INFANT SHROUDS SVEPEFILTAR
I SIN LINDA / INFANT SHROUDS
Certain questions, and things that happen to us, leave a deep imprint in our lives. And this is what happened to me when I was asked to weave small wrapping cloths for children who die during pregnancy or delivery. I then asked myself: What should these textiles look like? What should the texture feel like in one’s hand?
The research started with hand weaving the first small blankets. Sharing them with others, in exhibitions and seminars led to me having contact with parents who had experienced the loss of a child, as well as the staff in hospitals.
Gradually it was time for me to take the next step, which was to let these wrapping cloths to be tested in practice. The way I chose to take here was to design a material quality that could be industrially produced. From the basic material that was industrial woven I cut cloths that were of two sizes. I then sewed a hem on them with the help of silk or flax threads that marked a little line where the material was allowed to fray – as a simple, final touch. Frayed and incomplete – of wool and cotton – so as to hold, to give a sense of warmth, and to absorb.
Preparations for a clinical study to be launched also took place, and this study was undertaken at five different childbirth clinics. During this process, I have received valuable feedback as well as an urgent wish from a midwife, who said: We should not forget the very very small. We need wrapping cloths maybe no bigger than 45x45 centimetres that can be used in the case of late miscarriages and abortions. The study were broadened when a gyneological clinic also became part of the study.
The work and research that was once carried out alone has now come to be a process that I share with students, colleagues and friends in a Weaving Research Group at the HDK – Academy of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg. In this group we weave the smallest wrapping cloths.
To embrace, to hold and to wrap are the words that lead us – as we weave on the same loom, and encourage each other on by saying: let’s weave – and let us weave the loveliest we can.
Warping, heddling, pulling the thread, making a new warp, weaving, looking for material and new colours, cutting down, hemming, washing and felting into blanket texture and into the requested size. Maybe adding a few stitches – or not. Cutting loose ends. And last but not least - sewing a little sheet that is to accompany the wrapping blanket.
Next step of research is conducted in cooperation with Spädbarnsfonden, a charity organization that supports families that have experienced loss. Information, education and research-funding are other important activities in the organization.
Our aim is to develop the infant shroud project, scale up the project, going from a research study to implemation in clinical care.
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