Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Draping Workshop

On the 11th September, Week 2 of Ravensbourne, we embarked on design week - a perfect introduction to fashion week (15-19th September.) The week was set up as follows: Monday - a draping workshop, Wednesday - a drawing/illustration and analysis of garment workshop, and finally Friday - a paper manipulation workshop.

Draping was my group's first workshop. We were working with a variety of three different fabrics, all with different qualities and therefore creating three different outcomes. These fabrics consisted of cotton calico, muslin, and jersey. After we were blindly designated a material each, we then were given a list of adjectives: crunch, twist, gravity, grow and stretch, to choose from to transform our fabric into. These adjectives were initially our own choice, and then, were designated to us. Personally, this threw me right off-track, as a serial preparer ready for all outcomes... apart from those uncalculated - not being able to choose the word in which we then had to design from, was one of those I had failed to calculate.


The first word I chose was 'twist', using muslin. From this, I decided to focus of the front bodice of the mannequin, specifically on the bust area. I decided to focus in on this area as the natural form of a woman's body complimented the adjective, therefore helping with the flow of fabric. My first attempt at the task can be seen on the left and right images. I chose to start the bottom of the fabric twisting across the bodice, forming a circular ball of fabric at the right-hand side of the body. This creates a dramatic focal point and another element of twisting fabric. I then draped the rest of the fabric across the bust area, pulling the material in at the center of the decolletage, using some miscellaneous string I had found in my bag - the story of a designers life. Next, I decided to twist the left-hand side as excess fabric looked out of place and ruined the overall look of the piece. I then also pinned a few pieces of falling material in the center of the material to create little folds which added dimension and texture to the body. From the material I cinching with string, I then twisted and then covered the neck of the mannequin, securing with pins at the back of the mannequin.


Next, I was told to use the same adjective, but to manipulate the material in a completely different way. I decided to abandon the idea that I needed to create a conventional garment and therefore inherited the idea that fashion is art, instead of wearable clothes - an idea much, outside my comfort zone. Considering this, I only considered one singular part of the body; the bust. I first twisted the material in the center of the fabric, so one-half of the material is on top of the other, which can be seen in the pictures above. I then used this in a repetitive action across either side of the material, creating a circular form. I found that the outcome of this made the piece seen very flat and lacked any detailing, making the 'garment' seen dull and uninteresting. From this, I chose to pull lightly on the frayed edges that are very common in muslin cloths. By doing this, I was able to create small snags and gathering all across the material which can be seen in the images above. In addition to this, I decided to add some string into the design as seen in the first image. I thought that the string would add texture and further cinching in the material, however, due to the formation of the fabric and the fact that it was pinned together on the mannequin.  


Next up was a change of word. This time around, I was given 'grow'. I initially was drawn to the idea of nature and the natural discourse in which plants grow. With this in mind, I used a similar idea as that seen in the prior images with the small bundle of fabric on the right-hand side of the body, I liked how the twisting effect resembled a floral shape, similar to a rose or something alike. This inspired me to create a growing flower vine-esk design, using two different sizes of 'flowers' in each corner of the design. In the right-hand side of the piece, I had twisted a small piece of material into a rose-shape and pinned in place. I then took the other side of the material and created a much larger rose-shape design. After this, I shaped the rest of the material to cover the bust and middle of the bodice, to create a more recognizable garment silhouette. 

Adaptation of 'Grow'
Here is an adaption of the initial creation of the word grow. I decided to try and create a more commercial garment idea, using trends that had been very popular in the current months. I decided to expand on the lace detailing we have seen on the runway, as well as the high street. Although typically seen accompanied with eyelets. I decided, had this design idea made it into manufacturing, the lacing would be secured with a 0.5cm line of backstitching instead. This would ensure the garment was durable, as well as keeping it looking sleek and the securing tool invisible.


As a final task, we were told to consider one of the words that we had associated with the brief of the course; 'Revolt and Manifest', and use that lexis to create and manipulate the material. I decided to use the adjective, 'unconventional' as the theme of my project revolved around the revolting and manifesting of the gender discourse. I chose unconventional to reflect how difference can be celebrated and how the 21st century, in particular, has explored unconventional identities in the appearance and self-expression of ones-self through the use of clothing and make-up especially. 
With this in mind, I was advised to listen to music that inspired the word or that reflected the same message of your theme. I decided to listen to Prince's 'Purple Rain'. Prince, who is known for being unapologetically unorthodox, inspired me to create an asymmetric silhouette. I think this was suitable to portray the context of unconventional due to the illusion of districting from parallel lines; often associated with linear lifestyles. 

