8/1/18- Research workshop
During the research workshop today I came to understand in more depth how to initially use research images in a way that informs samples which can later be transferred onto the body. I leant that a successful double page spread consists of research, collage, mark making, sample idea, and an indication of how this can be applied to the body. My first research collage was probably my most successful, from this I came to realize that embroidery is a strength within my work, and I should utilize it more and on a larger scale. From my research images I was drawn to the ones of colourful mold and lichen, I was drawn to idea of mold and ageing because I associated corduroy with the past and the old.
Feedback & advice from Alice and my classmates in response to my research collages:
- First collage is successful, but I need to find a way to link all the collages so they don’t appear so detached from one another e.g. use yellow as a linking colour between all four collages
- Experiment with growing own mold; e.g. on a petri dish filled with agar jelly, on a piece of bread
- Consider looking at moldy food and the colours within this, do observational drawings from this
- Create samples outside the sketchbook, as they appear restricted and scaling them up could create more interesting results
- Some of my classmates interestingly found that the mold and lichen reminded them of food, and so I could also consider researching binge eating and incorporate food within the project e.g. rice paper, hundreds and thousands, edible garments?
- Contrast of foul and pretty
- Consider using pictures of vomit as another source of something gross/ugly, maybe go around London on a Sunday morning and photograph the aftermath of Saturday night (vomit on the street)
Techniques to consider
- Spray painting wadding
- Distress fabric e.g. grating the surface, tea stain, try molding fabric
Materials to consider
- Wax paper
- Rice paper
- Agar jelly
- Hundred and thousands/sprinkles
- Banana skin
I visited Fabrics Galore in Battersea in order to collect Corduroy samples. I always associate Corduroy with muted, earthy colours but wanted to see whether I could source some brightly coloured Corduroy samples. I prefer Corduroy with thicker cords as I feel this texture is more interesting and distinctive than that of needle cord. I also visited a hardware store as I find this is a great source of inspiration, I came across these bronze metal pipes and starting joining them together, this made me think about the rigid structure of corduroy, also the pipes themselves are a hardware material and therefore relates to how Corduroy is commonly used for workwear. From this I became interested in exploring the link between corduroy and workwear, and was especially drawn to pipes and electrical cords in the hardware shop.
I think the colour combination and print in my outcome is successful, and has a dramatic effect when seen in my chosen location. I particularly like the graffiti style print I created using spray paint, I think it has a good sense of energy and furthermore conveys the idea of graffiti being a means of self-expression and art as oppose to a form of vandalism.
In terms of improvement I think the model could have be styled better so as to convey a stronger sense of narrative. During the crit, Oliver commented that the white t-shirt and necklace worn by the model detracted from the jumpsuit, and I agree that the clean white t-shirt is distracting perhaps if it dirtier and stained it would blend better with the environment and not distract from the jumpsuit. My crit group also liked my fabric slashing sample and said that I could have considered incorporating this into the final garment e.g. as a cuff, also they suggested that I consider making more of a statement with the prison numbers e.g. have the prison numbers as the fabric underneath for the fabric slashing, or repeat the numbers to create an added element of print. When discussing the concept of my project with my crit group they said I could consider conveying this concept more within the location chosen for my photographs e.g. prison bars in the background, mug shot style.
I admired one of the textile student’s work where they looked at mold as a source of inspiration. They created a sample combining clear PVC, neon yellow machine embroidery, and pink faux fur. I admired the variety of textures and colours within the sample, along with the unusual colour combination of neon yellow and light pink. I have always steered clear of neon colour as I feel they can look cheap and tacky, but after seeing this student’s work I have changed my opinion on this. Within the Fashion pathway I admired Bella’s work, particularly her outcome that consisted of a performance where a model wore white and was gradually immersed in paint. She printed out photographs that captured the byproduct of covering the garment in paint (this being the paint on the floor bellow); I liked how she drew the viewer’s attention to the byproduct as it shows a different and often discarded element.
When deciding which photographs to print out for the crit tomorrow, I considered how my choice could convey a sense of narrative. I decided that I wanted one photograph showcasing the whole garment, and in contrast I wanted two to be more abstract and close-up. I liked the photograph focusing on a chain attaching the model’s ankles together; I felt this image conveyed the entrapment and restraint experienced by the convicts in prison. I also was drawn to a close-up photograph of the quote embroidered on the leg of the jumpsuit; I feel that the font of the text conveys the graffiti inspiration of the project. When choosing the main photograph showing the whole garment I chose an image where the yellow pipes seem to flow into the garment, therefore creating a link between the location and the jumpsuit. I liked how the location and jumpsuit become one, I think this conveys the idea of my garment being alike to a piece of graffiti sprayed onto a wall.
