Raising the Nap
Cotton calico, linen, embroidery thread. Cyanotype print
This garment is similar to those worn by women and girls in the mills during the late 1800s. They tied aprons or lengths of fabric over their dresses to prevent them getting caught in the machinery.
I’ve decorated the apron with a design based on the teasel plant. I used hand-cut stencils and plant matter found growing along the Leeds and Liverpool canal close by the Museum. These were printed on the fabric using the Cyanotype method, an early form of photography.
Teasels were an important part of Yorkshire’s woollen industry. They were farmed in areas to the East of Leeds. They were dried and arranged on a teasel gig or frame to carry out the process called ‘raising the nap’. This gave a smooth surface to finished cloth.
I used the same process to make the fabric banners. Hidden in the design are images, names and text about disabled workers.
This outfit, based on vintage sewing patterns, is displayed on a mannequin. There is a long, high-waisted, full apron over a white blouse, plus a grey underskirt.
The apron is made of white fabric that has been dyed a deep blue. The white silhouettes of teasels and other plants remain on the fabric where stencils and real plants were placed during the Cyanotype process. These plants stretch up from the ankle-length hem of the apron and cover the bodice. Here and there, amongst the folds of cloth, embroidered names, short phrases and plants are scattered.
The blouse has full three-quarter length sleeves and a very large, rounded collar, buttoned at the front. The buttons at the neck and cuffs have been covered with the blue-dyed fabric. Delicate and detailed embroidery of teasels, in a very pale blue, covers the collar and sleeves.
BSL translation of Sandy Holden's statement.
Translated by Khalid Ashraf.