• Worthy

    Steve Bice, Anna Ruth Gatlin (see profile)
    Research, Learning and scholarship, Textile fabrics, Pillows, Critical thinking
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    Identity and worth are foundational to interior design practice. Since its inception as a profession, interior design has been used to establish and portray identity: of the family, of the brand, of the client. While harder to measure, worth has also been a core aspect of interior design. Today, decorative objects that provide comfort or visual pleasure are ubiquitous and mass-produced, but a sense of worth is still intrinsic in ownership of these items; handmade items have shifted from being an undesirable symbol of a lack of means to a revered symbol of taste of personal expression (Ames, 1985; Maquet, 1993). This work delves deeper into questioning representation of worth as it relates to the residential decorative arts material culture, a stream of research becoming increasingly more salient in the age of online shopping, and celebrity brands. In the related fields of textile and fashion design, a label provides a sense of identity (brand), function (care instructions, sizing), and worth (designer or not). The label is integral to the garment the way that decorative objects are integral to a room. The purpose of this handsewn, quilted pillow crafted entirely of discarded garment labels questions how we use high-end products to establish self-worth. The log cabin quilt pattern of labels surrounding the center label, which depicts a fashionable human, symbolizes how our choices can actually contain “self,” hiding it rather than displaying “self” without the fine trappings. Several portions of the pillow have been decoratively handsewn to symbolize how material culture can be used to create individual identity by personalizing mass-offered choices. The labels were collected over a decade by a tailor in a local shop, and the brands range from mass-market big-box to high-end couture, representing the range of home goods people cloak their space in to establish worth.
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    2 weeks ago
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