After successfully being diagnosed into Fashion and Textiles pathway today, I thought I would utilise my time in between projects (before we are given the briefs to research next week) to practice drawing the figure. I went to UAL life drawing society this evening which was useful in forcing me to draw faster with looser mark-making, and to not be too precious about the final outcome. It was also good to see the progression between my initial 30 second sketches and the 5 minute poses by the end of the session, in which I spent more time examining negative space and silhouette whilst colouring in the surrounding area in black pencil.
Almost all of my initial sketches were really disproportionate and I made a lot of mistakes, but I think these mistakes could become an idea for a piece that appears to distort the body's proportions (like I looked at during my research into Rei Kawakubo's design's and CDG's Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body.)
Initial sketches/mistakes I particularly liked:
After some of the initial sketches went wrong, I reattempted them- this time using techniques from the fashion illustration day, focusing on silhouette and colouring in the surroundings in black to emphasise the shapes/marks. I felt these were much more successful and solved the issue I had previously been having with the weak/vague lines of the earlier attempts (which I didn't really like because I felt they lacked substance.)
After some more successful attempts, I chose my favourite sketch and repeated some of the curves and marks underneath in yellow paint. After working into it with pen, I was able to create a print using the curves of the human form as inspiration. After producing the miniature version, I wanted to see if the print would still function when blown up larger scale, so I tried out an a3 version in my sketchbook:
After trying out the print larger, something interesting happened with the black lines in between the yellow- they were less regular and and occasionally left spaces that I filled in with black (see above.) I now wanted to see if this print/ structure of curved lines could be reproduced using thread and felt, so I made a smaller textile experiment on the following page.
The felt version worked less well as the tension with the threads didn't really go right, but I liked the colour combination nonetheless and tried out some other, less figurative drawings of the curves of the body/limbs.
Overall I thought today was a useful exercise in showing how the body itself can be a source of inspiration by providing shapes, lines and structures that can be developed into prints and textiles. The drawings and sketches I made today could also be developed into larger scale drawings, which I might investigate further tomorrow.
I spent today working on some larger scale developments of the life sketches I made yesterday. It was difficult re-scaling to begin with, but after taking more time to get the proportions right with charcoal, the overall results were fairly successful and it will be good to have some A1 drawings to submit with my portfolio. I think for the present moment I've exhausted this particular set of life sketches and am pleased with the various outcomes, but if I had more time outside of the F&T brief I would try and develop the line/curve textile structure into a 3D form that could be transposed back onto the body.
Cerith Wyn Evans' show at The White Cube today supported the ideas I was developing yesterday and Thursday through life drawing. After looking at the different ways motion (in particular the gestures of the body) can be recorded through drawing/mark-making and made static in sculpture, I have realised that the body itself is crucial to my practice as my research and ideas seem to almost always link back to the human form. As well as going to the White Cube I went to the LCF open day today, where I was particularly interested in their BA Pattern-cutting course because of the emphasis on construction around the body. After today's research and the open day, I am now thinking that my work might be more inclined to fashion rather than textiles just because the body is so important, however I am also interested in creating surfaces to relate to the body (like the felt/thread composition I made in the back of my second sketchbook.)
After looking at both of the project briefs for the next two weeks, I decided to prepare by visiting the Barbara Hepworth exhibition at the Tate Britain before it finished (as today was the last day.) The main ideas I took away from today were that I wanted to explore the process of layering and overlapping shapes as a means of developing structures and forms around the body, and I want to do more research into Cubism/Hepworth's work to support this. Frank Auerbach's paintings and use of layered acrylic/oil paint also supported this idea, and made me think about using different mediums for layering (ie. not just collaging with fabric and paint.) As well as the layering/overlap ideas both exhibitions made me consider human relationships with the figure, and thought this could perhaps be explored in my work when investigating construction around the body, and seeing how it could interact with its fabric surroundings. Overall, today was a successful research day in that I have gained lots of ideas about how to potentially develop my ideas for the coming projects, however as the group lists have not gone up yet I am unsure which project to start for next week, so I'm fairly anxious to get going and start drawing/responding to all of this research in my sketchbook rather than my roughbook.
Still waiting to find out which group I am in & which project to start, I went to the Peter Lanyon: Soaring Flight exhibition today to investigate further into the ideas I had about layering/overlapping shapes yesterday. His exhibition was useful as it combined the idea of recording gestures/movement in static art (as explored by Cerith Wyn Evans in the exhibition I saw at the White Cube on Saturday) with the layering up of different shapes and textures to create new shapes in the negative spaces in between, and made me think further about incorporating different mediums to explore layering in my sketchbook. In particular, Lanyon's sculptural pieces (especially the one with glass) made me consider about layering up 3D shapes and how overlapping could also be explored with corners, edges and joins- so this could perhaps be done in a garment/textile by placing an emphasis on the seams/hem, or wherever there is an overlap between two materials. I am looking forward to experimenting with this collage/overlap idea in my sketchbook, but am angsty to get started as soon as possible and am slightly frustrated that I have both briefs but don't know which one to start working in my sketchbook for yet.
After finding out that I'll be doing the Public Art brief next week, today I went out and produced some studies of Richard Wilson's Square the Block, on the side of the LSE building. I really liked the contrast of the smooth concrete lines with the fragmented bits, and also how the rough broken pieces jutted out at an angle against the stripes on the building.
