Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nasty Little Women's Wear: An Evolving Textile Piece

Still evolving...

This evolving, interactive textile was created for the show, "Deep Darkness: Cracks of Light" at 1824 5th Street in Berkeley, running Dec. 20-24 and 27-31 from 1 to 6 p.m. each day—a creative reaction by a cross-section of artists to the political and seasonal darkness that is December 2016. My concept for the show was inspired by the "empathy walls" that sprang up around the Bay Area immediately after the election, with people sharing their emotions, frustrations and fears with masses of post-it notes in public spaces. I also wanted to include the safety pin meme that sprang up post-Brexit in England and post-election in the US, a signal that the wearer is prepared to step-in and protect the vulnerable in society, and "You are safe with me."

The concept

The result is a dress for a five-year-old child, created entirely of recycled men's shirts, hand-stitched and hand-embroidered.

Dress front

The word "not" has been hand-embroidered repeatedly across the bodice. Originally this indicated "Not my president," but the concept itself evolved to incorporate Bernie Sander's quote, "Despair is not an option."

Embroidered bodice

Dress back

A clothing tag modeled after the kind of tag you'd find on a garment in a retail store contains some of the signage for the piece.

Clothing tag

Close-up of label

If you use a smart phone to read the QR code on the label, you'll be able to read: "Despair is not an option."

More signage is included on the materials accompanying the interactive piece—the scraps of fabric for participants' contributions, and the tin of safety pins.


Safety pins

Below is the final piece on day one of the show. 

Starting to evolve...

Early post

Post by a 7-year-old child

I will add a photo of the final, evolved piece at the end of the show. Come down and see it develop if you are in the area.


  1. I've followed here forever, but never comment. I have to now to say this is a brilliant and inspiring piece. Thank you for sharing it here. And Happy New Year.

    1. Thanks so much. Here is hoping you have a good year also.


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