When considering who I wanted to model the jumpsuit I thought of my friend Lydia who has pink hair, I thought her hair colour would complement the colourful jumpsuit along with the idea of self-expression.
I tried a few different locations to photograph the jumpsuit in. I was drawn to a closed off alley way which had yellow pipes trailing down the wall, I felt the colour of the pipes balanced the colour scheme of the jumpsuit, whilst also adding colour to the environment in an unusual way. Apart from the yellow pipes, I liked how the colours in this location were quite muted as it allowed the jumpsuit to stand out. I also feel that the seclusion of this area would make it a prime graffiti spot, so I have essentially ‘graffitied’ here with my garment being my form of graffiti. I took a few photos outside the Wandsworth police station but felt it was cliché, also the police station’s aesthetic was boring and wasn’t immediately identifiably as a police station. I lastly tried using a white wall with graffiti on it, but I felt that a white wall is quite a stereotypical backdrop and it lacks visual interest and narrative. I used a chain as an accessory but the effect of this wasn’t as dramatic as I wanted due to the small size of the chain links and the rusty colour, therefore it would have looked better with a bigger, orange/silver chain. I am happy with the garment but I think I could have considered the styling more e.g. use more chains, and use accessories e.g. plastic bags with the spray paint cans in them, hence suggesting the idea of the spray paint being alike to a confiscated weapon. In terms of styling I did decided to have Lydia wear a white t-shirt underneath the jumpsuit as this is typically what convicts wear underneath their jumpsuits, I also asked her to wear chunky combat boots so as to create a sense of androgyny.
Trying different locations
I sourced an orange prison jumpsuit and spray painted directly onto the garment. I considered spray painting the jumpsuit whilst it was being worn however realized the drape of the fabric would make it difficult to spray paint on, and so I needed it to be taut and flat on a wall.
From my research on prison uniforms I was drawn to the idea that they adapted under constraint. I wanted to manipulate the jumpsuit in a way that constrains the wearer, particularly constraining their hands as this conveys how prison for graffiti artists takes away their freedom of self-expression, which is their ability to graffiti. To constrain the wearers arms I sewed one sleeve physically into the side of the jumpsuit and the other sleeve I elongated and enlarged using the fabric from my previous spray paint experiment. Text has also been prominent within my work and so I decided to hand embroidery graffiti style lettering onto one leg of the jumpsuit. I embroidered a quote from Molly Manning Walker about her short film More hate than fear ‘a judicial system that values money and property over human life’ I used this quote because for me this film and the subsequent quote opened my eyes to just how corrupt our judicial system is.
The next step is to photograph the garment being worn. I will try photographing it in multiple locations e.g. outside a police station, against an illegal graffiti wall. I was thinking to photograph it in the waterloo tunnel, but considering that this is a legal area to graffiti, I felt the location wouldn’t communicate the context of my project.
Spray painted prison jumpsuit
I transferred 3 of my graffiti style print ideas onto the body using collage and mark making techniques. I wanted to experiment with multiple ways to transfer the print onto the body, and explore how this could transform an orange prison jumpsuit. I do however feel I should experiment with ways that the jumpsuit itself can be physically manipulated and changed, so that it conveys the constraints of being in prison.
I created 2 large-scale graffiti style print ideas. Inspired by graffiti artist NUG, I filmed myself during the spray paint process. The video allowed me to see the development of the print, and from watching this I could pause the video at certain points and use these stills as a separate print idea. I firstly experimented on cartridge paper, I liked how the spray paint dripped, I noticed that the closer I got to the paper the more concentrated the colour was and also the more precise and finer the line became. Although the work was inspired by what I’ve been doing in my other prints, I wanted there to be an element of spontaneity as I feel graffiti is typically spontaneous and unplanned. I then moved on to working on fabric, I found the fabric made the colours slightly less vibrant, however due to the construction and weave of fabric the pattern had a blurred effect which I think was more interesting than the cartridge paper. I will consider developing the fabric piece through sewing and manipulation, and maybe also through the incorporation of text. I enjoyed working on a large scale and found spray paint an expressive and enjoyable media to work with. I would like to now consider how to communicate the context of my project more explicitly. I like the idea of spray painting directly onto something; this made me consider spray painting directly on a prison jumpsuit hence linking the idea of graffiti and prison whilst also allowing me to show the self-expression of graffiti. I think having someone wear the jumpsuit as I spray paint it will allow me to understand the print idea in direct relation to the body.
I watched the short film ‘More hate than fear’ by Molly Manning Walker, which had an emotional effect on me. Seeing this film made me aware of just how corrupt our justice system is. After seeing this I wanted to create something that really comments on this issue and brings to light the unjust sentencing of graffiti artists.
