Today I practiced drawing. I went outside in Hackney to draw people in different techniques.
I still need to find my drawing style. I tried different styles throughout the course and now for BA application it is important to find the style that makes your work look yours. It looks mature and confident to have an own style, an own character throughout a book. It shows you know who you are as artist and what you want to articulate with your art. So it is a statement of confidence to have a constant style. If you switch drawing styles in a sketchbook, the sketchbook loses character as the message about who you are as a confident artist becomes unclear.
I am aware that this can´t happen within one day but I want to draw much during the next weeks to get confident in one style which I have already developed.
At the beginning I developed a drawing style in which I drew the outline of the body with black marker and then filled the space inside of the outline with details using thinner pens of different medium. I found that these drawings looked quite heavy and not very loose as the thick outlines sort of framed the body. It looked as if the body has no chance to escape, is captured in the frame. So in the Public Art project I showed them to Alice and she also adviced to find a quicker, more loose drawing style.
Since then I developed a caligraphy-like style. I switched the thicknesses of markers within my continuous line drawings.Primarily my drawings have become black/white/grey continuous line drawings with colour accents using marker and pencil and paint as media. I mostly leave the pen on the paper while drawing and only accentuate shadow and light by making parts of the lines thicker while others stay thin. So the lines (detail-lines or outlines) change their breadth within one drawing which makes for a dynamic, "swinging" look. Because of the difference in the breadth of the lines these calligraphy drawings don´t look static or choppy but fluently moving which matches with my interest for dance and movement and my general style and interests in art and design.
The disadvantages of this style are that it looks very pretty and less expressive and wild as more spontaneous drawing styles which make use of many different mark making techniques. If you use different pens and if you leave correction lines on the paper drawings can look very playful and expressive. As my drawings are meant to be made by very considered perfect calligraphy- lines they do not have this playful component as much and look more planned and less loose and expressive.
Furthermore it takes longer to draw in calligraphy style because you need to make sure that every line is placed in the right way and position.
So today I tried all different styles I could imagine and figured out that there were even more loose styles which were very interesting and quick. For instance more abstract blind drawings using different media for shading. I used oil crayons, crayons and markers, pencil, paper and ink for the drawings. I started by making one- line drawings. I made one line drawings with a black ink pen and also tried pencil one-line drawings. I tried to use very sharp lines which were not continuous as well. At the end I found that I liked a very light pencil drawing style the best. It was very similar to the style I had before but more loose as I simply drew it very fast. So it still had the calligraphy look but in a less planned and more unorganized, expressive way. I then tried it with fine liner which worked as well. So I am trying to make my drawings quicker in future so that I spend less time on a drawing to make sure that they look "fresh" and not over considered.
Today I got my assessment outcomes. I am luckily considered for the Fahsion pathway. In my feedback sheet Patricia mentioned for Unit 1 that my process pictures should not be on my workflow page. When I had the progress tutorial, Chris said I should reduce process pictures but not abandon them in workflow so I only reduced but in future I will not upload process pictures anymore.
For Unit 4 she wrote that I seem to highlight activities in my reflections and should rather highlight critical thoughts. I started to highlight thoughts in my last reflections and in the ones before I highlighted also actions. So in future I will keep on marking thoughts only or I will stop highlighting in general not to cause confusion. I will ask Pauline Moon in my tutorial.
For Unit 2 she wrote: "The layout of your pages is really nice, thoughtful and considered and makes for an interesting read. You develop your ideas in real depth and that makes for interesting outcomes." Obviously I will keep on focusing on layout and research much.
For Unit 3 she did not give feedback. This is the Unit where I am mostly insecure about because I am not very experienced in textiles. I would like to know how my use of materials could be improved. I might ask another tutor or e-mail Patricia about Unit 3.
19/11/2015 // First thoughts about my cultural identity. Important brainstorming
Today we had our first day in the specialist pathways. Gale and Oonagh introduced us to the upcoming dates and times and important changes of part 2. We are going to be divided into two textiles and two fashion groups. The textile and fashion groups switch the places archway and King´s Cross every week. I think this rotational system is great as in Archway you have perfect facilities to work with different techniques with the help of machines like heat printing, pleating, sewing and knitting machines or even machines for in fashion unconventional materials like wood and plastic. In Kings Cross you have more space to work which is great if you make patterns and work on mannequins. Also you have the arts shop directly in the building and the canteen providing great meals for reasonable prices. So generally we profit from this rotation as we can enjoy both site`s advantages.
The tutors also introduced us to the new brief about cultural identity. A video was shown explaining that there is genetic and given identity which exists because of your upbringing and your genes: This is called "horizontal identity". And then there is the more diverse identity: the surroundings you chose such as friends, hobbies, music, arts etc. influencing you.
When thinking about my cultural identity I think of many different things: I think of my childhood, being raised in a loving family during the 1990s, which are marked by reunification of Germany. I think of the traditions my family is focused on. The Christian influence in my family that makes us celebrate Christmas and Easter extensively and the idyll of playing in nature either in snow in winter or in the huge flower garden of my parents house when being a child. I think of my favourite childbook "Wir Kinder aus Bullerbü" (by Astrid Lindgren). In an idealistic way it describes the idyllic everyday life of a group of children growing up in a small village on farms being raised by caring parents. Swedish Cultural traditions such as Christmas traditions like singing and dancing around the Christmas tree are adapted in the book as well. This book is not only my favourite childbook but it summarizes my idyllic childhood as well.
I also thought about the difficulties my cultural surroundings involved and how the idyll not only was a blessing for me. Living in this small village also meant being different than every other boy when having hobbies like dancing, singing and drawing. I did not play football which is obviously a German "must" when being a boy raised in a village. I had many female friends and when I discovered my homosexuality I tried to hide it for many years and even change it. I felt forced to change myself to fit into my surroundings. Luckily my parents and especially friends who I told about helped me to accept myself in the late teen-years. My first relationship to a guy needed to stay secret though.
Making music and especially dancing were the perfect filters to balance these years of insecurity. It helped me to become confident and independent. The dance community in the dancing school was very close and family like. I trained intensively and soon became good enough to dance in a professional dance company. I learned to organize myself, become confident on stage and the huge responsibilities I had during performances or when I gave dance lessons showed me that people need and appreciate my work which also helped me to realize that I was good enough how I was.
When I moved out and lived in Nuremberg and Cologne I was influenced by the liberal German Culture which exists in Germany in bigger cities. Not only homosexuality is completely accepted but also I found people who also enjoy arts and design. I was able to talk about painting and arts and architecture. It was possible to make music with friends. Unusual, experimental music and suddenly I found myself, the person I wanted to be and who I always was. I didn´t need to change the behavior anymore to fit in my surroundings.
This journey of my life I could document within my research as it includes German culture and the Protestant and tradition focused aspects at every stage of life.
Here is the mindmap I did this afternoon about my personal story of how my cultural heritage influenced me:
20/11/2015 // Tutorials with Pauline Moon // Sketchbookwork
Today I had a group tutorial with Pauline Moon about the personal statement for UCAS.
We started off by reading another persons statement. The example was not ideal as it was not very convincing because it included sort of empty or unnecessary statements such as "The reason I came to England was to pursue my passion in Art and Design". (It is obvious that an applicant for BA photography has a passion for Art and Design, so the sentence is not necessary.) Furthermore it the text was not written in an organized order.
So as an exercise we got the text cut into paragraphs and ordered those paragraphs to these points to find out how to order the paragraphs but also which paragraphs shall better left out. These were the points which shall be considered when writing the persona statement:
1. Why I want to study the subject I am applying for
2. Experience, skills and interests that make me a suitable applicant for the course
3. What I have learnt on Foundation
4. What I hope to gain from the course
While ordering we recognized that there were four paragraphs which actually were generally completely unnecessary in the text. Either sentences which were so generally written that the meaning was not clear and on point and therefore useless (e.g. "I have become more experimental".) and other sentences which stated self-evident facts that are seen as given (e.g. "passion for art/ hardworking") So we culled these "empty" phrases and ordered the the remaining paragraphs to every point in an order which made sense.
This exercise helped amazingly. I recognized that statements which only state your passion are completely unnecessary. You should always proof your passion in the statement. So generally: Proof not sate in the personal statement.
Also when choosing to mention an artist or a hobby it should always relate to how it influences your art and design work. Otherwise it has no meaning for the application. Everything has to have a reasons and should be able to influence the decision making of the assessment tutors.
To help writing a structured and good personal statement it is important to always have the reader in mind. Is it relevant or interesting to the reader what I write? To make sure it is you can record yourself while reading the statement and then listen to the recording. This helps finding unnecessary/ empty sentences.
In my individual tutorial today I learnt that I could use these techniques of recording also when I write reflections. Pauline mentioned it is important to organize statements in a way that the content of thoughts feels completed. I often wrote chronologically instead of ordered by content, so thoughts were scattered. To change this two things are important:
- Finding focus points at first (What was important today?) And ordering the text considering these focus points
- Asking myself while writing or rereading:
1. Is the position of where I wrote it the right one
2. Is it clear to the reader?
Both tutorials helped me immensely as I found ways to combat unstructured essays: Ordering at first and checking if it is clear to the reader by reading the text loudly or recording it.
21/11/2015 // Further thoughts: Cultural Identity with focus on political and cultural history of Germany which influenced my life // Visit of the "African threads" exhibition
I decided to visit the exhibition African threads in Hackney as at the moment I live in Hackney and the Bohemian, multicultural vibe and culture here influences my everyday life and my cultural identity at the moment. I saw the African Carnival few weeks ago and often I can see African women wearing beautiful colourful clothes on the street. I even heard a conversation in Afrikaans few days ago. As I heard Afrikaans before I could figure out that it was Afrikaans. So influenced by these every-day experiences I was very excited about seeing locals fabrics and clothes of local people.
On the one hand information about the history of Hackney was given and on the other hand about the fabrics and their patterns. Often patterns include signs which have a meaning. So the colourful creations often literally "speak" which I find very interesting. I watched and drew the colourful patterns which were made by print techniques like potato print, wax print or paper-cut-prints. I noticed that the prints were all very colourful and graphical consisting of geometrical shapes or decorative patterns.
I drew with markers and will later on collage the drawings I like in my sketchbook. I could try to create out of the drawn patterns new patterns by combining them in a new way as we did in the tactile structures project.
While being in the exhibition I also thought about how African culture influenced my Cultural heritage. On the one hand we have an Africa Festival in the town where I come from where I loved to go as a child to dance to the lively rythms. On the other hand it made me think more deeply about German history and the fact that racism is a dark part of German history and of former German identity. I found that it was brave to address also the time of World War 2 in my research as my grandparents experienced it and my parents the time after war. Their stories about Germany during the war and after the war in the 1950s influenced me throughout my life. I was taught from early on to respect every culture and was taught to be thankful for the food and everything we have which meant luxury during times of war and postwar.
The second world war is obviously a big part of German history as well as the GDR government and the Communist system in Eastern Germany from the 50s until 1989. Both important historical events influenced my family: The second world war because my granddad was a soldier and experienced the horrible roughness of World War 2 with his own body and mind. After war he was in Russian imprisonment for several years and what he took from this war was his strong belief in God which helped him to hope during the war. He considers God as responsible for all the good things which happened to him during the war and the luck he had during Russian imprisonment but also after the war when starting a family. He was no Nazi and as a Protestant who hoped for piece he also had difficulties in the army. He wrote a biography about his life which I could read again and make his story as part of my research.
My mother was raised by her parents in a very humble way as postwar mentality had trained my grandparents to be very economical and thankful for every bit of nutrition and material possession. Although my mother experienced a heartfelt upbringing she also described difficulties of having traumatized parents. My dad who was born 1945 was not so much influenced by the second world war history as he was born in Brazil and spent his childhood mainly in Brazil.
In general my parents were more influenced by the division of Germany into two parts: FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) in West Germany and GDR (German Democratic Republic) in East Germany.
They themselves were living in Eastern Germany but had friends in the East part of Germany as well as family members. Sometimes it was possible for them to cross the border and travel to see the family members (mainly aunts and uncles). They brought food and drinks as gifts from Western Germany as the selection in the GDR was very rare. The border control used to be very strict though. Only few things were allowed to bring and when entering the GDR the car and the passengers were intensively checked. This state of suppression and control following years of war and brutal brainwash considerably formed today's liberal German culture. In the 90´s a time should follow which would make sure that neither Nazis nor Communists could rule the country again. A time in which Germany stays undivided and becomes one, democratic country caring about moral issues around the world.
I grew up in the 1990s in which Germany struggled to find its identity as one complete country combining the Western part and the Eastern part. It was a decade of freedom, a decade in which Germany considerably started to reflect on the past decades in history as well as a decade of technical revolutions: In these years the Personal Computer and mobile phones developed and became an object everyone nowadays relies on. This time of technical revolution influenced German fashion and pop culture: Hip Hop, Electro and Grunge were the leading music genres which used effects created by computer technique. (Influenced by US rappers, Hip-Hop bands like "Die Fantastischen Vier" were superpopular in Germany). In Fashion the Antwerp designers and Kate Moss became the new "grungy" idols of "heroin chic". German photographer Wolfgang Tilmanns documented the new, edgy youth culture as well as gay culture in the 90s. With his photographies he reflects the mood of a sudden liberty and his unstyled, "honest" photos of young people, often gay people or people in the arts scene affect me as they reflect people who fit with my cultural identity. People who might have experienced similar stories as me.
