Stains and Stories: Latent narrative in worn clothing

Goldsmith, Shelly (2008) Stains and Stories: Latent narrative in worn clothing. [Art/Design Item]

View this record at


Stains and Stories is a series of textile-based installations and limited-edition prints, which form part of an ongoing project to examine perceived latent matter (memories and experiences) in worn clothing. The work seeks to present complex ideas about easily accessible objects (clothes), in order to provoke contemplation about human experience and enhance psychological knowledge. I consulted with Dr. Alison Fendley, Senior Biologist at the Forensic Science Service, in developing approaches to releasing and constructing narrative in worn clothing. Drawing on Edmund Locard’s 'exchange principle', I tested ideas concerning our psychological relationship to clothing, the internal and external 'landscape', and the physical transference of experience onto cloth/clothes. Synthesising traditional and new textile processes with fine art concepts was key to the project. I use a wide range of materials and techniques in this work to express ideas. I employed laser etching to draw on fabric (used clothing) to express retrieval of disturbing memories: the digital laser was used to draw onto the cloth by scalding its surface, penetrating the fibre of worn garments to reveal glimpses of the intensity of experience left behind. For other work, looking at retrieving memory at the end of life, I printed archival plant matter (pressed plants) from the Natural History Museum herbarium onto reclaimed garments. I specifically chose to use sublimation printing (rather than screen printing, for example) – a process where intense heat and pressure vaporises solid dye, imprinting the image of the pressed plants onto cloth, so that the pressed plants are burnt, crushed and destroyed in the process. The work was originally shown at Fabrica, and subsequently developed and toured to other venues. A symposium at Fabrica discussed this work with forensic psychologist Anna Motz and I have presented it through many lectures, and my article 'Scrap of a Thing...' for Selvedge magazine (2010).

Item Type: Art/Design Item
Members: University for the Creative Arts
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2013 01:21
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 12:55

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item