Still from video spray painting on fabric
Still from video spray painting on cartridge paper
I feel my project lacks focus on surface texture and so I wanted to experiment with making sample that solved this problem. I found these plastic bags with a printed label saying contents and date, this made me think about how inmates must put their possessions into plastic bags before they enter the prison, therefore working with this materials seemed appropriate as it links to the concept of my project. I manipulated the surface of the plastic bag using stitching, folding and mark making, but I feel that this plastic material creates a tacky and cheap aesthetic. However, I did like the idea of working with an object that has connotations with prison, this made me consider the idea of prison uniforms, particularly the classic orange jumpsuit. I thought I could source a version of this garment and explore ways to manipulate it. I also experimented with fabric slashing (a technique I learnt on YouTube). For this I sewed together layers of fabric in straight lines, the top layer of fabric was then cut to reveal the underneath coloured layers. I like the repetition of the straight slashes within the sample; the lines almost act to remind me of prison bars.
I wanted to explore the media of spray paint today and decided to create my own graffiti styled print. Grafitti often says something to its viewer; whether that be simply a name or a more political/social message e.g. Banksy’s work. I wanted my work to comment on the ongoing debate regarding graffiti: crime or art form. For my first graffiti styled print idea I wanted to reference the incident with TOX and so included the quote “He is no Banksy, he doesn’t have the artistic skill’, I also included the words crime and art within the print but feel this was too obvious and cliché. Inspired by the works of Evan Roth I took photographs within my environment and, using my graffiti print as a reference, I drew on to the photo hence incorporating my graffiti within the environment. After some research into a specific criminal case involving the graffiti artist G.Money I decided to create a second print using direct quotes that I felt were shocking and revealed the unjust prison sentencing graffiti artists receive. I like the incorporation of text within the work as I think it acts to create a narrative. The quotes I feel act to reference the ongoing debate graffiti crime vs. art form in a more though provoking way than my first print.
I went to Shoreditch to explore the graffiti style in this area, and to see how it differs from the graffiti in the Waterloo tunnel. I found after comparing the graffiti styles they were quite similar in style and colour. Inspired by this research I created a 2D print idea, which I developed onto the body using more 3-dimensional techniques and materials e.g., bobby pins, and pipe cleaners. To further develop from these on-the-body print ideas I created a sample using a plastic bag, this material made me consider the idea of rubbish within the environment and how colour can act to mask its identity. Within this sample I explore using spray paint and would like to continue using this media within my work. I also created some mark making in response to Asger Jorn’s work, and I incorporated elements of graffiti into this. I like the expressive qualities of Jorn’s work and want my own project to be have a similar sort of energy and movement. I am quite precise and so these experiments helped push me outside of my comfort zone by allowing me to be more free and expressive, and I enjoyed thoroughly enjoyed the process.
Using mark making and a range of media e.g. oil pastels, pens, and pencils, I created an abstract response to a piece of graffiti I saw in the Waterloo tunnel; I like the painterly qualities of this piece and wanted to explore translating this response into a more 3-dimensional sample. For the sample I painted with acrylic onto chiffon and collaged drawing, beads, embroidery thread and coloured resin onto the surface, I used an embroidery hoop to frame the details within the sample, I like the combination of drawing and embroidery however I feel the sample could be more experimental in terms of textures. To develop I photocopied this sample and experimented with ways to translate it onto the body, hence creating a range of fashion print ideas. I used collage, mark making, and sewing, to create a more detail representation of the print idea on the body. I think I need to explore my use of media and techniques more as this could help push my work further by making it have more visually interest.
I wanted to consider exploring the environment I live in, this being Putney. I live near a park and thought perhaps I could consider creating collages where I combine this environment with the graffiti tunnel in Waterloo. The graffiti will act to add colour to this muted location. I also collected some bark and thought I could experiment with. The texture of bark also slightly reminded me of the texture of the graffiti walls, which I feel acts to draw a parallel between two very different environments.
After reviewing my photographs taken at the graffiti tunnel in Waterloo I was interested in a particular image of metals bars, what I was drawn to was the layers within the image. I wanted to explore this idea of layering through using mark making. I also wanted to create layers by cutting gaps in the paper hence creating a more physical layering effect. By cutting out strips of paper to create the bars I began to think about weaving and how strips of paper can be woven together alike to how fabric is made (warp and weft yarn are woven together). I explored the idea of creating a weave using graffiti photos I took in the tunnel combined with abstract drawings I did of this graffiti. I then explore transferring this onto the body, which allowed me to see how it could develop into potential print ideas. Using my photographs of the graffiti I created a range of print ideas on the body that combine collage and mark making techniques. I then developed by experimenting with techniques that made the graffiti more 3-dimenisonal e.g. I drew onto masking tape which I then manipulated by folding. I also experimented using materials like gold bubble wrap and pink bobby pins. Reflecting on this I like the use of bold, bright colours, however I feel that the work needs to have more context and narrative. I would like to develop my work by creating samples based on the graffiti patterns using more unconventional materials.
