Type 1 Collagen, 2018 (Final Thesis)
Machine embroidery on water soluble fabric, cotton thread, acid dye water.
Collagen, a main protein in the body is a basic structural element that gives skin its tensile strength. The arrangement of collagen is crucial to the strength of the skin, healthy arrangement is a woven pattern, often described as a “basketweave” and weaker scar tissue is re-grown in single direction arrangement. The use of textile terms in the medical community interested me. It was an immediate point of note that the first thing doctors compared this bodily structure to was a fabric, the same thing that covers this microscopic structure within us.
The human body has approximately 20 square feet of skin on it. Discovering this fact got everything in motion and gave me parameters, scale, and a fascinating connection between quantities in relation to fabric for clothing and quantity of skin on the body. I am creating large-scale gallery pieces, all in different formations of 20 square feet in size to reflect the quantity of skin on the human body. These pieces imitate the woven structure of collagen in skin tissue, with the aim of drawing connections between the ways bodies and textiles are repaired, and the idea that perhaps humans have an innate knowledge of these patterns. To create these structures I am using machine embroidery on solvey, dried into forms which I then sew into organic collagen formations. The sculpture is a variety of purples, pinks and browns due to the dye scientists use on collagen and other substances under a microscope to make it clear to the viewer. I am combining these pink and purples with warmer browns to draw connections to collagen’s place in our skin.