesis Collection
Skin/Cloth – Spring 2013 -Thesis Work
Spring 2013 - Toronto, Canada
By drawing inspiration from our own physiological selves the work asks if it is possible to create clothing that adds another layer of body? This question is the motivation for my thesis work at OCAD University in the Material Art & Design program. In this collection of wearable and art objects, the simultaneous fetishization and contempt for skin in our society is discussed, underlining notions of the dehumanized body and the disconnection from our natural selves. The separation between the reality of the human body and our dysmorphic image of what the body is ‘supposed’ to be, is a theme that manifests itself in these anthropomorphic clothing-objects. Cast clear acrylic ‘crystals’ fastened into flesh-toned leather harnesses refract images from the skin on which they rest, meticulously dyed silk coated in a thin layer of latex creates a pseudo second-skin and buttery leather is backed in wire mesh and crumbled to act as a skin-coated exo-skeleton. The collection won the Michelle Cowan Kolber Memorial Award for excellence in the department of Fibre.