I experimented with ink today, which is a media I haven’t used before. I used the ink to draw figures in the style of Bansky, I used the pipet to draw as oppose to using a paintbrush. I like the watery, blurred effect this media creates, I also like how ink allows large areas to be quickly covered, but it also still allows precise linear drawings to be created. When using the ink to create continuous line drawings I found that the result was quite expressive, and the fluidity of the ink itself gives the drawing a better sense of movement.
I visited the graffiti tunnel in Waterloo. A tunnel is typically seen as dark, dull and uninspiring place, however the graffiti acted to transform this location into something bright and full of inspiration. Graffiti is purely 2-Dimensioanl, I think it would be interesting to explore a way to translate this into a 3-dimenisonal form e.g. spray painting onto fabric and manipulate this in sculptural way, subsequently distorting the pattern. I would like to develop some print ideas inspired by graffiti.
I took photographs of my outcome from my previous project and explored using a variety of different backdrops: white wall, lines of coloured tape on the wall, coloured tables as a background, and air vents. I found the most successful one was where I stuck coloured tape onto a white wall and had the tape continuing down along the floor. The colours of tape act to draw parallels to the colours of acrylic paint used on the dungarees. Overall I’m happy with the outcome for this project, I think it has successfully conveys the idea of blurring gender, and the bright colours and painting act to reference drag culture in an abstract way. One key thing I discovered during the process of this project is that I enjoy developing print ideas. Previously I thought I didn’t have a great sense of colour or pattern, however this project was a turning point as I came to realize how my work is actually quite dependent on colour and print.
The Basquiat exhibition was very inspiring for me and gave me a range of ideas for my ‘Colour in your Environment’ project i.e. ideas for colour schemes e.g. blue, pink, white, green, beige, & black. The colours and expressive qualities in his work are captivating, and I love the textures created with the use of mixed media. Something that I found particularly interesting was his sense of rebelliousness especially in terms of his graffiti works. On my way to the Barbican I saw two Banksy pieces that were paying tribute to Basquiat, I liked how these pieces were not within gallery walls, having them on the wall under a tunnel allows them to be presented as part of the environment. Graffiti is something I am interested in exploring within this project, as I feel it is an art form that acts to add colour and expressive qualities to an environment. What struck me about Baquiat’s work is how raw and honest it is. The childlike painting style challenges what art can be defined as, whilst also creates an innocence that is contrasted with the subjects/themes. I want to create work that is more honest and raw, and so I plan on experimenting more freely with my drawing style and use of media, I want to stop being so precious over my sketchbook and simply express what I want without fear of imperfections.
Having reflected upon the feedback from my progress tutorial, I decided to improve my outcome by increasing and emphasizing the denim gathers on the dungarees. I think this made a significant difference as the added gathers act to create a more dramatic and exaggerated silhouette. I didn’t like how the gathers seemed restricted to the lower half of the dungarees, and so to improve this I added one going up the side and across the front, which I think creates a better balance. I like how the gather at the top snakes down the side and goes into the side seam of the trousers, hence creating a sense of fluidity and movement. If I was to develop this outcome further I would consider adding more circular eye embroidered make-up pads, as I feel this is an element of the design that has become slightly lost with the new changes. The next step is photographing someone wearing the garment.
16/12/17: Improving dungarees
To gain inspiration for the ‘Colour in your environment’ project I visited the V&A. I was drawn to the jewellery section, specifically the colours of the stones within some of the pieces. However jewellery is not something I’m particularly interested in researching and exploring within this project. Next I would like to explore a location, and plan on going to the graffiti tunnel underneath Waterloo station. I have always viewed graffiti as colourful release within the urban environment, and I’m interested in the aesthetics of graffiti but also in the history and connotations tethered to it.
