Stitched Together by Sue-Ching: The humble tea towel goes above and beyond in The Close to My Heart Project

Stitched Together by Sue-Ching: The humble tea towel goes above and beyond in The Close to My Heart Project

Sue-Ching with the Close To My Heart dress designs 

Sue-Ching Lascelles is a prolific Meanjin based multi-media artist and maker, working within analog processes; mediums such as papercutting and embroidery with a focus on textiles, creating illustrative work, sculptural forms and installations, and integrating these processes on various scales.

 Raquet/Racket installation at the Artisan Ivory Street Window, Brisbane

As a self-proclaimed “maker of happy things”, Sue-Ching creates work that is surreal and playful; which she describes as “both commonplace and out-of-place at the same time.” Her projects reframe the mundane, blurring the lines of where “the ordinary ends and the extraordinary begins.”  

Details from A month of Sundays 

Sue-Ching turned to sewing garments during the 2020 Covid lockdowns, documenting and sharing processes on Instagram @suechinglascelles. Creating sewing projects that marry pattern, colour and design, creating wearable art pieces through unique creative vision and exploration, resulting in undeniably joyous creations. 

Inspired by her work, we spoke to Sue-Ching about her creative journey and where it has led her, and making a difference as a creative. 

As a multi-media artist you have explored different processes and focuses in your art, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? And your current creative practice? 

Sure! From very early on, my focus has been on textiles. At uni, I majored in both textiles and printmaking so I started out with printed textiles. As my practice developed I became interested in pop culture and 3D objects. I was influenced by artists like Yayoi Kusama, Claes Oldenburg and Joseph Beuys (still am!). Throughout this making process, I then started to look at my work as 'whole installations' and how the works related to the space they occupied. Looking at my work in this way, felt like a much more resolved approach. 

My current creative practice has taken a small detour lately but is still very much grounded in creative ideas, construction and textiles. When the first Covid lockdown happened I started sewing clothes as a way of making something useful, yet still creative and as a way to keep my hands and mind busy. Through sewing clothes, I have been able to connect with the most wonderful community of makers. 

The original tea towel dress design  

“After all the amazing feedback on my tea towel dresses, I wanted to try and capture all that crazy good, positive energy and use it to do something wonderful!”

In June 2021, inspired by Birgitta Helmersson’s Zero Waste Gather Dress, Sue-Ching crafted a dress from eleven vintage tea towels, which received an overwhelmingly positive response online. Sparking the idea for The Close to My Heart Project, Sue-Ching embarked on a collaborative project to create a bespoke range of tea towel dresses to be auctioned off to raise funds for asylum seekers. She particularly wanted to support the women of Afghanistan at this current time, where international troops were withdrawing and the Taliban taking control.

“I often use fashion as a way of expressing myself without words. I felt this project could, in some small way, give voice to the recent plights of Afghani women who have had their voices restricted.”    

Khatra Nekzhad modelling a Close To My Heart dress made from a Dancing with Juniper print    

Sue-Ching intends for The Close to my Heart Project to be a joyful, expressive way to show love and support 

What do you think is the value of art in making a social impact? 

Historically, art and artists have often been linked to social justice and change issues. Artists have a unique way of seeing the world and holding up a lens. 

There are no boundaries with art so without limits, artists are often free to express their true selves, including their views on social issues. It's a valuable way to highlight, bring attention to and document the important issues of our time.

What advice do you have for an artist or maker seeking to make a difference through their creations? 

I think whatever it is you're trying to do, be genuine, do it authentically and with heart. If you believe in it, then no doubt others will too!

Sue-Ching Lascelles

Sue-Ching has crafted five unique dresses for The Close to My Heart initiative, collaborating with artist Claire Ritchie, interior designer Anna Spiro, textile designers Aqua Door Designs and Dancing with Juniper. These one-of-a-kind dresses will be auctioned online from November 14 - 21 with all proceeds going to support Women for Women International and the Romero Centre in Brisbane. 

Get involved in The Close to My Heart auction and follow Sue-Ching on Instagram @suechinglascelles.  

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