Sara Vrugt’s projects always have a fashion meets art dimension and this spring Heden, an arts organization in the city that facilitates the lending of contemporary art to both business and consumers, has commissioned Vrugt to produce this large-scale embroidered installation.
It has been created by asking local residents to come along and enjoy a session of embroidery – whether they are experienced with a needle or complete beginners.
The work is being stitched onto on two embroidery frames using a variety of traditional embroidery techniques. The sessions take place in Heden’s new studio space called Hier, situated in Weimarstraat in the old town. Alongside embroidery, the stitchers can enjoy lectures and films about embroidery in art (by artists and designers who use this technique in their work), as well as hear stories read aloud to them as they work.
The project is also focused around ‘slow communication’, in keeping with the long hours needed to create an embroidery and so 21st century means of communication are banned. That means, no mobile phones in the studio for the embroiderers and Vrugh herself has no phone, email or internet – except on a Monday when she catches up on messages. Vrugt suggests people drop by the studio in person or send a letter in the post.
The finished piece will be one huge canvas thirty metres wide by three and a half metres high and will be installed in a spiral formation. The spiral shape will allow viewers to see the work up close and admire it through carefully placed ‘windows’. In one sense, the project is all about how we view things, as Vrugt’s inspiration for the design of the embroidery comes from the style of photographs teenage girls upload of themselves and their friends on Facebook - at parties or showing off, almost posing for the image to be later seen on the Internet. The images of the teenagers Vrugt has downloaded from Facebook have been adapted into the embroidery and when seen all together create an oversized image of the inner part of the human eye.
Sara Vrugt has organized fashion events in the past, such as The Red Line project from 2009 in which 300 models dressed in red formed a long snaking red line through the streets of The Hague. All these, alongside How I Am Here, have led to Vrugt’s recent appointment as Fashion Ambassador for The Hague; a post recognizing the importance of the crossover between art and fashion. Vrugt says: "I want my work to highlight various places inside and outside the Netherlands and I would like to emphasize the quirky side of fashion in The Hague.”
Back at the embroidery frame, it is the communal aspect of the project that is so satisfying to Vrugt. “It will get an extra layer of beauty if you see this work and realize all of the hours that people have spent making it in their spare time, because they do it for no other reason than that they like to do it.”
Anyone wishing to participate can can just turn up during the opening hours or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The studio is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 15.00 to 22.00, Friday and Saturday from 10.00 to 18.00.
Once completed, the embroidery will be displayed in The Hague. How I am Here runs until April 23 2011 at Hier, Weimarstraat 24a, The Hague.
Photography: Lisa van Wieringen.
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