12/12/17: Progress Tutorial
Feedback from progress tutorial with Danielle:
- Research needs to be improved and pushed further- go to exhibitions, go to the library, explore! Get outside your comfort zone and delve deeper into more unusual areas of research, surprise the tutors
- Be constantly aware of what’s happening in the world and how this can influence your designs
- Get to design development faster within the project
- When drawing designs ensure to address the whole body
- Develop dungarees further- go crazy with the gathering
- Use more unconventional materials to create interesting surface textures
This feedback was useful as it made me realize that I need to focus more on research, as this will allow me to develop a more complex and interesting concept for my projects. Over the Christmas holiday I plan on visiting multiple exhibitions e.g. Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican, Rachel Whiteread at the Tate. I also plan on exploring new locations in London that can inform my next project e.g. the graffiti tunnel underneath Waterloo station. Danielle also mentioned Charles Jeffrey as a designer to research, although I am aware of Charles Jeffrey’s work I plan on research his designs and influences further as I think his style is very relevant to my work.
I did some developed designs along with a fashion illustration of my final outcome. I experimented with using watercolour and acrylic paints to create the different, contrasting textures within my garment e.g. I used watercolour to illustrate the distressed denim, and thick blue pen to create the structured gathers. I like the resulting effect created by combining paint, collage and pencil, I think it helps create layers within the drawing furthermore resulting in a visually exciting outcome. I did however find it difficult to draw gathers, from this I have identified that I need to practice drawing a variety of different fabric manipulation techniques, this will help me communicate ideas more clearly within my future designs.
Feedback from crit:
Areas of strength
- Use of stitching as a drawing technique
- Sampling and experimentation with unconventional materials
- Choice of colour palette is successful and links to my research
Areas for improvement
- More annotation needed in sketchbook, so that ideas are clearer
- Add mixed media within the sewn drawings to add further texture and detail
- Consider using coloured backgrounds e.g. for embroidery sample a coloured fabric would have been more successful than using calico
- Focus more on design development and ensure to use wide range of media in design drawings
Suggestions on how to develop garment
- Freestyle embroidery would add another layer of detail and texture to the dungarees; it also should be included in the outcome as it is a consistent element within the project
- Consider ways to manipulate the dungarees further and in a more dramatic way e.g. increasing the scale of the gathers
I like how my outcome successfully shows my experimentation throughout the project. I also like the positive, fun vibe it has, I enjoyed making it and I think this shows. I like working outside my sketchbook in a 3-dimensional way, however I need to remember to consistently document this in my book. I should focus more on my time management to ensure I spend equal amounts of time on samples, sketchbook work and outcome.
7/12/17: Feedback from my peers
Feedback from tutorial with Patricia:
- Project needs more drawing and use of mixed media
- Gathers on dungarees need to be denim not white cotton; the white cotton comes across as separate and detached from the dungarees, it’s better to have the dungarees and gathers linked so that they become one cohesive design
- Consider how to physically manipulate the gathers so that they are part of the dungarees e.g. cut open the seams and sew the gathers into this, the gathers could be wrapping around the leg
- Don't try and make everything so controlled, be freer as this style of working has more energy and excitement
- Consider the idea of repetition
- The embroidery sample with the face should be incorporated within the final outcome, as this is a consistent idea that runs throughout the project e.g. I could project this onto the dungarees and paint it on
This tutorial gave me ideas on how to develop the project into a final outcome. I liked the idea of enlarging the embroidery sample and painting it directly onto the dungarees. I executed this idea by tracing the outline of my embroidery onto clear acetate; this was then projected onto the dungarees, and painted on using acrylic paint. I like how the colours add a fun, playful element to the dungarees, relating to the colourful, energetic world of Iris Apfel, and drag queens. The rough, irregular texture of the paint contrasts with the denim, which I think acts to subtly allude to the contrast of femininity and masculinity. I would have liked if the red paint was more vivid as I think it doesn’t stand out as much as the other colours do.
I placed the dungarees on a mannequin and experimented with ways to incorporate denim gathers into the garment e.g. I cut open part of the seam on the side of the leg, placed the end of the gather inside this, and had it protruding out and curving down. I arranged the gathers so that they did not conceal the painted areas, but instead emphasized shapes within the painted design. I like the raised texture created by the gathers, however I feel that if they were larger and positioned higher up the dungarees it would create a more dramatic and interesting silhouette. I attached embroidered makeup pads to one of denim gathers as a way to make the 2D painted design become 3-dimensional, furthermore making all aspects of the outcome link together.
I think the top half of the dungarees is boring; this be could improve by adding stitching and having the stitches pulled tight so that they distort the shape of the top. I like the 3-dimensional sculptural shapes created on the dungaree straps, however I think this design feature is too small and therefore could go unnoticed, increasing the scale of this it would fix this problem.
