Image: Jacket, 2020, Denise Zygadlo.
Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh is hosting an online exhibition of a project from the artist Denise Zygadlo - Homage to Kept Cloth - where she explores treasured garments and the emotional connections and associations we have with cloth throughout our life. Zygadlo says, “This exhibition is the fruit of a year’s work looking at two garments in particular - my mother’s 1940’s suit jacket and my aunt’s honeymoon dress.”
Image: Honeymoon dress IV, 2020, Denise Zygadlo
“The skills of our grandparents – dressmaking, pattern cutting, lacemaking, mending have become a thing of the past. Knitting and crochet, once familiar to most women and girls, have almost become a novelty craft. The exotic names for different forms of cloth – Georgette, Chiffon, Crépe de Chine etc. have little meaning for people no longer handling and working with them on a regular basis and which are so often replaced with a synthetic alternative. I can hear my grandmother, who was a milliner, enthusing over Moygashel, my mother claiming her suit was made from Barathea. My first ballet tunic was Pique, evening dresses would be made from Taffeta, Organza, Devoré – delicious evocative words.”
“Our throw away culture has given permission for fashion to change at increasing speed with the emphasis on current new trends. Those of us who grew up in the post war years, when our clothes were lengthened, altered and passed on, learnt how to use a pattern in domestic science classes – how to pin darts, set in a zip and ease a gathered shoulder. Making clothes gives us an understanding of cloth – the way it hangs and moves, the weave and the nap, the best fabric for a particular use. Clothes lasted for as long as they would fit, or went into holes and then there was always darning! Mending is now becoming a respected art – hooray! Over the past few years I have collected quotes from friends regarding their personal associations with cloth and the variety of meaning and nostalgia it can provide.
This has inspired me to look at my own kept cloth – there is plenty – and re-experience my own connections, bringing them into the present through a series of art works.”
To view the exhibition visit www.arushagallery.com