Srinvanti Roy’s graduate collection ‘Use of Textiles in Art Therapy- Flowing Rhythm’ highlights the importance of rhythm and repetition in therapy, exhibiting the concept of ‘flow’ in a garment. It is an attempt to analyze 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 fibers 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.
Textile and surface experiments that are rhythmic and repetitive. The surfaces are created using various repetitive procedures like layering and patchwork etc.which involve cutting, slicing and reattaching fabrics. The entire project is based on the research that justifies the therapeutic significance of rhythm and repetition. ‘Metaphors of cutting, slicing, and reattaching fabrics are very rich when thinking about trauma and dissociation’ (Schauer 2013, p. 11). Schauer also states that ‘the rhythm involved with textile making processes may be helpful for clients with anxiety, as repetitive processes like cutting and sewing are known to induce a somewhat meditative, relaxed state’ (Schauer 2013, p. 10). Furthermore, Garlock emphasizes that ‘in both art therapy and story cloth groups there is also a meta rhythm, an ebb and ﬂow to the conversations that transpire’ (Garlock 2016, p. 60)
The aspect of sustainability has been very carefully considered in this collection. It has played a major role in redefining her design practice and methodology. The collection is made out of discarded and dead stock denim fabrics gathered from the streets of India where the denim weavers throw away a major part of their fabrics due to minute defects that often go unnoticed. Since the discarded denim was often in bits and pieces, it was difficult to cut out a complete pattern from a single piece of fabric. This changed her approach towards the entire design process. She would arrange multiple pieces of discarded denim to fit the area of the pattern after considering shrinkage and fraying. These pieces were then subjected to intensive boiling, heavy washing, harsh sun drying and bleaching using natural bleaching agents such as citric acid, vinegar, borax and hydrogen peroxide which have been scientifically proven to be natural/green and harmless towards nature. The prepared base denim is then used to create textile surfaces incorporating the principles of rhythm and repetition. The resulting textile pieces obtained were finally shaped according to the pattern piece. This procedure ensures minimum wastage and maximum utilization.