Barbara Schneider
"Barry's Robe"

Pictures

Statement

Process

 

Pictures

 

 
(Photos by Bill Crofton)

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Statement

I made this robe in honor of my husband, Barry Schneider, who died in April, 2005. I had struggled after Barry’s death to find a way to make a piece of art in his memory. The Robe project became the vehicle to create that piece.

We both shared a love of Japanese textiles especially the Boro textiles- that is mended and patched indigo garments that as they age and are patched together again and again become more beautiful. It is a part of the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi – finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. Also, Barry spent much of his illness wearing an indigo flannel yukata – which was a comforting and comfortable robe.

I decided to create a Boro robe to represent the progress of Barry’s battle with cancer. I patched together fragments of indigo fabrics and sashiko stitched the entire garment. The fragments illustrated being patched together again and again. Traditionally, sashiko stitching added warmth, durability and strength to a garment. The stitching on the garment represents Barry’s strength through the process and is symbolic of the various surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments that he underwent. The robe lining is a timeline of his 9.5 year struggle with the disease.

Working on the robe gave me time to again contemplate our time together and to resolve some of the issues that I was struggling with. The meditative nature of the stitching was healing. I feel that the robe brought me closer to acceptance and peace.

 

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Process

1.    Gathered and arranged the vintage kimono and commercial fabrics. Stitched them into the basic best/jacket shape

2.    Made the back panel – created a thermofax of the words, bleached it out of the background fabric.

3.    Assembled all the pieces and sahiko stitched them together with long running stitches.

4.    Added machine stitching and other hand stitching for special elements, and contrast.

5.    Created the timeline for the lining in Word. Printed onto roll of fabric and created the lining. Hand stitched into the garment.

6.    Finished the binding.

   
     

 

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Last Updated April 6, 2013