Sylvia

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An award winning graduate of Glasgow School of Art’s celebrated Textiles department, contemplative designer Rosie Noon recounts anthropological observations through her textiles. Previously an intern at Simone Rocha, Rosie is currently developing her own studio practice, challenging the ‘artist’ profile within her work. Post graduation she has worked on textiles commissions and collaborations for commercial brands, fine artists and fashion designers alike.

Frustrated by the generally flat connotations of textiles, Rosie challenges the parameters of the discipline; she is keen to adorn the full figure as opposed to a single textile. Her belief that “fashion is completely and utterly engrained in all elements of art, life and culture… high and low”, underpins her creative perspective, through which she explores the habits and irregularities of human life.

Rosie’s textile collection Sylvia observes the life of mysterious Londoner Sylvia – as told by her midcentury photo album. Its photographs, annotations and aesthetics are translated onto embroidered cloths; a design process that reappropriates Sylvia’s documented existence, as opposed to sentimentalising it.

Rosie summarises her research as, “snippets of text, translucent layers and white space against dense floral backgrounds, patterned dresses and half-visible faces”. She notes that this collage aesthetic was both arbitrarily informed by the photocopier that facilitated her compiling of research and the processes of a host of artists, chiefly Louise Bourgeois and Alec Soth.

Sylvia presents an opulent range of weights and textures, somehow synchronising in their difference. Delicate yet assertive, Rosie’s series of sheers, deliciously jewelled neoprenes and conspicuously embellished wovens are as beautiful as they are narrative. This play on tactility exploits the behaviours of materials; each cloth shows an altering personality, some are chunky with appliques of plastics, beads and glass, others delicate, machine embroidered with gestural hand writing. The collection collages fur scraps, rich vintage upholstery velvets, plastic crystal beads and mechanically placed threads together in an amalgam of research references.

A combination of laborious hand and machine embroidery processes adds to Sylvia’s dynamic. Rosie’s technical processes are as intuitive as they are diverse, highlights include the, “painstaking drawn thread technique to create gingham style fabrics from organdie” and the striking hand writing machine embroidery ‘cut and pasted’ onto nude sheers, transcribing Sylvia’s hand onto the wearers skin by way of tulle. Rosie describes envisioning this, “worn over a bare back or chest”.

This vision of Sylvia animated on skin is glimpsed in her lookbook’s soft and intimate photographs, produced collaboratively with Fine Art Photographer, Sebastian Mary-Tay. Here, the textiles are all at once beautiful, reflective and documentary. She proves that the arduous and perceptive process of embroidery is a more than appropriate vehicle through which to investigate human existence. A designer come artist, researcher and anthropologist, Rosie’s design skill, sensitivity and poise is a truly rare treasure.

 Article by Abigail Jubb
Images by Sebastian Mary-Tay
Special thanks to Rosie Noon