A Blog of Many Colours
Musings ramblings and thoughts from within
As an artist and creative force I have always relished the potency of creating and expressing the beauty and natural world I grew up in. As the years rolled by I begun to comprehend how I was and how I was becoming within, had everything to do with that expression. Thus as I create, express that journey I recognise that my story is a story, not so much in content but context, that holds similarities for us all.
Thus in the process of sharing I may help enlighten and illumine for others, their own journey towards developing the being of creative force we all hold within. I hope you find it enjoyable and helpful. I know I certainly will!
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By Virve posted November 29, 2020
The quote below is a well-served sore, a homily, yet within it there lies a seed of profundity. Charity is an act of kindness, selfless service for no personal gain, a support of loving kindness. That it starts at home is endemic to the cause we all must work on, that of making our self, our inner processes work in utter coordination with each other, serve ourselves exquisitely and find that inner balance that enables freedom and strength to be expressed outwardly. That point is the full expression of the results of charity.
"Charity starts at home" – Anon
Yet when we look at how charity, in the form of charity shops are constructed, do we see that manifested in its fullness? Hardly, yet not entirely devoid of it. Thus in the context of the fashion and textile industry this branch of its existence appeals for investigation and rooting out the mindset and raison d’être.
One example I can take and one whose name, for convenience, I will keep anonymous, has been set up through four charity shop outlets and one thousand five hundred textile recycling banks and home collects. Its objective is to raise funds to fight global poverty by collecting unwanted clothes in order to reuse and resell.
One glaring example here stands out – that of wishing to fight global poverty, yet if we do not set out to identify the core causes of global poverty and address these the objective of ploughing resources and finance into a deep hole that can never be filled by these actions, it becomes counterproductive.
Within the realm of my personal experience with charity shops, that of working in them and of using their resources, my observations are that a huge amount of textiles, fabrics and clothes are discarded, in preference to them being reused in other contexts in the home. It is also sad that so much fabric and clothing still end up in landfill or reprocessing.
Another apparent anomaly is that many charity shops are creations of corporate entities. The administration of such set ups as always creams off much of the alleged donations, well before they are able to land in their target end file. There is a large virtual signalling by these entities to be ‘seen’ as do gooders while with their other hand they are carving away at elements that are ultimately part of the problem. Such miserable PR stunts, propagandised superficiality, not only confuses the minds of ordinary folk but also continues the lie that “we are all in it together and are helping save the planet”. Such nonsense is so counterproductive as to mind play the general population into feeling they are “doing the right thing”.
Although I cannot supply my own specific solutions, I feel that the creative collective mindset, once admitting to its part of being part of the problem can then begin to construct ways and modalities that reverse this dead end circular activity. This would come from a major reset of mindsets, a stimulation of creative endeavour with tin the scope of the individual, that by its very effect on the small then expands, through force of numbers to the greater arena. When a mindset, no matter how minute, expresses itself, it creates evolution, expansion and foundation. In practice this is experienced by others. It then inspires others to act and do likewise, thus the expanding circle of influence grows positively and creatively. Although a general outline this principle has to be the foundation of any creative endeavour. It is potent, productive and change making.
By Virve posted November 28, 2020
Can you imagine a world where slavery is the currency of trade, commerce and goods and chattels? The energy, the manpower each slave inputs is correlated and marked against the production of the final product.
With minimal upkeep these human machines are used, abused and discarded when they have served their term of usefulness.
They become a traded asset, one that has value the more adept the slave is. Yet in spite of their skills and input most everything apart of their own very survival is for others and benefit of those others.
The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall.
Freedom and slavery are mental states – Gandhi
The goods and chattels they are for life, service the life-styles and conditions of others. A single avenue, one-way street.
It is this commodifying these slaves that make so much of our world turn, yet that it turns is merely because of the abuse of human worth. That very fact makes the value and worth of all production tainted and ugly. How we turn this around is as creative and worthwhile as it gets.
As with all things there is the psychological imperative behind all constructs and slavery is no less an important construct both from the mind of the slave as the mind of the slave owner.
Within the context of modern slavery in the fashion and textile industry we have:
Forced labour, bonded labour and debt bondage. Each of these contain basic elements of interconnected dependency.
Forced labour is where individuals have been placed in the position, imprisoned in an environment precluding any real sense of free choice and movement. Such containment allows the ‘slave owner’ to specify precisely what these bodies can and cannot do.