I was also particularly interested in the shapes/textures of the broken concrete, and liked how in this particular drawing there was a stark contrast with the varying smooth/rough sections. In contrast to the tightness of this drawing technique (which was perhaps slightly boring because it was too tight and not expressive enough?) I then tried out a blind drawing of the sculpture in white pastel, painting over it with blue to reveal the marks when I got home. I thought it was fairly successful as an experimental technique because even when trying to look I couldn't see what I was drawing, and the effects of the watercolours after made the shapes/marks more interesting/faded at the edges.
I thought the piece linked well to the earlier idea I had about layering/overlapping, and the sculpture lent itself well to the collage attempt I made in my sketchbook with masking tape. I thought this could easily be developed further with different kinds of tape/collage, and plan on trying out other versions later on (after looking at two other sculptures.)
While the sculpture was interesting, worked well in my observational studies and could happily be developed further, I want to make sure that I am not sticking with this idea straight away just because it fits most conveniently into my research, and plan on going to see the Richard Serra sculpture at Broadgate tomorrow as I think it will be a contrast to the previous works (supplementing the idea of overlapping) that I've looked at. I still want to investigate more how the shapes and broken textures in Wilson's work could be developed with overlapping/layering up into other structures, but am also keen to ensure I look at a range of other sculptures and am not just settling for the first one I like.
Today I went and looked at Richard Serra's Fulcrum in Broadgate, which was, as I expected, a contrast to the complicated structure of Richard Wilson's Square the Block. Whilst I first thought the long rectangular shapes were slightly dull, I was interested in the texture/colour of the rust surface of the work, and decided to produce some rubbings for my sketchbook.
The surface of Fulcrum on the inside also seemed to bear more similarities with Square the Block, as the decay of the rust gave a rougher/bumpier textural quality that seemed to echo the broken concrete I drew yesterday. I took a photograph and attempted a rubbing, however I didn't think it was very successful:
While I initially thought the general shape to be a bit boring, I realised I liked the scale of the work and the experience of the verticals when standing in the space at the base of the sculpture. I was also interested in how because of the work's size the people looked tiny in comparison to the height of the metal sheets, and I thought this idea of scale on the body would be interesting to play with when toiling.
As well as considering scale, the negative space created in the middle of the shapes made me think again about overlapping shapes and creating new shapes out of the spaces in between.
While overall I don't feel I gained as much from Fulcrum as I did from Square the Block, I still have some interesting texture samples and shapes that might be good to work with next week, and I think it's good to have a variation of things I like and dislike in my research. After reading more about Richard Serra's work in Anthony Gormley's book On Sculpture, I have become more interested in his working process and the focus on making the viewer consider themselves in the environment of the sculpture (illustrated particularly well with his work Matter of Time, which I really loved Gormley's chapter about.) I am particularly glad I looked into Serra's other works despite disliking Fulcrum, as I think his consideration of the viewer in his sculptural process is interesting and links well to how design should always consider the wearer and the body. Although I think it is unlikely that Fulcrum will be my main source of inspiration for the garment, I enjoyed reading Gormley's writing about Serra's work and am looking forward to drawing Barbara Hepworth's sculpture on Friday (as I'm going to Glasgow School of Art for the open day tomorrow,) which might be most interesting simply because it will be the most figurative of the three.
Today I went to Battersea Park to draw at Barbara Hepworth's Single Form, which was surprisingly disappointing in terms of a shape as I felt it wasn't as interesting as the other works I loved in her exhibition. I think this may have been because the aspect of Hepworth's work that appealed most was how she looked at spacial relationships between multiple forms, and unfortunately (as the name would suggest) Single Form was a lone, simple (basic?) shape in a landscape. While I liked this simplicity, in terms of developments I was definitely more interested in her other work and wanted to do some further research.
Whilst I enjoyed developing a print response on top of paint in my notebook and repeating Hepworth's shapes in a response, the part of the sculpture I liked most was the negative space created by the hole in the middle. Since I've started working and drawing within Fashion and Textiles pathway, I have become increasingly interested in silhouette and negative space, and want to look at this further in my developments for Public Art.
Print response to Single Form, 1964 and Two Forms (Apolima), 1969
Although I felt fairly uninspired by the shape, I became more interested in the pockmarked texture of the sculpture, and how by using a rubbing of the surface I could get different shapes that could potentially be used for my development. By using coloured pencil and then marking out negative spaces left by the indents in the sculpture, I was able to get a new set of shapes that came directly from the sculpture, but ignoring its silhouette as a whole.
I thought these shapes were much more interesting, and thought they could be enlarged onto the body to become more interesting paper developments. While overall I think my observational drawings of Single Form and its surroundings were not as successful or interesting as the studies I'd produced of Richard Wilson's Square the Block, I want to carry out some further research into Barbara Hepworth to consider further how I can apply her exploration of spatial relationships and figures into my work. Having now drawn three different sculptures I feel confident that I have enough shapes to form a good basis for my developments next week, but I want to research more and make sure I know which ones are likely to be the most interesting/successful before Monday.
Today I went back to the CSM library to do some further reading about Barbara Hepworth's process and figurative sculptures, using most of the books from the 735.23 HEP section. It was useful to read more about her wanting to place works in a landscape (which made me think differently about the placement of Single Form in front of the lake in Battersea Park, especially due to its purpose as a memorial for Dag Hammarskjold) and also about her decision to make non-representational works. From the books I scanned in lots of images of her sculptures being displayed in duos/groups- and did some pastel and paint studies in response once I got home. As much as I really liked all of these sculptures, I felt like I'd hit a slight dead end in terms of the "relationships" idea -which was now proving slightly weaker than I had anticipated at the gallery last Sunday as my resultant studies felt slightly boring and forced. I also thought that the layering idea from Square the Block could also be more applicable to the brief and help me develop shapes further, but I still had a go at seeing what kind of shapes could be created out of the relationships in Hepworth's work:
Paint response to two faces/ mother and child idea: I thought the overall outline of the two heads was quite interesting as the combination of lines and curves could easily be used for developing more shapes or a silhouette on the body, but in terms of surface texture/qualities I think it was a bit too flat. I then tried painting with watercolour and pastel to create different layers, and I thought the results were much more successful because of the varied media:
After the success of the pastel/watercolour version, I then tried the faces idea again in acrylic paint, this time trying to be more expressive (in an attempt to avoid the flatness of the first attempt.) This was also much more interesting than my first version, and I felt like I was starting to get somewhere with the face/silhouette idea.
