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Celebrating Bugs

In 2017 Hand & Lock celebrated their 250th anniversary and that was reflected in the brief issued earlier in the year. The 2017 brief was written by Polly Kenny, the Programme Director Materials at the London College of Fashion. Entrants were asked to ‘celebrate, let go, to let loose and indulge in childlike freedom, to celebrate history, global culture, sense of place, sense of identity, and to celebrate embroidery and life’.

I decided that I wanted to celebrate bugs, and their cultural importance, as part of identity and history. I did research on insects that have a meaningful importance in cultures all over the world. In Japan, Samurai used dragonflies as the symbol of power, agility, and victory. In China, people associated dragonflies with prosperity, harmony, and as good luck charm. Dragonflies are a symbol of joy and rebirth in Native American traditions. For the Mayan, the dragonfly is the emblematic animal of the goddess of creativity Ix Chel. It is said that the wings of the dragonflies and their magical songs revived the goddess after she almost got killed.

After doing research, I went on and inspired myself with real insects. For this, I visited the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity (AMC) at the Natural History Museum in London, where I had access to their insect collections and to their photo-stacking equipment to photograph specimens. Also, I collected imagery from the library of the Arts University of Bournemouth. I was inspired by textures, shapes, and patterns, and related them with embroidery and printing techniques. I focused this project on hand embroidery, laser-cut, and digital printing.

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