6/12/17: Development of dungarees
I explored the idea of manipulating a pair of dungarees using gathering and box pleating. This method of designing 3-dimensionally I think suits my style of working; being able to physically manipulate and drape fabric allows me to more clearly visualize my design ideas. I like working 3-dimensionally as it allows me to identify areas that could be scaled up/down, changed or removed completely. For my manipulation I used a combination of white cotton drill and denim to experiment with. After reviewing the photos I felt that the white cotton fabric looked very detached from the denim dungarees, and therefore didn’t create a cohesive design. I also noticed a lack of colour in my 3D work; colour is an integral part of my project and therefore should be part of each stage in my development process. To improve from this I will experiment with ways to incorporate colour within the dungarees e.g. I will make samples.
I created samples as a way to experiment with both construction ideas and decorative ideas for the final outcome. A sample I thought was successful was where I gathered a dungaree strap and sewed the edges together to create a structured shape, I like how the strap still retains its original identity yet has a new, 3-dimensional structure. For another sample I wanted to develop a drawing I had done using embroidery; I used a photograph of the drawing (the drawing is of a face inspired by drag queens and was created digitally using virtual paints). I sewed into the drawing using embroidery threads and exaggerated certain areas e.g. for one of the eyes I enlarged the proportion of it by using a white circular makeup pad. The next step in my project will be to consider how these samples can be translated onto the body, and inform the silhouette.
Feedback from Alice on my project so far:
- Focus more on silhouette ideas
- Blind drawings where I coloured in sections are successful, do more of these
- Be broader with my research and don’t be so blinkered
- Use a wider range of drawing techniques not just linear drawings
- Bathroom tile page is underwhelming and should be more exciting e.g. addition of drawing on this page
- Think about my colour scheme as it is currently all over the place
- Response to photos doesn’t necessarily need to be in the colours used in that photo e.g. moss page could have focused on the texture and didn’t need to be all in green
- Contrast of dungarees and frills is interesting and could be explored further
- A successful double page should consist of some secondary research, some primary research, which leads on to the body e.g. through draping, and should also show careful consideration of layout
I found this feedback useful as it allowed me to identify the more/less successful areas of my project. I like the idea of exploring the contrast between feminine and masculine as I think this relates to drag queens and their combination of feminine and masculine attributes. To explore this contrast I plan on manipulating a pair of dungarees through adding gathers, pleats etc. I will take photographs of these manipulations and develop them further within my sketchbook, for example through the addition of colour.
Gathering & Pleating workshop
From seeing pictures of gathers and pleats used within other designers work e.g. Comme des Garcons ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 2016, I realized that scale and positioning can alter the effect of these manipulation techniques. The choice of fabric also plays an integral role in the effect created, for example fabrics like leather produce more structural rigid effects, as oppose to silk which is more lightweight and flexible. Repetition can also produce interesting results, especially with gathers as the more gathers attached results in more volume created.
I had some basic knowledge on fabrics before the workshop; however using these fabrics in a practical way to create pleats and gathers, allowed me to identify which fabrics work best for these manipulation techniques e.g. lightweight calico works better than medium weight calico. I had difficulty gathering the pleather fabric I brought, to solve this problem I sewed elastic onto the pleather instead of pulling the bottom thread. This showed me that lighter weight fabrics are easiest to gather, however I personally prefer gather with more structure and rigidity.
Today’s gathering and pleating workshop, and yesterday’s garment manipulation workshop, introduced me to new, practical, ways of designing and manipulating garments. I was particularly drawn to the idea of manipulating an existing garment and transforming it into something new yet also recognizable, I would like to continue using this technique within my project however I plan on using an existing garment that has more relevance to my research.
Draping on the body can be purely instinctual but can also be informed by research; I think with draping there will always be a slight lack of control, which can produce unexpected and interesting results. My drape experiments this week were purely instinctual mainly because my research was not developed enough yet, however going forward I would like to drape informed by my research.
After photographing the architectural elements of my house I wanted to experiment with ways to capture some of the textures I had observed. However, I wanted to use mark-making techniques where I was able to lack control, hence referencing the brief that addresses the idea of using chance to form ideas. I like this idea of not knowing what the outcome will be, I think that this produces effects that always surprise and can help push my work in new unexpected directions.
Techniques I experimented with:
- Dripping and letting the water control the pattern
- Using salt water and watercolour to create a speckled pattern- I used this to capture the texture of the bathroom floor tiles
- I used cling film and painted watercolour on this, then dabbed the cling film onto the paper to create random, distorted dots. I then used the sewing machine (fitted with a darning foot) to join these dots together- I used this to capture the texture of moss on the roof of my house
I like control over their work, but recently I have found this limiting and frustrating, therefore I found these techniques refreshing and fun, whilst also being successful at capturing textures. I thought the dripping technique was the least successful, mainly because the drips are too smooth and this contradicts the raised texture of moss. I thought the salt water technique produced interesting shapes on the page which could be developed into silhouette ideas for the body.
