……..Pig Gut Parka

October 16, 2013

When I was first invited to take part in this ‘experiment’, to recreate the original Native Alaskan Parka,  I was more than intrigued since it would enable me to revisit the collection of Native Alaskan Parkas at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.  I first encountered these examples almost 20 years at the museum and was struck by both the beauty and function of the garments.

In short, the original examples were mainly made from seal gut. The indigenous people would hunt, (sacrifice the mammal), then prepare the raw material , so that it was ready for piecing and stitching together into a simple garment pattern. This would involve different members of the tribes, in their specific roles.

So an opportunity to pay homage to these people, especially the skilled craftswomen involved in the latter stages of this process of making the garment, was a challenge I was keen to take on.

Below is a snapshot of the transformation of the gut from the drying stages to fabric construction, into the final garment.

medusa- -like ribbons drying on the line

medusa- -like ribbons drying on the line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cut and pressed fabric in preparation for stitching

Cut and pressed fabric in preparation for stitching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pieced and stitched fabric panel

Pieced and stitched fabric panel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Machine stitched, treated and couched fabric samples

Machine stitched, treated and couched fabric samples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinning, stitching and adding embellishments sourced form Caswell Beech to a part of the fabric

Pinning, stitching and adding embellishments sourced form Caswell Beech to a part of the fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piecing panels together to make the hood

Piecing panels together to make the hood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front section of Parka. Detail of drawstring toggle constructed form reclaimed  fishing rope

Front section of Parka. Detail of drawstring toggle constructed form reclaimed fishing rope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parka- pieced, machine, and hand stitched with embellishments, and drawstring cuffs, hem and hood

Parka- pieced, machine, and hand stitched with embellishments, and drawstring cuffs, hem and hood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Branded Porka Parka Pouch

Branded Porka Parka Pouch

 

 

 

 

 

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Introducing the…….

October 13, 2013

During the summer I was involved in a project for Kevin McClouds Manmade Home, broadcast by Optomen Television for Channel four. This involved research and experimentation both at home in Swansea and away, on location in the small town of Watchet, Somerset.  We were fortunate to have glorious weather, and I enjoyed working with Kevin, Will and the team at Optomen greatly.

Apart from being lots of fun, (I did get involved in more than I bargained for), the project had a serious underlying message about sustainability,  ethical textile practice and the value of traditional making skills in contemporary practice.

These are all aspects which I am hugely concerned with in my own practice and so the project was extremely appealing to me.

Without wanting to reveal too much (the episode has not yet been aired), below are a couple of onsite photographs of the initial consultation between Kevin McCloud and myself. I’ll reveal more about the processes and product after the episode has been released this evening. Image

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