Care making: practices of gleaning, using and future fashioning

Splawa-Neyman, T 2014, Care making: practices of gleaning, using and future fashioning, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Architecture and Design, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Care making: practices of gleaning, using and future fashioning
Author(s) Splawa-Neyman, T
Year 2014
Abstract The scene of this research is a fashion design practice centred on immersive material engagement. Professional skills honed through the crafting of intimate, body-based garments and objects, find new relevance within the maker’s everyday living space, where craft practices emerging from domestic concerns reside. The professional, the domestician and the gardener, as personified practitioner modes, entwine through their inherent care of, and response to, materials when making. The mingling that ensues within this co-residency of skills, folds into the creation of a micro, home-based, artisanal practice.

The quest is to redirect away from the unsustainable, aiming to shake the systemic roots of practices and products that negate future existence. The terrain explored lies beyond technocratic fixes to make existing products and their systems of production more efficient and less environmentally damaging; beyond creation motivated by capitalist growth. Taking a redirective approach, the exploration follows in the traces of the originating practice. An overgrown path, stuffed with too much stuff, is discovered: unused materials yet to be made; under-utilised skills, wasting away; made things yet to be used; and used things that now lay stagnant.

The way is shown through a series of iterative making experiments in a domestic environment, seeded by the initial concern for a bagged, abundance of inactive leather remnants. Via intentional anthropomorphising and a process of empathetic, materially attuned making, the leftovers become companions in making, appreciated in all of their unique, imperfect and unexpected states. When gleaned, materials and knowledge that lack a palpably useful life are reactivated and given a potential future life. A barbecue, clothed in a covering fashioned from husband’s degraded jeans, reinforces a future life of barbecuing together, expressed in the sharing of the garment form. The letters written to the maker’s own red jacket, while in the process of the jacket’s remake, tell of balances between retention and surrender, in the remade form. Crocheted lettuce forms created using the maker’s own post consumer waste fold into questioning of the surrounding practices that generate this waste. Linkages are formed through making and using, merged as one practice.

Practicing the care required for this iterative making, functions as a bridge, connecting narratives of the objects, their maker and the surrounding artificial ecology. Created and intermingled through care, these stories tell of capabilities afforded, lives honoured and beauty discovered and used well. Preoccupation with physical transformation — making waste material into functional, usable products — dissolves, as its endpoints are superseded by the most salient point, that making, and a newly developed fashion ability, function to critique, and to critique themselves. Objects and ways are fashioned that in turn, engendering further care, fold into an ecology of objects: a personal system for making and living, that like a garden, is a curated life, imbued with care.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Architecture and Design
Keyword(s) Sustainability
Sustainable fashion
Fashion design
Ontological design
Practice-based research
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Created: Thu, 21 May 2015, 11:28:41 EST by Denise Paciocco
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