⟨ Slow Stitch ⟩

THE SUPPER CLOTH

Stitch School

Words / tobycrispy
Translation / Fanny Chan

Photo courtesy of Stitch School

「每一個造型都訴說着它的故事,而衣服之間的關聯就是製作時的時間。」

「我很喜歡人們有時間共同創作,有時間一起會面和談天,有時間與世界重新連結。」高級時裝品牌Alexander McQueen的設計總監Sarah Burton在她2020年春夏發佈會的演出筆記上寫道。

 “Each look tells its own story. The connection between the clothes is the time it took to make them.” 

As Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen wrote in her voluminous show notes of Spring/Summer 2020 , “I love the idea of people having the time to make things together, the time to meet and talk together, the time to reconnect to the world.”

Photo courtesy of Alexander McQueen

伴奏著Isobel Waller-Bridge的現代古典音樂,在這個注入舊物重用概念的時裝秀上,當中有兩襲白色裙子,尤其滿載情感,因為它是結合了Central Saint Martins的設計學生們的手繪畫和公司上上下下的員工合力剌繡的。

With Isobel Waller-Bridge’s contemporary classical piece as a backdrop, the show featured upcycled pieces from the materials of the previous seasons, and there were two white dresses, in particular, that carried so much feelings and sentiments; it is a collaboration between the Central Saint Martins’ students and the McQueen community in which the students’ line drawings were hand-embroidered by the McQueen staff.

「Sarah希望連結社群,為2020年春夏發佈會共同製作一件服裝。 很宏偉但有可能,我們在她們的工作室內,築起六個大型剌繡架桌,讓她們的員工在上面剌繡。 這是一個非常好的體驗,也測試了開放協作的力量,這正是時尚工作室的新典範,打破製作通常隱藏在閉門後的常規。」來自倫敦的Stitch School創辦人Melanie Bowles説。

“Sarah wanted to engage with the community to co-create a garment for their S/S20 collection. It was ambitious but possible as we managed to get six large frame tables made for their studio for the McQueen community to stitch. It was a wonderful experience and tested the power of open collaborative making which was a new model for a fashion studio which is usually hidden behind closed doors.” Co-founder of Stitch School from London, Melanie Bowles said.

Photo courtesy of Stacy Hatfield

Stitch School是由Melanie Bowles和Aimee Betts於2017年成立,她們希望透過設計精美的A-Z刺繡包、工作坊和名為The Supper Cloth的大型社區刺繡活動,提供專業和啟發性的指導,把刺繡的好處重新與人連結起來。

Stitch-School was co-founded in 2017 by Melanie Bowles and Aimee Betts whose aim is to provide professional and inspirational guidance to reconnect to the benefits of embroidery through their A-Z embroidery kits, workshops and community events around the large communal table embroidery called The Supper Cloth.

T: Toby Crispy 
S: Stitch School
M: Melanie Bowle, the co-founder of Stitch School

T: 你們是怎樣相遇的?

M: Aimee和我是在 Chelsea College Of Arts認識的,我是紡織設計學士課程的高級講師,而Aimee就是縫紉技術員。我的背景是數位印刷和平面設計,雖然我也有在80年代在Manchester修讀剌繡。我們倆都是從事教育,所以希望傳遞我們對手工剌繡的熱情。我們都認為在這數位主導的氣候之下,人們都想放下手提儀器,親身感受實體經驗。我們以共通技術互相配合, Stitch School就隨著我們的合作和對話逐漸演變成形。

T: How did you both meet each other?

M: Aimee and myself met at Chelsea College of Arts, BA (Textile Design), where I am Senior Lecture and Aimee was the stitch technician. My background is in digital print and graphics even though I studied Embroidery at Manchester in the 1980’s. Both coming from an educational background as lecturers we wanted to share our passion for hand embroidery. We felt the timing was right within the digital climate that people wanted to get away from their mobile devices for a more physical and tactile experience. Our shared skill set complimented one another. As we worked together our conversations developed and Stitch-School evolved.

Photo courtesy of Stitch School

在不同的地方、歷史背景和社群之中,張開剌繡架桌,讓外向的或內外的人聚在一起,在這大塊Supper Cloth上,時而學習剌繡,時而閒話家常,甚或訴說自己的故事。

The large communal embroidery table has been set up in various places, historical background and communities. Whether introvert or extrovert, they all get together at The Supper Cloth table to practice embroidery, to chat, and to tell their own stories.

T: 在衆多工作坊中,那個地方或項目是你們最難忘的?

S: 我們的Supper Cloth是一種說故事的形式,同時也是一種表演藝術,人們可以加入剌繡或者從旁觀察。

T: Among the places where you have held workshops, which venue or which project is the most impressive to you?

S: Our Supper Cloths are a form of storytelling as well as a live performance for people to join in or just observe whilst being stitched. 

