My creative practice implements the visual and written vocabulary of fashion and textile design, production and consumption, generating installations, performances, and social sculpture, paying homage through a feminist lens to textile and apparel manufacturing histories and contemporary systems. I engage in a practice of careful listening, problem solving, skill sharing and community building. Viewers and participants are engaged in hands-on experiences, which attempt to instigate change through public interventions, conversations, and community projects.
In 2006 I developed the character Frau Fiber a former East German Garment worker, whose textile job was lost with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Frau Fiber and I have parallel life experiences, in different parts of the work. I am her biographer / archivist, she is the front person for the work we do. Frau Fiber represents the Lost Generation of workers, who failed to assimilate to the new united Germany and never had the economic success of the communist times. Embodied in the uniforms she wears and context in which she appears, Frau Fiber transformed herself into a textile activist, drawing attention to the labor behind the label of the garments we wear. Her work is grounded in generosity, commemoration, and gestures of work.
Frau Fiber’s projects such as Knock Off Production, The Sewing Rebellion, Made in Haiti, Free Zone Regime and the Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers & Uniforms deliberately exposed the time, process, and labor that garment production requires. Using skills sharing and sewing instruction to foster micro-economies and provide an alternative to the global garment industry, asking participants to exchange their leisure time for production and mending of ones own textile and apparel goods. She reveals the collaborative aspects of piecework, and its ability to help create social bonds. These works are firmly connected to historical instances of organized labor, and are a vehicle to think about self-sufficiency, self-empowerment, communal experience and happiness in work, as well as a tool for fighting poverty and oppression.