Postgraduate

Mnemonic Textiles: Sustaining Life-Long Attachment

Mnemonic Textiles: Sustaining Life-Long Attachment – An enquiry into the implications of mnemonic textiles upon sustainable design

Emma Peters

MDes.(Hons), 2016

Supervised by Associate Professor Liz Williamson

Abstract

Through interdisciplinary theoretical research, studio practice and interviews with leading Australian makers, a new category of cloth has been uncovered: the mnemonic textile. An unwavering bond exists between us and them – one that goes beyond the bounds of possession and ownership. They accompany us on our journeys and collect our experiences with the external world. They signify and elicit our recollections of the past, becoming receptacles of our memories and personal narratives..

The aspect of mnemonic textiles that is most significant to this research is their longevity in a time where disposable objects are all too common. In fact, to misplace a mnemonic textile can be exceptionally distressing. It is this quality of permanence that will be unpacked and applied to a new body of work with the intention of creating ‘emotionally durable’ textiles. In this way, concerns of waste and disposable products will be challenged.

The first phase of studio work incorporates various mark-making techniques upon the surface of felt and silk alongside embedding and dyeing techniques. These systems signify personal memories of place and family across time. Childhood and adulthood intersect with the use of materials sourced from sites of past and present. The act of remembering is contemplated through repetitive circular stitching, where each recollection alters in reaction to context and time. Occasionally the memory is a void while the act of remembering remains.

These textiles are valued repositories of personal memories. The forthcoming studio work aims to develop a range of felted quilts that addresses aspects of memory. It is the aim of this research to create an innovative practice that incorporates longevity through memory as the central motivator of pattern and object making.

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Emma Peters
emma.peters[at]unsw.edu.au

Emma Peters, 1

Emma Peters, 'Memory Repository 1', 2013, Australian merino fleece, Australian Suffolk-Merino fleece, naturally dyed silk remnants, linen yarn, silk stainless steel yarn, Moreton Bay Fig fruit natural dye; (W)53 x (H)90 cm. Photograph: Hannah Morgan

Emma Peters, 'Memory Repository 1', 2013, Australian merino fleece, Australian Suffolk-Merino fleece, naturally dyed silk remnants, linen yarn, silk stainless steel yarn, Moreton Bay Fig fruit natural dye; (W)53 x (H)90 cm. Photograph: Hannah Morgan
Emma Peters, 'Memory Repository 1' (Detail), 2013, Australian merino fleece, Australian Suffolk-Merino fleece, naturally dyed silk remnants, linen yarn, silk stainless steel yarn, Moreton Bay Fig fruit natural dye; 53 x 90 cm. Photograph: Hannah Morgan
Emma Peters, 'Rust', 2012, Silk Organza, rust dye; 40cm x 100cm. Photograph: Hannah Morgan
Emma Peters, 'Embed 1 & 2', Australian merino fleece, cotton thread; 20 x 25cm each. Photograph: Hannah Morgan