Squishy Flesh Suits Quilted by Textile Artist Daisy Collingridge
London-based artist Daisy Collingridge layers amorphous blobs of fabric and textiles to form wearable pastel-colored body suits. With names like Burt, Clive, and Lippy, each member of Collingridge’s family has a personality that matches his/her form. Inspired by human anatomy and infused with elements of fantasy and impulse, the artist says that the costumes are an exercise in “pushing quilting to the absolute extreme.”
Each new character begins with the construction of the head. Hand-dyed jersey and other fabric patterns are filled with plastic pellets (beans) and sewn together to form blobs in various shapes and sizes. After the underlying body structure has been formed, Collingridge begins the process of hand-stitching the blobs to the wadding. She tells Colossal that she has never clocked the process but would estimate that it takes around two months on average. The “Dave” suit is named for and modeled by her father who requested it. The others are named “like children,” and are worn and photographed by the artist herself using a remote.
After graduating with a degree in fashion design from Central Saint Martins, Collingridge created her first costume in 2016 for the New Zealand-based design competition, World of Wearable Art. “The squishy idea definitely came from my graduate collection, which was all free machine quilted, but all done with really fat wadding,” she told Dazed Digital. “It wasn’t really your traditional patchwork quilt.”
Some have read Collingridge’s costumes as a commentary on body image and body ideals. “It’s really fascinating because as much as I can tell people what they mean or why I make these costumes, everyone comes at it with such a different view,” she told Dazed. “They are reflective of the human form with elements of fantasy. They neither promote or demote one body type. The idea there is an ‘ideal body’ is ridiculous. We are all so different, my work is more about the ‘ideal’ way to inhabit a body. To be joyous. They bring me joy to create and I hope that is reflected.”
Collingridge tells Colossal that her “Clive” costume is currently on tour as a part of 62 Group’s Ctrl/Shift exhibition, while the rest are at her human family’s home. “My dad unpacked Dave, who has been sitting in the living room over the festive period. He was even treated some Christmas lights.” To see the artist create and model the squishy bodies, follow her on Instagram.