For ages, creative procedures such as drawing, painting, music, dance etc. have been deemed effective in healing people with various forms of intellectual disabilities. Focusing more strongly on textiles and textile making techniques, this project explores the use of textiles in Art Therapy.
The project highlights the importance of rhythm and repetition in therapy, exhibiting the concept of ‘flow’ in a garment. It is an attempt to analyse and explore the research which states that optimal creative experiences are more likely to occur when a task is repeated certain number of times with extreme focus and attention, to a point that this becomes a rhythmic reflective response. This very state of ‘flow’ is therapeutic (Collier, Wayment & Birkett 2016). The textile surfaces have been created using textile making techniques that are repetitive in nature. These techniques have been proven to be of a therapeutic significance through experiments and research conducted by art therapists and psychologists worldwide.
The designs challenge the standard denim archetypes and finishes exposing us to a much broader scope to redefine denim as a fabric. Furthermore, the absence of colour “Blue” in the collection as opposed to the standard way of perceiving denim questions its very own existence and image. Is denim of a different colour still denim? Or is it just a cotton warp-faced textile which reveals the different underlying colours when washed/treated? Has the stereotypical image of denim hindered the metaphoric significance of the textile?
The project portrays “flowing rhythm” using textile techniques that are repetitive and therapeutic to further explore these questions. Each textile surface is a manifestation of my own personal therapeutic experience while creating these textile surfaces in accordance with the research conducted by Eliza S. Homer which states that ‘creative arts are usually rewarding, and the sensory pleasure of touching and working with fibres and fabric can be particularly soothing and nurturing’(Homer 2015, p.60). The textile making techniques involve music, art, fabric and sewing as mediums of expression focusing on rhythm and repetition as key elements.