My brother who is 14 years older and my sister who is 16 years older than me were teenagers at the time and I grew up with listening to their 90s hits and pop music (Michael Jackson, Nena, Backstreet Boys) while being also influenced by the Classical music and the Beatles my parents listened to. Youth culture trends were skateboarding, inline skating, Graffiti which I all tried out when going to primary school (2000 - 2004). Popstars like Whitney Huston and Michal Jackson followed by Britney Spears did not only influence the 90s popculture but also me, who had a love for dancing and singing since being little. I danced to the songs, copied moves and tried to sing the songs. This was also my first contact with the English language which now became my second main language.
I wanted to summarize the facts of German history as it is necessary for me to think about the details which formed the person I am now so that I then can create art and design with depth and with a strong concept. At the moment I am particularly interested in the fact that I grew up in a little village and needed to change myself to fit into my environment. I could also refer to people like Protestants or homosexuals during the Second World War who did not fit in their environment either. Constriction as topic could be my main aspect. Constiction by the environment you do not fit in. I could work with twisted shapes and wrapping when manipulating paper to symbolize this tension and agony of being isolated not able to express yourself.
22/11/2015 Summarization of my sketchbookwork
In the reflections before I reflected more on my culture than on my work so now I want to give a summarization of what I want to express with the first sketchbook pages about my cultural heritage which I have done over the weekend.
I grew up in a little village being able to explore nature and the idyll of the the countryside. So I wanted to show the beautiful aspect of my childhood of carefreely exploring nature. So I decided to use real branches as material to work with and explore their shapes. Firstly I was interested in the structure of the leaves and therefore emphasized the structure by painting the leaves. I also drew the leaves and thereby observed the outline shapes as well as the interstingly similarly shaped colourful pattern of the leaves. I devolped the shapes and patterns of the leaves into a new patterns by layering the shapes using paper and fineliner drawing. I could imagine these developed patterns on fabric for on a garment or considering only the shapes and structures of leaves they could be developed into shapes on the body. Also I thought of the material of sponges to use for the designs as it has a very natural looking moss like structure and colour. A nice contrast to this material would be very soft and shiny silk or a delicate transparent fabric as it´s smooth surface is actually the opposite of the rough sponge surface. As colours I like the dark forest green of the leaves as well as the brown of the branches. I mixed the brown colour with a bit of orange to create red brown that reminds me of the soil colour where I come from. The colour of the dirt I used to play with when I was a child. Also this red brown is a vintage colour. It reminds of brownish photos and faded colours of old items.
This use of saturated, brownish washed out "vintage-colours" is deliberate as I wanted to include the melancholic/ nostalgic mood I have when looking back at beautiful days in my childhood. To boost the melancholic atmosphere I included pictures of happy children playing in nature in the 1930s which originate from my favourite children`s book "Wir Kinder aus Bullerbü". With this book about the everyday life of children in a small village Astrid Lindgren describes not only the life of the fictive children but also my childhood. The peaceful, picturesque landscapes and houses, the adventures and the Christian traditions which are of importance in the children`s families remind me of my upbringing in a small German village. I collaged these pictures of the book, drew children in nature and as already mentioned I used real leaves and branches to express the experience of exploring nature with all senses.
I did not go further with the design development which I had started when observing leaves as the task was to research different aspects of our heritage and not about developing already design ideas over the weekend. So I went on researching with the following intention:
After the rather positive depiction of my childhood as an idyllic time I started to combine those harmless looking images and drawings about childhood in nature with the idea of constriction. Inspiration for including constriction gave me a branch I found which has two buds on tangled up thin stems wrapping round the branches. Why constricted branches and constriction in general? Growing up in a little village did not only mean the fun of exploring but also a rather narrow minded environment. As a child and especially as a teenager I felt that I did not fit in the environment I was surrounded by. As I wanted to be respected I tried to to change myself to fit in. This feeling can be perfectly described by the word "constriction": Constriction of my real interests and therefore of parts of me. Playing football instead of dancing and behaving heterosexual even though I was not.
Visually I translated constriction by using white fabric and white strings from the fabric to wrap and bind around the tangled shaped branches. I combined it with a drawing of two girls playing with a snake and images of a traditional village covered in snow. When I watched the images of the childbook I also found the image of a horse hauling a sleigh. I was especially interested in the shapes of the bridle worn by the horse. A bridle is a very constricting object to tame and navigate a horse. It reduces the freedom of the horse`s movements.This shape of the bridle could be tried in different versions on the body and I could use laces and combinations of laces to play around with to create a garment that restricts the human bodies movement. By restricting the body's movement I would not primarily want to show the physical restriction. Also symbolically constriction can meant the restriction of self expression.
Many people throughout the history and in every day life needed to change themselves to fit into their environment. For instance my grandfather during the Nazi time when he worked as a soldier even though he was a Protestant with a love for music fighting for freedom or homosexual people that were arrested during the 1930s/40s because they fell in love with the "wrong" gender. A perfect example for a person who experienced harsh restrictions as he was different from his environment is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He is the person who summarizes not only the history of Germany, the time which influenced my parents and grandfather and the Protestant traditions in our family but also my uncomfortable feeling of needing to adapt to an environment I did not want to be part of.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as a Protestant who opposed the Nazis and even wrote hopeful songs when he was arrested in a concentration camp, is an idol for my Protestant Family, especially for my granddad who experienced the war and my parents who experienced the post war era in Germany. I included Bonhoeffer in my research not to show only my Protestant background and the 2nd world war history which affected my family but also because Bonhoeffer experienced constriction metaphorically: He received a ban on speaking and writing and then was arrested by the Nazis in 1944 to be finally hanged in April 1945. After the death sentence in 1945 he stated: "This is an end but also a beginning." And a few months before his death he wrote a very hopeful song called "By loving forces" in which he is stating his security that with the help of god a change is going to come. This hope he had in a situation where there was no hope of escaping for him was always exemplary to me when I felt I did not fit in, when I felt that I was arrested not in a prison or concentration camp but a narrow minded environment. Whereas his break out or hope to break out of the Nazi Regime and the arrest can be seen in him writing poems, letters and songs, for me was escape and hope for escaping from the small town/village. So my research finishes with the idea of (symbolically spoken) hoping/trying to break out of constricting idyll.
I used different techniques to show this constricted feeling. For instance I used metal to wrap around a branch and yarn to stitch around bodies.
23/11/2015 Important discernment
Sophie showed us books this morning about collage artists. I was especially interested in the very simple collages which were unique and interesting because of the simplicity of just using one or two pictures for a collage. "Minimalist" collages are proof that it is not necessary to add complicated techniques and many different textures, colours or images to make a collage interesting. A collage especially can work when for instance just one cut changes the whole look of an image or if a the juxtaposition of two pictures creates an unusual contrast. I want to try that more in future, as it is a quick and effective solution to boost the meaning of research images.
Today we started by introducing our research about our cultural identity to our classmates, which we had done over the weekend. One girl introduced England and English traditions, another girl Moroccan and one girl Russian and another one Romanian culture. It was amazing to hear about those different, heritages, stories and influences and how different everyone interpreted it visually. One girl on my table impressed me. She had very loose markmaking drawings of landscapes and the green nature in the village where she grew up. She used paper, marker, fineliner, crayons, pencil etc. for her drawings. The combination of different media made the drawings very playful/ dynamic. I also liked that she visited the Tate gallery and drew from the paintings. She studied a face of a painting using different techniques of shading with fineliner as a medium. Her sketchbook pages were visually coherent and the use of different media made it look exciting/ playful/ varied.
After that we got paired. Jamie Sutherland was my partner. He is French, Welsh and Scottish, living in England. So he picked one heritage: Scotland. He researched traditional costumes and the plaid patterns of Scottish traditional clothes. I was interested in the fact that men wear skirts (which became a feminine garment over the years in history) as a traditional costume without seeming feminine. Especially it was interesting for me as gender identity was another part of Jamies cultural identity. He loved to wear dresses when he was a child. Pink was his favourite colour to wear. So I immediately I thought about how skirts could be seen as a feminine garment on a little boy or as a masculine garment when it is worn as traditional Shottish clothing. So playing with the idea of what are womens and mens clothes and when does a man seem feminine?
Then he also introduced me into his father's documentary photography. His dad - a documentary photographer - travels to India every year to take photos. I asked him why India would be the place where he likes to go. He answered that it was the place which he was inspired by but he was not sure about the exact reason. So I asked him to ask his father again. Linked with the travels to India are his traveling experiences in general. His two sisters travel much and often he visits his sisters, one year he went to South Africa and last year to China. From those two journeys he gave me pictures as well. And finally he also researched gay culture in the 1940s. So his research topics were very different which made it variedly inspiring but also overwhelming a bit. So many interesting influences which were very hard to link. I immediately felt connected to the research about gay culture and the gender identity topic of wearing womens clothes as a man. On the one hand those two aspects are very personal and emotional. I felt more inspired by this very perosnla research aspects as by the gerneral ones such as Scottish culture as the personal ones about gay culture and wearing girls clothes are unique. Scottish traditions or researching China or South Africa is amazingly inspiring but as it is a project about a person and his cultural background I would like to focus on the most defining aspects for the person. The aspects which are very special. Also I liked the aspect of gender identity as it matched with my heritage and the research about my culture about not fitting in the environment/society as a guy with feminine interests but also because as a homosexual man during the 1940s, during the time of World war 2. So when I had a talk with Oonagh and Sophie they found the topic of fitting in very interesting and recommended me to focus on one thing rather than including every idea.
In the afternoon we went to the library for researching on our projects. There I talked to Sophie about the work I did over the weekend. Her recommendations were to be more considered about which materials I could use in my sketchbook and how I manipulate the materials. She liked my drawings but said it looked a bit unthoughtful to stick leaves and branches in the book. It is still hard sometimes for me to use special textile techniques in my sketchbook as I have never learnt textile techniques and therefore always think more about colour, painting drawing or sewing techniques. Textiles is a new area for me I am now exploring and it is great that Sophie warned me so that I can improve my material work further. Also I was never taught to use sketchbooks in the way as in the Foundation course. I learnt to use sketchbooks for making scribbles and writing thoughts without thinking about layout and presentation. As this kind of sketchbook for the BA application is more representative, during the course I started to focus very much on the layout, shapes, colours and pictures of my pages and in the end I apparently did not think about materials enough anymore. Even though I did not use leaves and branches on a page for the sake of it. I wanted to look what patterns leaves can have when colouring them. Also I wanted to translate nature in a very literal and direct way to then create shapes from those real leaves rather than immediately abstracting them. I wanted to show pure nature and the exploration of it when I was a child. When I looked again on the page after the talk I really knew what she meant: Because no mature technique was used (just paint and melted plastic it did not look considered.
Now I understand that if you want to show that you were actually very thoughtful about the concept you also need to be thoughtful of every technique and material you use. The material wood and branches might have been the right material. Just the technique should have been a different one. Experimentation is important but always considering if it is contributing to the message you want to give. I realized that the story of my Cultural heritage I wanted to tell looked not only visually a bit incoherent in the book but also that my story might have been to complicated for telling it visually in general. (John Booth`s opinion on my first sketchbook pages was different. See reflection: 24/11/2015)
I again need to learn how to simplify my ideas to one idea which is easily and especially visually understandable otherwise my book looks unconsidered and not thoughtful even though it is.
My partner Jamie also researched many different topics which actually had no link to one another but by using only black and white in combination with pink and by using similar drawings and materials which matched throughout the pages his book looked visually coherent even though the content wasn´t. That is was I need to learn. Making it visually clearer while not "overconceptionalising"/ thinking too complex. Instead of having a complex concept I should have manipulated materials and considered the use of these materials more. For my research on the partener I tried to pick therefore topics which I feel can make sense together without looking visually confusing.
What I learned yesterday in the talk with Sophie was that I should make my concepts visually clearer while not "overconceptionalising"/ thinking too complex. Instead of having a complex concept I should have manipulated materials and considered the use of these materials more. For my research on the partner I tried to pick therefore topics which I feel can make sense together without looking visually confusing. So the idea is now not combining many ideas but deciding for one.
My partners research is described more extensively in the reflection before. To remind: My partner researched traditional costumes and the plaid patterns of Scottish traditional clothes as he is Scottish. He also gave me a picture of him wearing a pink dress when he was a child, picture of a homosexual couple in the 1940s and three traveling pictures about traveling. One picture of children in South Africa, one picture with a Chinese boy and another one which was taken in India where his father travels every year to take pictures as a documentary photographer.
When I researched in the library yesterday the key idea was the topic: "Not fitting in". This is what Jamie and me both experienced when were growing up in narrow minded villages as boys who liked wearing girls clothes and found out to be homosexual. I found this connection between our cultural heritages very inspiring as this was the unique factor that we have parallels in our upbringing/ experiences which formed our identity. So the main focus should lie on "not fitting in" as a guy who is different either in the way that he likes to dress like a girl or as a homosexual guy.
So I had three ideas for researching yesterday:
1. Researching on homosexuality and transvestism during the time of the Nazis as we both researched Nazis and men who were not accepted by the Nazis because of having a different mindset or sexuality. So the topic of simply "not fitting in" (feeling different to the surroundings) could be extended by looking into the history of the 1930s /1940s which we both have already done and looking how people as us (interested in gender fluidity, standing up for gay rights) would have fit in back then. It is a thrilling topic for me also because I do not know much about gay culture during World War 2 already and obviously World War 2 is a big part of German history which influenced my family as well. (See also 23/11/2015 in which I describe our research in detail.)
