The ‘stoplap’ is a Dutch term for the practice of teaching girls (between 13 and 15 years old) to make patches. 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—will be on display at New Metropolis in the summer of 2019 for four months. After this exhibition, the project will travel to the old orphanage BPD in Oud-Zuid for an additional two months on display.
↳ visit stoplap.nl for more information
This project is generously supported by Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst and Creative Industries Fund NL (Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie).