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  The Exquisite Corpse Project: Collaborative Garment Design
Today's sweater is a rare and special bird. Last Fall I was given the opportunity to produce an art-sweater for ESOPUS magazine -- a very special publication that is produced by the ESOPUS foundation here in New York (read more about the ESOPUS Foundation here). I spun my wheels on this project for quite a while trying to think of a way of incorporating knitting into the publication in a fresh and interesting way. After enduring a long creative void, I found myself thinking about the Exquisite Corpse process-drawings that were done by Surrealists in the 1920's

The Exquisite Corpse Project

The Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative process in which multiple artists create a single image (typically the human figure) in sequence with one another. Each artist is permitted only a glimpse at the contribution of the previous artist without knowing its connection to the whole. The imaginative drawings that are created in this way are spontaneous, random, and very interesting.

The Exquisite Corpse Project

With this process in mind came the spark of an idea for a design experiment that resulted in the sweater you see photographed here.

The Exquisite Corpse Project

I got in contact with a few of my favorite indie-designers to see if they were up for a design challenge: to create a collaborative garment in random sequence working directly off of the piece or pieces that were presented to them from the previous designer. Starting with a general set of garment dimensions provided by me (so that the garment would fit the body at the conclusion of the process) each designer was given complete creative freedom for their portion of the sweater.

The Exquisite Corpse Project

I chose a bulky, rustic sheepswool in hopes that the materials would inspire textural experimentation and highlight the multi-directional quality of the fabrics. As you can see from the images, the garment is a veritable explosion of texture!

The Exquisite Corpse Project

The designers who collaborated on this project, each from a different location around the country, were: Connie Chang Chinchio, Tanis Gray, Carrie Hoge, Melissa LaBarre & Elli Stubenrauch.

The Exquisite Corpse Project

Below is a schematic of the finished garment, a Dolman cardigan, and how each designers contribution comes together to create the finished whole.

The Exquisite Corpse Project

It was a wonderful experiment and created a garment that I find interesting for so many reasons. The magazine is accompanied by a gallery show in which all pieces from the current issue are on view at the ESOPUS space in New York. For those readers who are local, click here for the show information if you'd like to see the physical garment on view at the gallery.

The Exquisite Corpse Project

I want to give a special thank you to all the designers who joined me to put this together as well as my lovely model (does she look familiar? Yes, that's famed Cookie A. looking fierce).

The Exquisite Corpse Project

The garment is a true one-of-a-kind and the result of each designers immediate response to the garment pieces as they were presented to them. I hope you enjoy it!

it is amazing.

WOW! that's gorgeous. Shame it's a one off ;)

What an amazing peace of art! You and the other designers are so tallented!!! Congratulations to everyone!

You and Cookie and all of those other designers are freaking awesome. Love the cardi/jacket!

LOVE it, Jared (and Connie, Tanis, Carrie, Melissa, and Elli, too!). Seriously. Brilliant idea, love the inspiration and the product is kickass, too. So much love.

Knitting at it's best, spontaneous, fun, ingenious, collaborative, beautiful. Fantastic!

that's absolutely fabulous. An amazing piece of art.

thanks again for asking me to participate! the final result was so great. i loved being a part of it!

What a piece of art! Love all the designer's creation..

Truly brilliant...

simply amazing!!!! too bad there isn't a pattern... Phenomenal everyone!

Very cool!

Oh my goodness, what a brilliant idea! I love it.

Any chance you'll all collaborate again to write the pattern? This sweater is absolutely gorgeous.

That is fantastically cool! (In all senses of the word 'fantastic'!)

I am head over heels for those sleeves and cuffs... planting the seeds of an idea, indeed.

That is stunning! I love it!

Love, Love, Love the bottom with the hardware beads!!

What an amazing piece of art. I only wish I was close enough to view it in person. Congratulations to you and the other artists for pulling off such a unique and wonderful creation.

Amazing! I love the idea. Congratulations on a spectacular collaboration!


What a fabulous project! Love it!

Truly a Herculean effort on everyone's part. The finished project is awesome, the model is beautiful and the photography, as always, is stunning.

This is really, really cool. And gorgeous photos, as usual.

Very very cool. Cute model, too. :)

Awesome! A collaboration of talent that turned out an amazing (& wearable) piece of art! That type of project, where mutual-trust and mysterday is integral, is so courageous, not for the faint of heart. Congratulations!

'brilliant' is the word that comes to my head immediatly. Congratulations to all of you, but mostly to Jared who came up with the exquisite corpse idea.

The energy contained within the pattern frame almost BOUNDS from the photographs. I was thinking about that energy and wondering what would happen if, privately, each of the designers spun off from her/his own section(s) so that offspring-projects were created, making the original a sort of seed pod....Not a surrealist idea; more of an organic one.

