A serendipitous choice of sweater yesterday morning led to a chain of thoughts being sparked up as to whether or not it would be possible to create a wearable labyrinth? This flicker of genius came from Rachel Clowes, our embroidery technician, in the course of a labyrinth workshop up in a life drawing room: a lovely space for walking our canvas labyrinth, split into two roomy segments with high ceilings, light and airy windows, and the mysterious paraphernalia of painting around the edges…strange long wooden stools and clusters of brown easels, while the walls still bore the vestiges of paint that had somehow circumnavigated the formally designated places to draw.
She had noticed my sweater, with a thick, ribbed pattern, not unlike cable jerseys, and its dips and ridges suggested to Rachel that perhaps it would be possible to embed labyrinth shapes in our garments, for the same sense of contemplation and quiet, just traced in our own clothes. This seemed like a logical and creative extension of the finger labyrinths we have discussed elsewhere on this site and in our book – and echoes the tactility of the sand finger labyrinth Alison tried out at a previous event: with the labyrinth form hidden in a tray under a layer of sand, this had offered the dual sensation of dragging your fingers through cool sand and creating a labyrinth outline on the surface while tracing the grooves of the labyrinth underneath. Jokes notwithstanding about who would be allowed to do the tracing, the idea is an intriguing one: would you embroider, stitch, knit, weave, applique, sew beads to form the labyrinth or leave gaps in material where its grooves might be? On what kinds of garments? What about size? What kind of effect might it have? We are used to the ways in which we soothe babies or console by rubbing backs but would it work when you are exploring a labyrinth on yourself?
We are going to see!