De stoplap is a Dutch term for the ‘darning sampler’, which young girls (between 12 and 15 years old) created in order to practice a variety of needlework techniques and darning stitches. The stoplap was common between the 17th and 20th century, and functioned as a way to teach women, especially orphans, a trade that would allow them to earn money independently.
The very nature of the stoplap, as a space for both precision and imperfection, is at the heart of this project. Patches that were stitched too far to the left; patches that didn’t quite fit; patches that were never finished at all. These pieces of handwork and their symbolism—embodying perfection and imperfection simultaneously—can be extended beyond their historical moment to a current generation of girls in Amsterdam.
The central elements of this project are long pieces of fabric which are printed with a graphic pattern inspired by old darning samplers—comprised of gaps and holes, these new patterns are a contemporary translation of a stoplap. Over the course of a series of working sessions at New Metropolis in Nieuw-West, teenage girls from the neighborhood were asked to restore the incomplete prints.
The conversations between the girls were recorded as a sound document.
The installation—consisting of the six large collaborative patches and the documented conversations—was on display at New Metropolis in 2019 for four months.
↳ visit stoplap.nl for more information
Or listen to de S+oplap podcast (in Dutch) at:
Spotify, Itunes or Radio Public
This project is generously supported by Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst and Creative Industries Fund NL (Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie).