John Westmark

We love it when designers are inspired by our patterns and add their own surface design or embellishment! The patterns are deliberately cut to eliminate seams so that the surface is continuous, becoming a great canvas for their art. The same is true when someone experiments with unusual fabrics, particularly handwovens since they are more loosely woven and can drape beautifully on the bias. If you have adapted our patterns in a special way, let us know and send in your photos for the Design Gallery -- we'll be delighted to publish the best ideas! Please mouse over the photos to see the captions.

I am interested in the metaphorical potential of unorthodox materials. The primary materials used in the Double Blind series are store-bought paper sewing patterns applied directly to the canvas. The patterns are reinterpreted outside of their usual functional context as garment templates to present the female figure as an agent of revolt in the form of resolute warriors or stoic martyrs. In both instances the identity of the figure(s) is denied by wraps, bonnets and bound faces. The denial of a specific identity suggests an ambiguity of viewpoint, an anonymous "everywoman", not invisible, but fractious. By embellishing the garment patterns with custom text from contemporary feminist writing and criticism, a conceptual narrative is created along side the exiting material "narrative" of imprinted assembly interactions. This added textual narrative disrupts the nostalgic or stereotypical notion of "women's work" and admits an aggressive feminist dialogue into the visual conversation. The viewer is asked to read both the material and the image. How does a woman navigate between the often ignored undercurrent of gender bias and the fractious Feminist movements seeking recognition and equality?   Visit John Westmark's website!




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