Here at ReMode we have recently completed a project in collaboration with the Neverending Glen, to create a piece of work that was displayed at this year’s Kelburn Garden Party, alongside a plethora of other artworks and performances in their multi-media arts trail.

Our work, titled ‘Outgrowing, Unfolding, Renewal’, has been created through a series of open call community workshops, where returning participants were tasked with creating a textile installation which uses discarded materials and clothes. They used various hand and machine sewing techniques to explore the themes of metamorphosis and our relationship with clothing in an age of mass production, fast fashion and climate crisis.

In the first week of the workshop, the participants were given a loose brief based on the initial proposal written by project facilitator Paige. During this session they dissected the themes, and considered all of the guidance and limitations of creating a work suitable to be hung in a forest setting. Participants created sketches of their ideas and it was then decided that a 3D textile sculpture would have the most impact, as opposed to the initial concept of hanging a panel.

Luckily by the second week of workshops we had emptied our old shop on the High Street, giving us plenty of space to shape the skeletal structures of the work out of willow. Based loosely on the idea of cocoons, we moulded organic, hollow shapes of varying sizes to create a sense of depth and growth across the three objects. Following this, the structures were tightly covered in a white mesh, using methods borrowed from traditional lampshade making, to better secure their shape and to give them a base layer of fabric to attach the out fabrics to.

Over the following three weeks, participants worked with textile scraps, discarded clothing and other reclaimed materials from ReMode’s storeroom, exploring the given themes and creating a collection of illustrative and textural pieces using techniques such as crochet, applique and fabric manipulation. This all culminated in the final week of the project, where everyone collaborated on designing the composition of each of the three cocoons – carefully stitching all of our textile experiments onto the mesh base layer, along with other discarded items of clothing and found materials.

The following week on a gorgeous sunny afternoon, ReMode team members Paige and Emma headed along to the the Neverending Glen where they eaten alive by midges as they installed the three pieces, with help from Kelburn’s resident tree climber Alan! The final pieces are hung high in the trees surrounding the path through the Glen, containing visible elements of forgotten clothing, interwoven with new creations birthday from the remnants of thrown-away materials.

With thanks to all of the workshop participants who contribute to the project:

And to the project coordinator Paige Barrett, Emma Owen for assisting with install, and to all of the team at Kelburn Arts and the Neverending Glen who made this project possible.