Tomorrow I'm going to continue trying to respond further to the images and research I collected from the books about Hepworth, however I am also ready to accept that the "relationships" idea perhaps isn't as exciting as I thought it was. I want to make sure I've exhausted the ideas resulting from Hepworth's work before I move on though, so I think I'll spend more time drawing and investigating the shapes tomorrow to confirm that it's Richard Wilson's Square the Block that I want to focus on most.
Developing further from the Hepworth research and responses I did in the library yesterday, I wanted to see what the shapes (in particular the motif of the face overlapping other shapes) would look like on the body, so I produced a series of drawings, which I thought were quite interesting because of the shapes that occured in negative space or in the overlaps. However, in hindsight I realise that I was jumping ahead far too quickly and not letting the shapes develop fully in their own right before transposing them onto the body, so I think it is unlikely that I'll use any of these designs moving forward with my final outcome:
While these were definitely a skip ahead that didn't help my process, I liked the face motif and thought it could definitely be pushed further, and re-reading my research from this past week made me realise that I was interested in work that literally depicted the figure, so I thought this might be a potential route forward.
After realising that it was more figurative work that excited me most, I produced some charcoal/chalk studies of mother and child forms that Hepworth worked with. While I initially disliked the smudginess of these drawings, I think as an experiment they were successful in portraying the relationship between pairs of forms, and made me think more about the dependency of forms of one another, as well as considering how they could be attached together (making me think back to seams and potential ways of placing emphasis on the places where fabric overlaps and is joined together.) I then tried to continue this idea through another mixed media piece, which I liked the structure and layout of, but felt was perhaps too abstract and needed to relate to the figure more:
After producing the charcoal/chalk and mixed media studies of Hepworth's more figurative work, today left me feeling fairly confused as to whether to develop Hepworth's work or stick with the collage/overlapping edges of Square the Block, which I still feel I could investigate further. I am hoping that when the tutors go through our sketchbooks with us tomorrow someone will help me decide me which ideas and developments are stronger out of Wilson's or Hepworth's, because at this point I really like both of them- perhaps they could be combined via the overlapping/layering idea I thought of to start with?
Today was incredibly useful in clarifying for me which ideas to develop and how to develop them more successfully; as straight after seeing my book Patricia said that my studies of Square the Block were way more interesting than the Barbara Hepworth ones, so I decided to stick with them and develop the shapes further in different media in my book. Chris also said that fashion students shouldn't start drawing the figure until we are at least halfway through our books in order to develop the shapes correctly, and so i decided to return to the smooth quadrilaterals and rough edges of Richard Wilson's sculpture, and just focus purely on the shapes for the time being. In a quick preparation for making the paper structures, I made some sketches of shapes found in my observational drawings to refresh my memory of what I liked about Square the Block, and what I hoped to develop from it:
I then set about constructing little paper shapes and forms based on these observational studies, which was instantly useful and made me consider how folding techniques could be incorporated as part of the layering idea:
I began with simpler constructions based around the right angles of the sculpture, and then gradually built up onto them (using the"layering" idea in a literal sense as a process of developing more shapes.)
Working with paper was especially useful as it allowed me to try out different shapes and silhouettes in 3d rather than 2d, and creating little fan-like structures that I thought would be interesting to layer up on a specific point of the body (for example the shoulder?)
I also enjoyed working with the shapes in a more sculptural way to create freestanding forms in their own right, rather than flat shapes that are simply just draped across the body. The above structure was one of my favourites of the day, and it was also interesting when studied from different angles, in particular the side view that gave a lot of negative space through the middle:
After pushing these shapes further, it was then suggested that we work around some kind of form (almost like a makeshift lay figure,) so I used a big pen as my stand and started constructed around it: this was more difficult as I had to ensure my structures would stay up, or have adequate space in the middle to fit around it, but I liked being limited in this way as it pushed my designs further and added a small element of problem solving/working out how to get things to fit/hang correctly.
I thought the layering process of gradually adding in different shapes/folds was even more successful once I had a base to work around, and by the end of the morning session I had returned to some more complex freestanding structures that I thought were interesting (but perhaps too complex and not as easily developable as some of my earlier paper models?)
Overall, I gained a lot of potential shape ideas/developments from this morning, and hope to push these further on a larger scale tomorrow. I thought the idea of folded triangles in a fan-kind of structure would have to be developed using a material that would hold its shape more successfully (or a supporting form to hold up the fabric,) so on the way home today I stopped at B&Q and got some chicken wire and plastic rubbery mesh (I think it was meant for curtains?) in preparation for developing on the stand tomorrow.