2. Researching on his dad´s documentary photography thereby looking at documentary photography and documentary photographers such as Nan Goldin or Wolfgang Tilmanns who photographed gay culture and transvestism culture in the 1980s and 1990s. These documentary photographers could be inspiring for the topic "not fitting in" as their non-staged photos of people who are different from the average society show show the life and feelings of such "outsiders" quite bluntly and honestly. The direct, realistic view into homosexual/ transvestites/ transgender people´s lives and struggles is very informative and therefore great for research and developing further design ideas.
3. Researching about India or other destinations Jamie traveled to such as South Africa or China. It would be especially interesting to see how a boy who likes dressing like a girl or who figures out to be gay is accepted by his surroundings when growing up in a less developed country/ emerging nation such as India. Homophobia is common in India. So looking into a boys life who grows up in a little village as Jamie and me did but in India and not in Europe.
4. Researching on Jamies Scottish heritage and researching the traditional Scottish clothes for men. Scottish men are "allowed" to wear skirts because it is part of culture and history. Is it really accepted to wear skirts in England or Germany as a man? And what would be the difference between a Scottish man wearing a women's skirt or a traditional one? These questions I could try to ask and answer in my sketchbook looking deeper into the criteria "masculine/ feminine" and how society accepts femininity in men throughout history and now.
I researched on all four ideas so that I am able to make a good decision on what to focus deeply. I set myself time slots for all four research parts to stay focused on the purpose and not get lost in too detailed research.
This morning I came with all my research pictures for the four topics and my sketchbook work. I did drawings and collages yesterday and this morning for the subject "not fitting in" inspired by Jamie's picture in which him as a child is wearing a pink dress with a butterfly sitting on his arm. I was interested in Jamie´s hand and the butterfly on his arm when observing the picture. The shapes of both were very curved and rounded and I was inspired by these curves as they offered place for other rounded shapes to dock. To translate "not fitting in" into a paper collage, I emphasized and abstracted the curved shapes of the hand and the butterfly and placed smaller rounded shapes next to it. Some of the small round shapes fit in the hollows/ curves of the hand/ butterfly and others didn't. So basically I thereby translated the topic "not fitting in" by juxtaposing shapes which can or can´t fit into one another.
When John Booth looked at my work he found there was a great link between my cultural heritage research and the research of my partner and he gave me inspiration of looking at masculinity and femininity and how to combine both. He also encouraged me not only to use paper but also to introduce fabric and keep on playing with the idea of revealing femininity underneath masculinity. (So for instance revealing a pink, soft, feminine looking fabric under a rather, rough and dark masculine looking fabric.)
After the class I directly went to the 99p shop to by pink very soft blanket fabric which fit perfectly in the feminine criteria. Masculine appearing menswear fabric I still have at home.
As I described in the reflection yesterday I am very interested in the rounded shapes of the hand and butterfly in the picture Jamie gave me. It is a picture in which him as a child with long hair is wearing a pink dress and thereby is looking like a girl. To remind: I am visually interested in the rounded shapes of the hand and butterfly as you can play around with these shapes in a way they match with one another and fit into one another or do not match or do not fit into one another. So basically the idea of "not fitting in" can be perfectly visually translated with these curved shapes of the hand and butterfly. So I kept on using the curved hand shapes for this collage I did this morning.
I started off by making a collage that focuses not only on the abstracted curved shapes but also on the boys hand in particular. I wanted to show that I am interested in hands not only visually but also in terms of content. Why are hands so important for my project? With his hands the boy in the picture (=Jamie) explores not only nature when playing with a butterfly but also gender identity when dressing like a girl. His hands are a central element in the picture as they are placed in the foreground of the picture but also because they are a symbol for exploration, for figuring out, for feeling, for touching and getting a sense of who you are when growing up. The hands are an expression of your identity. By watching hands you can see if someone is doing much handwork and artwork or handcrafts, you can even read somebody's hormone concentration in the length of his/ her fingers. And hands stand for exploration as described. So for my project the hands shall symbolically stand for the process of figuring out that you are different, that you like boys and pink and dance instead of girls, blue and football.
So hands became main focus in the collages also today.
The first collage I did was in a very naive/ simple look to emphasize that it was a childs hand. A child usually thinks less complicated is naturally honest therefore a more naive/ blunt look of the collage as well by using simple, curved and rather chunky shapes. While making the collage I took photos of eight different compositions I tried and then printed the photos to make 4 more collages with these eight other compositions. I found that all compositions were equally good so I thought of it as a series of print designs which could later on be developed for prints on garments.
While collaging the photos of my other eight composition- possibilities of my first collage I noticed that I like the shape of the butterfly which is part of the collage not in an abstracted way but in actually I like the literal shape. When drawing the exact outline of the butterfly sitting on the boy's arm, I figured out that the original shape looked even more abstract than the abstracted shapes of the butterfly I had developed yesterday (see reflection 24/11/2015). So after collaging I made two paper/ fabric examples using the shapes of the butterfly combined with abstracted hand shapes.
I also added some research about gay culture during the Nazi time which is part of my "not fitting in" research. (see also reflection 24/11/2015). I researched the symbols homosexuals wore in the concentration camps which labeled them as homosexual and researched people who were killed because of homosexuality to make the message of also the struggles when you do not fit in even more obvious. (Second world war is an extreme example of how homosexual people were rejected from society and homosexuals struggled not only in concentration camps but also in everyday life to hide their sexual orientation.)
I then collaged a concentration camp victim (a homosexual boy) with my first design idea. When thinking of designs on the body I definitely want to make a juxtaposition between typical feminine garment parts and typical masculine garment parts. This juxtaposition perfectly reflects Jamies identity: The in between of masculine and feminine, the direct expression of not fitting in a "normal" environment when being a person who is a contrast himself: A person who is feminine as well as masculine. So in this fashion drawing I drew a dress including the butterfly/ hand shapes and combined it with heavy, masculine appearing army boots and the menswear-shirt the boy is wearing in the picture.
Tomorrow I will keep on with my paper examples.
This morning I made another two paper examples. With these two examples I wanted to tell the story which summarizes my "not fitting in" project: A boy wants to dress like a girl and his interests aren´t the typical boyish interests either. He can't dress like he wants to and be himself as his surroundings would misunderstand him and reject him. So he tries to be a person he basically isn´t and adapts to his surroundings thereby breeding frustration and anger.
So I took the photography of Diane showing the boy with the grenade in his hand of and cut out the boy. I then made little cut outs into the boys shirt and fixed babyblanket fabric underneath these cut outs. I then fixed the boy onto abstract curved shapes inspired by the shape of the boys hand. I also wanted to include Dianes photo in my final collages as for me the boy in the photo has the expression of wanting to break out like a butterfly. His body language tells us he is impatient, aggressive, angry. He can´t wait anymore to use the grenade in his hand. This expression portrays the feeling very well which you have when you need to change yourself because the surroundings are different from you. When you feel you don't fit in and feel that you can't wait any longer to break out of your environment.
When I cut out the boy the background stayed. The cut out part in the shape of the boy, so basically the negative space I filled with patterns which I developed in my sketchbook by observing the butterfly and the hands. On top I placed a pink dress. So basically my final pieces link together. One of my final pieces is the boy wearing boys clothes. Under his boyish clothes you can see female fabric coming through. The other picture is actually revealing his character and the boy he wants to be but can't be by showing bluntly the soft pastel colours and pinks and the dress which the boy would actually prefer to wear.
In the afternoon we got crits by our classmates. We were sitting in groups and everyone in the group gave feedback on my work. My classmates said the last pages looked more concentrated on one topic and therefore worked visually better than my first pages which I totally agree. As they were interested in how the research could be translated as a garment on the body apart from a pink dress my colleagues gave me tips: One recommended to take army as another research point looking in particular into what soldiers wore during the Second World war. This was a coincidence as I actually had planned to exactly do this. I would like to redefine the identity of army clothing and play with the idea of masculine and feminine as well as with not fitting in when manipulating an army jacket si that this rather masculine garment becomes feminine. A very simple example would be the option of colouring an army jacket in pink. The other colour would already completely change the mood and meaning of the jacket and translate it into something far more soft, playful and feminine as softness and femininity are the typical features of the colour pink. Only the colour makes a huge difference in changing the identity of an object.
Furthermore my classmates found the idea interesting with Scottish skirts and how masculine Scottish skirts look on men even though a skirt is generally seen as a feminine garment. Due to cut and tradition a skirt on a man suddenly looks very masculine. So the idea of when does a feminine garment look masculine or feminine and what can men wear to look masculine or feminine? And how would a man wearing a normal pink skirt suddenly fit better in a traditional environment such as the Scottish one only because the traditional garments for men are skirts.
Both ideas are the ones I thought of by myself but the group gave me inspiration in making the proposal of buying an army jacket to deconstruct it and also it was good to know that my newer pages looked more coherent than the pages before.
In the evening I went to the lifedrawing class to practice my drawings. I noticed that I have become quicker in my drawing style and my sketches become ore look more confident as lines have clear positions and everything is basically in proportion.
This morning I researched on army clothing during the second world war. I especially researched on German army clothing as yesterday also my classmates recommended me to look deeper into armys clothing as it contrast as a masculine appearing garment with my inspiration of a very girly pink dress. The juxtaposition of feminine and masculine would express the idea of a guy how has feminine interests and does not fit in his environment. So playing with the idea of making army clothing more "feminine" and thereby looking also into gay culture during the time of the war.
After I had printed the pictures I recognized that I had many research pictures now. The pictures which I haven´t used and researched on Monday and the ones I researched in the library today.
My general question was: "Shall I show more topics I have researched in a coherent way in my sketchbook?" At the moment it is not very evident yet that I have researched deeply as I only selected pictures for my sketchbook which directly linked to my topic of "not fitting in".
I remembered John Booth saying I could use the pictures but in the way it is helpful for my project. So basically I decided to concentrate on the pathway of femininity in men and how femininity in men either in looks or in homosexual orientation was accepted during the time of the Nazis. And if at some place for example Scottish skirts make sense than I could show them but generally I do not want to "force" all my researched images into my project. It needs to make sense and this time I want to be clear in my messages about my research topic - the topic "not fitting in".
Today I bought an army jacket in the charity shop which is made of brownish bleached cord fabric the bleaached parts have a light rose undertone. The jacket has two shoulder laces and four pockets at the fornt. The price was 6 Pounds. I am planning to deconstruct the jacket referring to the jacket project in which I also deconstructed an army jacket. I would love to manipulate the fabric in a way that another fabric, more feminine fabric can look through from underneath.
I also could imagine to use the laces, badges and details to create the shapes of the boys hand and the butterfly (see reflection 25/11/2015) on the body. So instead of manipulating the fabric of the jacket I could imagine to use the fabric and the features of the jacket to build the shapes for the garment. So either fabric or shape focused.
After buying the jacket I kept on working on my sketchbook.
As I had printed the research pictures about World war 2 yesterday I observed the dretails of the army garments by observational drawing. I noticed that I liked the very structured shape of the symmetrically constructed army shapes in combinaton with the fluent abstract curved butterfly-shapes I had developed. The contrast between geometrical, structured shapes and fluent rather floating organic shapes reflects the my topic of feminity in masculinity masculinty.
Furthermore I developed folding techniques/ paper manipulating techniques such as Pop-Up techniques which I used for butterfly shapes.
Today I worked on my sketchbook and abstracted the butterfly shapes further to create fabric/paper examples and print shapes. In the pages before I referred to World War 2 and how homosexual people were killed in concentration camps. I was inspired by the striped uniforms of the prisoners as I found the fact interesting that homosexual people were wearing a uniform to be marked as not suitable, so their uniform was actually symbol of "not fitting in". I did not want to translate the pattern of it to obviously though and generally tried not to let the Holocaust become my topic but only slightly look into how homosexual people were treated back in the 1940s. If I had shown it very obviously there would have been the risk of making the sketchbook appear very dark and depressing which would have distracted from my actual topic: Not fitting in.
I adapted the striped pattern therefore in a tamed style using striped packing paper and striped, grey tweed later on.
As my topic is not fitting in as a female man I thought of how I could reveal femininity under masculinity and created paper/ fabric examples which play with the idea of revealing. For instance I cut the butterfly shapes into the tweed fabric and into the packing paper and placed the fabric and paper onto a pink background so that when you open the butterfly-shapes the pink fabric is revealing under it.
So paper and fabric above had saturated colours and striped patterns, reminding of colours and patterns of mens suits and uniforms. So as "menswear materials" they contrasted with the colour pink which is considered to be more female.
Then I started to create pop up paper examples of the shapes I had developed inspired by the child's hand and the butterfly. I used the technique of mirroring. I folded a paper in the middle and then into a triangle shape as how you would fold a paper plane. I then cut the straight edge at the top into a curved edge. When opening the folded paper the curved edge was mirrored, so basically like a butterfly the paper had a middle line and two "wings" shaped in the same way. I used this technique as it was very effective in getting symmetric shapes and as materials I used the tweed fabric again and paper. The outcome was very fantasy like. Because I layers shapes and cut outs it looked like creatures in the end, like faces and the combination of tweed and paper was interesting as it was the combination of something flat with something textured. Smooth surfaces against a more rough surface.
I kept on playing with these mirrored shapes and the pop up technique which I found worked well in a sketchbook as it has a surprising effect if you open a page and something is popping up. Also it is great to emphasize a shape. As it is three dimensional you will immediately look at it and if a shape is very important it is a good idea to create a pop up of this shape to emphasize it's importance.
