I have been encouraged to let myself be more open-minded and contextual based when it comes to looking for influence in my projects opposed to responding to only visual aids. This teaching has had a serious impact on my thought processes when it comes to Art, thus my basis for influence for this project has developed from more relevant issues within the world, leading to a rich and sundry amount of possibilities in my design. This subsequently impacted my sense of involvement within these issues and opening my eyes to the problems alongside raising awareness on the issues too. This has provided me with a stronger sense of ownership of my work. The exploration of concepts and how to channel this within my work has revealed many possibilities for development consequently preparing me for my next stage as an undergraduate.
My proposition for this project I decided to look into the mankinds way of life today, the pollution and litter (Modernity) and how these subjects are essentially engulfing and suffocating nature. I had hoped to develop and extend my skills in textiles, installation and also film. I have integrated textiles and installation into this project but unfortunately not film. I have gained numerous technical skills including felting, weaving, garment construction, machine skills, printing and finally translating a two-dimensional design into a three-dimensional outcome. The proposal has encouraged me to really push myself out of my comfort zone as I decided to use a conceptual influence, and I feel I have achieved a significant amount of learning and work throughout my project. I have succeeded in experiencing new processes and techniques and have improved planning of time using a work plan to ensure I made good use of my time by planning and organising.
To gather my research I used the internet to firstly educate myself on various sorts along with the issues of pollution, in history and today- and most importantly what is being done on the matter. I felt it was important to fully explore this aspect and contain this knowledge as I knew it would enable me to pay attention to detail within my work, and really dig into the concepts behind my creations. I did, however, watch film screening about the Chernobyl Disaster, I indulged so deeply into the movie it really affected me personally and really kickstarted the ambition in my project. I also visited an exhibition where they displayed recycled plastic bottles to create beautiful light shades, this also helped with my project as it gave me hope that designers are concerned about our way of life today.
At times I was not happy with the development of my work when a process did not develop as I had anticipated or a design came out wrong, I felt disappointed however this is where I would change my ideas slightly to ensure I made use of the problems and liked the next outcome. I have developed my ideas though trying out little experiments that have been inspired by my research and took the next step from there. As my work developed I ensured my project as a whole adapted to it.
My artist research played a big part in my overall project, and even through to my final piece. None of my chosen artists was fashion based, however, I feel due to this it allowed me to be more flexible at the beginning of my project and explore different stances and areas of art including sculpture and installation type work, then transferring this into then fashion related work (however difficult) then proved to be the right decision as the work inspired by my artists was so innovative and different yet fit the concepts of my project really well.
My chosen artist also inspired me to use more innovative and obscure materials within my work such as vegetation or women’s cosmetics, once I had completed the samples of work inspired by then- I still had the urge to be experimental within my work, such as creating patterns through the use of petrol, combined with water, oils and food colourings. This I felt was really successful as the patterns generated were so on point and couldn’t get any closer to ‘water pollution’. I also experimented with different textile processes such as weaving, printing, melting, however, the one that deemed most successful was the felting, thus I used it in my final piece.
I feel though out this project my skills have really been pushed this project, in terms of learning so many new processes, ways of thinking and especially keeping track of time. In previous projects, i have really struggled to prioritise my time efficiently and this has resulted in not completed it in time due to deliberating on possible ideas for too long rather than just getting stuck in. Forcing myself to work off a work plan, however, and writing up my week every week has helped me massively.
In this project, I am sorry the practical element ended when it did. I feel my project still has considerable potential for a much larger collection that I would have loved to complete.
After the sample of felt, I created in week 7 and referring back to it when thinking about creating a final garment I knew I had re-created it again, thus I did. My final garment is made from large sheets of wool that I felted together, yet infused other samples of natural materials in such as raw greasy sheep wool, cotton, vegetation juxtaposed with litter/pollution I picked up and washed from the streets of Bolton. I used this contrasting combination, and the amorphous oversized engulfing shape and silhouette of the garment as a hope to illustrate my original proposal that mankind’s way of life today, the pollution and litter (Modernity) and how these subjects are essentially engulfing and suffocating nature. I wanted to ensure the garment covered the model’s mouth and nose, similar to the smog mask fashion as well. Looking at the photographs, and the fact my model nearly passed out when wearing the garment proves it works.
Overall I am happy with my final piece and am proud of my work and innovative ideas and concepts behind the garment. However looking at the exhibition- I don’t feel as proud as I should be- there is still room for improvement such as more garments, to make a collection? Or an interactive video alongside the garment? Maybe leaflets or a lookbook of my model wearing the garment in a location shoot.
After looking at inspiration for my exhibition layout, I have to get realistic, bearing in mind the space I have, costing and what will look most effective on my garment. Due to the fact, the cape I have made is really amorphous and big- I felt and my peers agreed it would lose these qualities if it was hung, and would look odd as you wouldn’t be able to tell it is a garment., therefore I decided to bag myself a mannequin. I placed it on here and immediately it came back to life, however, the skirt was questionable. I had the from my photoshoot, but had not printed them off yet- so needed to keep this into consideration. To help me decide, I decided on the composition and how many photographs I wanted, and what size- I decided to take photographs of the mannequin in different locations.
After completing this first exercise, I immediately didn’t like the skirt on the mannequin and felt it took away from the cape- therefore I decided to see what It would look like hanging up beside it instead.