Upon arriving home I decided to focus more on just developing the shapes in my book, and producing some illustrations of the structures I'd developed in the lesson today. After the success of my initial study of Square the Block using pen and masking tape, I decided to see how my developed shapes would look when layered up with tape and other media;
In response to these structures, I also set about developing the shapes further in my book in a less literal way- focusing on silhouette and potential textural qualities:
I decided to incorporate tape into my developments because of the linear and textural qualities it had added to my earlier drawings, and I wanted to push the heavy lines it further by using duct tape as well and painting into it:
I thought these tape experiments were interesting because they also made me think about using a plain/heavier fabric to complement the lighter/translucency of the plastic net stuff I'd got from B&Q. I decided to use lino, which I realised could be stitched right sides together to form sturdier, heavier panels, with the felt underlay on the outside; giving a heavier, reinforced version of white felt. These drawings and developments made me realise that it would be necessary for my garment to display the contrast between the heavy/smooth sections of concrete (represented by the lino/felt underlay) and the broken angles that overlapped and jutted up (which would be represented by the chicken wire/mesh structures.) I also thought the seams could easily be emphasised and made more textural by sewing/pushing yarns and wool into them, however realistically in terms of time I'm unsure if I'll be able to produce something so texturally complicated whilst making sure I develop a structurally successfully garment around the body.
Mesh/lino/felt/chicken wire experiment
Before I left for work I also used the flat paper shapes I'd developed in the lesson and cut them out of tracing paper, to develop the "layering" idea I'd become interested in from my research last week. Going back to the cubist idea in Ben Nicholson's portraits of Barbara Hepworth and looking more at how he was influenced by Picasso, I stumbled across Portrait of Ambroise Vollard which I found really interesting, as it made me think abiout how I could reproduced a shape and layer it up or take fragments of shape and arrange them overlapping each other to create an entirely new form that portrays multiple perspectives of the whole shape:
In response to this I had a go at messing around with tracing paper in my book, which I didn't think was very successful but still made me think bout how I could split the whole silhouette of my earlier shape into fragments, and then layer them on top of each other.
I then traced the silhouette of the paper structure I had created in the lesson (from one of my earlier illustrations) and cut it into smaller pieces, re-attaching them to each other in a new arrangement step-by-step. I drew the process as I went along to show each time a new piece was added:
While the process was an interesting way of fragmenting/reassembling a flat shape into a 3D form, the overall result was not as successful as I had hoped, and looked a bit flat- the most interesting part was where the tracing paper had curved from the stitching at the join (which had been accidental anyway.) After realising the stitching at the overlap was the most interesting part, I decided to have one more tracing papr/stitch attempt before tomorrow - sewing larger pieces of tracing paper together on the spaces where they overlapped (rather than conventional stitch around edges to form seams.) This was much more successful, as the intricacy of the stitched stripes added a more interesting surface/pattern element, and I want to try this again on a larger scale in the lesson tomorrow morning so I can place it on the body.
Overall, today has been successful in that I now have a variety of shapes and potential processes to develop them forward. Whilst I was disappointed that this afternoon's class was cut short, I have produced some experimental developments at home which will come in useful tomorrow when I start working on the stand/body, and I know for sure that I definitely want to continue pursuing these shapes by overlapping and collaging, taking inspiration from cubism. Because I had to go work this evening I am frustrated that I didn't have time to produce the15 minute studies of garments, but hopefully I will have enough time after the project (perhaps this weekend?) to catch up at the end of my sketchbook. I look forward to stitching into larger pieces of tracing paper with thicker thread tomorrow.
Today was a successful development forward from yesterday's experimentation and observations, starting straight away with a larger scale embroidery/tracing paper sample, based on the miniature version I produced yesterday:
The threads were a bit messier and the overall effect was much less intricate than the smaller sample, however I think that was mainly just due to the scale being enlarged. I felt the piece was still successful in illustrating new shapes created by the overlapping of old ones through embroidery- and I then decided to work into it with pens and inks to try and suggest a textural similarity with the broken concrete of Richard Wilson's sculpture:
After making some quick sketches to consider how the shape might alter the silhouette of the body, I then spent the rest of the morning developing the triangular/fan-like shapes and forms (that I made from paper yesterday) out of chicken wire and plastic mesh:
I thought this was fairly successful, as the shapes seemed to echo yesterday's paper models really well. I then set about adding in felt (technically lino but I was interested in the smoothness and weight of the felt underlay, so I'll just refer to it in my entries as felt.)
I particularly liked the profile silhouette of this design, as the mesh held my fan structures from yesterday perfectly, and the sweep of the felt over the top was also interesting. I thought the translucency of the mesh lent itself well to the overlapping shapes (like my earlier tracing paper experiments) and thought it would be interesting to continue building up these shapes in with the see-through material.
In response to my earlier developments on the stand and with paper; I produced some experimental illustrations in my sketchbook, which I really liked because of how weird, disproportionate and non-human looking they were as a result of me messing around with scale. I tried experimenting further with proportion and texture using the shapes I'd developed on the stand; and produced some more illustrations in preparation for the drawing and working on the figure I'd be doing this afternoon. I decided to use layers of acrylic paint to show texture (taking inspiration from the Bridget Riley/Seurat exhibition I saw last week.)
Whilst I was waiting until after lunch to start working in partners on the body, I made a few quick experimental collage/mixed media compositions in response to the shapes I had made on the stand earlier today. Using a bit of papier mache I made but didn't use yesterday and string, I wanted to convey the contrast I'm trying to show in my final garment- heavy smooth bits of concrete (felt) and the lighter, more irregular texture of the broken/fragmented bits (the rubber mesh/chicken wire structures.)
I used wool again in my second collage to suggest how I could add texture at the seams of the garment (like the rough bits in the sculpture) by having yarns/ripped bits of fabric spilling out.)
