Letter from the Co-Editors
As capitalism continues to parade its paranoia of scarcity, we are cautioned about the negative impacts of excess, characterized as frivolous, privileged, and obscene. What would it mean to divorce the ethics of value from the requirement of a limit or uncrossable boundary? Maximalism — in its many definitions — allows for such a destabilization of value, with tactics that embrace the excessive, flamboyant, and ostentatious, overloading the senses in the interest of expressive freedom.
For the sixth volume of Feral Fabric Journal we want to consider the radical applications and perspectives of Maximalism through its engagement with clothing, textile, and fiber arts.
As editors of this issue, we wondered how a maximalist approach to textiles (or the bodies and spaces that covet them) allow us to reinterpret, re-imagine, and reject the same systems or ideals that would deem those selfsame practices as “too much.” We’ve chosen contributors who engage with maximalism or a maximalist approach through a unique, expanded, or nuanced access to notions of personal or collective identity, joy, desire, and more.
We are very excited about the ethos and vitality of the content that you lucky readers will find in this issue. In alphabetical order: Jackie Andrews’ feature titled “Maximalism, Queer Clown Core, & The New Gilded Baroque'' explores queer aesthetics and the intersections of clown core and maximalism as a coping mechanism for the individual: a complicated mixture of defiantly joyful self-expression tinged with the nihilism of our current American moment that echoes the excesses of the Baroque and Rococo periods, both visually and socio-politically. LiLi K. Bright’s highlight, “Sewing From Scraps: Extravagance, But Make It Equitable,” takes us on a personal journey of discovering the potentiality of fabric as a catalyst for new modes of comfort and revolution. Liz Collins’ Artist Spotlight considers her own aggressively patterned textile-based work connected to the concept of maximalism and the decorative as an act of Feminist resistance. Kico Le Strange’s photo essay “Category is…..Strange'' presents the artist, performer, and fashion designer’s top looks he’s created, sectioned into categories that reference ballroom culture and illustrate the evolution of an expert maker. Last but not least, legendary Bay Area drag queens Kochina Rude and Vivvyanne Forevermore take a deep dive into the topic of Maximalism called “We Want it All,” where they interview each other about what it means to be the most, and embracing a “more is more” approach to fostering community, experience, and connection in the nightclub world and beyond. This multitude of thinking, images, and approaches found in this issue embodies the uninhibited spirit of maximalism that we subscribe to: one that unlocks the joy and potency of accepting everything in a way that defends that nothing is off limits.
We thank all of the excellent co-conspirators listed here and were delighted by the enthusiasm for such a plentiful topic. Many thanks to all for contributing and to all for reading. And a special thanks to the greatest hosts Amanda Walters and Paulina Berczynski for inviting us to take on this project and having us on as part of the Feral Fabric team.
With boundless, maximal appreciation,
Co-Editors, Sienna Freeman and Forrest McGarvey