Alexandra Drenth: Reinterpreting Embroidery in a Sustainable KeyJacquie Rosenbach
“If I give attention to my work, time disappears and gives me endless freedom to create.”
Alexandra specialises in hand embroideries and collage techniques. This sort of label sounds quite simple but actually beyond it, there is a deep sense of sustainable and quality-time oriented practice. A woman who knows how to bring innovation into a traditional craft, who utilises materials from a timeless place and time, a mix between sentiment, tradition and transience.
Alexandra, who lives and works in Amsterdam, initiated her career as a photographer and as an oil painter. But it was in 2007 that she decided to dedicate herself mainly to textiles. For different reasons she switched from the visual arts to a traditional handicraft such as embroidery. “I realised craft work was closer to who I was as a person” she says. Embroidery helped her to understand better the notion of time and relate to it in a different way. Actually Alexandra admits that it was through embroidery techniques that she developed a sense of patience.
Alexandra creates her own clothes for her designs, but she also uses old robes from the 1920s or liturgical vestments. Re-use and re-edit of textile materials is the starting point of all her work: she throughs nothing to the garbage. And her designs definitely demonstrate how beautiful pieces can emerge from leftovers. But it is not just materials what Alexandra re-uses, but also inherited knowledge. Her aunt and grandmother were the ones embroidering at her family, and her mother sewing, and it was them who actually introduced this tradition into Alexandra, who now recycles it in an outstanding way.
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