Once we started working on the body I began by combining the tracing paper with the felt/mesh structure I'd produced earlier. The result were interesting in terms of silhouette, but I felt it was almost too sculptural in its own right and didn't really consider the body very much, and was simply just adding lots of bits on without really thinking:
After some more complex attempts, I tried paring the design back by just focusing on one particular part of the body and building around it:
Focusing on the shoulder worked better when just using the mesh, as I felt that the overall silhouette was clearer and so more interesting as a result. Because it wasn't as busy as any of my previous attempts, I thought I would try just using the mesh again on the knee/leg, which made another really interesting silhouette and also reminded me slightly of armour:
Whilst I was testing out these shapes on Lydia, I was also recording the silhouettes, structures and textures in my sketchbook using varying drawing techniques. Lots of them went quite wrong/disproportionate; especially when using my left hand or blind, but I really liked the overall effect because the wonkiness was quite humorous, and decided to work into them with paint when I got home:
I really liked doing a larger one across the double page, and using the dot/paint technique to show where the stitches on the felt would be. Some of my illustrations were definitely more successful than others, and I think a couple of the didn't really work because they were just too abstract and disproportional:
^This one really didn't work at all because it was much too stumpy/clunky, so at that point I stopped messing about with proportion and tried to produce something slightly more realistic:
I realised that I really liked how the faces looked when I drew with continuous line, so I made a mental note to use this in my final illustration/ for the heads on my development pages.
Overall, by the end of today I was really happy with the range of designs/illustrations I had in my book, as I liked the fact that there were obvious contrasts between the ugly, stylized lumbering figures/silhouettes and then when I was genuinely trying to make a drawing representational. I really liked painting into my work and working into drawings that had gone wrong to add texture/alter shapes, but I also thought leaving some of them as they were (like the blind drawings in pastel) was important because I think mistakes are a key part of my working process and I enjoy messing stuff up or things looking weird:
After taking stock of my designs and illustrations for the evening, I concluded that the ones I like most/thought were most successful are the shin structure and the shoulder one (because they're much simpler.) However, rather than just re-developing/working either of these, I was determined to use the felt and the wire on top of it, and wanted create a completely different structure based on the silhouettes my two favourites:
After getting the two basic shapes from my favourite design developments, on the opposite page I drew the outlines and fragmented them into other shapes, before re-arranging them in a final (fairly spontaneous) composition that I want to stick with and construct on the body/stand tomorrow:
^The final set of shapes/fragments that came out of my developments^
^The composition I plan on constructing tomorrow^
Overall, today has been really successful because I've enjoyed making mistakes and getting things wrong but trying to fix them with my illustrations, and simplifying my designs/structures. Tomorrow morning I want to do some preliminary sketches/drawings of how the composition will look/be worn from various angles, and then I think I should be ready to start making.
Taking my final set of shapes from yesterday's work, I spent this morning making some illustrations to consider how I would arrange the structure around the torso. I thought the best solution would be to attach some of the side sections to the top/back, making it a wearable sleeve/torso covering garment that was built outwards from the chest and shoulders. My illustration attempts went as follows:
After mapping out how I wanted the final outcome to be worn, I did two more continuous line drawings just to make sure it was what I wanted:
After making sure, this was the structure I wanted, I spent the rest of today constructing the piece in the studio- while structurally it all went to plan, there were plenty of ideas that I would have worked in further if I had had more time- I would have used more string/yarn to embellish the seams and emphasise the rougher textures of the mesh (to represent the broken bits of concrete in Square the Block, and I would have painted onto the felt/leather pieces to recreate the dot texture that went so well in my illustrations. In terms of colour palette, I was influenced the Barbara Hepworth sculptures where the internal surfaces were painted blue:
Sculpture with Colour (Deep Blue and Red) 1940
As well as painting the interior angles blue, I use a stitch technique (similar to my attempts on tracing paper to emphasise the overlapping/joining of shapes at the crucial parts of the structure. If I had more time and thicker silver thread I would have used it everywhere, however the first part took so long that I didn't think it was worth, and wanted to focus on just getting the structure finished around the body. Overall I am slightly disappointed with my final outcome as I don't feel there was enough execution of stitch and embroidery techniques that I would love to have used on it, however given that I made it in a day I think structurally it is a fairly decent effort. I made my brother wear it when I got home for a quick mini photoshoot, and I was pleased with the angle of the mesh on the shoulder, and the negative spaces left by the slightly sheer overlap on the arm and the gap on the torso:
I also liked how the silver/blue and white of the piece reflected the playfulness/humour of my illustrations, and I thought this was also echoed slightly in the photos of my brother- I liked that this was a project based almost entirely around accidents or mistakes, or taking things I liked and cutting them up into something else.
Today's construction went well, and I managed to get all of the essentials done; putting the garment together with a fairly decent level of embroidery and construction. It was slightly hard sewing the pieces of lino/felt together on my machine because it was really thick and I snapped one of the needles, but overall I thought the whole making process was enjoyable and relatively mistake- free. The blue paint went through some of the leather pieces onto the front, but I quite liked it as it only seemed to emphasise the hands-on approach of this week's process. Whilst I acknowledge that my garment is perhaps not as polished as it should be for a final outcome, but as someone with virtually no fashion experience I think today's work has been a pretty decent attempt. Tomorrow morning I'm going to spend my time in the lesson making my final illustration, which I have planned two things about:
1. It will be a continuous line study that I work into in some way (perhaps with the paint/dot idea? Or I might save that for my development pages and use embroidery instead.)
2. I want to do it on tracing paper so the shapes, marks (or embroidery?) are outlined/overlapped clearer than on opaque paper.