I learnt a range of new skills and techniques during the embroidery and garment manipulation workshops today e.g. macramé, and drawstring. The embroidery workshop I felt linked to the work I did over the weekend where I began to experiment with drawing using stitch, some of these embroidery techniques I learnt today e.g. chain stitch, I could incorporate within some of my stitched drawings to give added texture and also vary the stitch marks being made on the paper. I like working intricately and on a smaller scale and so I feel embroidery suited my style of working, therefore I would like to incorporate this within my project particularly within my design developments. The garment manipulation workshop introduced me to the idea of designing from an existing garment (polo shirt) as oppose to starting from scratch. I liked having a base to work with and manipulate, however I found that I felt the need to over manipulate the garment and mask its identity as oppose to allowing the polo shirt to still retain some of its original features. Chris gave me feedback that my manipulation was too busy and all the different aspects could be separated, and developed into a range of different design developments. The idea of transformation has been prevalent within my 3 areas of research (quote, image, experience); I felt the garment manipulation workshop explored this idea of transformation, therefore I feel it is a relevant technique to continue experimenting with as my project develops.
25/11/17: Fruit Machine
I took a trip to a hardware store today and found it surprisingly inspiring, seeing the range of products e.g. chains, rope etc. allowed me to consider ways I could use these unconventional materials within my work. This trip was useful as it made me learn to be more open-minded in terms of where I look for materials, as inspiration can be found in unexpected places not just fabric shops. Today I experimented with a new drawing technique where I drew with the sewing machine using a Darning foot and a continuous line. I liked the effect of this technique as there is a lack of control, which results in drawings with movement and energy, I felt my drawing in the last project was quite restricted and contained, and so this technique allowed me to come out of my comfort zone and produce something more free. I feel that this technique is suited to my practical style of working, and also produces relatively unique results.
Today’s crit allowed me to see the alternative way the textiles pathway had approached the same project. I was inspired by their innovative techniques and use of unconventional materials e.g. orange peels joined together using small plastic ring resizers, and hole punches sewn together in a dense circle. After seeing this work, for the next project I plan on spending more time experimenting with different materials and processes. There was a real sense of energy and movement within their work conveyed through the combination of unusual shapes and textures, inspired by this I plan on considering these aspects more carefully in my next project. One thing I noticed within the less successful pieces of work was the use of glitter; I think this acts to cheapen work by giving it a tacky aesthetic; I therefore will avoid using it within my own work. The feedback I received for my work was that my collages were successful along with my photographs showing my paper manipulation samples on the body, however my design development is weaker and needs to be more bold and exciting in terms of texture and mark making. Reflecting upon the ‘Culture swap’ project I have identified areas I need to improve upon, one key area being research. I must work on my time management in order to complete all the work set yet also allow time for research and personal development. I also noticed that I should pay closer attention to the brief, as I found I worked more on the design developments than on the paper manipulation techniques (which was supposed to be the main focus of the project not the designs).
We were given our new project brief ‘Fruit Machine’. For this I was given a Coco Chanel quote, and a photograph of style icon Iris Apfel. I plan on responding to the photograph through mark making and texture experiments. For the quote I am less interested in the quote itself and more interested in researching into the life of Coco Chanel, as I know she had an complex and complicated life, which I think will provide me with a wide range of inspiration.
Translating my 2-dimensional collages onto the body through drawing and collage, allowed me to visualize these 2-dimensional pieces of work as 3-dimenisonal sculptural garments. I liked working with a restricted colour palette (red, blue, yellow) as this allowed me to pay closer attention to the silhouette whilst also creating a sense of consistency in terms of aesthetics. I am struggling with finding my own style of figure drawing, I feel I need to be more experimental and free, to improve this I need to do more practice and so I’m going to start drawing people on the tube as away to do this. My favourite part of the day was making paper manipulation samples and utilizing photography to trick the eye, and visualize the samples directly on the body. I felt a few of the photographs could be developed further, for example I was drawn to the stitching on one of my paper manipulations samples but felt this detail was concealed in the photograph; I developed this photograph by using yellow embroidery thread to stitch into it and emphasize this detail. I also photocopied my paper manipulation sample and found that the stitching was more prominent and visually striking; I therefore collaged the photocopy on the photograph. I created a further 5 developed designs from the photographs, however I feel that they lack excitement and energy, I could improve this through using 3-dimenisonal elements, and more collage within the design process. I’ve realized that my most successful work combines a variety of techniques, materials and media, and I need to remember to incorporate all of these elements consistently as this will allow my work to be of a higher standard.
