Sewing Lessons is my recently completed print project that addresses fabrication, mass production, craft, and economics.
Many of the garments we choose to wear are produced in large factories far from home. The hands that work the cloth are unknown to us. In a generation, this shift has had a profound impact on the global economy. And, it has shifted individual priorities.
The installation, at first glance, reads as nostalgia. The old Singer cabinet sewing machine evokes domestic memories. The middle print, Sewing Lesson #2, is an etched embossed print of 12 little girls dresses. It has a childlike simplicity, and echoes the pattern manufacturers name, Simplicity.
This Simplicity text is seen in Sewing Lesson #1, a photo etched copper plate of the dresses pattern pieces.
Sewing Lessons #3 is my homage to the Canadian artist and printmaker, Betty Goodwin. This piece speaks about the printmaking process. It looks like an x-ray, and suggests a memorial.
I sewed the small dress that is held under the foot of the the sewing machine. The pieces of the cotton dress are individual serigraph/silkscreen Simplicity pattern pieces.
In our global economy, women, men, and children find work sewing in clothing factories far away from my home. Many of them comment they are happy to have the work. The conditions in many of these factories is less than ideal measured by Canadian standards.
There is still interest in sewing in my community, more for pleasure than economic necessity. The price of a toddlers dress at Walmart is about 6 dollars.
Printmaking is like sewing in that adherence to process and a certain degree of skill is required. Using the variety of printmaking techniques for the installation was challenging, and brought a high degree of satisfaction.
This way of working was on my mind when I conceived and executed Sewing Lessons.
Sewing Lessons Installation
Sewing Lessons #1 1/5 22″ x 22″ photo etched on copper German Etch paper
Sewing Lesson #2 1/5 22″ x 22″ intaglio emboss chine colle German Etch paper
Sewing Lesson #3 1/5 22″ x 22″ monoprint emboss German Etch paper
Detail of of serigraph cotton pattern pieces sewn to make a dress.
Detail of photo etch copper plate of Simplicity pattern pieces. The 22″ x 22″ copper plate has been embedded in the sewing machine table top.