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Blue Jean Sisters
Sunday 2 December

Sunday 2 December 2018 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm


A Ministry of Handmade Community Sewing Project

What is Blue Jeans Sisters?

In a nutshell: Join us and artist, Belinda Smith, to help make denim rag dolls to contribute to an artistic installation of 2000 individually handmade dolls to highlight modern slavery and exploitation in the fashion industry. 

Join us any time from 10.00am – 3.00pm.
You can stay for as long (or as little) as you like.


  • Cutting out the fabric from the pattern provided
  • Sewing the dolls
  • Stuffing the dolls

Skill level:
We welcome everyone to come help whether you have sewing skills or not.

What to bring:

  • Denim jeans you are no longer wearing
  • Blue thread
  • Morning tea and/or lunch to share (depending on how long you plan to stay. We will have endless tea and coffee available.
  • Sewing machine if you prefer to use your own
Photos taken by Natalie McComas

About the project

This project is one of seven artist and social enterprise collaborations for A Fierce Hope, the keynote exhibition for Brisbane’s newest art and cultural hub –
Adderton: house & heart of mercy, opening in June 2019. 

‘Blue Jean Sisters’ is a project by artist Belinda Smith that responds to the ethical activities of clothing brand Outland Denim – a social enterprise providing sustainable employment and training opportunities for women who have been rescued from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. 

Modern Slavery effects 45.8 million lives in many of the poorest countries and three quarters of this alarming figure are women and girls. 

The goal for the installation is to make 2000 dolls, individually handmade. While made from the same pattern and material, every doll will have its own variations in colour and workmanship – each will be individual. e collection of dolls will be installed as a group, allowing the viewer to see the overall quantity as well as observe the individual variations. 

It is hoped that people share this project and reflect on the decisions they make about the clothes they wear and how, and by who they are made.

After the exhibition the dolls will be sent to Cambodia and India to children in orphanages and rescue homes. 

About the Artist 

Belinda Smith’s creative practice has at its heart curiosity and an exploratory interest in craft practices and materiality. Her practice is heavily influenced by her family history of textile, ceramic and wood craftspeople. 

Predominantly working in the field of public art, Belinda creates site and project specific works that are developed through experimentation and research. Each project is developed through a process of inquiry and material exploration. Social, historic and environmental factors are interwoven through form and fabrication to create outcomes with a narrative specific to each project.

The opportunity to work with Outland Denim precipitated Belinda to reflect on her childhood memories of the clothing factory run by her Dad and Granny back when the local clothing industry thrived. Significant change has occurred since then and this project explores the ethics of offshore manufacturing. 

Doll + Denim 

The rag-doll is a simple object made for a child by resourceful women out of scraps and rags around the home. Historically it is soft and familiar, made with well used textiles no longer useful. Children project living qualities on to their doll – a friend, confidant, someone to care for – reenacting the mothering, friendship and care they receive from family onto the doll. A rag-doll is a symbol of innocence – it marks the time in a child’s life when they are loved and safe. It is used in this project as a symbol of the innocence lost for so many girls in the world. 

Denim is a textile connected to the every day. Indigo dyed and hard wearing, the history of denim jeans is first linked to working clothes and then became a symbol of disobedience worn by jail inmates. Over the last few decades jeans have become a staple fashion item of clothing for any wardrobe. Today the demand for denim jeans has meant that the industry has become an exploiter of human labour and environmentally destructive. Outland Denim was founded to change that – using the high demand for jeans to forge social change. 

For more information about Adderton House and A Fierce Hope, visit: www.adderton.org.au 


Sunday 2 December 2018
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
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Ministry of Handmade Studio
11 Eclipse Street
Bridgeman Downs, QLD 4035 Australia
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Julie Hillier
0414 467 405