24th September 2019
CELEBRATING INDIGOOD WITH CROSSING THREADS
Born as a passion project by the crafty sister duo, Lauren and Kass Hernandez, Crossing Threads has since become a highly celebrated ode to the handmade.
Born as a passion project by the crafty sister duo, Lauren and Kass Hernandez, Crossing Threads has since become a highly celebrated ode to the handmade. Their creations are resourcefully made from pre-loved, un-loved and upcycled materials, with inspiration owing to the beauty found in nature and the Australian landscape.
Can you give us an overview of what Crossing Threads are about? Who are you, how did it all start?
We are sisters Lauren and Kass Hernandez, and are the team behind Crossing Threads®. We create handwoven fibre art that is distinctively highly textural, organic and intricate. Based in Sydney and of Australian-Filipino heritage, we are 13 months apart and have always been supportive of each other’s creative pursuits. Whilst both of us led full-time careers in advertising and financial services, Crossing Threads® was originally born ‘a passion project’. After our first introductory workshop to tapestry weaving in early 2015, we immediately caught “weaver fever” and spent many weekends together practising and honing our craft. Through extensive experimentation, we gradually became more confident in finding our authentic voice as textile artists. This “hobby” organically grew into a “side hustle” after generating strong interest in commission work and new business via our Instagram profile. We never thought that one day we would share a creative business together that serves both an international and domestic clientele, whilst also being an artistic duo. Crossing Threads® aims to inspire, evoke emotion and conjure up memories; celebrating the innate connection that we are all threads that make up the tapestry of life.
Describe Crossing Threads in 5 words…
Ambitious, organic, textural, interconnected, authentic
What are your main inspirations/influences?
At the beach and amongst Mother Nature, we spend hours in the sun beachcombing, collecting shells, rocks, sea glass and absorbing the fluidity of the water and landscape. We also enjoy scouring co-ops, flea markets and thrift stores, seeking discontinued, discarded fibre offcuts and imagining what we can create with these treasured finds!
Ultimate creative process? Does it change form piece to piece? How long would you spend on each piece?
The ultimate creative process for a commission would be to scamp up our ideas of the piece individually and then come together to collaborate and combine the best parts of them. We each have our own different preferences in colour palette and textures. The best work that we create, is when we can remain unfiltered with our intentions concerning the artwork, yet incorporate valuable feedback along the way.
Each piece differs depending on size and complexity, but it can take up to a minimum of 60 hours to even 120 hours or more. This takes into consideration every part of the creative process from the initial briefing, fibre curation, production, work-in-progress updates with the client, installation and delivery.
Given that we work as a team but live at different places with our respective home studios, there is always a level of communication and coordination required for logistics and coordinating our schedules.
Tell us about a day/week in your lives? How do you balance Crossing Threads with your other jobs?
Crossing Threads is currently a part-time venture for both of us. Lauren works in Design and Advertising 4 days a week and Kass works in Financial Technology 3 days a week. Last year, we experienced a 6 month period of working full-time at Crossing Threads. It's always been a constant remix of tweaking the ratio of what we put on our plates, to "live and learn", as well as manifesting our desired 'balance' of what will serve us for both the business and our relationship as sisters.
We usually get Mondays together and then a day and a half over the weekend which is so productive. A lot of it does happen ‘behind the scenes, where we have different times of peak performance.
Each day may vary but generally, we would do administration and emails at the start of the day with our weekly WIP. We would then source through fibre curations, current project priorities and then the rest of the day is making and weaving. Photoshoots are taken into consideration as being able to market and document our creative process is key to building our brand. We each have our own home studios, but we literally live a 3-minute walk away from each other, which is really convenient.
Having the ‘best of both worlds’ of having a life outside of Crossing Threads has been the key consideration to ensure that we fill up our cups both individually and collectively as sisters.
Most memorable creation?
Kass: The most memorable creation would be ‘THE DIVIDE ’. This large piece made from upcycled denim and fabrics, has a large crevice that cuts through the middle of the piece. This continues to be a manifestation of how I can overcome the struggles in my life and learn how to let go and let the light in. Each time that we have been asked to recreate this, it has been a self-practice of reflection.
Lauren: ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ shown here was a pivotal piece that is currently in its forever home in Hong Kong. This piece was a well-executed commission that exemplified structural integrity and playful pops of colour. This was symbolic for our partnership as sisters as it taught us to appreciate the many ‘ups and downs’ that comes with the creative process. Also to practise gratitude and have the courage to remain unapologetically authentic.
Tell us a bit about 'COME UNDONE', the piece you have made for our upcoming Indigood event…
Handwoven by sisters Lauren and Kassandra Hernandez, this 8-panel body of work heroes the use of reclaimed, up-cycled denim. Donated jeans from Wrangler's recent Denim Exchange Project have been individually reworked and repurposed into one-of-a-kind woven panels, each embodying the past lives of the denim blended together into a sea of indigo. Look closely to see if you can spot the remnants of the denim jean and the unique textures this wondrous fibre can create. Can you guess how many jeans were used in the creation of this piece?
