Unbound: Liberating Women

This is a re-post from my other blog, Mermaids Purse…

Larnach Castle dining room dressed for dinner

The Ballroom at Larnach Castle

September, the month to mark 125 of Women’s Suffrage here in Aotearoa New Zealand was a big month, I realised two major projects, one in Dunedin, one in Whangarei. Both were based around the idea of drawing people together to contribute their thoughts, ideas, concerns, stories or simply their signatures on pieces of a garment I would sew to mark the occasion.

For the Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand’s annual symposium, Unbound; Liberating Women the project was entitled, Unbound: Gathering Material and was based in two places over the course of the weekend; during the symposium dinner, in the Ballroom at Larnach Castle and a workspace I was given in The Hub, at Otago Polytechnic.

Following are some photographs documenting the signing of pieces of the coat at Larnach Castle. Thanks Catherine Donnelley for your camera work!

Signing the fabric pieces at Larnach Castle 02 low res

Between dinner and dessert, I invited guests to come and sign or make a mark

signatures and pens on fabric

Pieces of a coat were laid out on two sets of tables, along with a variety of markers and pens

Heidi signing and coversation over the cloth low res

There was probably more conversation around and over the pieces of fabric than there was mark making!

In honour of Dress Reformers Jane Malthus low res

References to a paper presented and the women who pushed the boundaries in dress reform, thanks Jane Malthus!

Signing the fabric pieces at Larnach Castle 07 low res

Gathering, looking, thinking and talking

Woman's hands signing the cloth

Beautiful words shared

Signing the fabric pieces at Larnach Castle 14 Well behaved women rarely make history low res

“Well-behaved women rarely make history”

Signing the fabric pieces at Larnach Castle 03 low res

Very focused

Woman in yellow signing fabric

The garment pieces filled up fast, as the approximately 60 people shared in the work

Signing the fabric pieces at Larnach Castle 08 low res

I was so impressed with the enthusiasm brought to the project

Signing the fabric pieces at Larnach Castle 14 low res

“Without land and without Women we are lost..”

Larnach Castle dinner mass of people signing low res

So many people!

Images of the completed garment are forthcoming…..

With grateful thanks to Creative New Zealand and Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand for supporting this project, special thanks to Stella Lange for providing me with everything I needed for my sewing space, including a very special sewing chair, and Elaine Webster for being such a gracious host and woman of wisdom.



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