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Marita Macklin

Smoke + Ash

Using traditional and contemporary embroidery techniques I create one off individual garments.

I specialize particularly in free-motion embroidery on my singer Irish machine from the 1930’s and my Cornely chain stitch embroidery machines from the 1920’s.

Lately I have become quite concerned with the impact of plastic based yarns, threads and embellishments and have been attempting to replace most of my yarns and thread with natural based ones as I use up my supplies. This garment has a combination of both natural cotton, poly and rayon embroidery threads and a small amount of tencel threads, the fabrics are a combination of silk and some poly based recycled fabric.

I also like to reuse and repurpose second hand embellishments particularly glass beads and sequins, the sequins on this garment are all either second hand off old garments or very old vintage stock, including some very old gelatin sequins.

Marita Macklin

The summer bushfires have hit us hard this season and this look is a story of some of the environmental impact they have had.

The bottom of the garment shows the blackened remains whilst traveling up the garment the fire rages and the smoke plumes echo the lost biodiversity. The top is untouched but waiting to be spared or consumed. Sculptural embroidery tells this story in a tactile medium, which moves and flutters when worn.

Like many Australians I have been very affected by the fires and wanted to explore the impact through my embroidery and garment making. I feel that in some way we are all currently wearing the trauma of this summer and am exploring the idea of this.

These fires have been a direct consequence of our disposable and convenience driven lifestyles, where we buy cheap mass produced stuff that falls apart easily and we throw it away.

I believe we need to move to a more sustainable model, where people are happy with less but more individual garments. Where trends no longer have to move so quickly and garments are made to last much longer. Everything that I make is made individually, bespoke. I hope that this makes it more likely to be kept, looked after and loved for many years.