Monday, 12 January 2015

Tie Politics

The 2015 workshop season was kicked off last Friday, 9th January, with a Sewcial at Trumpet Corner Art Studios & Tearoom. As regular readers will recall, these are sessions where the participating stitchers turn up not knowing what they'll be asked to do. 2015 is a general election year in the UK, and as you rarely see a male politician without a tie when they're 'on duty', the humble tie was the object of our focus.

Certainly in the West, ties are traditionally a male item of clothing, often worn with a suit. This combination is a popular uniform for those in positions of authority or power such as business & politics, or those who wish to give a sober impression or show respect. It's interesting to note that as opportunities began to emerge in the late nineteenth century for women in education, employment and their legal rights to land & property (although not yet the vote), Edwardian women's fashion adopted a more tailored look which included tie wearing reflecting new responsibilites and the desire to fight for more. 
With the tie having such a strong male association, the workshop members were tasked with 'feminising the masculine'; from their female perspective, consider a message or impression they'd like to portray using a tie and embroidery (traditionally upheld as a female activity...). 

Each person was given a vintage, woven wool tie and carte blanche to chop, stitch & transform it. Although free to cut & reform the ties into less recognisable tie shapes, all of the group members decided to stick with the original form and transform the surface instead, thus keeping them as wearable pieces. Several of the stitchers carefully split the back seam of the tie so that it could be laid flat ('spatchcocked') in a hoop for easier sewing.
Here's where their thinking (& stitching) led them... 

 The piece being created above depicts a male politician in a suit jacket & tutu (complete with knobbley knees on show). Taking inspiration from the character ties popular in the 1990's, the stitcher imagined a politican wearing this tie when canvassing, perhaps taking the sting out of political pomposity.
 

This tie with it's bold & colourful stitches offers words of warning, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". The Suffrage colours of purple (amethyst) & green (peridot) were deliberately choosen to drive the message home.  

'Loosen the Noose' accompanied by a strangulation of vines...
"Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see".  Some sage advice for life for a teenage nephew couched in perle thread & embroidery floss. 
Some sterling results, now we will wait to see who's going to be brave enough to wear them! 

If you'd like to join in the next handstitch challenge it will take place on Friday 13th February, 10am-1pm, at Trumpet Corner Art Studios & Tearoom. More details HERE


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