Overall, I think today has gone better than expected construction-wise, and I am looking forward to getting criticism/feedback on my work tomorrow.
I spent this morning drawing/embroidering into my final illustration, which might actually be my favourite thing to have come out of this week's project (I definitely prefer it to the actual garment.) The wonkiness of the face/body seemed to reflect my general approach and drawing style this week, and I liked being able to show the different layers overlapping in the garment's construction:
The presentation/exhibition and crits also went much better than I had expected- I had previously thought my sketchbook was going to be slammed by the tutors for being too experimental and not "fashion" enough, as I think my fine art background is definitely evident in my current working style, but Sophie said that it was a "nice,experimental sketchbook" and encouraged me to practice my drawings more. However, she also said my earlier drawings should relate to the body which seems easy enough to bring in within my next fashion project, however this conflicted slightly with what Chris said on Monday about figures not being introduced until you are halfway through the sketchbook, and I'm now slightly confused as a result (I will ask a fashion tutor when I next see one.)
^Presentation of my garment/illustration for today's exhibition^
Overall, the project has been really useful in teaching me about how important observation and drawing is to developing ideas for fashion, and I hope to improve my drawings/paintings further for the development pages (which I'm going to make tomorrow.) I also feel that I am gaining a slight insight into a drawing style that might work for me (ie deliberately messy and disproportionate) however I am keen to try out different styles of drawing/illustration over the next few projects, to see what fits me best. I have really enjoyed this week, and plan on spending tomorrow finalising my A2 development pages, and making a final pair of photocollages of the garment- I want to take the masking tape textures from my book and apply them onto the photos I took of Ted wearing my final outcome.
I spent today collaging with masking tape onto the photographs I'd taken of my brother wearing the final government, and then drawing/painting the development pages. I am worried that my development pages are slightly too illustrative, but I tried to use the paint and ink to clearly show which fabrics would go where on each potential garment, with the paint dots marking out places where lino would be stitched together to create the felt panels. I also was conscious about spacing so decided to work across three A2 pages with three designs on each, in order to ensure that the proportions of my drawings are correct with enough breathing space. I was slightly frustrated with my drawings today as I felt they weren't refined enough to pass as successful development pages, but couldn't be messy/experimental because they had to clearly show construction and different fabrics. I enjoyed doing the continuous line studies to make the faces similar (and I also had fun making the styling and drawing the bare feet) but overall I feel that these development pages aren't as interesting as my work in the sketchbook. However, I am glad I tried these as it has raised the issue of me needing to work on more refined drawings of the clothed figure, and getting proportion perfect. I want to put Sophie's advice into practice and start drawing people clothed more (not just going to life drawing) so I can make sure my skill level reflects the enthusiasm I have for drawing the body.
Today I went to the Barbican Art gallery to see the Charles and Ray Eames exhibition, which really changed my perception of design, and how it is fundamentally centred around problem solving. I was particularly inspired by Ray Eames' graphic works and their initial designs for medical stretchers, but the short films shown on the top floor of the exhibition were really interesting in their exploration of the purpose of design, and its relationship with industry. The Eameses argued that design should be a solution to industrial problems, rather than craft for industrial purposes, and defined it as the creation of forms deriving from analysis of function. I also learnt that design is something ultimately dependent and driven by constraints, which made me think more about why I think I want to do fashion more than textiles (as there are more constraints when you are bound to working around a body.) Their films stated that role of the designer is "to recognise and work within as many constraints as possible", and I personally liked this idea of constraint being something positive that pushes you towards successful ideas. While I was en route to the gallery I had a look around the barbican and thought about the shapes that I would want to draw on Monday: I want to look at the repetition of all the rectangular windows, and I also want to look at the tessellating structure of the tiles all over the floor. I did some further research into the history of Brutalist architecture when I got home, and I plan on going to the Southbank centre tomorrow to produce some observational studies in preparation for the coming week.
Today I went to the Southbank centre to produce some preliminary observational drawings in preparation for the Tactile Structures project we're starting tomorrow. After researching about Brutalism as a reaction against the more lighthearted architecture of the 1930s, I liked the harsh angles and blunt concrete shapes of the Hayward Gallery and the National Theatre building. It was also an especially interesting time to go and visit because they are currently doing construction on the Hayward and that section of the centre around Queen Elizabeth Hall, so there was scaffolding and lots of other "interventions within the built environment" that would be good in my photographs and drawings.
I was particularly interested in the colour schemes caused by the building work and the markers they had made in spray paint on various walls/surfaces that were going to be redeveloped. I was also fascinated with the roughish texture of the concrete and did some pencil/masking tape studies in my book to investigate the surface further:
I was also interested in how various lines/cables intersected the rough concrete texture with patches of smooth metal, because of the contrast between the two surfaces and the juxtaposition of them on top of each other.
Overall, the series of drawings and photographs I produced today were fairly useful as I now have a good idea of the type of structures/surfaces I might want to focus on when drawing at the barbican tomorrow. I was particularly drawn to vertical linear compositions, and after seeing all the tiiles/tesselation at the Barbican Gallery yesterday I want to explore the linear/geometric qualities of the architecture further, focusing on repetition of simpler shapes.
Today's primary research at the Barbican was fairly straightforward, and I was happy because I was able to focus on the repetitive/tessellating elements of the architecture; such as tiles, bricks and grids of various scales and densities. I started off looking at the diagonal white outcrops with tiles, which I thought were especially beautiful from the vantage point I had up the stairs, and it was also an interesting perspective to have all the tiles getting smaller as they went off into the distance:
Moving on from the tiles, I was also interested in how the bricks were arranged into a circular shape despite the rectangular divisions between them:
I also liked the repeated rectangles of the windows in the flats above the bridge, and thought it could easily be developed into some kind of stitch that mimicked/developed on from these shapes.