Today I visualized the army clothing research of World War 2 in my sketchbook and drew the details of the jackets and suits which I liked in the sketchbook. I especially am fascinated by the very structured shape of the symmetrically constructed army clothing in combination with the fluent abstract curved butterfly-shapes I had developed. The contrast between geometrical, structured shapes and fluent rather floating organic shapes reflects the my topic of combining stereotypical femininity as something more soft and fluent, and stereotypical masculinity as something more structured and geometrical.
I then created further abstract shapes like I did yesterday (see 29/11/2015), so I worked with mirroring shapes using folded to create these butterfly like shapes. I wanted to create more variety of the paper manipulation which I did and liked yesterday to play around on the body. I then tried to translate the shapes I had created throughout the project in combination with army clothing onto the body.
For my mannequins I chose to create a very androgyny look to remind of the fact that the my garment designs are addressing gender fluidity. I played around on the body and thereby recognized that I changed the shapes I had created in a way that on the body it looked more fluent. So I bent my developed abstract 2D shapes to smoothly lie on the body. Otherwise it would have looked like 2D collages attached to the body ignoring the ergonomic and organic shape of the body.
I recognized that while doing it that it is not only the print design and the colours but also the shapes and working with shapes on the body which is fascinating me. So by now I am very interested in the Print course as well as a fashion course either Fashion with Marketing or Womenswear, as my work is very shape and colour focused instead of texture focused.
Today I had my progress tutorial.
Alice recognized that my sketchbook had improved much from the beginning to the end as it has become visually more fluent. She also said I should draw more and recommended me to keep on experimenting with drawing techniques instead of focusing on one technique to be the unique one to go for. I thought you would need to have your own style in a sketchbook but she said if the BA tutors do not like the style it is not sensible to have this one style. So it is always better to keep on trying different things. She looked at my free drawing experiments and found that they were even more experimental than in the book. So my drawing style might become a very ink based drawing style but with abstract influences of other more abstract drawings I did. I did drawings where the faces looked a bit more abstract. I could combine these faces for example with the calligraphy like drawings.
Furthermore we had the Kingston talk. After listening to the college´s structure of the course I think it is a great college for making it in the industry. It has great industry links and the internships and extensive cooperation with companies allow you to step in early. You get experience of the fashion industry from early on.
I also like the fact that you do not need to choose pathways as even though I am more attracted to womenswear I could imagine also to do menswear. the focus on knit allows you to specialize on the technique knitting which is great as you gain specific skills in this area and also are suitable for knit departments in the industry later on.
I was a bit disappointed that printing is no specification and not really encouraged. I asked about printing and they normally o not specialize in printing which I am very interested in. Also with the focus on industry it seems to me that it is a more structured business focused course and not as artsbased as CSM or Westminster college. As I love working conceptional and with no restriction of ideas it might be better for me to apply at a college which is more focused on arts than business.
Today I went to the library to make research on my chosen topic for the next project: Time lap. I am going to focus on the Antarctic exploration through Shackleton and Scott. I am very fascinated by the dark nostalgia behind the topic. A group of brave men going on the trip with an non-motorized sailing boat to a remote place which has hardly been explored before. One day it would have taken them to reach their aim and then they got stuck in the ice. The ice crushed the boat and the "survival training" began. The men walked every day and slept in tents. After days of wandering the captain Shackleton and two others decided to leave the island in self build boat. After a rough journey on the small boat (17 days) they reached another island and in the end after two rescuing attempts they finally managed to also rescue the rest of the group.
This story is a story of a wonder. An unrealistic wonder in the darkness of the antarctic continent. The images of rough ice cliffs, waves and the yearning for a remote and unknown place which all men had was very inspiring to me. I like the fact that ice as a fragile looking transparent material can become so violent to destroy a huge sailing boat and kill many people trying to explore it.
Fragile violence could therefore become my topic. I could observe the power of water and visually transform frailty in something threatening looking. So fragile shapes or materials as a threatening looking combination to build a garment. Squashing as a word could help to create textile pieces.
As this is very abstract I also thought of tents. Tents where vital for the crew. So using fabric of tents and also the strings of tents to create garments out of it. Also it would fit to the features of sailing boats with all their strings and canvas sails.
I printed pictures of the Antarctic Ocean. And I was fascinated by the colours.
But I still was not sure how to make the topic less obvious.
Today I visited the Maritime Museum.
I was interested in sailing boats and how they are constructed. I looked for sailing ropes and instruments such as compasses but also researched the canvas used for the sailing boats.
I thought of using ropes and knots and canvas to work on the body for shapes that play with the idea of constriction or rather squashing. As I described yesterday I like the part of Shackleton's story in which the fragile ice had the power to violently destroy the boat. I am fascinated that something filigree looking and plain as ice can be so violent and destructive.
It gives me inspiration to think about materials like transparent PVC, glass, latex or transparent cellulose for developing fragile looking, transparent surfaces which I could combine with wood or metal or other rustic materials which are used in sailing boats.
So ice squashing the boat could become my topic and I could translate squashed shapes either by using the just described materials or by using ropes and canvas which are used for boats or tents.
I also took photos of the children's drawings made by children who visited the museum. They basically show sailing boats in the style of children's drawings. I liked the freedom and the honesty in these drawings. Without knowledge about perspective and 3D-drawing it is drawn what the brain recognizes as typical for a boat and the sea."Flat" blue waves and a simple U shape as the boat.They inspired me how you could translate the sailing theme into abstract, simple print designs. I might also focus on developing prints in a more naive/ puerile "child style".
When coming home I watched the pictures again I had done over the weekend in the museum and my research pictures as well. When looking at these pictures I noticed I was very interested in the movement of the boat, the fact that the man had a yearning for a change and adventure in their life and I looked at futurist artist who painted at the time when the sailing turn was and celebrated movement. I thought of linking these topics.
When researching deeper I found that my actual interests in the topic were very different. On the one hand the movement of the ice and the boat, on the other hand the nostalgia and on the other hand the children's drawings, the tent and boat structures or equipment like compasses.
I found that looking how the ice squashed the boat is the most interesting inspiration as I generally love contrasts of fragile and violent/harsh as a certain "soft brutality". Something that is filigree but also threatening, elements which are beautifully frightening for me are similar to me to the the feeling of nostalgia and also summarize the journey of Shackleton: The exciting adventure which the men were all yearning for and the beautiful ice - landscapes and on the other hand the dark winter, no light, rough winds, freezing temperatures, high waves and the threatening power of ice. I could imagine to make a little textile piece of wood which is squashed by transparent, "light" looking material and repeating this little textile piece many times to create a fabric out of the little textile pieces. Out of this fabric I could then create a garment.
But still I am not completely satisfied with this idea as it seems so obvious to me. Isn´t it very predictable to observe ice and wood when researching about the Antarctic exploration, in which ice and then boat plays an enormous role anyway. Is it different enough? I feel it is somehow a bit dry as one tends to think about icy structures and sailing boats when thinking of the topic anyway.
Other topics like focusing on children's drawings seem more innovative, more different to me but the contradiction I feel is that the ice and power of ice, the nostalgic mood, so the obvious images of this Antarctic exploration time lap are the ones which attract me and inspire me. I am somehow worried not to be able to develop something new and innovative when following the obvious inspiration by ice and boats.
In general I am realizing I am thinking too much about the subject again. Tomorrow I must decide which "way of my research I want to go" and then start working on my sketchbook.
06/12/2015 Change of topics
This morning I thought again: "Which route shall I take for the Antarctic exploration topic?"
Focusing on child prints would be different, also looking at compasses would be a very unpredictable interpretation of Shackletons journey. Children's drawings as well as sailing equipment are not the initial pictures which tend to come into your mind when thinking about the journey. Ice, ropes, tents, dogs, fur etc are much more obvious focus points. I somehow realized though what really fascinated me about the Antarctic topic was the ice, the clothes the sailors wore and the equipment like ropes and tents. I felt with these topics I could easily glide into stereotypical interpretations of the Antarctic journey. So basically the factors which made me excited about the topic suddenly hampered me. I thought when designing clothes inspired by icy surfaces and colours I could not come up with an innovative idea.
It has been done so often in fashion history and I would love to look into something which is less explored.
So I decided to change my topic this morning into my second favourite one: Motorization.
For this topic I had many ideas of how to combine these shapes with Futurism and the yearning for movement and war. For movement through machines but also movement in society. And I decided to stop my initial ideas about the Antarctic exploration but look into the time of Motorization.
I could work with the repetition of shapes typical for Futurist paintings and the curved shapes of the cars and wheels to create very dynamic "moving" prints and to create shapes that are focusing on movement, curves and repetition while exploring the mood before World War 1. The yearning for a change, the hype of pace, of machines, of war and big anonymous cities.
I immediately decided to visit London transport museum to get inspiration for my new topic.
When watching the very early vehicles from the beginning of the 20th century, I recognized that gradually the shapes of the cars became more curved and streamline-shaped. At the very beginning they looked more like carriages. Especially the T-model from the US is to mention when thinking of the early popular cars. The T-model is the first mass produced car which started to be produced 1908. By producing this car assembly line work was introduced which automated the work process and needed less workers. So machines gradually replaced humans.
The Futurist artists had the dream of a machine human or a world ruled by machines instead of humans. The utopia of a roboter-like human without emotions, which can produce it's descendants by itslef was very trendy in these days.
So I am fascinated on the one hand about the in-between of human and machine, so the in-between of organic and mechanic and I am fascinated by movement. I think it is thrilling to observe how machines and humans can move in m´similar or different ways and how such different creations can have parallels especially in the way they move.
My idea is to combine movement of machines as well as movement of humans as my research to create design work. When researching machines I specifically mean cars and their machinery as on the one hand the topic is motorization which refers to cars and on the other hand as I am interested in the car which changed society enormously and not only is a machine used in the industry but became a massive machine and design object we use in everyday life.
After the museum I then researched on the internet and printed to the topic related pictures of cars, engines and photographs of moving people made by Muybridge. As in Futurist paintings, his photographs showed movement in the form of repetition.
Two other options of translating movement into design apart from repetition:
Gerhard Richter who I researched as well translated movement more in the way he painted: blurred paintings looking like blurred photographs taken of moving objects. I would like to try how it looks like to hide a print behind transparent fabric to create this obscurity of his paintings to show how movement can be not only translated into fashion design by repetition of shapes on the body but also by blurred effects with or on the fabric.
I also researched Jean Tinguely who created machines which move as objects. Also creating a moving machine as a garment could be a possibility of exploring the link between the body as a lively object and machines as something mechanic.
Today I worked in my sketchbook and did library research.
More in detail:
Yesterday I decided to concentrate on different ways of showing movement in design, by using blurred effects or repetition or real moving machinery. And I also decided to concentrate on the differences and parallels of organic movement and mechanic, machinery movement especially of cars. I developed sketchbook work which communicates these decisions.
I thereby mainly focused on exploring the shapes of cars' wheels. I think that wheels are the central factor for accelerating objects and therefore the central element of mechanic movement. I observed the way they move around and I think it is interesting that a wheel is divided into sectors by its rims. When moving around these rims get blurred and all the sectors become one sector. So I combined sectors of wheels (half a wheel with a quarter of a wheel etc.) to create very graphical collages/ drawings. These collages and drawings could later be used for developing print designs or shapes for draping. I did not focus on the blurred effect of moving wheels yet but will do that later on.
After this first sketchbook work yesterday which was about observing shapes of wheels I kept on working on observing wheels and the shapes of wheels when they are moving. I thereby introduced a photography by Muybrige which shows a man running while rolling a wheel. So I began to combine the mechanic movement of wheels with the organic movement of humans and began to observe the difference between the organic movement and the mechanic one not only by doing collages but also by sing specific materials.
When observing the wheels yesterday I noticed that early car wheels are made of wood and later on out of metal and rubber. These industrial materials are the ones I want to use in my project. I would like to see how the rather heavy and stiff materials could work on the body. I recognized that with the industrial materials I explored yesterday a contrasting organic material such as chiffon or fluffy knit would harmonise very well. So I taught myself knitting this morning and knitted the curved shapes I explored yesterday combining the fluffy creme coloured knit with rounded shapes out of metal and wood.
When I explained my concept in the group tutorial and showed my sketchbook work the people in my group liked the concept and the work I had done so far and titled it as a special observation. Chris stated I only must be very careful not to try to observe everything but spend time with every piece I want to observe so that I do not process everything after each other.
Firstly wheels, than machines, than bodies... I must go to the next topic only when the other one dries out and find a connection without jumping from one observation to the other.
Today I introduced colour. Still focusing on the topic of observing machinery movement, body movement and the movement of wheels, so the circular movement I created collages to find further shapes which I could use for draping as well as shapes which I could use for print designs.
Whereas I focused before also very much on materials I now wanted to really concentrate not only on shapes but also on colour. All the research images I had printed the days before where black and white. So to find inspiration for colour I went to the library to research on more images. Coloured ones. I found images of cars, Futurist paintings and also I found costumes created by Futurist artists which were very mechanically and robot like looking. I found dancers and body movement photography and one image of a rocket starting off to fly into space. The colour of this rocket was an orange-red which was very intense. For me it symbolised pure life. It is such a lively, powerful red, not as red as blood but a bit more orange which makes it a very fresh, young dynamic red. This red harmonises perfectly as the organic counterbalance to the greyish tones of the machines, wheels, cars, metals. The greys, blacks, whites and blues and brownish silver - tones I used in my previous sketchbook work.
