When I first saw these altered sewing machines by Vancouver-based artist Katherine Soucie I actually gasped.
The richly colored layers of fabric wrap and hug the utilitarian machines, transforming the work-horses into gorgeous works of art. The series of eight sculptures is called Raisons D’etres.
She told me more about her art practice, in which she uses pre-consumer waste materials from hosiery mills, hand-dying the fabrics and later hand screening them. Her work includes breathtaking garments (under her label Sans Soucie) made from this new material.
In the process of making her garments and other artwork, new waste material is created. Soucie collects this cloth and transforms it into new pieces, like the Raison D’etres pieces.
As she writes, “The tiny strips of offcut, dyed and printed cloth are carefully wrapped and bound ritualistically to honor and value a history associated with the materials and machines.” She likens the process to a mummification which celebrates the machines’ loss of value and use in society.
Soucie is an alchemist, spinning cast-off materials into new beauties and directing the metamorphosis from waste into art.
Olisa Corcoran is a stitch artist and blogger living in Durham, NC. She speaks fluent Nuyorican and always keeps her dial turned to 11.