Why so anxious of dirt?


In our Western culture we have a very negative view towards soil, dirt, excrements, ... especially in relation to textiles. People seem to have an urge for purity, which is not only related to hygiene but also to our cultural background.
It hasn't always been like this. In the past it was common to use ashes and urine for the bleaching and cleaning of cloth.
In a lot of non-western cultures they often have a more nuanced view towards dirt. In Marrakesh for example they use pigeon droppings to treat leather. In Mali there's a rich tradition of dying cloth and applying patterns with mud, the so called 'mud cloth' or Bogolanfini. As soon as we start to use dirt as an aesthetic tool, it becomes a powerful statement.
Because of my interest in the natural dyeing of fabrics I started to dye silk with pigeon droppings, which by surprise ruselted in a fresh green colour. In this research I also applied patterns by hand with charcoal. This organic pattern is an abstraction of manure prints. Because it's not ficsated the pattern will eventually disappear in time, so that in the end the embroideries are the only reminder of what was once known as dirt.

| 2015-2016