Whilst brainstorming initial ideas for the Wear It project, I was interested in this Rowan Mersh piece that was shown in the presentation, constructed out of jersey and toothpicks. The photography of this piece made me consider the importance of light when creating my outcome for Wear It, and the folded textures also inspired the large pleats I created on the sleeves I made today. As a result of looking at this particular photo I decided to take some photographs of Zoe modelling the sleeves on the stairwell, where the light was really strong and created an interesting silhouette (especially with the large scale of the piece and how it dwarfed the body.) Looking at the light also made me consider the potential opacity of the product, and as a result I created a folding sample out of translucent organza - which could be burnt with the iron to keep the creases of the sleeves, but when folded and worn would allow the silhouette and form of the arms to show through.
Iris Van Herpen
Returning to the powerpoint presentation of practitioners we were shown in the lesson today, I realised I wanted to investigate more of Iris van Herpen's work and her practice as whole. After reflecting on the giant pair of sleeves I made today,I was thinking about how the piece had a distinctly theatrical/performative aspect, and I felt this linked well to van Herpen's fashion shows/installations which are often performance-based. I was particularly interested in the Hacking Infinity collection for AW16, and the translucency of the fabrics that she used, made me think about using sheer fabric to develop my accessory idea even further forward.
The burnt appearance of the sheer fabric on the skirt was particularly relevant to the organza experiment I'd carried out today, on which the pleats were held very well because they melted slightly on the fold, which was an interesting effect (due to the overlapping lines and varying levels of translucency.) This idea of transparency also bled through into her SS16 collection, Quaquaversal, which incorporated varying types of laces (cut to show both organic and graphic shapes) and made me think further about how I could manipulate the transparency of the organza sleeves (perhaps embroidering in with clear beads/gems would alter the way light ran through the piece?)
I also like that van Herpen's runway shows are very much installations in their own right rather simply displays of garments, and deal with important topics based on architecture and the biological world around us.Perhaps the most striking collection of hers for me was Biopiracy, in which she collaborated with the artist Lawrence Malstaf to investigate the relationship between biology and physicality, and what would happen in a dystopian future if our genes were to become for sale- "are we still the sole proprietor of our bodies?"
Iris van Herpen's work made me consider how the inclusion of performance/installation pieces in conjunction with fashion/3D design can be crucial to successfully communicating a complex message, which in this case questioned how much freedom we really have within our own bodies.
Clothing Designed for Chairs
After conducting some primary research around CSM and observing the different ways people sit in space whilst working, relaxing and socialising, I was inspired by Bernotat & Co's designs for chair coverings, which led directly to the use of wadding in my sketch model. I was interested in how coverings could change the function of the chair for the user, and could invite an alteration of their stance or position. I was also inspired by the idea of designing clothes for a chair as you would for a person, and that the object itself has distinct characteristics and a personality that needs to be expressed through its "clothing".
The Hoodini design in particular demonstrated how a covering could enable the user to isolate themselves from the surrounding environment, allowing them to focus on the task they are carrying out (for example reading or studying.) This made me think in my initial 10 designs that a chair could be unfolded to completely enshroud the user and close them off in their own environment to ensure better concentration. However, after discussing this with my table we decided that it would become too claustrophobic and would ultimately result in being counterproductive, and so I decided to work with a more open design from this point onward.
While the Pique Pocket design suggested to me that my design could potentially change the user's sitting position (whilst also doubling up as a storage space,) I wanted to focus on the numerous hunched backs I drew and work out a solution on how to combat poor posture when working over a sketchbook/ piece of embroidery. This particular piece did however highlight the importance of storage space and pockets, which I incorporated into the "desk" part of my final design -with a specific compartment made for storing yarns/threads/paint.
My favourite design was definitely the Knit-Net, which gave me the idea of putting memory foam or padding on the chair (with particular focus on the small of the back) to improve comfort and posture (which I hoped would indirectly improve the ergonomics.) I liked the netting idea but found the wadding material difficult to manipulate and so settled on all over padding on the back, seat and footrest in the final sketch model.
After thinking more about ways of designing products for the human form and reviewing the powerpoint of secondary research they presented to us in today's class, I thought more about how my work can be process driven, and how this could be applied to 3D design. The practitioner whose work struck me most (partially due to the consistency and uniquely difficult nature of his process) was Simon Hasan, whose boiled leather furniture and products had a strange, inhuman quality.Based around industrial steel structures, Hasan wraps leather around them before boiling and removing the mould after processing to leave hollow pieces of leather. The process is ancient technique that was once used to make armour, which alters the tanin and collagen fibres in the leather to result in a hard, rigid material that enables the objects to stand upright freely on their own. As a chair, there is something quite strange about the appearance of folds (that one would normally associated with lightness, or fabric that bends) that have been hardened, and there is a distinct ambiguity to what the chair would be like to experience.
The process was also applied to the construction of vases and stools, showing an admiral commitment to a specific process, as well the how sticking to a process can cause interesting design developments. This idea of sticking to one process made me think back to all the time I spent folding tracing paper and folding/burning organza yesterday, and I thought that the fold/burn cycle could be repeated and pushed further to create different objects and garments out of organza as a development on from yesterday's accessory design.