Angelica Ellis is a multidisciplinary artist who specialises in fashion design and hand embroidery. Within Ellis' current methods she collects and transforms materials into embellishment for embroidery. For my MA I started to make bio sequins and other biomaterials in order to find new ways to sustainably embroider fabrics and find new materials for textiles. Ellis practices resourcefulness by creating from items that are around her. She practices slow fashion, small and handmade and wants to be a part of a growing movement designers using creativity as a vehicle for slowing down the excesses of today's fashion industry, the concepts for Ellis' work are always narrative driven. Identity and communities often inspire her within her processes.
When I began my journey at the RCA, my focus was on exploring aesthetics and beauty in design for people with disabilities. I was deeply concerned about the lack of consideration given to aesthetics in items or clothing designed for this community, as they often prioritize functionality over aesthetics.
I found myself questioning the significance of beauty for individuals like myself who have disabilities or chronic conditions. During my dissertation research, I discovered an answer that resonated with my own experiences: beauty offers a respite from the mundane.
In fact, aesthetics play a vital role in preserving mental health. People with disabilities already face numerous challenges, and no one needs a break from the ordinary more than they do. Drawing upon my expertise in working with couture embroidery ateliers, I sought to harness the beauty and aesthetics of embroidery and integrate them into designs and narratives for people with disabilities.
My collection, "Framing Fragility," involves collaborating with women participants who have disabilities and designing around their bodies. Each participant actively contributes to my design process, wherein we create a wearable embroidery frame to document the sensations of pain in their bodies. I ask them, "How does it feel to be in your body?" Based on their responses, I create beautiful embroidery that visualizes their unique experiences, which I refer to as "textural stories." My aim is to provide people with disabilities with an enjoyable and interactive experience of connecting with their bodies by showcasing my embroidery interpretations of their experiences. Additionally, my process includes creating wire 3D drawings that specifically depict the areas affected most by their disabilities.