Bonded labour is where the ‘goods’, the people are used for value that is contracted for a period. They may be owned by another and leased out. They may be sold as assets outright, but all the same they are bonded to a place, position and serviced for value. These can be obviously be spotted within the context of a factory, a holding bay, a protected group under surveillance and control, yet the far greater group, seemingly not obvious are those trapped in debt bondage.
Debt bondage covers most all of the 99% in the world. It is a bondage made apparent by the system of barter and trade itself. It expresses itself as those owing others. The others are the elite, the 1%, the controllers of the financial and market system. We mortgage ourselves, we pay tax, we run credit cards and debit flow. We pay for almost every service supplied. We are told that tax is essential to make the flow and existence of our needs to be available on tap.
The sadness is that as slaves our ignorance believes this is the way, the only way and buy it. We become the worst of the slaves – we believe our slave masters and feel honour bound to follow them and obey what they tell us is the way.
The critical mind of the free being is almost non-existent. We have given up our freedom, for baubles and trinkets of distraction and false vision. Worse, we service the other elements of slavery by our purchasing that which has been created by slaves. We collude, for our own pleasure in propagating a vile and destructive system.
How do we begin to release from this wheel of entrapment? It starts with looking at ourselves, of questioning what we know, believe in, trust and desire. It then asks the question – is what I do, say and support helping, not causing harm to myself and others, prosecuting growth and healing or merely continuing to feed the poison?
This single introspection can be the hardest work we shall ever engage in, yet its consequences will produce a world of beauty or a world of darkness and suffering beyond imagination.
By Virve posted November 26, 2020
If we kid ourselves that slavery was that thing back then when they had wooden boats and transported blacks to America and whites to Africa and it was all very neatly brought to and end with William Wilberforce and his outing of the slave trade, you would be so mistaken as to be confounded to find it is alive and well and breeding all over the world. In the fashion industry it is rampant.
I am not the slave of Darkness I am the slave of Light - Rumi
If we open our eyes and travel around our own country, we will surprise ourselves to find garment sweat shops and factories filled with those whose lot is to work for mere pounds an hour. With conditions of employment, raged and bare of even the slightest rights and because so often their presence in this country is tenuous at best, become the butt end of bullying and extortion with the threat of deportation and return to often worse conditions in their country of origin. It makes for a pitiful sight and an even more wretched example of those that abuse them.
How does the existence of this modern slavery get to pass under the radar? It is as if it is given a nod and a wink and looking the other way is missed.
In reality before the advent of internet and the ease of connectivity globally, it was almost unheard of to seek manufacture on the other side of the world. This country had in the 1990s, a still thriving fashion and textile industry, home spun. The kudos of British made fashion was itself a global phenomenon. We had an industry full of promise and production.
Around the mid to end eighties the clothing and textile industries made up over 9% of the overall manufacturing employment figures. Seemingly a small percentage yet it belied the vibrancy of the industry. Yet behind these figures rose an ugly visage of trafficking, abuse of labour and exploitation. Today it has come to represent a dark side of the fashion industry. One that when raised brings forceful denial.
Homeworkers Worldwide UK an NGO set up to support home-based workers around the world produced a survey on the garment industry that included a range of around 182 companies across the region. Its results revealed a shocking exposure. Workers were found to be paid cash and only £2.50 an hour, whereas the employers raised pay slips for much more. This was just the tip of the exploitation. Living conditions, travel conditions, threats of deportation and reporting to authorities were just some of the abuses they found existed.
Stepping back - let’s look at how it all starts. The consumer is always looking for the bargains, who does not love a bargain. So, it is this desire for best price is seen by the manufacturers as a way of seeking dirt cheap production, making the same mark ups yet with costs so low they are able to offer that bargain desire to customers. Little do the customers realise that their pleasure has resulted in exploitation and abuse to get them their desires. So if someone picks up a bargain of a ticket price of £100 for just £25 pounds, we are exposed to not only a rampant profit margin being slashed to an above cost price tag that within it has the microscopic payments to those that have sweated it into existence.
The nub of the question is that with modern technology, the internet and the crazy competition of ever cheaper prices, we are finding that the boutique down the road becomes barely viable as the major corporate bandits raid the last vestiges of independent outlets and cram the token differences into a huge pool of sweated output. For many trhen this sweat laboured production actually begins a slow death, as margins can never be sustainable at the levels they are sinking to. The reach to find ever more compliant cheap production goes the way the technology industry migrated from Japan to Singapore to Hong Kong to Vietnam, Korea and then Indonesia and Bangladesh before being eaten whole by China. That same pathway can be seen to be emulated by the fashion industry with little credit or kudos to ethical practice.
