Oorskot - What Remains?

Social Fabric

A project about textile off-cuts - and what we leave behind

Social Fabric is a platform for creatives to re-discover South African textiles.  Of the many reasons why textiles, one is its a resource not just for clothing but for thinking and creating. So WHILST OFF-CUTS ARE NOT A TEXTILE, THEY OFFER A MYRIAD OF OPPORTUNITIES TO LOOK BEYOND WHAT WE CAN SEE. As in all our iterations, we work with an artist-in-residence, here Igshaan Adams, who visited various textile companies.

Igshaan Adams

As with all Social Fabric iterations, we work with an artist-in-residence. Here, it is Cape Town-based artist Igshaan Adams. He visited multiple companies to learn about their production cycle and how off-cuts come about.

In this clip, Igshaan is in conversation with another Social Fabric artist, about the residency and his work (He will also explain what Oorksot means).

See Credits for the link to the full video.

You may enjoy seeing some examples of the prayer mat weavings Igshaan mentioned he had been making prior to the residency. Shown, "Eenheid", 2014, quilted prayer carpets, assorted fabrics and embroidery, 200 × 162 cm.

Surah Al-fatiha II

Surah Al-fatiha II (part one) front view, 2016, woven nylon rope, beads and string; 241 x 230 cm.

(back view) Surah Al-fatiha II

Here is the back view of the work. It's as beautiful as the front view and ideally Igshaan would like both sides of the work to be shown.

Similarly, Igshaan appreciates that the white rope he used in the weaving is, in fact, not all white. It had been dirtied during its making and indeed had been consigned to the manufacturer's "seconds bin" (keep in mind such rope is used for industrial processes). It was the variations of white and grey that first attracted Igshaan, a happy accident. It is this quiet variation that gives this mat a feeling of introspection.


Negating one value to reveal another

As Igshaan explained in the video, the black material is a soft elastic used in shoe making (to give a shoe some stretch). He stitched a stiff wire around the elastic's edge, thus negating its primary value but replacing it with another value.

Oorksot / Human Remains

The thinking and making during the residency helped inform Igshaan's works for his solo exhibition at his gallery a few months later.

The show’s title is Oorksot (which we also reference in our title). Oorksot
is in Afrikaans, a South African language, and has 2 translations. One is human remains. The other is remnants. In either case it means what we created and have left behind.

Too often words like "off-cuts" and "remains" have a negative connotation. In the case of textile off-cuts, it fills landfills. But does it have to be this way?

Stoflike Oorskot

Stoflike Oorskot was made in collaboration with artist Kyle Morland. The work is also exhibited as part of the exhibition Women’s Work at Iziko South African National Gallery, as part of Women's Work, a group show, December 2016 to June 2017.

This question was posed to creatives across disciplines in a workshop. WE POSE THE SAME QUESTION TO YOU via sharing some of the textile off-cuts the participants worked with and some of their ideas. Please share your ideas on our Facebook page, SocialFabricSA.
The green, white and black bars are industrial plastic used to make machine parts.  They are necessarily ultra hard which also makes the off-cuts impossible to de-compose.  Yet their shininess, hand-feel, and bright colouring make them compelling materials. What else can they (their off-cuts) be used for?

one-of-a-kind Jewelry

Nicola West, fashion designer, turns the industrial plastic off-cuts, together with other objects, into desirable jewelry.

plastic construction block toy

Oliver Bonstein, Nicola West and Kevin Fellingham suggests using the industrial plastic offcuts to make a set of construction bricks for a children's toy.

like lego but more

Here is Oliver Bonstein's take on that Construction Toy idea. It's like lego but requires using nuts and bolts to connect and, better still, it comes with no "make this" instructions! Using imagination to help build imagination.

The gray, felt-looking textile is the trimmings from the production of a "geo-textile".  Geo-textiles are designed for industrial (rather than fashion) use, for instance, bonded with other materials to line roads. It is made from PET (the plastic in recycled pop bottles).  Granted it's aesthetics are limited but it's qualities are interesting: it's strong, water-repelling.  What else can be made using it?

using waste to reduce waste

In the building industry, working with concrete is costly money and environmental-wise. One reason is the need for formwork and reinforcing - the form work, typically wood panels, cannot be re-used. Architect Mike Louw wonders might the geo-textiles serve as concrete formwork and reinforcing?

Here is the prototype of Mike Louw's "Batcave".

Red, plastic mesh bags are used by wholesalers to transport onions to food retailers.  Whilst useful as a transport tool, they eventually end up in landfill. Surely they can serve other purposes?

a fun bag

The indestructibility of the onion bag can make a sturdy lining for an otherwise delicate lady's bag - not to mention it adds an interesting decorative texture. Bag prototype by Lindiwe van Staden.

using waste to grow

The mesh quality, as well its durability, makes the onion bag a fine medium to grow sea food such as mussels. At the workshop Gien Varney-Wong prototypes a system. He plans to approach fishermen in the picturesque village of Kalk Bay. We wish him every success.

Find out more about our textile off-cuts iteration via this outcomes book. Click to view or download from our website

Don't forget to send us your ideas for the off-cuts Facebook: SocialFabricSA

Social Fabric is a not-for-profit project. Our thanks to the DOEN Foundation and the University of Cape Town, Architecture & Built Environment, this iteration's tertiary partner.

Contact us at: SocialFabricSA@gmail.com

Credits: Story

Credits and Links

Igshaan Adams' artworks
Plate 3.5 from the series Neoscope
2014, wire mesh, nylon rope, thread, glue, silk leaves and wire, dimensions variable
photo credit: Winnie Sze

2014, quilted prayer carpets, assorted fabrics and embroidery, 200 x 162 cm
Photo credit: blank projects

Surah Al-fatiha II (part one)
2016, woven nylon rope, beads and string, 241 x 230 cm
photo credit: blank projects

Untitled, work-in-progress from Social Fabric residency
2016, shoe elastic, wire, thread, dimensions variable
photo credit: Social Fabric

Installation shot of Oorskot at blank projects
photo credit: blank projects

Stoflike oorskot
in collaboration with Kyle Morland, 2016, woven nylon rope, string and mild steel, dimensions variable
photo credit: blank projects

Find out more about Igshaan Adams

Film, Igshaan Adams
Film: Yasmin Hankel for Social Fabric
View films of Igshaan Adams with Paul Edmunds on their respective experiences at their artists-in-residences
and on the ideas and work that came out of their artists-in-residences

Off-cuts iterations outcomes
View the outcomes book on the Social Fabric website

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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