I created 4 collages (2 low relief and 2 medium relief), from doing this I found that I prefer working 3-dimensionally and therefore the medium relief collages were more successful. I think they are successful as I experimented with a variety of unconventional materials e.g. rubber bands, and a bathmat. I used techniques e.g. plaiting, to emphasize these materials, for example I tied rubber bands onto pieces of yarn that I later plaited together. The way the rubber bands protrude out from the controlled plait creates an interesting texture, which directly references my research image of Greek fishing nets. I think I could have included more of my research images into the collages themselves, as this would have helped show a better and more explicit sense of project development.
Today focused on collaging, this is an area that I feel I need to improve and develop upon, what I struggle with is combining photographs with mark making, coloured papers etc. I think I need to be more careful in terms of my composition as this will help ensure everything flows together and is complementary. Looking at everyone’s work at the end of the day I found useful as it showed me possible media/techniques that I could also try incorporating within my own work e.g. someone created a 3-dimensional texture using tape and simply folded and crumpled the tape to create a bumpy, irregular surface. Layering is also important to consider, I liked how someone drew on clear acetate and placed this over their collage to create an additional layer. I liked working with a restricted colour scheme of 3 colours, I felt this allowed me to focus more on shape and structure, which I find more exciting than experimenting with colour. Working within an A4 and A5 frame was frustrating as I constantly wanted to break out of this, but I think this element of control can act to contrast nicely with a busy/dense collage.
I asked my peers which one of my collages they thought was most successful, they said that they liked the ones that had more 3-dimenisonal elements, as they are had a sense of movement. From my feedback I was able to identify my most successful collage, which was one where I incorporated the paper manipulation technique of plaiting. I used plaiting to reference the image of Greek fishing nets (one of the images from my 6 representing my cultural heritage/identity). During my independent study day tomorrow I plan on developing this plaiting technique by experimenting with different materials e.g. wire, and rubber bands.
Having to find 6 images that represent my cultural heritage along with my identity was challenging, I think it was difficult because I feel relatively disconnected from both British and Greek culture. Having lived in London my whole life has arguably made me identify more with British culture, however both my parents are Greek and this has inevitably caused Greek traditions to become intertwined within my life e.g. celebrating my name day (when someone in Greece is named after one of the saints, that saint's celebration day becomes their name day).
I decided to collected 3 images that show my Greek culture, and 3 that show my British culture (all having relevance to my identity). I found that the collection of images revealed things about my identity that I haven’t noticed before, for example my ‘Greek’ images are more to do with objects, which shows that I feel connected to things in Greece as oppose to places. My British images however need more explanation as they are more symbolic, whichI feel acts to convey that I have a deeper connection with British culture.
I was curious about Indian culture after my trip to Lewisham, and so I decided to go to the CSM library to look at books on Indian culture, specifically focusing on the Sari. The books made me realize how symbolic the Sari is in regards to how women in Indian are perceived by men, and society. I am interested in exploring femininity and how it differs within different cultures. I think femininity is defined in some cultures through dress, and in others through characteristics, I plan on doing more research into this so I can develop a more informed understanding of femininity and it’s perception in different cultures.
My conversation with Jade about her culture was a significant part of my research as it gave me an insight into her identity. Interestingly she revealed that she feels detached from South Korean culture, mainly because she feels that it is constantly being modernizing, and therefore her family doesn’t follow any of the old, classic tradition. Talking to Jade made me realize how cultural heritage doesn’t always inform a person’s identity. I felt that looking at the general style/aesthetic of Korea would be a good starting point for understanding the culture, this lead me to look at the book ‘Korea style’ by Marcia Iwatate & Kim Unsoo (photographs by Lee Jongkeun) where Jade was able to recognise aspects that she identified with.
16/11/17: Culture swap
Jade (my partner for the project) and me were assigned the London area of Lewisham to explore, an area which we were both unfamiliar with. The diversity in Lewisham was instantly apparent with a variety of shops tailored to a variety of different cultures e.g. Afro Caribbean Unisex salon, German sausage stand. Having lived in Putney my whole life I feel I have been relatively sheltered from the diversity apparent in London towns like Lewisham, and so this trip was a wake up call. The part of the trip I found most interesting and useful was our interactions and conversations with the locals (documented within research page). The people we talked to identified with Indian culture and therefore the research we collected was mainly tailored towards this. Three significant aspects of Indian culture I came across in Lewisham was;
- London Shiva Koli, Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva
- Mani (decorative embellishment attached to the sari) which I came across while in a Sari shop
- Flower garlands called Gajra, which we saw being handmade in a supermarket
This trip made me realize that the best source of information regarding culture is from people, and listening to their experiences within it. Tomorrow I plan on talking to Jade about her culture, I think this method of research will help me understand the culture she identifies with.