To remind: My aim is to explore organic movement as well as machine movement to symbolize the dream among Futurist artists and the society of a fast paced world consisting of machine like workaholic-humans in the early 20th century before World War 1.
So the colour scheme of cool colours: grey, blue, black white, brownish silver in contrast to an organic powerful red was set.
The collages I made using the new photographs combined for instance the movement of a pole vaulter with the movement of the rocket or the movement of legs of a ballet dancer with the movement of a lever of an engine.
Tomorrow I would like to try to drape some of the shapes.
This morning I bought wood and fabric for my garment. So I went to Homebase and bought wood as well as rubber rings and metal. As these are the materials which are the ones which were used for historic car wheels I would like to use them for my garment to see how stiff, inorganic industrial materials work on or with the body. Also they are a symbol for industrialization, motorization and the era of hyping machinery and pace before World War 1. They also contrast with the fabrics I bought. apart from knitting yarn I bought metallic silver fabric which looks metal- like but is fabric and I bought white, light transparent fabric which reveals body movements but still is not completely transparent so you can see clearly see every fold when draping. Also this fabric is ideal for layering. The more layers, the less transparent and more white it becomes. I could use this fabric for covering prints, giving them a "blurred look".
We also had a talk by five professionals who work in the fashion and art industry giving us a realistic insight into the industry. I was mainly impressed by the woman who draws very emotional, sad faces. She was very honest in the way she spoke and is evidence that no matter which age or how your past was you can become successful in the fashion industry. Another designer gave us the advice that often the photography of an object is the most important. You can make a not overly great looking outcome look fantastic by photographing it in a very interesting set design. He also recommended to always push yourself. We should never be scared to try out very new techniques as in the end it will somehow work. And if there is not much time during a project, accept imperfection. Especially the last bit of this sentence is important for me because I sometimes waste time by wanting to make things perfectly even though it does not really matter if they look perfect or not. Ideas count the most and not a perfectly measured layout of a page for instance.
At home I did some fashion drawings again using the shapes I had developed by now. I drew my flat mate in several positions thereby practicing my mark making and and precision in lines. I recognized that my drawing style is improving more and more by constantly doing those drawing exercises. I become more secure and develop an own drawing style.
I also painted a Futuristic abstract painting which I want to cut and collage to create print designs which I can use to print either on calico, transparent fabric or even metal or wood.
For the painting I used acrylic and tempera paint which I mixed with pencil drawing. I adapted the curved shapes of the wheels and the straight shapes of the rims with a special geometrical "L" shape which I found in a part of the rocket I collaged. I repeated and layered all geometrical shapes to create an overlapping, dynamic, repetitive look used in Futurist paintings. As colours I used grey, blue, black and white.
For collaging I copied the painting in the library. While copying I pulled the scanned painting away so that the printed result were paintings in a wavily moving look. So basically I scanned while pulling the painting away. Interestingly parts of the painting appeared another time on the page on the print out, so a repetition of shapes was also the result of pulling the painting on the scanner. This is an interesting experiment as it combines the Futurist painting which uses repetition for communicating movement with the technique of scanning movements distorting the sharply shaped Futurist painting into a wavy image. The print outs I will use as well for print designs.
We also gave each other advice on our personal statements today and discussed possible changes. Paul and Rhiannon read mine and found it good but recommended to shorten down as well as change parts which still sound a bit general into a more personal version. Paul also helped me linguistically in some parts of the statement and I also spoke to Alice today who gave me recommendations on the course choice. I explained her what I was interested in and she looked at my work. Her recommendation was Fashion and Marketing as well as Print and she said as my work was more subtle, not so colourful I should pick Fashion and Marketing as my first choice and Print as the second choice.
She liked the drawings I had done and said I should do lots of them and practice further. She also recommended us to start a drawing book over the holidays as after Christmas we would do many drawing exercises as well.
On this day we also did another drawing exercise. A classmate stood on the table holding a jacket and we drew him from different perspectives. We were introduced to a new technique. We cut a shape out of paper to use it as a body part and drew on top of this shape as well as the body around the shape. It is a great technique to use if you want to emphasize a special part of a garment or if you want to use draping pictures to collage in combination with fashion drawings.
Today I used my collages to develop another print design. I weaved black fabric and paper. I cut wavy stripes out of dark blue paper and straight stripes out of black fabric. I cut the paper stripes in a weavy shape as I was inspired by a futurist painting which shows flying birds that fly in a weavy line. This futurist painting I had collaged in the page before as it showed movement by repetition which is typical for Futurist paintings and gave. By collaging it this painting also gave me an idea of how I could combine and transform the graphical wheel-shapes I had developed with more organic ones to combine organic body movement and mechanic machine movement in one image/ design. So when I was weaving I wanted to adapt these wavy lines of the painting by cutting the paper wavy as well.
The weaved fabric example then built the background for an abstract paper cut showing how legs of ballet dancers transform into levers of engines. The idea for this paper cut came from a previous collage I had done showing the levers of an engine in a juxtaposition to dancers legs. The legs and the levers are placed in a semicircle and look together like half a gear. It is a print which combines levers as moving parts of machines with legs as the moving part of the human body in a way that it looks like a wheel/ a gear. Therefore in this one print idea my whole topic of organic and machinery/ wheel movement is summarized.
I am planning to print it on calico and in smaller scale to try it on the body.
Before doing so I observed also the humans body movement, especially the movement of legs and how it can look very mechanical by abstracting it. My inspiration was a chronophotography of a running person wearing reflection stripes and dots. The stripes are used for body parts like arms and legs and dots are used for joints. So when the person is running running the stripes are changing the angle and positions to one another. This movement/ anatomy study is very inspiring as the overlapping lines/ reflection stripes create a very mathematical, geometrical machine-like pattern. As these reflection stripes on legs and arms change the position they are also in different heights and built a wavy pattern like in the weaving I had created before. If you delete the body from these photos and only leave the reflection stripes (=the lines) the resisting lines create a striped pattern. This striped pattern again reminds me of moving rims of wheels which I had observed at the beginning of this project.
This body explained body movement study is fascinating me as it is again movement of something organic which becomes machine like in the end.
I either plan to use it for more print examples or just for explaining my work and my intention, my concept and what I want to express throughout the project: The Futurist utopia of the industrialized, militant human as a machine like, constantly fast moving modern being.
Yesterday researched chronophotography (see 11/12/2015) and noticed how a moving human body wearing reflection stripes can suddenly look very mechanical and inorganic when only the reflection stripes are displayed without the body. A stripe pattern of lines in different angles is the result of blending the body out and just showing the reflection stripes in front of a black background. Inspired by this research I developed a knitting piece out of black jersey stripes and white yarn. This knitting piece adapts the image of white stripes in front of a black background and also the repetition of always same looking stitches of the knitted piece displays the elementary tool used in chronophotographs to describe movement: repetition.
I also draped today.
I firstly looked at the work I had done the previous days and developed shapes. I recognized that the movement of a wheel, the rounded shape and the constant round going movement always inspired me. So for the final piece which we present tomorrow I designed a cape/ poncho out of the white transparent fabric I bought. I wanted the wearer to have freedom in movement and therefore I thought an oversized cape and poncho gives the body all the space it needs without directly enveloping body parts. Movement is my topic so the garment must leave space for a moving body. Secondly I wanted it to be very simple, delicate and minimalist so that it doesn't compete with the wooden piece I also created for the garment which I describe later. Therefore I ironed waved lines onto the fabric which you only recognize when you step closer. So four ironed lines go around the body in a wavy shape. With these lines I want to communicate the organic movement, the movement of the the birds in the Futurist painting I used for a collage and the chronophotography of a moving body which I also collaged (see for both examples: reflection of 11/12/2015). The poncho with two armholes fits the body very loosely and contrasts in its material beautifully with the following wood piece:
Apart from this simple poncho I created the statement-piece: An abstract shape made of wooden, geometrical circles. It took a while to find the perfect shape. I tried many different shapes for the wood-wheels which I firstly drew on paper and then I drew on bigger paper to cut it out and drape it on the body. I decided to choose a shape which had rounded as well as sharp elements combining the specific shape I took from the photo of a rocket and the wheel like shapes of the Futurist Painting I had done (both sketchbook works in which I explored shapes and colour, which are described in previous reflections). This final combination of shapes looked like a sharp knifelike wheel, very mechanical appearing in its geometrical constitution. So I cut out this final wheel firstly out of paper in three different sizes. It was hard to find the perfect sizes as I wanted the shape to look huge on the body and as the central eye catcher attention grabbing but not chunky. In the end I decided to cut a big one which fully covered the belly and the chest and two smaller ones, one quarter of the size of the big wheel and one half of the size of the big wheel. After sawing for three hours and editing the sawn wood pieces for another 1 1/2 hours I placed the wooden pieces again on the body and looked where they could look best. But as I had expected and already done in my drapings I thought they looked best when being fixed onto one another. So I fixed them with wood glue onto one another other. The smallest one on top, the biggest at the bottom. I fixed them in a way that every wheel is placed in another angle. The middle-size wheel is "turned further down" in its angle and the small sized wheel is even more turned down so that it looks like three moving wheels which have the ability to move circular. Those three shapes I then fixed on a belt out of leather so that I can use bind it on the body when making a photoshoot of the final garment.
I also thought of fixing them onto the poncho so that the heavy wood would pull the fragile transparent fabric downwards to the ground. Movement in the form of folds, "a pulling downwards" would emphasize my aim of displaying machine motion. But decided to keep it loose and make process pictures in the shooting in which I can try this idea as well.
Today we exhibited the work we had done and even though a part of my work of my knitted and 3D work was at home I showed Sophie the work I had done over the week. She found that my pages looked a bit decorated. She liked my drawings and the collages but they all must not be made for arts sake but must be used for the purpose of creating fashion and textiles. The sketchbook is not a fine art book so I should think more about function, fashion and textiles. So when making collages and thinking of it as prints I also should try these collages as prints instead of leaving them undeveloped in the book. I should develop more with the focus on creating a garment or piece of fabric. For instance I could print the collage of the legs and levers on calico and try it on the body which I had planned to do but could not do anymore because of time. She recommended me also to use my skills more. As I can tailor I should also show it in the book. I think in the last project I have focused too much on developing shapes instead of directly trying prints and draping. Unfortunately I also lost three days of time at the beginning as I changed my topic which in the end I actually needed. So, many things I wanted to develop were undeveloped at this stage. But I wanted to show it a tutor and Sophie gave great recommendations in (in)directly saying that I have good "weapons" (drawing, collaging etc.) but need to make the purposes of my pages more clear and experiment more always with the focus on designing fashion.
For keeping a clear way in developing the ideas straightforwardly she also recommended me to write all the ideas and notes on papers and pin them on the wall and then decide between ideas. Then I can follow one idea to create a fashion piece more easily.
After the talk I directly printed the collage of the legs and the levers on calico and draped it on the body. I thereby hid the print under the transparent fabric to see how I can achieve a blurred effect which is used in Gerhard Richters paintings which I researched for the project because his blurred paintings look like photographies of moving objects/ people. This artistic interpretation of movement is an alternative to the one I used by now: repetition which is used more in Futurist paintings.
16/12/2015 Personal statement
Today I had a tutorial with Pauline about my personal statement. She recommended me to change the order of the statement so that everything I wrote about what I have learned in the Foundation Course stands more at the top of the statement as it is considered as the most important part. So the BA tutors immediately know which skills I have gained. In the very first paragraph she recommended me to cut "I am not creating art with the sole intent of pleasing the creator". It might come across as not being respectful about fine art or other art forms than fashion design. The question arises: Is there any art form in which you should produce art with the sole intent to please the creator/ artist? So I also decided to leave out this sentence.
This is how the paragraph was before:
Stemming from my background in experimental contemporary dance, I am excited about art that is expressed and created around the body because it displays human character and spirit as a physical creation. As an aspiring fashion designer I am not creating art with the sole intent of pleasing the creator but am conscious of the wearer’s character; using the human body and personality as part of my artwork to enhance the expression of emotions and political or cultural developments.
Now it is without the sentece about "pleasing the creator".
Today I made a photoshoot with Isidora of my final garment. I shot it in front of a concrete wall to boost the industrial mood f my motorization project. Wood, metal, rubber are the materials I have used. It looked therefore very good to shoot her in front of a wall which is also made of a typical industrial material. Grey concrete was also the perfect colourbalance for the white transparent fabric and the wood.
To remind: It was a long transparent poncho in combination with a huge wood sculpture consisting of three differently sized wood shapes. The shapes of the wood are reminding of saw pieces.
I started shooting her holding the wood piece in her hands. She held it in front of her body behind her back above her head and every placement of the huge wood piece created another shape of the garment. I found that holding the piece above the head was especially a successful position because it looked very unexpected. Also the wood piece was very thin. It looked as if the modal was holding a very heavy wood piece with her head even though it was not heavy in reality. But this contrast of heaviness and lightness, the contrast of heavy wood cut in sharp shapes and the soft and delicate transparent poncho was especially clear when she hold the wood piece above her head.
Another successful position was the placement around the legs. I tightened the wood pieces with the Poncho so that the wood was hanging on the transparent poncho pulling the fabric downwards. Also in this composition the contrast of heavy and light as well as movement (movement of the fabric when being pulled down) was obvious.
After holding and binding I used wire to fix the wood piece on the body. This gave a special effect. It looked as if the wood piece was hovering as if a very heavy piece of wood was carried by the air around. Again lightness carries heaviness and the idea of movement when thinking of moments in movements when being in the air with no link to the ground.
