Sarah Larock: Dutch Klederdracht
Posted: Mar 22nd, 2023 | Gathering

In the video below Sarah Larock talks about a jacket from the Netherlands. Sarah has been working on reproducing a klederdracht, a Dutch historical outfit, as a way to connect with her Oma or grandmother and learn more about her Dutch heritage. Sarah believes that garments like this one in the Museum’s collection can teach so much about culture and history.   

Sarah’s Oma is her last living grandparent, who immigrated to Canada with her sister in the 50s from the Netherlands. The sisters worked as seamstresses in Toronto for theatre companies, until Oma met Sarah’s Opa or grandfather, and they moved to a farm in rural Ontario. She taught Sarah’s mother to sew, who then taught her daughter. Sewing is one of the ways Oma and Sarah connect despite language barriers, hearing loss, dementia, and distance.   

In response to Sarah’s correspondence, the Muzee Scheveningen in the Netherlands generously invited Sarah’s mother into their archives to take a closer look at garments from the early 19th century. Sarah is interested in comparing the jacket from the Textile Museum’s collection to the 1750s-1830s Dutch working women’s outfits from Scheveningen.  

Below is the image of the piece that inspired Sarah to create her response. Learn more about this piece in our online collection by clicking on the live link below.

Jacket (klederdracht) [T92.0318]
Europe: Western Europe, Netherlands, Zaanstreek, 1775 – 1780
Gift of Dr. Howard Gorman to the Textile Museum of Canada

Sarah Larock is a mixed media artist, writer, and senior grants officer for a national 2SLGBTQI organization. She has an M.A. in Criminology and Sociolegal Studies from the University of Toronto, a decade of queer youth community work experience, and a few years in agriculture to round things out. Larock loves genre fiction (fantasy and horror), making her own clothes, creating colorful and whimsical nature- and identity-inspired art, and caring for her pets.   

This work is created as part of Gathering, the inaugural installation of our new Collection Gallery, featuring community stories told through our global collection. Grounded in community participation, the installation presents over 40 pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection of over 15,000 objects from around the world. Choices of objects, responses, and retellings were gathered via open online calls for reflection, through partnerships with local organizations, and through artists’ interventions. Gathering explores themes related to migration and diaspora, the search for comfort in the domestic and familial, reclamation of ancestral traditions through contemporary artistic responses, and the relationship between textiles and the environment. 

This video is part of a digital project generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now initiative.

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