‘Pieces of Me’ tells the story of love and tradition – “The way love can transcribe different aspects of life is really important,” explains Pratt’s Grad Xarea Lockhart. A trip to Alabama this past summer with her grandmother informed the textiles and techniques all throughout her collection. Quilts that adorned her home, each rich in tradition and storytelling held significance to her in particular. More importantly, it speaks to the customs and eccentricities of the southern region. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend are quilts created by a group of women and their ancestors who live or have lived in the isolated African American hamlet of Gee’s Bend, Alabama along the Alabama River. As such, this rich tradition was translated and reinterpreted in Xarea’s patchwork collage, and draping technique, making each one distinct but relative to its preceding look. Often pieces followed no real pattern and were made from fitting and altering until the piece adapted to its intended design. Re-purposing was another major focus for Xarea. She teamed up with Solstice Lace company to provide her with discarded lace headers to create the lace patchwork that can be noted all throughout her collection; from the pant in look one, the top in look three, pieces of the skirt in look four and the dress in look six.
Aside from the massive production that was her collection, Xarea decided to pop in four handbags that she designed and produced in the same vein of the collection’s ethos. Having previous and current experience at Brother Vellies and Maryam Nassir. Xarea shared her desire to branch out into accessories shortly after graduation.
Any design student past or present knows how hard thesis can be. I asked Xarea what hurdles she had to overcome during this process and what piece of advice, if any, she could lend to design students coming up.
“It’s ok to ask for help. At the beginning of my process, I thought I knew what I wanted to make. I had to let go of what I thought I wanted to make in order to make what I should be making. There were pieces I started but then I revisited them and they are so different from what they initially were. Just allowing myself the space to reevaluate. I believe the conversation should be about understanding that being an artist is not just about creating. You have to digest as much as you create. How do I properly digest the work I am making in order for it be as it should?”

Food for thought!

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