Today was the UCAS applicaion deadline. I reedited my personal statement and read it very many times. I reread it and read it again. I spend much time to formulate it very sharply and on point while including important information about what is interesting about me and relevant for the course. As I have put effort into it and am satisfied with the content and the words used I would like to give it some space in the reflection area. I enjoy writing and write actually very much including poems. So I also wanted to show my strengthen in writing in my statement but unfortunately I adjusted the statement again in the end to make the statement shorter. When doing so I changed words and structure and in the end I sent my personal statement with three small grammatical mistakes. Instead of "a sociopolitical book" I wrote "an sociopolitical book". Also I wrote "wearers character" instead of "wearers' character". And I wrote "futurist paintings" instead of "Futurist paintings". I emailed Gail who told me not to worry about small grammatical mistakes. The English people I gave the statement to read did not even recognize the small errors.
So this is my statement:
Stemming from my background in experimental contemporary dance, I am excited about art that is expressed and created around the body because it displays human character and spirit as a physical creation. As an aspiring fashion designer I am conscious of the wearer’s character; using the human body and personality as part of my artwork to enhance the expression of emotions and political or cultural developments. A holistic approach to fashion is vital for me: observing the wearers’ features, the target market, and the environmental, cultural and political influences on society. One reason for the wish to create meaningful design is my recent work experience as a fund-raiser speaking up for fairer wages in the developing world and educating people about world hunger and possible corrective action.
In the foundation projects I am experiencing how the charity work is triggering my desire for using recycled and sustainable materials like wood from disposed wardrobes or second hand clothes for creating experimental garments. The foundation course also allows me to use my study experience in psychology, philosophy and fine art history for developing profound concepts and considered research in form of reading, watching documentaries, exploring textures and collecting materials for prints, knits, paintings and surface manipulations. Inspired by a sociopolitical book I once displayed the global unbalance of poverty in war vs. wasteful consumerism in peace by creating new garments from a deconstructed army jacket and neon coloured, recycled plastic materials. I am also learning to focus research effectively, to decide between many ideas and to show my purposes through textile work, mark making, painting, collaging, draping and tailoring. Having gained these techniques partly self taught, partly in internships and a three year fine art program focused on painting and sculpture, I feel the foundation course is enabling me to channel these skills for my aim to develop womenswear fashion of expressive shapes and surfaces.
Relating to rhythm and movement is a signature of my design work. I was part of a contemporary dance company and of a band having regular stage presentations and winning several awards. The emotive language I use when I dance and make music inspires me for generating ideas. I am also influenced by Italian Futurism painters and artists such as Duchamp, Richter, Tinguely, Muybridge who all interpret movement differently in their art and inspire me to create fashion which emphasizes body movements translating their techniques such as the blurred effect of Richters paintings or repetitive shapes of Futurist paintings into garment design. I hope to explore movement in design even more in the BA course as it is constantly used in fashion such as in Gravity Fatigue by Chalayan but not many designers have specialised on it.
For the past four years I have undertaken fashion-related internships at companies such as Ermenegildo Zegna, S. Oliver and two womenswear bespoke tailors. The experience in the industry taught me to work precisely with a focus on high quality tailoring and handicraft and has made me feel certain in my career choice and my preference to create fashion for women. I focus on details and like to play with fluently moving lines, combining fragile elements with rough ones which harmonises especially with the curved female body and the female combination of sensitivity and power.
For the BA degree I hope to develop a very personal way of working and a highly individual artistic style based on playful materials, strong shapes and concepts to become a confident, greatly independent, unique fashion designer supporting moral and visual innovation in the fashion industry always with a special focus on the market and society.
Today I did draping for the cultural identity project. In this project I was inspired by a boy who is in between girl and boy and needs to hide his female features due to a narrow minded environment. In thi sproject I developed butterfly shapes which I wanted to place on the body and combine thes shapes with the deconstruction of an army jacket.
I cut out the butterfly shapes and draped them on the stand. That was a very special experience. Finally trying to develop my "D paper designs in 3D on the body.
I started off quite literal and "flat" by just placing the shapes separated on the body. It looked graphical as you could see the exact outline of every shape but I foun it looked a bit simple as well. Just cutting shapes out and placing them as they are on the body seemed a bot too simple to me. So I started to use the shapes to create shapes. So I pinned the shapes together and sort of created a fabric out of the paper-butterfly shapes. With this paper fabric I then began to drape which was very interesting as the previous shapes started to distort and built new shapes. So the shapes inspired by the butterfly (see reflections 25th of November onwards) were abstracted again by draping and some interesting effects developed playing with light and shadow. An overlapping paper shape caused a shadow onto the underlying paper shape. You could compare it to a tree with a lot of leaves. Some leaves are enlightened by the sun and some are among the shades. I liked this leaf- like effect as the draping had then a rather 3D than 2D, flat appearance.
Over the last few days I also made my thoughts and did research for the lanyard project. I had many different ideas: Evolving my previous cultural identity project using the double or hidden identity as a topic for my project. I could imagine to to create a garment that hides the ID card. So you need to reveal something to envelop and show the ID card. So basically revealing your true identity. I could create a typical menswear outfit and add a zipper or something to open this outfit. Under the menswear garment something typical female as well as the identity card can then be revealed. I am now packing but on my journey back to Germany tomorrow I will continue my research and develop my concept.
Today I traveled back to Germany. I was on the road by tram, bus, ferry and train for 16 hours.
While traveling I could not use internet neither my sketchbook so I took notes and made mind maps about the lanyard project. While being on the ferry I watched the cars in the car park area. I am still very impressed by the idea of specializing my motorization project and continuing it to also the lanyard project.
I think of how a very mechanical lanyard could look like. How could I translate my concept of machine movement and the anonymity of the lifestyle during the time of motorization into a lanyard?
Anonymity means changeability. In an anonymous big city lets say before World war 1 during the time of motorization a human is like a machine, no person, just an unknown "something" and I could take this changeability as an inspiration for researching on wheels and exchange of parts of machines. I think of creating a wood piece for instance with exchangeable parts. So that the wearer can decide which part of the lanyard he or she wants to use. It thereby stays a constantly moving process of changing the lanyards look and function. Movement and anonymity as an extension of my motorization project.
Today I watched at the work I had done for the motorization project as well as the lanyard project.
I knew that I wanted to combine the lanyard project and one of the previous projects as I had ideas for both. Two days ago while travellling home I made mindmaps to gather ideas for the lanyard project and found that playing with the topic "double identity" or "no gender" would be a very intersting inspiration for the lanyard project as gender questions as well as the lanyard which holds an ID card is both about identity in general. So there would be this starting point of: How would an Id card holder and the ID card look like for a intersexual/ transsexual person or for every kind of person who does not feel related to any kind of gender.
I decided to firstly continue both projects motorization as well as the cultural identity project and then develop a lanyard in continuation of one of the projects.
I started by placing the army jacket which I had bought in a charity shop on the body to try out in which ways it could be manipulated/deconstructed for new shapes. As the army jacket has a very significant style of dye and bleach I wanted to use the bleached /washed out die effect within my composition of the garment to boost the effect of the beautiful die. After trying it in several ways I found one placement which was especially interesting. I simply turned the jacket upside down and back to front. By doing so the bleached, light part of the jacket faced the front and can be seen now much better than before. Also by turning it that way details like pockets and laces were suddenly very interestingly, unpredictably placed.
I then pinned it in different ways always with the details in mind which I wanted to show as they are signutre of the army jacket and make the jacket look like an army jacket. It is important that the audience recognizes that my new creation was once an army jacket as the army elemt plays with my topic of homosexuality during world war two and my observation of army jackets within the research of the project.
Today I kept on working on the army jacket and thereby recognized how interesting it could be to create also a dress underneath the army jacket in girly, pinkish colours which contrast with the brownish, subtle, greyish tones of the army jacket. It would boost the idea of revealing femininity under masculinity and show my concept of guy who wants to be a girl in the 1940s in Germany. There were probably many transvestite men among the soldiers who could not live the way the wanted to live and the way they felt to be. So it would also be interesting regarding the lanyard project to create a sort of girly dress which displays feminity hidden under the masculine army jacket.
Today I decided to add a shape to the front of the jacket. In my research in the sketchbook there is an image of a homosexual couple in the 1940s I collaged it and sort of dressed one of the men with a butterfly cut out. Under the cut out there is fluffy baby blanket fabric coming through. When I talked to Sophie she agreed that it would be very interesting to tailor this shape and create a garment from it.
So today I spent the whole day trying shapes on the body on the front side of the jacket. The shapes were butterfly like but abstracted as I did not want my shapes to become stereotypical butterfly shapes as it then could look a bit like "kitsch".
The "wings I created had different shapes, some were longer and some were wider and in the end I decided for a very abstracted shape which had exactly the size of a belly going from jest to approximately 10 cm above the end of the jacket.
I decided for this shape as I found the wing like shapes did not look like wings but were well abstracted and therefore you could actually recognize where the inspiration came from without looking too literal and trivial / naive, which butterfly shapes can look. (For instance see emblems on girly accessory pieces etc...)
Today i have started to saw a tailored jacket for men. I found the pattern in a charity shop and therefore it is sort of eighties. I might not use it for a foundation project but I wanted to practice tailoring so apart from working on my projects I started today by cutting the fabric for this jacket. by messuring my body and adjusting the pattern to the measurements of my body which was hard in the beginning as I needed to make sure that I always take seam allowance and width for body movement into account.
After that I started to cut the fabric. I had decided on Tweed which was yellow/whitish and a brownish-bronc lining fabric as well as a dark yellow/gold fabric wich was shine on one side and on the other side it was faint. The yellow fabrics sort of fitted accedently with my Cultural Identity Project in which I alsi use pastel yellow.
But I decided to rather work on my army jacket deconstruction for the lanyard project as it fit wit so perfectly with the idea of identity.
28/12/2015 Explaination of my ID card concerning the motorization project
„Identity“ is the „ multidimensional network“ of one persons´ features of the body and mind, his characteristrics, feelings, beliefs, selfconsciousness and his role in his social context that distinguish the person from other people. The identity is given from the beginning of life to death. On the one hand the identity is a steady state of this „network“ (features of stability and consistency) on the other hand it is open for development, social interaction, learning (features of flexibily and openness). Like a circle or ring this „network“ has no beginning and no end as it is a unique unity and entity. The identity is like the center or axis of the personality.
The „ID card“ is a sign which is openly worn by a person and enables other people to see and recognize who or what somebody is. The ID card can be used as a sign of personal, cultural, national or group identity (e.g. the sign identifies the participant of a special meeting, the member of a team or nationality etc.).
The Cocept fort he ID card
My concept of the ID card -in accordance with the aspects of definition mentioned before- is based on the items:
sign, multidimensional, network, ring/circle, stability/consistancy, flexibility/openness and axis.
The idea was to transform these features of identity in the ID card: to produce a concentric network of circles/rings linked together by elastic bands(flexibility) as well as by filament/wire (stability) in a three dimensional position and with an axis as the center oft he ID card.
The ID card should include the possibility to adjust it to a persons aesthetic taste. Thus the ID card could vary in material, size or colour. It should be able to use it as ID card „as usual“ or e.g. as a decoration or piece of jewelry.
Today I want to explain the aesthetic variation of my lanyard of the motorization project which I made over the last few days.
The construction -as it is presented –is one of many alternatives of realisation of the same concept. The concept is open for a large spectrum of variations.
The wooden rings for instance. can be constructed by different material: any kind of metal, gold, porcelain etc. The colour of the rings can be chosen „as you like it“. The rings can be varied in size, width, and the number of holes in it.
The network also can be constructed by different kinds of elastic stripes (e.g. plastic stripes, other kind of rubber etc.). The wire network can be made by any kind of metal (e.g. silver, copper, gold etc.).
The axis of course can be replaced by any other material, e.g. a pin of any kind of metal, wood, porcelain etc.
Thus the concept of the ID card is open for different use: it can be used as an Identity Card (e.g. for participants of a scientific meeting), but also as decoration or as a piece of jewelry.
Descriptive reflection. In this reflection I want to simplify my work process and focus on the facts.
The principle of choice of the material of the ID cardThe material of the ID card should be adjusted in accordance with principles of aesthetics, ecologically beneficial production and recycling therefore I decided to use as material of the ID card:
- wooden rings
- elastic bands
- the valve of the inner tube of a bicycle
The design is a combination of a set of wooden rings of different size. The rings are tied together by strings of elastic bands and wire. The ventil is used as the axis oft he ID card. Part oft he network is put in a three dimensional position.
As tools I used: a pair of compasses, pencil, fretsaw, borer, compass saw, scissors, tongs, glue
The rings were designed by means of a pair of compasses. A well calculated number of holes were bored into the rings. The number of the holes had to be equal in each ring. Thus each hole in the bigger ring had a corresponding hole in the smaler inner ring. Every second hole had to fit to the network of the elastic bands and alternatively every second hole had to fit to the wire network.
For the elastic band network I cut stripes of the inner tube of a bicycle. The valve of the inner tube was used as the axis oft he ID card. For the construction of the wire network I used a thin copper coloured wire. Both materials wire and rubber are very technical and remind of cars which is the reason why I used them.
Working steps to achieve the result:
First: The wooden rings were tied together by the elastic bands. In every second hole I put a string from the bigger ring to the smaller inner ring. The lenghts oft he strings had to be equal.
