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Mia Vilcins

Pig In a Poke, Cat Out of The Bag



Pig In a Poke, Cat Out of The Bag

 

Visual art curiosity, and wearable tie-on pocket bags

Cotton, Thread, Metal Threads, Beads, Vintage Metal Figurines

 

Phrases that we use in day to day life often have lost or hidden origin.

With this dual sided piece, Mia looks at the etymology of the idioms ‘Don’t buy a Pig in a Poke’ and ‘Don’t let the Cat out of the Bag’, expressions that vary slightly in wording but with a sentiment that occurs in many languages and cultures.

 

A suckling pig to cook for dinner was often bought at market, carried in a cloth sack, or ‘poke’, from the French ‘poque’, which is the etymon of ‘pocket’ and ‘pouch’.

To purchase the pig without first looking inside the sack was foolish as one would not know the quality of the item inside, resulting in the advice ‘Don’t buy a Pig in a Poke’.

 

The narrative is that sometimes the pig would be replaced with a cat, with the buyer unaware until they got home.

To ‘Let the Cat out of the Bag’ is to reveal the secret of this deception.

 

Historically pockets were separate from outer clothing, with one set of pockets worn underneath each outfit. Pockets were often in cotton, and hand decorated to personalise with detailed embroidery. Fascinated by social history, Mia has worked on a series of pockets combining fashion history and modern day topics.

 

Mia has sewn the fabric pockets and decorated using traditional embroidery techniques, including ‘goldwork’ sewing with metal threads.

The main fabric is repurposed cotton.

 

Mia enjoys discovering items in flea markets and second hand stores for trinkets to support and inspire her designs, and bring an element of history to the pieces. This piece includes vintage cat and pig figurines discovered on such a treasure hunt.

Please note that the vintage elements of the piece will contain signs of use over the years, what they lack in perfection, they make up for in character.

Follow Mia to see more at instagram.com/miavilcins/

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