Like they said "WOW!" that's just kind of amazing! You guys are awesome together.

Wonderful!!! I just wish it weren't a one off, but that we could get the pattern for this - wow!!!!

Truly a work of art! I love it!!!

Exquisite indeed! Everything about this is stunning. I'm just sad there won't be a pattern made available. I would totally make that!

Took my breath away!

Took my breath away

What a great result, and how grand ot have all the talents participate.

Well... when will you try this again? The notion of actually getting a fit result is pretty staggering.

Best wishes!

Wow--what a fabulous idea. The finished product is amazing. I especially like the choice of model--I can't think of anyone better!

This is a really interesting to create.

Wow its like an explosion of creativity and texture and yet it all comes together into a gorgeous piece. Lucky Cookie to get to wear it!

That is truly amazing, a testament to innovation and creativity!

i cannot find the right words for this wonderful cardigan...auch nicht in deutsch...greetings from germany....colette

That is a fantastically brilliant, beautiful sweater. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Wow! It's sooooo gorgeous! Love everything about it! :)

That takes the cake!

It is an explosion of texture! Wow! So much talent to (the list of people is impressive). What a great idea. The result is amazing!

amazing...please do a pattern....for those of us who are design challenged. You are a true artist and continually inspiring!

what a wonderous piece.

An explosion of texture, indeed! I love it!

I love this! And Cookie A. looks fantastic.

What an interesting and unique garment! Very cool idea.

that's beautiful - are you sure you don't want to make a pattern out of it?

The cuffs are to die for!

I LOVE this idea. What a brilliant piece of art you have all created. It is truly gorgeous and innovative!


Gorgeous sweater and ass kicking model. What a great idea!

I'm clearly on my own, but I don't like it. Until this you could do no wrong; lace with aran weight, tweed, shades of grey, all delightful. But this? Fun, I'm sure but attractive? No!

It's genius!

Jared another amazing beautiful brainchild! I've been a long-time fan of your fiber creations and your photographic ones.

This was such a great idea, and what an fantastic sweater at the end!

I was wondering, if you were to make it available (which would be great for so many reasons, among which, I think kintters who generally are very faithful to the pattern because of their own meager imaginations( like me), might feel more free to change, adapt, put in more of, take out a tad of...

I realize selling it could get confusing with so many designers, and perhaps, but I have no idea here, not in the spirit of what you were seeking. (Personally, I think creativity deserves all kinds of recognition, including monetary!)

Anyhow, if payment divies became an issue perhaps the proceeds or part of the proceeds could go to a 'good cause'. Which is not at all to imply in the least that paying designers for their imagination and technique and getting it all to work (often in a zillion sizes), isn't worth payment. I think it's worth LOTS of payment, so when I run the world... But in the meantime, some charity aspect might be fun, and you never know might also bump up the sales. (As if you'd need to with all those knittng rockstars joining in. Perhaps it's the beginning of KnitAid? (nay, bad bad bad name, but genetically, I'm incapably of sharing even the worst of puns. I am truly sorry about that.

Yours was one of the first blogs I found, and now that my blogroll of 'must read all 20 everyday" (ha!, guess how that turned out), is down to about 5 I read regularly, your's is right in there! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity and your absolutely wonderful creations.


Brilliant idea indeed. The whole is truly more than the sum of its parts. :)

Cool idea. The finished product is very interesting, I love all the different textures going this way and that.

That sounds like a lot of fun to do. What an interesting way to collaborate.

What an interesting, fascinating project! I think the end result looks fabulous!

Inspiring! I want to try this at home. Any suggestions about how to organize such a project?

unique. beautiful. the collaboration is a brilliant idea, and the execution is lovely.

How cool is this!!! How about some of us budding designers start a group on ravelry and pass a design .project around to each other?? Jared would you do a tutorial on how to get this started?

Fabulous. vk

I love the details, specially the nuts used as beads, I can't stop looking at them.

That is absolutely fantastic. And yes I recognized Cookie A. right away!

Sigh. You are brilliant.

Crazy and great! :D

Cookie A. is fierce. So is that sweater:)

indeed a brilliant creation by your team. when might a pattern be available for purchase?

Simply stunning! I LOVE the bottom of the sleeve.

Gorgeous- I would love to feel its various textures in person...

Beautiful! Your work is really fabulous. The color, the design is perfect. Delicious creation!

Oh, I LOVE that cardigan. What are the chances of getting a pattern?
Beth in OK

I love it!Looks so warm and it has a really nice design!I would love to have one too to keep me warm!
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