Florilege: Sewing, Eating (and) Knowledge-Making

20 April 2019

A workshop led by Rebecca Jagoe and Fabienne Gassmann

Saturday, 20 April, 2-6pm

For the first public iteration of Florilege–research and collaborative project between Rebecca Jagoe, Nils Alix-Tabeling and curator Carolina Ongaro–Jupiter Woods invites you to a workshop on embroidery and knowledge-making led by Rebecca Jagoe and Fabienne Gassmann.

Drawing from their interest in the intricate and complex histories of luxury, Western medicine, and the stigmatization of gender and sexuality, Jagoe integrates text and embroidery as paths for the production of knowledge.

Embroidery and the act of producing a material, luxury garment, focuses the act of sewing as a slow activity, and suggests an alternative to models of production in which speed is considered optimal, and time is synonymous with economics. The historical association of embroidery with femininity (with both taken as synonyms for weakness), will also be considered and challenged here through addressing the relationship between time and gender. The workshop also considers alternative modes beyond reading and writing for inscribing knowledge, incorporation as a mode of learning, and the possible textuality associated with food ingestion.

The workshop will be one of improvisational embroidery, using visual and textual stimuli as a departure point. We will learn some basic embroidery techniques, and will integrate reading with the act of sewing; not necessarily with a view to creating perfectly honed objects, but rather to see how knowledge transmits through these different stimuli and activities.


Rebecca Jagoe is an artist, art writer, and editor. In their practice, they examine the formation of queer femme identity under the discourse of Western medicine and the aesthetics of high fashion. They are currently undertaking the collaborative research project ‘Florilege’ at Jupiter Woods with Nils Alix Tabeling and Carolina Ongaro, exploring queer medievalism and occult, herbalist knowledge. They recently co-edited the book ON VIOLENCE with Sharon Kivland. Their writing is being published in the forthcoming Happy Hypocrite (The Silver Bandage) and ‘Nerve Storms’ was recently published in Orlando Magazine. Recent shows and performances include Death and life are squeezed onto each other and time spills, Yaby Projects, Madrid; Hypersea, Art Monte Carlo, Monaco, Many lightyears in space I’ll wait for you, Cubitt Gallery, London (all 2018).

Fabienne Gassmann is a designer working at the intersection of fashion, craft and social commentary. She studied knitwear at the RCA and fashion with a focus on sustainability at Goldsmith’s College, London. Her interest lies in stretching the industry-led definition of fashion by focusing on the value of crafts. Hand knitting, specifically lace and embroidery techniques are skills Gassmann chose to acquire, consciously applying them with the aim of creating a new critical narrative. The preservation of textile skills and cross-cultural traditions of making is an essential foundation of her work. She applies craft techniques commercially in bespoke costume making, catwalk showpieces and her own design practice. The debate around sustainable materials and slow production has revived the relevance of craft in Fabienne Gassmann’s approach to fashion. By up-cycling dead stock materials such as RAF parachute she is working out a new material discourse in light of very finite resources.


Florilege is a collaborative project between artists Nils Alix-Tabeling, Rebecca Jagoe and curator Carolina Ongaro. Fluctuating between research, collective learning and forms of display, Florilege wishes to investigate approaches to knowledge-making, through engaging with the body and systems of interdependency. Medicine and forms of healing in particular will be closely considered and questioned, including their affects on spheres of life spanning the human and non-human.

Looking into medieval history and early modern cultures in the form of manuscripts, the project reads the margins as a trope in order to think about boundaries – those that contain and those that are crossed. In particular, the images at the edges of these manuscripts (referenced by art historian Michael Camille as a metaphor for the outlawed) open a reflection on extra-textual spaces of representation, and the outside as a meaningful and productive territory for ambiguity.

Standing both for herbier as well as an assemblage of pre-written texts, Florilege will gather writing and ephemera as a collection of disparate forms of knowledge in the form of a book, involving multiple collaborators and re-using classical forms of medical folios. The aim is to trouble medicine and Western science as ideologies or systems of collectively validated beliefs—and to suggest novel ways of interpreting the relations of the body with the world.

The project will unfold January - July 2019, and will be punctuated by some events. Please check out programme or send us an email at info@jupiterwoods.com if you wish to receive further information.

Florilege is kindly supported by Arts Council England and Fluxus Arts Projects