Overall, I am pleased with the progression seen throughout the day. The conditioning of working with uncomfortable material and context stretched my ability to adapted to environments and to understand alternative thinking styles. The initial pieces, were much more linear and conventional, easily seeing the form of a garment as knowing it, in comparison to the latter, which explored much more 'unconventional' and followed the mindset of a more maverick persona, essential to portraying the gender discourse.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

'I've Got it All' Tracey Emin at the Saatchi Gallery

Tracey Emin is a contemporary English artist, whose work is currently being shown throughout the UK; Saatchi Gallery and the White Cube, as well as on an international level in Rome, Italy, and Brussels, Belgium. Emin is renowned for her unceremonious, autobiographical and confessional artwork, often portraying feminist messages. Such themes are obviously seen through pieces such as 'My Bed', "Terribly Wrong' and the infamous 'Everyone I Have Ever Slept With'. The majority of Emin's work possesses themes of intimacy through the unapologetic and contentious composition commonly found in her work, especially in her photography.
Emin presents her artwork through a variety of media, in 2D and 3D forms from painting, film, and photography to sculpture and embossed appliques, which all add depth and texture to the messages, and provoke alternative thoughts to more conventional art forms.

Tracey Emin, "I've Got it All'
-Saatchi Gallery

The image above, titled 'I've Got it All' has been presented in the form of digital photography. This particular image concentrates on the body of Tracy Emis herself and the presentation of money: coins and notes. The fact that the piece has been taken using a digital camera but presented on a Polaroid highlights Emin's first message of the piece. This being that despite the progression of the modern world: technologically and socially, the perception of women is most often deemed more valuable than the genius of their mind. This is initiated by the fact that Emin is expressing her body in a very open and accessible way; having her legs opened, her body some-what upright and her hands pulling the money towards her groin. This is also shown through the origin of a Polaroid. The typically 'vintage' form of photography remind the viewer of the piece, that the traditional role and therefore depiction of a woman's abilities and worth are very much still relevant to today's society despite the progression in gender equality and women's rights as seen through the 1921 Women's Vote Act and the Abortion Act 1967; allowing women to decide their own path, instead of being seen as the weaker, mother and carer role, solely. This is emphasised by the initial appearance of the image and the title of the piece which highlights Emin's success, especially through the foregrounding of money. The fact that Emin has chosen to foreground sprawled out money, in the form of coins and countless values of bank notes highlights how prominent her money is to her due to her success within the art world. This is particularly interesting to see, as Emin has made an array of art work, directly confronting those critics how expressed their doubt in her work, and those who believed Emin would not reach any level of success; in simple, this is Emin 'chucking up her deuces' to the haters.

Conversely, the colours showcased directly contradict the initial, most obvious message of the piece as emphasises by the title of the piece; 'I've Got it All'. The composition of the image creates a subtle darker undertone. The use of three distinct colours: red (being the most foregrounded), black and blue (more so in the background) implies that despite Emin having 'It All', in fact, money is all she has, but maybe not all she wants. The use of the colour black in the top, left corner implies the theme of emptiness and fear, death and destruction, darkness and envitablility. Blue is present in the top right corner of the image which emphasizes the isolation and numb created by wealth, especially in women, and Red implies anger and frustration. Additionally, the fact that Emin is sitting on the red floor, creates the idea that alternative connotations of red e.g. love and infatuation are unreachable for her. This interpretation is created due to the floor, concrete noun, being an unpenetrable material, unreachable quality for her.

Moreover, the position in which Emin is holding the money further consolidates that the dominance of money, (even though valuable to her) isn't the currency Emin longs for. Signified by the composition of Emin's open legs being central, with her arms pulling the money into her groin shows how money is the only fulfillment she has, rather than love, and therefore is even more so incomplete, despite achieving higher than most in the industry. Furthermore, the fact that Emin has the money held against her groin, signifies how successful women are viewed, treated and perceived. Due to the more provocative themes in Emin's work, the sexualisation of her work and therefore herself suggests that more than ever, she is seen more for her sexual insight than for her genius; body over mind. This interpretation is supported by the common feminist themes in Emin's work.

Overall the image 'I've Got it All by Tracey Emin highlights the relationship between success and happiness - or rather the lack of it. The image further reveals her relationship with being a successful female in a dominant, male industry and the way she perceives herself as a result of the heights of her career.