Second: The wooden rings were tied together by pieces of wire equal in length. The ends of the pieces of wire were attached to the valve, which was put into the hole oft he inner ring. By the fixation to the valve the network came in a three dimensional position.
Today I continued with the motorization project. I found that the idea of developing print designs out of my research collages in the motorization sketchbook would be the inital starting point for continuing the motorization project. So today I fixed calico on white paper and printed my collage of the foot and the machine wheel onto the calico with a domestic inkjet printer. As the inks where nearly empty some colours were missing in the print outs and the prints came out to be blue/orange instead of black, dark blue and white. As it is often the case mistakes are inspiring and sometimes a gift. My colourscheme of the project is blue and red/orange anyway. So basically the printer changed the original colours into colours which fit with my project even better. I have to say that the orange was a bit too yellowish which I could adjust later using markers. When printing I also tried which effects I could acheive using different tapes. When printing on transparent tape for instance the ink does not fix onto it and therefore the parts which contain the tape stay either unprinted or the ink in these parts seems to be blurred.
Today we were devided into two groups. One group was viewing and drawing museum-items from the CSM study colliection and the people of the other group photographed their lanyards which they have been doing over the winter break. As the dress as part of my lanyard was not completely finished I only brought the jacket. Some people did not bring their lanyards. Me and these people were allowed to bring the lanyards in on Thursday.
After the photo session we were drawing the museum objects. I had the choice between an accessory piece made by Akiko Shinzato showing to ears printed on leather squares and old photographs of the Byam Shaw school. In the first moment I picked the photographs and drew them. While doing that I realized that this object feels a bit restricted as on the one hand you draw from photographs which you would do as part of your research development in your sketchbook anyway and secondly the photographs were only showcasing life drawing and art classes. As an art and design student I find it mostly more inspiring to research something more broad, something which is not necessarily linked to art. I felt that I would not come up with inspirational ideas.
So I decided to change the sculpture to one of the still free sculptures. I chose to research the pig worm egg diffuser designed by Abay Zhumagulov. When researching deeper on the sculpture I could read that it was about reducing the risk of immunal dysfunctions and about symbolizing how beauty and disgust can be combined together. So I started researching on autoimmune diseases. Most of the common deceases show up on the skin as well. So basically I researched patterns and colours of the skin deseases.
In the end I finally switched my topic again to the ear sculpture as I was not sure if we were allowed to change sculptures and as I was able to choose between the ear accessory piece and the Byam Shaw school images I in the end chose the ear piece. I researched on silence for the ear piece as I found that linked with the topic of the ear piece which was about wearing somebodys identity in our Facebook world. It shall tell the story of selfish and superficial presentation of Facebook profiles, the need of being better and more beautiful than anyone elde nowadays. Silence is sort of the solution to me to our overly fast moving loud Facebook world. So I researched on silence.
Today I talked to Pusia and I showed her my research ideas. She liked both but recommended me to take silence as my main topic. The other research one about the pig whipworm egg diffuser had very sort of disgusting imagery which would be a bit dangerous as it could lead into a direction which is aesthetically not nice to look at. Silence gives the opportunity to play with prints of black on black and white on white and art directions as the DADAism era prooved how noise and language can be used for art. How could silence be used in art?
When researching in the library I found a book about silence and art and several artists - if minimalist art or photographies of shouting people. Different ways of exploring silence in art - that was what the book was about and I felt very inspired by the imagery of black on black and white on white etc.
Especially one image in this book triggered my imagination. There were moulds in a piece ow wood. It looked like footprints in the snow. Therefore I came up with research about snow. Snow is such a nice expression of silence in for of a material. It covers the world in white, fascinates us every winter. The beauty of snow often sets me into a quiet mode. I am flabbergasted by the harmonious imagery when everything is covered in white. It looks magical. everything is covered, hidden and even acoustic is subdued. Snow for me symbolizes also the fear of getting lost in a remote snowy place. In a snowed forest everything looks sort of the same. How could you find anything? It is quiet- no birds and no orientation.
This quietness, the image of a snowed forest and footprints in the snow inspired me in my mood and coloursceme for my research immensely.
I might have set myself too much work with the lanyard project. I deconstructed an army jacket and have sawn it with a huge focus on also tailoring/ sewing quality. So it took several days to make this jacket. And now today I wanted to continue with the dress I had started. I started by creating prints and printing these prints on A4 fabric pieces. I have bought this fabric in a Mermaid fabrics. It is a stretchable fabric which is double sided. One side is leather-like and the other side feels more like jersey. I printed on the side which is jersey like and then wanted to cut butterfly shapes (see cultural Identity project) into the fabric so that little cut outs reveal also the inside of the fabric- the leather side.
Before I printed I developed the prints. For that I cut different butterfly-like shapes out of cellular rubber and printed with acrylic paint these shapes onto paper. I used blue, yellow and pastel pink, the colours of the project. The I cut the paper into new symmetric butterfly-shapes. This colored print paper I combined with butterfly shapes I cut of monochromatic paper in yellow, blue and pink. In the end the little collages I combined from these shapes did not necessarily look like butterfly shapes anymore but more like abstract shapes.I then photographed these collages and layered them in word to new patterns, more indistinct ones. And then I printed the patterns onto the fabric A4 squares I had cut before.
I then saw the A4 squares together which was hard as the fabric was very slivery and not easy to handle. But I managed that all squares were symmetric at the back as well as in the front and luckily I had exactly enough printed A4 pieces to create the dress. But one decision I changed. Instead of real sleeves I made half sleeves which covered the arm but not the shoulder. So basically I made gountlets for the arms or glove-like sleeves. I thought if I should leave the neck and the bottom edge of the dress as well as the loose sleeves straightly cutter or if I should cut the edges also wavily in the style of the butterfly. I decided to cut it wavily as it fit better with the jacket and the print. Everything was sort of wavy so also the edges of the dress should be as it looked more harmonious.
Today was the presentation day of the museum project and I continued with my sketchbook work for this project as before I worked parallel on the intensive research for the project as well as on my dress for the lanyard project.
When starting and fixing the image of the ear-jewlry piece into my sketchbook I suddenly noticed that I somehow found that I was even more inspired by the shape and colours of the ear and inner ear than by the intellectual-conceptual research I had done about silence.
This was a sort of contradiction as I my idea of printing white on white and black on black and footprints in snow and moulds etc suddenly did not feel as if it would still fit. But I continued with the coloured ear project and decided to keep the silence images for later projects.
Luckily I have changed my mind and researched the shape of the ear. I made collages of a print I had made on the first page of the sketchbook and of images of ears. These collages were little compositions which looked very minimalistic and surreal. I was satisfied with the outcome as I could imagine to print these collages onto fabric as well developing shapes from it.
I started by printing the collages onto calico and then I tried to place them imaginatively on the body. So instead of draping I drew bodes and collaged the prints onto the bodes to try different placements of my prints on the body.
Today I worked on my sketchbook for the ear project and as I have already printed my collages and graphical print designs on calico I kept on working with these fabric print examples and developed them further. The first step for doing so was buying fabric in Mermaid fabrics: I bought 7 fabrics of different colours for creating my final garment and tryouts. One fabric was mint green jersey, the other fabrics were dark petrol suit fabric and I also decided for yellow chiffon as well as fluffy pastell yellow sweatshirt fabric, then I bought apricot and salmon coloured cotton fabric and terracotta as well as dark mint green lining and petrol coloured cord and white leather imitation. I did not buy much of every kind of fabric but I need a range of tones of all three colours in my project which are: coral, mint, petrol and skin tone. My colours in the project are not very bright and all different but different tones of every colour are important as I especially when I create ear shapes need different strengths of colours and lightnesses; I also like that all my fabrics have different surfaces which therefore contributes to a rhythm when combining the fabrics. The fluffy sweatshirt fabric for instance balances the white leather imitation in a very thrilling way. The nice juxtapositions of colours and textures give patch works and collages more depth.
So after buying the fabrics I had my finalized colour scheme: light mint,light coral, calico beige, dark petrol and pastel yellow. And I began to introduce the fabrics into my collages and print designs from before which I had printed on calico and were all yellowish in colour. I am especially interested in the wavy, curved shapes of the ear so I decided to recollage on my prints by adding cut out shapes of the bought fabrics which all were bent and curved.
I also wanted to try something more straight and architectonical, technical appearing in contrast to the wavy, very organic ear shapes. So I weaved paper and fabric strings and combined the weaving with the ear shapes. I think graphical, mathematical lines and shapes are especially interesting in combination with organic shapes. This sort of kept on going to become my motto for other design ideas as well.
The denim project. It was the first day of the project and I had already done research over the weekend. I was not really inspired by Marilyn Monroe or James Dean as I somehow think it is very difficult to create something new and inspirational if it is inspired by such famous and popular icons. I preferred also a research topic which has not necessarily a real link to denim, more an indistinct one. That is why I thought I could use my silence research which I had not used in the other projects for this project. I then could bleach denim and manipulate it in a way that that the white strings of the denim weave come through the blue ones. So creating not really rough and "rocky" denim creations but giving it another, not wild but silent mood.
We had a workshop today about handcrafts and stitch as well as sewing and decoration and knitting techniques. This workshop showed me that denim can offer so many ore opportunities', not only pleating and repleating of pleats but also sandwich techniques like sewing many fabrics onto one another and then cutting into the first layers to reveal fabrics underneath. Wadding for instance is ideal for this technique as it lifts the fabric and makes it more 3 dimensional when cutting layers to reveal layers underneath.
We also learned to crochet and frensh knots an dother stitches which you can ues in an embroidery ring as fro instance the chain stich. If I stick with my topic silence I could imagine to use the gained techniques for my idea of revealing something more rough and textured under smooth and soft fabric creations. But especially bleaching the denim is an idea which inspires me as I haven't used with chemical bleach processes before. As we were meant to create fabric examples today I started weaving using my fabric samples and material which I had bought over the weekend. I also tried the pleating technique Alice showed us in the morning and I tired the wadding technique with cut outs and revealing layers.
In the evening I went to the library to finalize my research topic. I found an image of young people sitting on the Berlin wall in 1989. This image inspired me as the young people were all wearing denim jeans and it expressed dreariness of East Germany as well as the freedom which is going to come after the break down of the Berlin wall.
Today I talked to John Booth who really liked my research images and the print ideas I had for the project. He recommended me to adapt the mood and everything I can see in the research images. For instance he found the idea of using writing and political statements on denim very inspirational. He then recommended not to literally write the placative statements on the jeans as they were doing it in the GDR but to distort and abstract the letters and create patterns out of graffiti like patterns. He also showed me an artist who creates monster like paintings which look like graffities distorting Micky mouse into a horribly screaming figure for instance.
He also liked the patterns and colours of the 70s kitchens and tent and camping images I had printed. My concept is now to observe the silence and dreariness of the imprisoned GDR life many people lead living in East Germany during the 1980s. Using black and white and grey as very subtle colours to express this dullness and as already written yesterday using bleaching and textile techniques such as cutting layers to reveal other layers to create textile effects which symbolize silence.
Today I bleached single spots and dustlike patterns onto denim inspired by research images I have gathered. One of the research images is a photograph framed on a wall spotted by a spotlight. This spotlight a sharply rendered light in the dark could be greatly imitated by bleaching. So I bought bleach at Waitrose and started by adding bleach on one spot to the denim fabric with a brush. I did it in two different ways. One way was adding the bleach vey very concentrated onto the denim and the other way was keeping ity a bit bluured and adding only abit of bleach and then layering the bleach surfaces up until it gets lighter and lighter in the middle. I could not tell which look I liked more. Either the blurred spot which looked more like the spotlight on the research image or the very concentrated one like a star in the night sky.
I was definitely satisfied with both results as both exactly showcased the story I wanted to tell. They both expressed silence in their simplicity and in the round shape and the blurred effect of the bleach. I also was inspired by the Berlin wall, the rough concrete, the layered graphities, broken steel and the fact that the wall was the barrier to freedom, the barrier to the west jeans and Coca Cola. So the wall symbolizes restriction and imprisonment as well as the hope for freedom to break out when considering all the statements sprayed onto the wall.
To get the effect of the run down concrete wall, I twisted the denim and wrapped wire and cord around it and then used the brush to cover the denim with bleach. After letting it soak and dry I opened the denim bunches and the result was impressive. Very lovely partly symmetric and assymetric patterns developed through this process. Interestingly only on the grey fabric. When I did the same to the black denim I could observe that the bleach was only affectingthe part where it was but on wthout spreading. Therefore the transition from dark black to white was much sharper and symmetrical bleach patterns did not really develop, more a rough, wrinkled look was the result of bleaching the black denim. This also looked great and fit with the rough concrete of run down East German buildings. I decided to also try stripes and to try bleach on other materials such as stone. Everything worked out in a very interesting way but I think the strongest bleach results are the ones where I wrapped grey fabric as well as the ones in which I put bleach on a single spot to the denim.
As John Booth has recommended yesterday I continued with my ear project the museum project today. But before that I went to charity shops to buy a black, a white and a grey pair of trouserswit these trousers I am going to make my bleach exampkles tomorrow as well as every kind of textile example in which I want to use monochrome colour for expressing dreariness and monotony and silence which is conceptual part of the project.
After that I continued with the ear museum project. I tried latex for the first time. I cut strings of jersey which rolled and these strings I covered with latex. As my concept is ears I wanted to try out also the more skin like and "disgusting" aspects of ears such as earwax which is why I wanted to use latex. I cut not only jersey stripes but also rolled stripes from white gaffar tape which I also covered in latex. As the latex is so sticky it is possible to wrap the strings and leave them wrapped and in the shape you lay them. So I did not n3eed to use any kind of glue to twist and wrap the strings into earlike curved shapes. The only problem was that when diping the strings into the latex, bubbles built up which cause an effect I did not want to reach in the end. I wanted the latex to be very smooth and shiny and not faint when it is dried.
