Making memories on cloth, or Miss Liberty’s pinafore: a collaboration in textile narrative

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Publication details

Costello, M & Rall, DN 2013, 'Making memories on cloth, or Miss Liberty’s pinafore: a collaboration in textile narrative', The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 197-209.

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We take a fictocritical approach, shifting between critical and creative discourses, to centre on the process of creating a memory piece, a collaboration in textile narrative between a creative writer and a textile artist. The basis of the memory dress is a green-and-white-checked empire line cotton pinafore. The writer, here called M, bought the garment at Sydney's Saturday Paddington Markets because of its colour, empire line and its label which was 'Frank', her father's name. The textile artist, here called D, works with recycled fabrics to create wearable artworks and textile sculptures on life-sized mannequins. In her sewing process, each figure she creates emerges with a personality. These personalities are recorded in short fictional histories, or 'backstories'. The memory piece, Miss Liberty's Pinafore, traces the collaborative process of making life fictions between M's fabric scraps, her childhood memories and writing, and D's creative costuming. Miss Liberty's Pinafore could not exist without an analysis of the metaphorical capacity of fabric and dress, the affects resonant between cloth, memory and identity, and the process of making art.

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