IRREGULAR THINGS RUSSELL LOVES
05 Mar 2021
London based textile artist Russell Barratt uses vintage fabric remnants and repurposed used clothes to make quilts and artworks that are colourful, bold and above all fun. Russell has put his upcycle and mend skills to work on many projects over the years including costumes for stage and screen, collaborations with fashion designers, art exhibitions and bespoke items for photo shoots.
1. Irregular Quilts
I began making quilts as a creative way to use up my fabric stash. I was intrigued after seeing a quilt exhibition at the V&A in 2010 about sculptural quality - the back is almost as important as the front - and the relationship between function and pure aesthetics. I decided to have a sort of manifesto where I only use pre-loved fabrics and clothes, recycling and reworking is key! This also adds to the loose, improvised look I like. I prefer layering and applique to traditional piecing. And polka dots! Always those dots!
2. Irregular Process
Cutting into new fabric has always filled me with mild anxiety. I used to really have to rev myself up to cut out any patterns. Over the years I had collected a massive stash of vintage fabrics that I was nervous to cut into.
Years ago I saw the Michael Apted documentry 'Inspirations' featuring David Bowie talking about Verbasizer, a lyric-writing Mac app, he had developed as a digital version of the Cut-Up technique used by writers Brion Gysin and William Burroughs. This creative process stuck with me and I realised I could use it in working with this pile of fabrics. Instead of cutting up verses and sentences I could cut strips and shapes from the fabric and re-sew back together to create surprising new combinations.
3. Irregular Cups
I love unusal tableware and have collected Fujimori by Kato Kogei Japan for ages. Designed in the early/mid 80s with more than a nod to the Memphis design movement. Its my consolation for not being able to afford any real Memphis Milano stuff! Why not be inspired when enjoying endless cups of tea?
Russell's amazing art quilts can be bought here as can his vintage fabric shoppers.
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