a matching summer suit of cotton batik (summer 2019)

I received my first sewing machine from my mother when I was six years old. I have gone in and out of phases making different things, but sometime in the last few years, I became attached, and make things on any free weekend I can.

Though I did attend art school (DAAP, University of Cincinnati), I was a 2-D Fine Arts major, not in the fashion design track. Thus I began using and altering commercial patterns, and over the past several years have taught myself patternmaking, use the draping method primarily. I now try to make most of my clothing; my closet is approximately 2/3 my own work. I love the design and construction process, and I consider this process to be my way of actively taking a stand against the fast fashion industry, which is entangled with sweatshops and pollution.

When it comes to pairing fabrics with form, I work in three methods:

leading a tour for friends in the Sogdian painting galleries at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, May 2017 / wearing a vest that I made in 2015 of silk ikat and a silk-cotton blend fabric respectively purchased in Bukhara, Uzbekistan in 2014 and Sohag, Egypt in 2012 

1) I purchase a fabric because I adore it, often something I pick up while traveling abroad or visiting one of my favorite fabric shops (shout out to Silk Road Textiles in Cincinnati!). After that, I decide what it can become, sometimes this is instant and sometimes it takes months or even years

2) I have sketched a design and then search for the perfect fabric (certainly the most ‘normal’ approach but my least frequent approach!)

3) The ‘scrap’ garment. These garments are made entirely from scrap material leftover from other garment projects. They can also utilize recycled fabrics from garments that I no longer wear or have become worn out. This method, which relies on odd-sized pieces and combining different patterns and colors, usually produces my most innovative and beloved garments.

necklace of beads and found objects, made ca. 2010 (photo by Monica Eisner autumn 2018)

I also enjoy experimenting with the application of adornments onto clothing, ranging from embroidery and beadwork to cut-felt and corded piping details. Long before I dove into making my own garments, I started testing these techniques with jewelry making. During my undergraduate studies, I would create sculptural pieces that merged beadwork with sewing and embroidery. These works pulled together beads I would collect with found objects, ranging from beach shells to animal teeth and old coins.

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my husband Gleb and I nerdily sporting my reconstructed Sogdian kaftans (January 2018)

I have also tried my hand at reconstructing ancient garments based on both surviving textiles and their representations. Below is a photo of reconstructed men’s and women’s Sogdian kaftans, as well as a gallery of  a small selection of my garments. I regularly post my newest creations on my instagram (@hensellek).

 

 

 

 

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denim jacket trimmed in cotton batik fabric | the denim material is reversed on the shorts (spring 2020)
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a jacket of recycled vintage kimono shibori silk / trimmed and accented with scraps of shibori- and batik-dyed cotton fabrics (autumn 2019)
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my first attempt at a form-fitted top of felt | lined with roping I brought back from Turkmenistan (winter 2019)
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a machine-embroidered meshwork blouse (winter 2020)

shorts made from recycled painted silk (summer 2020)
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finally worked some cotton ikat that I picked up in Uzbekistan in the summer of 2014 into a cropped boxy blouse (autumn 2019)
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shibori denim crop tank (spring 2019)
structured top make of thick upholstery painted textile (spring 2020)
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felt beetle necklace (ca. 2011)
experimenting with skirting that can be styled in different ways (1) | printed silk, empire burlap, cotton lame (spring 2019)
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experimenting with skirting that can be styled in different ways (2) | printed silk, empire burlap, cotton lame (spring 2019)
A cropped twill cotton tank which I embroidered with beadwork while on an excavation in Turkmenistan in April 2019