This exercise, I focused on the composition of the mannequin. Left, Right, Centre far back, Centre middle, Centre forward. I have decided with the help of my tutor Jo, that composition ‘Centre Middle’ will look the most effective and make the boldest impact on viewers, with images from the photoshoot either side in A1 to be extra dramatic. All I need to do now Is print off and mount my images- this process I will do right at the end however as I want them to look fresh, and due to the fact the room is very bright and warm- it has been known that the images crumple.
Now space was clear in the studio, each student was allocated a space of their own to present their work. I was given a corner due to the fact I had a garment and these usually look effective in the corner. I had already been looking at different ways I could present my garment, using Pinterest. These are images that appealed to me and I thought I could translate in my own way.
Today was the day of the photoshoot. I arrived in the studio at 9 am, and reminded the photography technician -Neil- I was here. He said he would help me set up lighting- but to do so I needed to tell him exactly what I want. I walked him through my project and told him what I was hoping to achieve in this photoshoot. I told him that I felt a dark background, dramatic photo shoot that contained shadows and contrasts would create the perfect images that tie in with my project. The subject of Modernity- pollution and humans way of life today entwining and essentially engulfing nature is not a light subject and rather deep threatening issues that should constantly be at the back of people’s minds- thus ensuring the photoshoot was similar this would work.
He set up the studio and I called my photographer -Zahraa- and model -Leila- down.
I had previously spoken to Leila and informed her on what she would be wearing and asked her if possible, please could she wear natural makeup and her hair in a low ponytail. Due to the fact the skirt was sheer, I decided to bring some pink tights with me for Leila to wear so she didn’t feel uncomfortable. She got dressed whilst Zahraa spoke to Neil about some lighting issues. Finally, we got to work taking pictures.
All was going as predicted, until after only a short while unfortunately Leila -the model- started feeling uncomfortable, her face was drained of colour and couldn’t stand up properly. The bright lights combined with the warmth of the felted cape was suffocating her and she nearly fainted! I and Zahraa rushed her to the bathrooms, gave her her old clothes, cooled her down with wet towels and gave her lots of water to drink. She begged us she was now fine and could carry on but I insisted she must- I already felt guilty enough as it was. She apologised and we sent her on her way.
Due to the fact we had only got about half way through the shoot, and there were no other models around I could use, Zahraa stepped in place. She gave me a quick tutorial on how to use the camera and set up the lighting again to ensure she doesn’t get so hot too and we I truly feel this photoshoot really makes the garment look so incredible, the different poses, angles, shots got back to work. I am so thankful for Zahraa stepping in like that and really proud of myself too for being able to take the photographs with no experience before!
After taking loads of pictures, I selected the ones I wanted Zahraa to edit. She did an amazing job and now I just have to print my favourites off and display them in the exhibition!
I truly feel this photoshoot really makes the garment look so incredible, the different poses, angles, shots everthing works so well together.
This week we have been instructed we must clear the FAD room in preparation for the exhibition.
Day One: Setting up the studio for the exhibition firstly consisted of clearing out old work, tables, drawers, scrap paper and rubbish, and throwing away any of my own work which I didn’t need or want anymore.
Day Two: As the studio was now clear and cleaner and there were no scraps of people’s work- we began setting up boards, sanding and filling them in to create a smooth surface on each one, then gum-stripping the cracks to make them look smooth and seamless.
Day Three and Four: Now the majority of the studio was seamless and clear- it was time to start painting. This included masking off all skirting boards and doors, all painting the walls inside the studio and the corridors a crisp white. Once dry, the masking tape could be peeled up and the floor cleaned.
Now, this has been completed -rather fast and efficiently due to good teamwork- we can now bring in out final pieces to set up our space for the exhibition.
Now I had got the making of the bottom half of my outfit out of the way, and my World of Wool order had come through, I decided to get on with the making. I wasn’t sure how long the process would take me, so I allocated myself the whole week of the 8th – 14th, to ensure I have enough time before the deadline, and my photoshoot.
To work out and estimate how many sheets of felting I needed I made the decision to measure someone to get figures on the distance between their nose and chest, ear and chest, shoulder to stomach, and the width of their shoulders. I have documented this process below:
I worked out I would need roughly 6 big sheets of felting to create the cape.As I had previously carried out the technique of felting in my early research and experimentation ( here ) I could set up my space, and get on with work immediately, as I was just carrying out the exact same process- but on a larger scale, I did however didn’t want these felted pieces to be as polished off as the first one I created, I wanted the felting to be a little more wooly as I felt it would look more natural and help the litter entwine with it more. As presented below, there was no order to the process and I wanted the litter to combine with the wool, natural materials and vegetation as seamlessly and as naturally as possible (this is the stage before I felted it together).
After a long day few days of work, I had finally completed the felting. I let it dry for 2 days, as they were thick they needed this. Once I had completed the felting pieces and they had dried before I stitched them together I would pin them on a model, take it off, then stitch.
So far I am extremely happy with how the garment is looking- the amorphous shape and the way it is drowning and covering the model is exactly how I pictured.
I decided to sew this piece randomly, with little bits on hand stitching and then normal stitching to give it the fluidity and volume I desire. I could not be happier with the results of this (images to come)