Friday, August 17, 2007

Sandra Backlund

I remember seeing the work of Sandra Backlund a while back, but then was reminded again of her amazing sculptural fashion when Thombeau recently created this post. I love Backlund's work. I love her take on traditional craft, used in unexpected and sculptural ways.

In her own words:
"The handicraft process and the handmade feeling is very significant. I am interested in almost every traditional handicraft technique. For me it is the absolute challenge. All the levels of skills you have to pass before you can even think about starting to improvise. It is the real thing and everything that the modern fashion industry is not. I think it is important that we take responsibility and preserve ancient handicraft techniques which will die out if we do not carry them forward to a new level."

She knits and crochets pieces, sometimes quite small pieces, which are then manipulated and assembled into garments. Garments that are more like sculptures in fibre really.

Not the sort of thing you'd wear for popping down the shops, but I don't think that's the point really. She's crossing the line between craft and art, between fashion and sculpture, and all the while subverting expectations of 'domestic' crafts like knitting, crochet and macrame.

I love it. I love the fact too that there are plenty of non-professional crafters out there also pushing the boundaries and expectations of traditional craft. Maybe not in this dramatic style, but you just have to cruise through craft or knitting sites to see that people are experimenting and creating amazing things.

I like what Backlund has to say about learning the ropes first, and that's kind of where I feel I am. What I can't wait for is to master the needles enough to really let my imagination take flight. And in that regard I think people like Backlund serve to inspire.

[All images from the Sandra Backlund website.]


thombeau said...

Well said, as always! ;-)

Michael said...

Art or fashion, I'd wear that last one. Call me when you've done it in cashmere?

The Other Andrew said...

Thombeau, thanks!

Michael, huh, funny. I always thought of you as more of a pom pom guy. :)

IRV said...

The stuff is fantastic. I love when people push the limits like never before. I also think the last one is very wearable. Thanxxx for the inspiration.

Cecilia said...

Great minds, as they say, think alike. I had come to this page to say that if I were a lot thinner and had places to wear stuff like this, I would definitely knit myself something like the last one. In a rich red I think.

The Other Andrew said...

I look at these the same way i look at Galliano or Westwood gowns, with admiration for the style, the design and the workmanship. I think they stand alone as beautiful objects as well as fashion. You would have to have enormous panache to wear somthing like this, but it's doable. I think it stimulates the imagination too. While not wanting to copy her, it broadens your concept of knitwear. Opens up new possibilities.