It is a sorry state of affairs and allows slave labour to run rampant with little oversight. When you have governments that act in similar ways with their populations it is no surprise the elite fashionistas get way with these practices going unnoticed and uncared.
The question must be asked – how long will people’s care less attitude support an industry that is more and more held to account for its bad ways. I feel until we ourselves make it a benchmark of proud production and portability honouring each link in the chain, a swift death is inevitable and deserved.
How we bring this about is creating a seismic change. That seismic change comes with ridding ourselves of a society and governance that spawns greed, self-interest and division. The answer has always been there. It has been the vein of life running through our existence.
What is it? It is the re-introduction of the Common Law. Common Law has always been the single highest law of the land. Its reintroduction as the Law of our Land will get rid of all taxes, bring a lawful equality to everyone. Simply in respect of the fashion industry and textiles it will enable a whole new paradigm of being. Where taxes are non-existent. Where production costs in our own country enable production here at the most sensible and reasonable rates. Where the greed of the few is totally disbanded, as its existence is unlawful under Common Law. Exploitation is equally unlawful and parity and equal standing for each of us is the norm. Within this new paradigm, or more correctly old paradigm ignored, the creative purpose in design, through to expectation of the consumer will be taken to new heights of sustainable awareness and desire. The recognition that all things need to be in balance and respected will spawn a huge leap forward in output from design to delivery.
Is this a mere utopian dream? It most certainly is not. It is already being committed to actuality as I write.
Now there is a solution in process!
By Virve posted November 23, 2020
Here we are again with that challenging moment where I need to find the subject I wish to write about that will link to my ideas, the project and finally to the end presentation that is my degree submission.
"We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us" – Rumi
My thoughts are like clouds skidding across the sky of my mind. They are all around the modern slavery, in the textile and fashion industry. I ponder thoughts around how these dramatic and human tragedies get entangled into what is supposedly a creative industry. How do these real-life concurrencies affect and motivate, if that could be the right word, such beauty and creative output while aligned, noose-like to a very potent and evil human capacity for suffering and abuse.
The very real abuse of slave labour to benefit one part of humanity at the cost of another seems so counter intuitive to all that looks so beautiful and executed so magnificently. It is this equal and opposite that not only needs exposure but also must be a vital and pressing question to answer – can we live with and accept such disparity? Is it worth the art created?
The whole subject is a concern for me as I have to ask do we know or are we aware of what is put into the production of our fashion wear and textiles that is the antithesis of what we in the West seek and search for in the context of fashion and beautiful things. There really has to be an awareness of the reality of production and exploitation and further the ridding of this cancer in an industry that prides itself on show and glitz with very little, save token acknowledgement to a grim reality in production. I would like to feel that fashion going forward will embrace the clearing out of such base and horrible practices, in favour of equality and respect for all down the production line.
The second question I ask myself is - is it possible to go back to basics and embrace the true expression of recycling and reuse of materials. For in other times the fashion and the creation of clothing and textiles were eagerly brought through and presented by repurposing materials from one usage to utilitarian other. What comes to mind is Boro, an ancient modality of creating together different materials to make clothing. Emanating from Japan it also carried immense beauty in production and style. There is so much we can learn from our ancestors and that might start us to appreciate we do not have to go down the ever-increasing consumption road while wasting energy, materials and resources along the way in our disregard for sustainability.
So, I feel I must dig deeper to find more information online and in books, so that I can prepare a road map for how we confront the challenge and then how we can develop ways to formulate and utilise grand ways of expressing the glory of life and its abundances rather than exploiting them. It will be I am certain a revelatory experience for not only myself but for those that will enjoy the creations I complete from this educational journey.
By Virve posted November 22, 2020
Welcome to my blog. I hope that my musings, ramblings and self enquiry will make for interesting interaction by word. I realise that you will be at the mercy of my thoughts, feelings, inclinations and perspectives, yet even that will reveal to the reader some of the inner workings of a creative mind.
Since I am presently on the journey towards a degree in Textiles and Surface Design there will be reflection of and within that journey, shared.
So as we journey together I would appreciate and love to have your feedback on these postings as that makes it a sharing beyond my own mind and allows for other thoughts and perceptions to help cultivate the ever flowing, changing elements of the creative process