Ancient and Modern & Farm to Fabric, hosted by Polly Leonard of Selvedge Magazine, UK
Online event, hosted on Zoom by Selvedge Magazine
Thao Vu of Kilomet 109
A designer, artist, and eco-entrepreneur, Thảo Vũ founded the high-end sustainable fashion label Kilomet109 in 2012. The brand’s style reflects an elegant interplay between Western and Eastern influences, blending simple flattering silhouettes with a sophisticated colour palette and subtle touches of Vietnamese heritage. Using eco-friendly fibres and traditional methods, Thảo has been working with different communities of local artisans and indigenous peoples to grow plants, source handmade fabrics, create natural dyes, and apply fast-disappearing traditional techniques of weaving and dyeing to create contemporary couture pieces. This not only elevates the art of traditional textile making, but also provides a valuable source of extra income for the women and artisans in these communities, helping to incentivise the preservation of fading traditions.
Brief outline of talk:
Closed Circle Design in Vietnam – Integrating the past with the present through contemporary design
With the global rise of hyper consumerism, environmental degradation, and increased tribalism, the social sphere is increasingly a contentious zone of conflict, crisis and unpredictability. What does this imply for the “social” in creative practice? How does it inform the materials Thao uses, the communities of artisans she works with, and the designs that she creates? Thao’s vision encompasses every detail of Kilomet109’s production process, starting from the natural materials that go into the garments she designs. The entire production chain is self-contained within the craft communities themselves — using only locally sourced materials and homegrown eco-friendly dyes. This hyper-localised approach prioritises ecological sustainability and provides material support to the artisans. This is fashion from the ground up, and it defines a new type of ready-to-wear couture: hand-made, hand-stitched garments from a designer who works directly with local artisans on every element that goes into them.
Lenora Cabili of Filip + Inna
It is her exposure and deep appreciation for the culture of the Philippines coupled with her deep interest in fashion that led Lenora Luisa Cabili to create the brand Filip + Inna in 2009. She is tireless in seeking out the storytellers of the Philippine archipelago’s cultural knowledge and the craftsmanship of the artisans.
Growing up in Mindanao, Len became enamoured with the vibrant traditional garments of the Maranao, Yakan, and Higaonon. She was aware of the wonderful diversity of Filipino culture from early on in her life. She joined the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company where, through dance, she was introduced to the diversity of the culture of the country and exposed to the varying traditions in weaving, embroidery, and beadwork. Len honed her design skills with a degree in BS Clothing Technology from the University of the Philippines, and her business acumen with a Masters in Entrepreneurship from the Asian Institute of Management.
Lenora is inspired by tradition, intertwined with the contemporary. The Tradition is the warp; contemporary is the weft. Filip + Inna brings into each garment, ancient techniques of weaving, embroidery and beadwork from different indigenous groups of the Philippines. The human hand is seen and felt in each creation. The artisan breathes life into it.
Filip + Inna’s mission is to create while also reviving - even preserving - traditions of the Philippines that are in danger of becoming lost and being forgotten. They work with many groups of talented artisans across the archipelago, giving them an opportunity to continue practicing their traditional craft while improving their livelihood.
As Creative Director, Lenora steers Filip + Inna as they work with Filipino artisans around the Philippine archipelago embracing culture as a part of everyday life. It is her vision that as artisans around the Philippines express their creativity - from their hands to yours, may the beauty, depths and integrity of each garment bring a deep appreciation for what is distinctly Filipino - distinctly Filip + Inna.
Brief outline of talk:
The Artistry of Philippine Textiles
Lenora will introduce the culture and brand of Filip + Inna through a discussion of contemporary and traditional Philippine textiles, embroidery, and beadwork. This discussion will extend to the use of traditional textile materials such as abaca, cotton, and pineapple fibres. The talk will conclude with an introduction to the Fililp + Inna Artisan Program and the YUTA food Sovereignty Program.
Kyoung Young of OMA Space
OMA Space is an art and design studio based in Seoul. The team is composed of Jang Jiu (founder and director), Daniel Kapelian (art director and partner) and Kyoungyoung Gil (designer and partner).
OMA Space engages in experimental work: blending tradition with innovation based on the acquisition of both primitive techniques and digital tools, with a priority emphasis on sustainable coexistence between humanity and nature throughout its design process.
Brief outline of talk:
OMA Space- Hemp Movement Project 2021
This talk will introduce the HEMP MOVEMENT project with “Hemp”, an eco-friendly material that has been passed down from ancient times to the present.
OMA Space hopes to solve the problems of habitat and survival of all living things on earth, including humans, by innovating and artistically sublimating the role of “Hemp”, and presenting new alternatives for the sustainable life of mankind. Starting with these attempts, OMA Space plans to present an expanded vision for “Hemp (麻)” and apply it to various fields.
Pascale Gatzen of The Linen Project
The Linen Project is a hands-on, practice-based research environment initiated by the ArtEZ MFA Practice Held in Common and the Crafts Council Nederland.
