Laurie Herrick’s archives contain clippings, files, samples, notes and more – but few written details about how the various elements led her from point a to point b in her work. By creating inspiration boards using the archive materials, Curatorial Assistant Lauren Raburn constructed a visual map of cultural influences, created entirely from various pieces Herrick saved in her personal files. Inspiration boards are tools used by designers in various stages of a project as a way to organize ideas, images and information. Selected pieces that made up the collage, or inspiration board are included in this section to show how an archive can be used to reconstruct history.
Exhibiting Herrick’s body coverings in a way that communicates how the textiles look and move on a real body is a challenge in a museum environment. Rather than rely exclusively on garments hung on a dress form or other display techniques, Museum of Contemporary Craft enlisted the help of Portland fashion designer Adam Arnold, who worked with stylist Gaylen Amussen, photographer Jake Stangel, and Museum intern Emily Perkins to create a series of fashion forward photographs of Herrick’s work “in use.” Curatorial Assistant Lauren Raburn coordinated the shoot in various locations throughout Portland, working with the team to envision and present Herrick’s now-classically shaped garments in a way that matches fashion photography of 2011.
Using Herrick’s drawings and notes as a guide, any weaver can adapt the proportions to match their own physical shape. Below are several articles that offer possibilities for exploring loom controlled garments.
Upload an image of your work based on Herrick’s Laurie Coat to the Laurie Herrick Flickr Group.
A former fashion model, Herrick maintained an ongoing interest in body coverings and garments that created a contemporary silhouette while showcasing a textile, such as an Indian kurta or Persian kaftan. Simultaneously reminiscent of a traditional Scandinavian “bog jacket,” modern Japanese garments and the couture coats created in the 1960s by Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895–1972), the “Laurie Coat” became a staple of Herrick’s teaching – and her own wardrobe.
Featured with weaving instructions in Weaving You Can Wear (Jan Burhen and Jean Wilson, 1973), the Laurie Coat is woven directly on the loom rather than created through cut sections as one might do with fabric by the yard. This means weaving pieces that require only minimal off-loom stitching to move the form from a shaped, flat and rectangular-based woven textile into a wearable garment. In her later developments, she incorporated loom-controlled darts and tapering sleeves to create a form-flattering fit.
Once adjusted to the weaver’s skill level and the proportions of the wearer, nearly any (or multiple) weaves could be combined to create this loom-controlled body covering. Given current interests in the handmade, customization and sustainability, made-to-fit loom-controlled garments such as Herrick’s can provide a springboard for tactile, beautiful and minimally-wasteful garments today.