Walking Costume

Kathryn McTaggart

Walking Costume, 2020.
Hand sewn harness; canvas, recycled fabric,
polyester, nylon, embroidery thread. 30” x 10” x 7”
Studio Art, Concordia University
Photos by Simone Joiner.

McTaggart uses a soft-sculpture garment to explore intimacy and vulnerability in Walking Costume. Curious about the performative aspect of “daily walks,” which have become embedded into our new lifestyles, McTaggart questions how we are perceived, and how we perceive our environment when we leave the comfort and safety of our homes. The work centralizes this idea of walking, and its distinct purposefulness and cyclicality. Walking is about the mechanics of the body, and yet it is cyclical and round, with the foot meeting and leaving the pavement in a regular pattern. The mapped routes of our walks take rounded shapes, as we always return to our origin. The circular nylon pantyhose give a fleshy intimacy which reflects this purposeful pattern. Sewing the garment is meditative and patterned in the same way walking is. After all, sewing is, in essence, walking a thread through fabric.

The movement and shape of the fabric reflect its role as a walking costume. When we walk, we put on a costume in preparation for our exposure to the outside. We see others on our journey, and we may be seen by them, as they embark on their own performances. Understanding this two-sided relationship of walking brings down the barrier between us and our surroundings. We may break down the fear of being exposed so as to embrace and accept our place in our environment.