Photo courtesy of Stitch School

S: 而且每一個項目都是很特別的,我們都會為每次的活動和環境度身訂造富有社區特色的布面設計;其中一個最觸動社區核心的,就是Brixton Super Brixton。Brixton是位於倫敦南部的一個多元文化的社區,其店舖和市集都反映著加勒比海的根源,也就是來自1948年從牙買加到達溫德魯什船的移民。

這次Supper Cloth就在Brixton市中心Windrush Square的Tate Library圖書館進行,布上的設計描繪著這裡的地標,以引起有關歷史的對話。這次吸引了超過100個不同年紀、背景和能力的參加者,一連7日,合共剌繡了280小時,最後這塊名為By the People for the People的作品,便成為了屬於這個社區的歷史織物,留在Brixton Town Hall作展示。

M: The Supper Cloths給予了社區一個共同的目的和自豪感來合力協作一件藝術品。

S: All our Supper Cloth projects have been special, we design every cloth bespoke to the event and the environment to create a community identity. The one cloth that reached out to the heart of the community was the Brixton Supper Brixton. Brixton is located in South London – a multicultural community, the shops and market reflects its Caribbean roots which originated from immigrants arriving on the Windrush boat from Jamaica in 1948. The Supper Cloth took place in the Tate Library in Windrush Square in central Brixton. The design of the cloth depicted local landmarks which encouraged conversation about the history of the area. It was stitched by over 100 participants over 280 hours in 7 days, attracting locals residents of all backgrounds, ages, ethnicities and abilities to work together. The final cloth was ‘By the People for the People’, it became a textile piece of history its community and is currently on display in the Brixton Town Hall.

M: The Supper Cloths give a community a joint purpose and pride in producing a collaborative art piece.

Photo courtesy of Tom Nolan, for V&A Dundee

位於蘇格蘭的V&A Dundee,正在展出60年代時尚標誌Mary Quant的作品,一邊走著看展品,幻想當時的Mod fashion movement,另一邊廂坐下來一起剌繡,體驗製作歷程。

V&A Dundee in Scotland is currently showcasing the works of the 1960s fashion icon Mary Quant. While the audience can look at the exhibits and revisit the Mod Fashion Movement, they are also invited to stitch at the Supper Cloth table and be part of the creating process. 

S: Stitch School很高興被邀請,製作駐場Supper Cloth,成為由Dr Jen Baille策劃的Sewing Box for the Future的一部分,我們邀請公眾來練習剌繡和一起創作,然後製作成經典Mary Quart連身裙放到展館展覽The Sewing Box for the Future正針對時裝工業的浪費危機以及作為個人可以做些什麼,以基本的網上縫補教學,提供實際的方案來掌握技能和信心,以可持續和負責任的方式來護理、修補和製作衣物。很可惜因為肺炎疫情突然被中斷了,又或者這樣才顯得更加貼題。

S: Stitch-School was thrilled to be asked to have a resident Supper Cloth table at the V&A Dundee as part of Sewing Box for the Future curated by Dr Jen Baille. The residency invited the public to practice their embroidery skills and co-create a stitched Mary Quant for the forthcoming Mary Quant exhibition. The Sewing Box for the Future addresses the crisis of waste in the fashion industry and what as individuals can do about it, a practical option being to have the skills and confidence to care, repair and customisation in a sustainable and responsible way. Unfortunately the project came to a sudden end because of the Coronavirus outbreak but somehow it seems even more relevant. 

Photo courtesy of Tom Nolan, for V&A Dundee

S: 我們被邀請製作印花設計給V&A South Kensington,來配合由Alice & Co Patterns製作的3款Mary Quant裙款紙樣;這些設計會印在麻布上,並鋪開在一張很大的Stitch School架桌上,由公眾在上面合作剌繡,為期6星期。

當年Mary Quant由60年代中至70年代頭和Butterick dressmaking patterns合作,就是要讓買不起她的裙子的人也可以自己在家製造,而The Sewing Box for the Future正是想藉此來推動家居製作。

S: We were invited to design print designs for three dress patterns created by Alice & Co Patterns used for the V&A South Kensington, These designs were printed on linen and stretched on the large Stitch-School tables and to be embroidered by the public over a period of six weeks. Mary Quant collaborated with Butterick dressmaking patterns from the mid 60’s to early ’70’s allowing people who could not afford a Mary Quant dress to make their own. The Sewing Box for the Future wanted to celebrate home dressmaking and the Mary Quant/Butterick collaboration which many people enjoyed.

Photo courtesy of Tom Nolan, for V&A Dundee

T: 你們會鼓勵更多設計師將手工剌繡與人重新連結嗎?

S: 設計師們正在歌頌著剌繡手藝,成為了「慢運動」的一部分,這是一種生活品味,以身體力行連結布料、傳統和祖傳工藝,學習針黹文化的智慧,分享和傳承下去。以刺繡來過日辰,過中之美在於它是輕盈的、小巧的、安靜的和易於享受的!

T: Do you encourage more designers around the world to reconnect people with hand embroidery? 

S: Designers are celebrating embroidery and it has become part of the ‘Slow movement’ and a lifestyle choice to enjoy a physical connection with cloth, traditions, our ancestors crafts and learn the wealth of cultural stitches to share and pass down. The beauty of embroidery as a pastime is that it’s light, small, quiet and easy to enjoy!