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Ribinnean Riomach, 2017

 Ribinnean Riomach; 130x45cm.


A set of stays based on eighteenth century designs finished with a repeating cross motif, the multiple embroidery stitches catching and fixing the weft and warp and cementing the free-flowing silk in a preordained pattern. Traces of the rhythmic hand gestures used for creating the repetitive cross stitch remain on the fabric as ‘the creators of form’ (Tim Ingold)


Conceived as a hybrid past and present, the worn and cherished functionality challenging status symbol consumerist culture. The strips marked, stained and uneven in size have been ethically repurposed by a womans’ collective in India. Silk, the luxury item with all the history of silk route, is now reduced to waste product deemed unsuitable for the consumer market which I have unevenly dyed with madder root rather than a chemical red for the traditional scarlet (sgàrlaid).


Sari silk ribbons woven over a calico base, the materials are a nod to the ‘betagan cailleago’ and ‘còta sìod’ of Ribinnean Rìomach from the Julie Fowlis 2014 album Gach sgeul with the Gaelic lyrics machine embroidered on the downward tails. Gaelic mouth music was not written down but learnt by ear, dual functioning as music to focus and entertain the mind while the hands worked and as sung poetry passing down local histories.

Betagan Caileago, the undergarment of soft calico is eco printed with Ladys Mantle and brambles. 145x75cm 

Stays exhibited 'Back to the Future' , Frames Gallery, Perth in association with edge textile artists Scotland 2017

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