After drawing other blocks around the centre, I found that a majority of the architecture consisted of squares of glass in squares/rectangles of varying sizes, being intersected with concrete/steel vertical lines. I liked the simplicity of the linear qualities of the structures, and thought this would lend itself well to weaving paper or thread; potential responses for the textiles I could produce tomorrow.
Even after looking at more complicated bits of the landscape, I realised that almost every shape in the Barbican could be broken down into a series of simple squares and rectangles; this was illustrated further by the scaffolding on the stairs which highlighted the verticals of the building behind it.
I also took a few rubbings of the concrete texture, as well as the stripy surface of one of the drains:
Overall, the observational research was useful in giving me lots of different linear/geometric structures that I was then able to develop into a collage in space, made within the Barbican environment:
I thought the collage was successful in that it developed on from the linear qualities, but I thought as an overall piece it was too dense and there wasn't enough negative space in between the shapes and lines- this became more of a problem when we hung it up, as it didn't really blend into the surrounding environment, instead just hanging in front of it. Nonetheless I liked the lines created by the white wool, and decided to do some more experiments and illustrations in my sketchbook when I got home this evening:
It was also suggested that we see how the structure would look when hung on the body; however because of the scale/density I didn't think it was as interesting as it could be. However I thought that If we amplified the scale of the verticals and made the negative space between lines bigger, it could look interesting when draped around the figure:
The collage responses in my sketchbook reaffirmed my interest in the repetition of lines and shapes, and I made some weaving responses with wire,yarn and wool to investigate the grid pattern further:
I liked this weaving but wanted the shape of the wire to be more visible as I'd arranged it purposefully in a single zig zag piece (rather than a series of lines) , so I thought I'd try and reproduce it at a later stage larger scale with a different kind of wire (maybe something slightly thicker?)
This embroidery sample was an overtly simplified/minimal version of the white grid structures I'd drawn/photographed today, but I quite liked the empty space around it and thought it might be an interesting base structure to work into with further embroidery/weaving. As I still felt it was slightly too basic, I then decided to try and push the grid/palm tree by producing a painting (as something more refined to balance out with the looser sketches I made in the lesson today) and embroidering into it. I know that the brief said to ignore natural elements, but I really liked the colour scheme of the green and the white as well as the trees' linear qualities, and I also thought about encorporating in pink for my colour scheme for tomorrow:
As well as responding to my primary research from the barbican at home, I also spent this afternoon's lesson developing various textures and collages in response to th drawings/collage we had made earlier in the day. We began by making four a4 textures:
I was initially worried that mine were too simplistic because they were based around grids/repetition and therefore boring- but I then realised that it was probably better to have a simple approach in the initial stages, in order for my developments to be more successful (as if my textures were too busy/complex in the first place it would be harder to work with them.) After making the A4 textures we then had to condense into three a5 versions, using ripping, tearing and layering.
Because I felt that our group's collage at the Barbican today didn't have enough negative space or emptiness between shapes, in this composition I made a conscious effort to cut spaces in between the squares, which resulted in a texture that I was much happier with as I felt there was more balance caused by the space, which made it more successful overall. In response to each of the A5 pieces we then had to develop three 10cm2 samples, honing on elements/particular sections that interested us most.
Whilst I really disliked the square in the middle (because the horizontal and vertical tape folds weren't perpendicular enough) the third composition on the right felt really successful, as I was interested in how the square shape had been drawn up on two different textural levels; spreading across flat paper and the folded tape to create a single shape but also multiple shapes in between created by the overlap - however I realise this fascination with overlapping might just be a hangover from the Public Art project.
This sample was a development forward from white wool grid in the collage we made in the Barbican space, but I thought the single yarns were still a bit flat and could be worked into more. After experimenting with thicker yarns and some finger-knitting, my three responses were much more tactile and thus more interesting- I then tried painting into the wool with ink, and stitching in with varying thicknesses of thread. I thought these compositions were the most successful developments of the day, and finger-knitting is definitely a technique I might try developing further tomorrow:
In response to yesterday's collages and observations, we spent this morning creating stitch experiments based on the shapes we'd recording- drawing them out first, and then creating a sample joining paper and then another decorating. I began developing the square shapes/structures I had recorded yesterday, and I thought these worked well both decoratively and joining the space between shapes:
As well as stitching with thread, I made some wire testers in tracing paper and in space on it's own. I liked how the pink wire worked with the colour scheme I had developing, and I thought it could be a good base structure for weaving/knotting/knitting onto and into.
After producing some more stitch experiments in thread, I then tried making stitch outlines with wire, and weaving wool into them (see green and pink and sample above.) I like the tactility of the wool/wire combination, but also the negative spaces left by the weave, so I thought I would try and develop this further for the rest of the morning.
^Making a zig zag sample out of pink wire and then working into it with different types of yarn.^ I thought this sample was really successful texturally, as the green yarn seemed to echo the palm leaves in contrast with the white grid structures of the barbican gallery. I was initially concerned that my colour scheme might be too literal an interpretation of my observations, but I really liked the combinations and wanted to stick with it.
I then started constructing a larger version of the pink wire shape, ready to weave into it:
I then spent the rest of lesson working into my wire structure with piece of finger knitting in black & white yarns, weaving pieces of black card through and embroidering onto them the square shapes I'd developed from the barbican; and using the left over bits of fluffy green yarn from my earlier sample. I realise that it might not have been as productive to spend so much time making one big sample, but it was quite complex as a structure and I thought it could always be disassembled/ fragmented into smaller samples.
