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MaDe Participant

Emma Bruschi

Rye Straw

(* 1995, lives in Geneva and works in Paris and Geneva)

Material experimentation and craftsmanship are at the heart of Emma Bruschi’s work, for which she uses the territory as a raw material, inspired by these personal places. A certain nostalgia, calm and slow emerges from its collections. She is inspired to create her pieces by rural and agricultural clothing, workwear, fauna and flora and all the know-how that derives from it. At the time, she is passionate about biotechnology, which she considers it as a new form of craftsmanship. It is an issue for her to succeed in growing her own materials.

Emma Bruschi is from Marseille, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design from the Saint-Luc Tournai School of Art in Belgium, and has just finished her master’s degree in fashion design and accessories. In parallel with her studies, she trains with professionals to learn forgotten craft techniques.

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Project Information
Material Qualities
Colour: Beige
Soft/ Hard: Brittle
Shiny / Matte: Shiny
Smells: Hay, neutral
Texture: Smooth and tubular
Others: Long and fine
Material Recipe
There is an infinity of ways to work straw. The process behind this technique is to turn straw that is brittle and thick into a light yarn. For my part I buy rye straw to a french farmer. The straw must then be worked constantly wet to make it flexible and for example divide it into 5 distinct parts. The straw can then adapt to all kinds of existing craft techniques such as embroidery, basketry, crochet, weaving ... The strands can then be twisted into a rope called "Tortillions". I then assemble the "Tortillions" end to end to have a long thread. Once dry, the straw keeps the shape it has been given.
Material Application
- Fashion accessories: Bag, shoes, jewelry, hats ...
- Agricultural tools: Basket, hats, brooms ...
- Decoration and interior furniture: Lighting, basket, decoration, furniture ...
- Artistic pieces: marquetry, installation, performance suit, exhibition ...
- Stationery, high-end craft paper.
Material Method
- You can grow your own straw or buy it from a local producer
- Dye it with vegetable dyes (optional)
- Put into the water
- Divide the straw using a specific tool into 5 separate parts
- Make a rope with 3 strands called "tortillions"
- Tie the thin strings together to make a long thread
- Use the rope like a cotton thread to crochet
Material Narrative
Straw is a material that has been proven for thousands of years, it has been used in most cultures to feed animals, energy resources, building materials, paper, furniture, hats ... It was then little to little extent replaced by synthetic materials derived from petroleum. I think that today it would be interesting to reintroduce the straw by modernizing it and by proposing a traditional material taking advantage of infrastructures and contemporary industry. I had the chance to discover straw crafts through the straw museum in Wohlen (Switzerland), I learned that in this city the straw was first a domestic craft and then a global industry that made the region live, the industry then declined in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The straw has already been industrialized and I would like to relaunch this activity in the city of Wohlen. Straw offers many opportunities but the one that interests me the most is design in general and especially the fashion accessory because it is my initial training. I would like to produce objects for straw farmers but also fashion accessories for the general public. The work of the straw made by hand is very long to realize therefore very expensive while with a part the production industrialized locally we could arrive at products of very good quality while remaining affordable.

It’s a material that touches me because it really represents this opposition between the robust life of the people of the countryside and their attention to detail for materials that finally become luxurious.
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MaDe, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of The European Union, aims at boosting talents towards circular economies across Europe partnering with design and cultural institutions, Elisava, Ma-tt-er and Politecnico di Milano.

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