“I designed textiles for burial-wear made with linens, cottons, and natural dyes that will decompose along with a body. Bio-degradable matter, once dead and decomposing, adds nutrients to the ground which allows for new life to grow.”
” The aim of this project was to open a discussion around death and the practises that surround it, but also to highlight the negative ecological impacts of synthetic fibres. “
Images of Custom Embroidery
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
“I am a Northern Irish designer based in Edinburgh as of May 2021. I graduated from DJCAD in 2020 with a degree in Textile Design, specialising in embroidery for my final year.
For my graduate project I designed textiles for burial-wear made with linens, cottons, and natural dyes that will decompose along with a body. Bio-degradable matter, once dead and decomposing, adds nutrients to the ground which allows for new life to grow. This life cycle closely connects people to nature and provides the visuals for my design. I have drawn from disintegrated leaves as a reminder of our place in the environment, one that we must look after for the next generations in the cycle. Some of the techniques and materials used are inspired by traditional Irish crafts and the ancient burial rituals of my predecessors.
The aim of this project was to open a discussion around death and the practises that surround it, but also to highlight the negative ecological impacts of synthetic fibres. I am passionate about sustainable and ethically made textiles and this forms the basis of all the artworks I create.”
Materials and Techniques
“For my graduate project I was using silk, Irish linen and organic cotton and bamboo mixed fabrics with linen yarn for the embroidery. With the works I create today I always use natural fibres. I have a great interest in more unique materials such as seaweed, nettles, cacti etc and hope to be able to work with these some day.
To achieve the grey fabrics in my project I did natural dying. This involved boiling the fabrics in water with acorns which made a brown colour, then adding powdered iron to the water and watching the brown change to grey. This technique worked particularly well with the silk and linen.
All embellishments were done by the slow and thoughtful process of hand embroidery.”
Awards, Exhibitions and News
“Since moving to Edinburgh I have been doing freelance work for a local company that promotes hand crafts and provides a platform for artists to reach new clients. With this company I have been able to use my embroidery and photography skills. I am also slowly beginning my own clothes upcycling business by embroidering clothes already belonging to people and creating a totally unique and personal piece for them. I also have plans, alongside another designer, to use the techniques used in my graduate project to create a clothing collection of street wear rather than burial wear.”
Affects of Covid 19
“Graduating at the beginning of the pandemic was very difficult in lots of ways, but I took the time to build on my skills, try new techniques and really work out what kind of art I want to continue with. Even after moving from Northern Ireland back to Scotland I am still struggling to find creative opportunities, but this has pushed me to develop my creative voice and be independent.”
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