The Linen Project investigates and works towards reactivating the economic viability of small-scale local flax cultivation and linen production in the Netherlands. The Linen Project’s learning by doing approach to all stages of flax and linen production allows for meaningful and embodied ways of being and learning for all partners involved. The project is committed to identifying, evolving and strengthening socio-economic patterns and behaviours that are rooted in a commoning approach. The project's activities facilitate interactions based on participation, reciprocity and mutuality.
The inherent connections between (cultural) heritage, education, agriculture, design, crafts, and the economy, are activated within the context of The Linen Project. A growing awareness of this interdependence sets the exchange of diverse knowledge, skills and competencies in motion, generating new insights for all involved and for the evolution of the project itself.
Outline of talk:
The Linen Project
This talk will introduce the current projects underway at The Linen Project, and will be a discussion of the variety of activities that have taken place over last three years of the project.
Jerry Hale of Acadian Brown Cotton
Jerry Neil Hale of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana USA is the President, CEO and The Southern Planter of Acadian Brown Cotton.
No pun intended, Jerry's roots run deep when it comes to the planting and production of cotton as well as its historical and artistical value in a world market. A fourth generation cotton planter, Jerry is now referred to as the “Brown Cotton Man" by local artisans. He prides himself being born and raised a grandson and great-grandson of share croppers in the “White Gold Capital of the South", Rayville, Louisiana, a rural community in the northeast region of the state.
Growing up on a 7,000 acre plantation that was managed by his father, Jerry learned and experienced at a very young age every aspect of a cotton farmer of the period, from planting, hoeing and hauling the harvested cotton to the gin in a mule drawn wagon.
"We raised cattle, pecans, bees, hay and various row crops, but cotton was in our blood, our hearts and always on our mind.” Hale notes. "The plantation was a community of people, friends and neighbors with everything we needed from the general store to the black smith shop.” Hale states.
Since 2010, Jerry, along with his wife Mary Alice Nicholson Hale, has found himself nestled in the Bayou Teche region of south central Louisiana where today his roots and his love for Acadian Brown Cotton are firmly planted into the soils bordering the Atchafalaya Basin area.
Hunting, fishing, traveling and of course gardening is what takes his relaxation time, but needless to say, cotton, Acadian Brown Cotton is and always will be the thread that connects him to this earth. "J'aime le coton jaune - I love brown cotton!”, Hale concludes.
Outline of talk:
Acadian Brown Cotton of Louisiana: Heritage Seed to Textiles
Acadian Brown Cotton of Louisiana was started to promote agriculture in the state, encourage hand spinning and weaving, provide educational programs for adults and youth and preserve historical Acadian textile patterns. In this talk, Jerry Hale will tell his story, and the history, of Acadian Brown Cotton.
Kathleen Oliver of Sweet Tree Hill Farm
Kathleen Oliver studied Visual Arts at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and majored in Art Education at Louisiana State University. After working several years in photography, travel, and raising a family, she decided to follow her heart and pursue a career in the fibre industry. As a long time knitter, she began by teaching knitting in her home and learned to spin and dye yarn and joined her local spinning guild. She opened a yarn shop, began dying yarn, and before long, Scarlet Fleece was born. Scarlett Fleece developed into a ten year project hand dyeing yarns obtained from local mills and writing knitting patterns for the US wholesale market. After many successful and hard working years, Kathleen sold her shop, ended the wholesale business, and she and her husband bought a 100-year-old, 20 acre farm in Virginia. Kathleen's plan was to design yarn from the hoof on up, and she began working with a small mill in Pennsylvania to bring her yarns to life. The colours of her Northern short tail and Shetland sheep inspire her, and Kathleen writes patterns and dyes yarn to compliment their natural colours. Kathleen's fascination with old sewing machines made in the early 1900’s and old circular sock machines lead her to producing clothing on the farm where the wool is grown.
Outline of talk:
Flock to Socks: From farm to Clothing
Kathleen's talk will walk through textile production from origin to final product. This journey takes place on her own farm, where she will describe her dual, and inextricably connected, role of farmer and textile artist.
Frances Van Hasselt
Frances van Hasselt is a designer and entrepreneur focusing on mohair textiles. She collaborates with a team of women artisans in rural communities, weaving a story about the origins of textiles and simultaneously allowing the natural environment to inform every aspect of their design and making process.
Raised on a mohair farm in the Karoo desert, van Hasselt has a deep affinity
for this natural fibre. She has spent the last several years developing a business designed to elevate mohair to a more prominent status as one of the world’s most ancient, exclusive fibres.
Her role in creating an inclusive, sustainable supply chain specifically adapted
to the eco-system of the South African textile industry earned her a Mandela
Washington Fellowship. Her studies (a bachelor’s degree in Political Science,
Philosophy and Economics from the University of Stellenbosch and a post
graduate degree in International Relations at The University of Cape Town)
ensure that the story of her work is considered and rooted in history and
Outline of talk:
Farm to Fabric: Frances VH Mohair
In this talk, Frances will introduce mohair fibre with a discussion of its unique qualities and its uniquely South African heritage. Frances will speak of her relationship to Mohair and to the concept of Farm to Fabric. With her intimate knowledge of and connection to the Karoo, she will paint a picture of South Africa's textile landscape and where her own distinctive making principles and design philosophy fit within it.