Wear your heritage with pride

Inspired by studying the RSN archive, I decided to explore my personal family heritage and the importance of heirlooms and photos. This current body of work grows from questioning my own roots and identity. This was prompted by the UK voting to leave the EU only last summer, France and America’s recent presidential elections and the growth of the extreme right throughout Europe. Saddened to see this new rise in xenophobia and narrow-minded views on immigration, I wanted to challenge these ideas in my work while ultimately questioning what classifies someone as an immigrant. Having grown up in a society with an ever-widening racial, religious, and cultural diversity, I have always embraced the richness that it can bring

By exploring my ancestry and heritage to find out where I really come from, I followed my French roots all the way back to Poland before the Jews were persecuted in the second world war. I also followed my English side to the east end of London and back to Ireland, Scotland and central Europe where many of my family come from.

Through the designing and making process of this fashion collection, my key aim was to push the boundaries of traditional hand-embroidery techniques and embellishments by using unconventional materials such as Hama beads, plastic tubings, or occasionally pasta. I used whitework and lace as a predominant inspiration for my surface designs, which are then intertwined with my graphic family portraits. With a bold and exciting use of colour and patterns, I worked to create a statement design that grabs our focus and lead us through this unique family tree in which she approaches personal and global issues of identity. The choice I made to embroider my artwork onto a garment reflects that our heritage is part of us and we carry it with us all the time, we should be able to wear it with pride and not embarrassment.

This project was part of my Year 2 final Live project, a collaboration with the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.  It is currently being exhibited alongside other Year 2 student’s work and the RSN archive, which was used as our primary source of inspiration.  The exhibition is in Bovey Tracey, Devon at the Arts and Craft center from the 20th of May 2017 to the 9th of June 21017. For additional information on the exhibition click here.

I hope you get a chance to see the exhibition; if you do post any photos on social media please tag my name @liviapapiernik and let me know what your thoughts!