Even if we answer this question with a “ja, hoor,” most of us just crumple up the receipt and toss it in the trash at in the store or at home. The same goes for food packaging; we just tear things open and use what is inside.
Not Dagmar! Dagmar Stap, a Groningen-based embroidery and felting extraordinaire, feels a nostalgic connection to receipts and pretty packaging.
“I want to hold on to what I consume and to the memory of it,” she said.
Her work, which combines multicoloured thread, felt, and other fabrics, seeks to preserve foods that she has eaten or receipts from experiences she has had.
From Flat to Fabric
Dagmar, originally from Friesland, came to Groningen to study illustration at Minerva. However, during the last year of her studies, she picked up her childhood hobby of embroidery again and decided to take her designs from 2D to 3D.
She was inspired by felted plants that she saw on Instagram, but what kicked off her desire to make permanent what most of us throw away was a walk through an Asian supermarket.
“I was inspired by the colours and the intricate illustrations that covered the foods I saw," she remembered.
To this day, her favorite piece is still her first: a sachet of Yum Yum chicken-flavored noodles purchased at one of these stores.
Calm and Collected
Dagmar’s studio contains a box full of packaging which she finds pleasing to the eye: candy wrappers, tea boxes, and more. She is also attracted to the clean and systematic design of receipts and finds their pattern soothing.
This calming element of her work is present throughout the process of construction. By putting on podcasts, movies, and trash TV shows such as Temptation Island on in the background, Dagmar is able to destress and feel connected to what she has consumed.
Dagmar’s pieces have previously been displayed in galleries in Amsterdam and Lisse, but she also frequently receives DMs on Instagram asking for specific packaging or receipts, although it is often hard for her to bid them farewell.
“I find it difficult to relinquish my projects after they are complete. I spend so much time with them, and they are connected to nostalgic feelings, so they are often hard to part ways with,” she remarked.
City Central Expo
Now on display in our shop, you can admire and purchase a wide range of her vibrant product replicas, most of which take her two weeks of full-time work to finish.
Her black-and-white receipts, although less time-consuming, invite onlookers to use their imagination and think up stories behind the items that were ordered at restaurants or purchased in stores.
And next time you go to throw away a receipt or cardboard carton, take a moment to think like Dagmar: what tale does this tell? How does what I consume reflect who I am?