Iris Häussler: Honest Threads
“The concept is simple: Häussler borrowed items of clothing from individuals who provided her with a story about them and a photo of the item in use. So a pair of black patent leather shoes loaned by the Mirvish family was accompanied by a text attesting that these shoes were a part of Ed’s everyday apparel and a photo showing him wearing them to throw out the opening pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game.
Other stories and artefacts were more moving, even heartbreaking. Georgiana Uhlyarik’s yellow hat, for instance, was knitted by her mother in Romania the year Georgiana was born. Molly Sukaitis’s white wedding dress honors her marriage to the man whole life included escape from a Nazi concentration camp and eventual emigration to Canada, where, she writes, “he reckoned that everyone except aboriginals were foreigners. And Leo Kabilisa’s plain white shirt was given to him by a friend as they made their narrow escape from Rwanda in the midst of the 1994 genocide that devastated the country.
Honest Threads presented clothing as objects that have become invested with extraordinary significance and poignancy. To intimately share in these stories can be an emotionally costly experience, but if Iris Häussler has accomplished anything, it is to remind us that this is a price well worth paying.”
Gil McElroy, Iris Häussler: Honest Threads, in FiberArts Magazine, Summer 2009, Volume 36, Number 1, p.56