Texturally I thought the result was really successful, as the combination of yarns/colours/threads/embroidered squares worked well together. However, I felt the shape had ended up slightly random as the wire had been bent by the weight of the knit/card, and I tried repositioning it several times but wasn't very successful.
After developing the structure as much as I could, I thought it would be interesting to place on the stand, to see if it could be worn as a kind of neck/shoulder piece.
I liked the horizontal lines of the card and how they sat on the shoulders, and thought the structure might also be interesting as headpiece (the green fronds reminded me of the box headpiece in McQueen's VOSS collection.)
At the end of lesson the tutors explained to us about developing colour palettes, and the balance of colour, so I took some pictures of potential shades/hues to use, before making some paint compositions in my book at home to test out the tones fully:
I wanted to avoid hot pinks with the green because I thought it would look garish if they were too close to red, so I mixed some pale pink paint testers when I got home, and went to the shop to get some paler pink embroidery thread:
Overall I think I made good use of today's lesson, developing a clear colour palette which I liked particularly because it linked back to the white and green of the tiles/palm combination at the Barbican. After making a little wall collage of potential colours, textures and paint compositions to use, I am looking forward to developing my structures tomorrow in preparation for photographing at the Barbican on Friday.
Today was fairly productive, as I spent the morning preparing samples in my sketchbook before going to the stitch workshop on seams and construction. After practicing flat turn in seams, french seams, pin hems, turn & turns, zig zag hem and flat felled seams (which made me think more about how I can construct garments for future projects,) I returned home and finished off the samples in preparation for the Barbican visit/photoshoot tomorrow.
I started off in my book messing around with more of the pink wire, which I used to make a big A3 weaving with paper. I liked the wire structure to start with but thought the overall result was too minimal, as it just got lost in the paper and became more of a background to the weaving piece I mounted in front of it:
I then tried more finger-knitting; this time using a grey string of thread with pompoms I found in the pound shop. The result were little clusters of pompoms that reminded me of the rough texture of the concrete, and contrasted nicely with the smooth squares I had been working with earlier:
In a development on from my experiments with the pink wire, I made a hollow cube-like structure using a leftover section of chicken wire from last week, and wrapped white wool around the edge, I repeated the structure slightly smaller with thinner wire and green wool before joining the two, in a more abstract development on from the palm/white grid combination. I thought the results, were fairly successful, and would look especially good when photographed at the Barbican as the correlation in colour would become more obvious:
I also wanted to develop the paint testers I made yesterday, so I made some paper squares/windows and stitched them together, before painting into them with acrylic (using the paint dot technique that's become more prominent in my work recently) and pushing pompom/finger knit through them. I made a large A3 tester of the knit/paint combination in my book, before making a more fragile 3D version using stitching to hold sections together.
The way the embroidered squares contorted the knit made the piece look slightly like some octopus tentacles, which was purely accidental, but I actually really liked the outcome as I felt the pink thread work with the pale pink dots, white and green.
After making some smaller samples using the same finger-knitting techniques with black yarn, white yarn and the £1 pompom yarn, I attached various pieces of knit to painted paper squares/grids and felt ready for photographing tomorrow. While I like all of the textures I've produced today because they match with the colour scheme and textures in the Barbican that inspired me, if I had more time I would definitely try making some of them slightly larger (as quite of the pom pom structures are really small, and might have more impact if they were made in a massive ball rather than one the size of two fingers.)
Although I've been pretty under the weather for the past few days and was unable to attend class today because I had a of a doctor's appointment, I was determined to get my textile outcomes photographed back in the environment at the Barbican, so I went along in the morning before my appointment and took some photos of the structures hanging on the walls and balancing on the edges of the balconies. It was quite windy so in several cases I had to masking tape down the samples (one actually did blow off the side of the barbican onto two storeys below,) but overall the shoot was fairly successful as I think it illustrated where I'd got the colours/shapes from pretty well, and I thought there were clear links between my samples and their surroundings.
I thought the pom pom pieces were particularly successful when placed back on the surface; and the stony shade of grey also matched well, and the squares they were spilling out of were echoed in the rectangular window of the flats behind them. If I had more time I would have developed the pom pom finger-knit further to make more complex structures and not just little blobs, but I still quite liked the contrast between their irregular shapes and the repeated squares.
While this structure had been incredibly important to me in the developmental stages of the project, when placed back into the environment it just didn't seem to work as well, and I thought this might have been because there were too many elements going on at once, so it wouldn't fit with the simplicity of the Barbican's linear structures and clean shapes. When placed on a busier background (see below) I thought it worked slightly better:
I thought the hanging pieces/knit samples looked most interesting when hung against the rough texture of the wall, as it complimented certain textural elements of the knit and contrasted with the straight lines of embroidery/paper/paint. I also liked how all of the freestanding sculptures looked when lined up along the balcony edge in front of the wall, as this rough texture seemed to engulf all of the work:
Overall, my favourite set of photos were of the weaving/winding samples in green and white when shown in front of the tiles and palm trees, just because of the colour harmony:
I loved how clear the link between the sculpture and its background was, and whilst on one I hand I was concerned that this was too literal an approach, I thought back about how I had abstracted the square tile print into different types of wire structures, squares and cubes, and I felt that this project had been fairly successful. If I had more time I would definitely try developing larger scale versions of these samples that were heavy enough to become freestanding sculptures, but I am fairly pleased with the work I have produced resultant of this project.