Scent, memory and emotion are inextricably linked in the human brain and allow a single sniff to evoke feelings of joy, comfort, and calm associated with an experience. Pallavi Padukone takes advantage of this inherent connection in Remind, a series of six fiber-based works enriched with naturally derived fragrances, which the textile artist and designer equates with her hometown of Bangalore in India.
Partly aromatherapy, partly nostalgic charm, the pieces of fiber hang from the ceiling as delicate curtains that are accessible from all sides. Padukone weaves and embroideries with thread covered with a substance of wax and resin that she developed through trial and error. “In the test phase for the coated yarn, weaving structures and embroidery techniques were tested that were best suited for the yarn. I recorded the color swatches to test their durability and how long the scent and color would last in heat and light, ”she says.
Enriched with clove, vetiver, jasmine, citronella, sandalwood or rose, the cotton yarns are also dyed by hand in a natural way, which brings the golden color of turmeric and rusty tones out of the clutch and beets to pair with a corresponding aroma. “It’s ironic that I chose a fragrance by chance when wearing masks was the new normal,” Padukone told Colossal. “The nice thing about olfactory art is that it has to be experienced personally, but I use textiles, patterns and colors to visually represent my representation of the personality of the fragrance.” A yellow-green patchwork, for example, exudes the grassy, lemon-like aroma of citronella, while sweet, musky sandalwood is paired with thick, abstract spools of thread on sepia-colored silk.
Although the fragrances are embedded in many of the works, tiny accessible pockets cover the undyed organza in “Jasmine II”, ensuring that padukone can replace the flower buds. She is currently researching other methods of replenishing, as most fragrances last between one and three months. However, the transience of what is sent is part of its appeal. She explains:
I find beauty in transience and how the color, structure and fragrance of every textile change over time. In this collection I used hand-spun recycled sari silk and cotton for my woven fabrics and embroidered them on organza silk. I am drawn to the transparency of the fabric, the way it interacts with light to visually recall the ephemeral experience of the fragrance.
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