Something new you’ve discovered recently?
We expanded our weaving practice by learning the philosophy of ‘SAORI’, a Japanese free-weaving style that encourages self-innovation and the development of individual creativity. It is here, we are welcomed to weave without intention and to look inwards, weaving your personality onto the loom and embracing your flaws. The mark of the hand is celebrated, as well as the uniqueness of and weaving as opposed to a machine.
The “SA” of SAORI has the same meaning as the first syllable of the word “SAI”. It means that everything has its own individual dignity. The “ORI” of SAORI means weaving. - Misao Jo (Creator of SAORI).
This style of weaving allows us to create a cloth that is a unique representation of what life is currently like, transferring your energy onto the loom and seeing it unroll via colour and texture. We instantly fell in love with the way the soft woven cloth drapes, evoking a dynamic balance of movement and formality. This level of restraint is a strong contrast to our previous frame-loom artworks which are highly textural, tactile and dense in nature.
Describe any other positive action projects you’ve worked on/working with?
We always opt to use natural fibres such as Merino wool, Alpaca, bamboo, silk and linen as not only it offers such a distinctive finish compared to synthetics, but we also try to tread lighter on the environment whenever we can. Our sari silks are sourced from a supplier from India who up-cycles old saris into fabric yarn to be reused as well as respinning cutting-room floor thread into bespoke yarn.
More of our heavily textured work features upcycled denim and upholstery, where we frequently visit local co-ops where off-cuts and discontinued fabrics are donated. We also receive donations from our family and friends. Being resourceful and breathing “new life into the old” is just one way we can reduce textile waste, but also challenges us to be more innovative with our designs and fibre curations.
Our warp thread has been carefully considered as we require a large volume to prepare the fundamental basis for our woven panels. We have selected Organic Egyptian Cotton Yarn by Venne which has received a GOTS Certification (The Global Organic Textile Standard).
We’ve made a conscious decision to invest in these quality fibres that do not only offer natural luster whilst maintaining softness, but also tread lighter on the environment whenever we can.
Why is it important that the textiles industry improve their production processes?
Being artisanal weavers ourselves, we can appreciate the high, labour-intensive component in the handmade and ‘slow-art’ production process. We believe that the textile industry could reduce wastage by focusing on creating higher quality garments and textile furnishings that will last longer, resulting in people consuming less. Given that we use fibres on a daily basis, we can appreciate how much energy, water and waste is created in the production process.
If practices are not closely reviewed, future generations will no longer be able to experience the beauty and value of today’s natural environment.
Do you think people are becoming more aware of what goes into making their clothing?
Today, we have witnessed the uprise of the ‘conscious consumer’ who leans towards and opts for more sustainable alternatives. We do see a growing awareness in people asking what the material composition is of their clothing, what labour production is involved and if any fair-trade practices have been implemented. Everyone has the power to their part, whether it be investing in higher-quality made clothing, engaging in second-hand markets to re-use and repurpose and going as far as calling for further accountability and transparency for the key clothing retailers via social media.
What should we be doing to improve the situation?
More transparency of the supply chain is required from the textile industry in order for us to know the direct impact on the environment and the labourers involved. Through education and campaigns such as Wrangler’s Indigood initiatives, we can shed light on the need to act by example. Also, we call people to support those suppliers who place importance on sustainability, via their purchasing power.
Through the artwork created by Crossing Threads, we would like to heighten the detrimental effects of dead stock and its impact on landfill. To hero the use of pre-loved denim and upcycled fabrics, we have repurposed this ‘waste’ into an artwork, as a visual metaphor of hope.
How crucial is it to have a good pair of jeans in your wardrobe?
This is a must, as each pair gets better with age and moulds to your body over time. Investing in higher-quality jeans ensures that you can minimise your consumption and tread lighter on the environment. Plus being a wardrobe staple, you need to get it right!
Favourite Indigood item?
Personally we love the 27WW Women’s Western Shirt, as this is a timeless piece that is so versatile and comfortable! We love that the production process uses 99% less water in the dyeing process and made up of 28% recycled cotton. Not only can you dress it up or down depending on the occasion, but this silhouette is also so relevant to the modern-day female.
Be sure to check out Crossing Thread’s website and subscribe to their newsletter here, where you will be the first to know about new collection release dates and online store.
Experience our handwoven textile art in person, via Gallery 76 who will present our first solo exhibition titled ‘DUALITY’. Showing February 1-29, 2020 with an opening night on February 1st. Our artwork will celebrate the innovative use of upcycled materials, explore our unconditional relationship as sisters and the reconciliation of our Australian-Filipino identity.
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