Blue Jean Sisters

Join in artist Belinda Smith's project to sew 2000 denim dolls as part of an art installation A Fierce Hope. The installation aims to raise awareness for social, environmental and ethical issues surrounding the production of denim. Blue Jean Sisters is designed to be shared throughout the community and create hope and social change in alignment with the founding exhibition for Brisbane's newest art hub - Adderton: House of Heart and Mercy.

Blue Jean Sisters is an installation by Belinda Smith, an artist who creates site specific artworks that focuses on materiality and craft practices as influenced by her family heritage in textiles and various crafts. Her work is developed through a process of curiosity and experimentation that carefully weaves social, historic and environmental factors into each project to create a corresponding narrative.

The installation is a tribute to Outland Denim, a social enterprise clothing brand who maintain sustainable and ethical values by providing employment and opportunity for women who have been rescued from human trafficking. The company also are committed to sourcing ethical and environmentally friendly materials which aligns with their positive ethos within the fashion industry.

The goal of the installation is to individually craft 2000 denim dolls. While each doll will be made from the same pattern and material type, each doll will be unique with variations in colour and workmanship. The artist is calling out to the community to help her craft the dolls and have the opportunity to be apart of something bigger; creating hope for social change. To participate in the project, you can download the project pattern by clicking on the link or directly from the Plumber & Smith website. Alternatively, ‘making sessions’ are being held in Brisbane with dates and locations to be confirmed. We know we’re excited to start sewing each doll and participate in Blue Jean Sisters!

The large scale installation of dolls as a collective is aimed to express a variety of themes that explore current social issues, particularly highlighting the plight of modern slavery and human trafficking. The creation of denim dolls is symbolic of the innocence lost by women and children around the world as a result of modern slavery and speaks to the origins of Outland Denim. Historically crafted from scrap material, the dolls are a tribute to the clothing company’s mission to source sustainable and ethical resources. Additionally the choice of fabric calls to attention the prominence of denim as a staple within any wardrobe; emphasising the demand of the product within the fashion industry and acknowledging its negative production impacts. Blue Jean Sisters aims to stress these issue to viewers and create hope for change through displaying Outland Denim’s response; using the high demand for jeans to fashion social change.

“The hope is that people share this project and reflect on the decisions they make about the clothes they wear and how, and by who they are made”
- Blue Jean Sisters, Plumber & Smith

Blue Jean Sisters is intended for the exhibition entitled A Fierce Hope for Adderton: House of Hope and Mercy; a new multi-purpose exhibition and ideas space that is founded on the values of creativity, diversity and inclusiveness. Adderton House, once home to the Sisters of Mercy, is continuing the legacy of their good work by showcasing an exhibition curated by Linda Phillips which collaborates between seven artists and social enterprises who exist to support disempowered individuals within the community, including Belinda Smith’s installation. A Fierce Hope explores the complexity of a variety of social challenges and aims to respond to these issues by empowering visitors; by conveying that hope is an influential driver for social action and that everyone has the potential to create positive change.

The exhibition will launch in mid 2019 when Adderton: House of Heart and Mercy opens to the public after completing renovations. The dolls will be donated to children after the exhibition has closed.

Download the pattern for the dolls here to sew them from some old blue jeans at home. Simply return the dolls by the end of March 2019 to be included in the exhibition.

Image credit is to Nat McComas, who photographed all images for Plumber & Smith.

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