So I in the end I did not dip the strings into the latex and shaped them but covered the strings with latex buy using a brush which lead to more smooth and elegant results.
Apart from the experimentation with latex I also tried white clay and shaped an ear out of white clay. I tried to cover the ear with latex but then I noticed that the latex did not fix onto the clay ear so I pealed the latex from the ear. The result was a white ear which looked as if skin was pealing off the ear. The latex has an orange skin colour which fits perfectly with my colour scheme. Especially on the white gaffar tape strings the latex looked skin like and the orange colour was beautuifully visible.
Today I shot my final lanyard garment on Harris again. Yesterday evening Harris left uni earlier so I made all the pictures with Victoria. But when looking through all the images on my computer I found that on Harris the dress looked better, simply because he is a man which perfectly fit with my concept of gender mixture. A men with long hair, slightly androgyn look, wearing a girlie dress. This was what I wanted actually. So yesterday I asked Harris again if we could do another shooting and it was worth it. I took the pictures in front of the concrete wall in our school so that the pink colour of the dress comes out very bright and is a contrast to the greyisyh tones of the wall as well as of the jacket.
Harris knew how to pose and it was quickly done. After the shooting I edited the images in photoshop. I wanted them to be all in a particular colour, slightly darker than the original images as I found it would balance the pink dress which has a very fresh and girly appearance. It would balance its appearance and make the images look a bit more gloomy which for me fit with the concept and my observation of homosexuality during the time of the Nazis. The images got a more gloomy/ retro style inspired by the images of armies and gay couples in the 1940s which all are very subtle and greyish brownish as also the jacket I made.
I then collaged the images in Photoshop to create a presentation in one image which showcases the jacket as well as the dress in an interesting way. SO I cut the figures out of the best photos and draped them in the room. The picture with the jacket I placed in the front of the collage and the pictures of the dress in the back of the collage to keep the focus not only on the dress but also on the jacket
Today I worked on my sketchbook for the denim project. I collaged and drew and added fabric examples on the pages.
When I had my group tutorial on Thursday with Sophie she recommended to combine images on the pages which just look together. I often think to conceptual and focused on the content. But it must make visually sense. She encouraged me to use the images and stick them down in combination with my textile examples. I am often very pressures about my pages and that slows me down. So today I tried to work more loose again.
I basically made research collages and drawings. I started to drape and place the drapings loosely on drawn bodies. I somehow found that you could actually not see anymore that the drapings were actually drapings as by drawing over and under it and collaging them they seemed to be rather photographs than drapings.
I actually also did more textile examples but this time not only using bleached denim but also plain denim to create interesting examples and boost the effect of research drawings and collages.
I kept on working on my sketchbook for the denim project today. Yesterday I found the link between the bleached denim and the concrete Berlin wall. Today I tried out what you could do with the bleached denim. I scanned and printed the bleached denim and then folded the print out. The result was an interesting new pattern created by the pleats. The pattern was interrupted and a sort of new stripe pattern was added by pleating it. This pleated fabric I combined with a bleached denim example and a photography of GDR skyscraper. All three images I scanned and printed and then cut them to create new collages from them. These collages could end up to be print designs but also shape inspirations for drapings. I made several of these collages and then placed them on the body.
I also did another draping in which I used brushes and calico and tape to create a belt which I placed at several body parts. I found it still interesting to adapt the idea of using bars and stripes not only as the wall construction was divided into stripy sections but also as bars always stand for imprisonment of course. So bars and pins that contribute to a stripy look became a key aspect of my designs apart from the bleached denim and the concrete wall effects on denim such as ripped denim underneath other layers of ripped denim.
Today I saw Alice who found that my research and the denim project was stronger o than previous projects. She recommended me not to spend much more time on the sketchbook but rather to focus on the final outcome now. The final outcome she thought could be an apron. Looking at the images I had in my research of women housewives in 70s cleaning dresses and aprons and women wearing domestic very untrendy clothing standing in front of a run down concrete wall of a GDR building.
I also have many pictures of the a the 70s wallpapers and kitchens and colours. Mustard yellow, rusty orange-red and a olive green are predominant throughout the focus. So when continuing in the sketchbook I should start introducing colour Alice mentioned as well. And the idea of an apron as a final garment is great I think as this is what the typical GDR person seems to look like: unfashionable, dreary and untrendy and domestic.
Also you can drape an apron in many different ways on the body and create different shapes with the apron on the body. You can wrap it around the body or just leave it hanging around the neck. There are many possibilities of wearing which I think is great also for development work within the project.
So after the lesson I bought flowery seventies Fabric in a charity shop in mustard yellow and wool in rusty orange olive green and yarn. I also found an blue-white striped apron at Argos. Tomorrow I will start my final garment > : The apron. As I tried last week on Tuesday I would like to do felting again. Alice liked the felted textile piece. So I will try different techniques with the felting technique and include felting in my garment.
Today I worked on my portfolio for Kingston University.
I shot all the images of my portfolio at LCF. I bought white paper and laid it on a huge table and then I always placed the collages on the white paper and took images from a straight angle from above. As it was dark outside the images had all the same colour which was important for the works as they need to look the same when uploading them. It is distracting when the light changes on every image. When I got home from the shooting I could not find the SD card anymore with most of the pictures on it and therefore need to take all the images again. At home.
When I wanted to upload them on my flat mates mac computer she put the SD card unfortunately into the CD reader instead ocf the sd card reader. All the images I had taken in the second run were gone. So I basically lost nearly a whole day taking pictures and doing my application for Kingston. What I can learn from this event is that if taking images you always should take extra care to the SD card the images are on.
The application arrived late unfortunately because of these events as well.
Tomorrow I will finish my sketchbook of the denim project and then start my final garment for making a shooting with it.
Today I used a felting machine for the first time. With this machine I could manage to make special effects with the 70s blanket fabric. I felted the blanket fabric from the backside and punched cotton wool through it which I had bought in the weavers shop before. I also bought chiffon an transparent cotton white fabric to create very soft effects and the effect that the flowery fabric is coming through the white fabric in a very indistinct way.
The punching of the wool made the flowery fabric look fluffy in some parts partly hiding the pattern of the flowers. The covering and hiding of the flower pattern by white fabric felted onto the denim also creates the effect of hiding, of something unreachable, fitting to the melancholy of my research images and the concept of unreachable freedom in East Germany 1989.
John as he saw the yellow fabric came up with the idea of cutting out the flower shapes and sticking them in the way I want to or sticking them onto the pleats so the pleats reveal underneath the seventies flower fabric.
Puisa in contrast recommended me to focus on one idea and not to combine the coloured images and fabric examples with the bleached whitish greyish fabrics. She liked the way I had worked only in white and black. Introducing these colours might be too much. So basically she said: “Be careful. Less is more”.
So every tutor had a different opinion and idea. I think I could combine the pleating with the flower fabric as the colours harmonise very well and the textures can be combined as well in an interesting way. And therefore I kept on working with a mixture of both : denim and the 70s fabric. I cut stripes of the flowery fabric and then felted them together with denim onto one another. The result was very run down looking and fits with all these images of run down graffiti walls.
Alice liked the new textile examples I had done and recommended me to introduce colour in my sketchbook.
So in the morning I was working on my sketchbook. I made connections between my print design collages and the textile examples. Frays and bars and whitish grayish and blueish colours were the link between all the pages, designs and textile examples.
So when looking through my examples I found that some of the examples did not really match with the previous work. I left them aside at this stage and just concentrated on the ones which matched with my design development.
By now as I have not introduced my coloured research images I could not stick down the colourful textile examples which are some of the strongest I think. Placement to me is very important as the sense of your idea only gets explained when you place it in a way that the tutors and people who look view the sketchbook understand the story and my way of thinking. On the other hand it is sometimes hindering on a fluent process of working. The more I care about placement the better my work looks as well but sometimes also the more I care about placement the slower I work. I talked to several people and seems to be hard for most people to find the right balance.
In the afternoon we had an exhibition of our work. I stuck all my textile pieces onto the wall and Chris recommended me to take a picture of all these examples to hand in for my Westminster application. He also looked at my images I had sent to Kingston and recommended me which images I should send to Westminster. He particularly liked the ear project as well as my denim project and the lanyard project. The deadline is the 25th of January and I am sending it this weekend.
Today I continued my Motorization project. I made fashion drawings and emphasized certain parts of my development and research by drawing over pictures and adding design ideas and drapings. I noticed that it is better to leave the mannequin on draping images so the viewer can see that it is an actual draping. I need to do that more in my current projects. Drawing over it is fine but cutting it too much means revealing the fact that it was a draping.
This reflection is going to be more unusual as I am not only reflecting about my work but also about the questionnaire and the question given in the questionnaire I needed to fill for Westminster.
The questions were very open and big, only related to the current fashion industry and not easy to answer. I also needed to do some research on the current SS2016 Gucci collection to react and reflect on an image which shows a Gucci catwalk show. We should mention the meaning for us and its relevance to this season’s shows as well.
My favourite question was "Please list the two magazines that you think are currently the most directional, inspirational and exciting for a fashion designer to look at? Please tell us why."
I want to share my reflections on this question here in workflow as I personally think it would be more interesting to ask personality related questions instead of questions which only concern current fashion knowledge. A good fashion student I think needs more the right personality rather than the most up-to date fashion knowledge but I answered the question as I have favourite magazines.
Generally I would say it is always directional and inspirational to read newspaper. I think it is vital for a designer to observe the world around, society, politics and environmental issues apart from art and fashion. In my opinion everything which is not directly linked to fashion is the best inspiration to create something new and innovative. When looking at other fashion designers one easily tends to unconsciously copy a certain style, aesthetic or design. So I prefer going to the theatre, traveling or watching news, people on the street or the hover in the hallway to get inspirations. Everything a fashion designer physically does, feels, sees and tastes should contribute to his or her design. But here are magazines I would recommend every designer to look at: Firstly "Anorak". It is an independent children's art magazine based in London. The magazines are printed by vegetable ink and made of recycled paper. Apart from being made by environmentally friendly materials it is also sustainable concerning the content. The magazines consist of beautiful, graphical, colourful imagery which is timeless as well as unisex. It is not restricted to a certain trend or a gender and therefore can be kept and reused over years. And finally I also love that the issues are interactive and playful. Most magazines for adults only trigger the readers imagination and thoughts by showing images and texts. But working physically in a magazine is a very honest way of interacting with a subject. In comparison to a normal fashion magazine Anorak does not try to be before trend and to be "supercool", but proofs how beautiful timelessness and -not being with the trend- can be. It is not only exciting and inspirational to look at but also to work with. I also would call A magazine as very inspirational. Offering intellectual, artistically couched texts and offering the chance to profoundly get informed about designers inspirations make it so special to me. A very exciting factor: The format of the magazine changes every time as the artists issued contribute in designing the magazine. So the reader gets a very personal view into designers aspirations and concepts. For me this psychological aspect of getting to know a personality or or a brand in real depth is very inspiring. Apart from these magazines I like the German art and fashion magazine 032c which is also about music and politics and offers breadth of imagery and information about not only fashion but also culture and art in general: And finally I want to mention U and Mag which is great in terms of trend forecasting as well as Foams Photography Magazine published by the Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam. It shows always a very considered selection of photographs by unknown as well as well-known artists which is perfect for visual inspiration and research. Every image is integrated in a layout which catches the atmosphere of the picture which makes for a boosted expression of the photographs.
Today I made my Westminster application ready. I started off by photographing all my textile examples again I had shown for the denim exhibition on Thursday. I wanted a good frontal picture to show all the examples without overfill a photograph with examples. It should look like a documentation of my loose way of working, the way I prefer to work. It also should document my range in textile skills. I photographed all examples on a white as well as on a grey wall and decided in the end to take the image ion he grayer wall as the examples were arranged in a better way. It is very important to take a good picture of your work. Good work only looks good in a good picture and in great picture it looks even better than it actually is.
After taking these images I went to Central Saint Martins to edit my scans and images I have taken of the work and edited the collage of Harris in my lanyard costume in Photoshop. Replaced the order of how the people were arranged as I found it needed to look more fluent. So I changed the placement of the people in the composition to create a sort of flow within the image. And I needed to adjust the brightness and contrast on every image as many of the photographs were too dark and not distinct enough.
In the evening when I came home I controlled the questionnaire again and edited some bits like the order in my answers.
Today we had to bring all our work in.
Alice gave a tutorial about the work I had brought in. She told me to edit my work and not to add to much but to edit and order the work. She looked through my print designs of the motorization project and found the clear prints the initial collages I had done were even stronger than the more indistinct, blurred ones I had created on the computer. She recommended me to print all the images out and to make drafts for the portfolio sheets so that the tutors can give good advice on the work without needing to look through every sketchbook. She mentioned it is only about decision making and selecting.
Even though it was a very short tutorial I found it really helpful as I thought I would need to add much work so it feels resolved but actually it is much more about editing and combining it in a strong way.
After the class I went to the library to scan all my images and to print the Westminster application which I sent off in the evening. I realized that scanning the images was much better than photographing the images as the clarity and quality was much better. When taking photos of my work the light was always a problematic factor it is hard to find the right settings so that the photographs are without shadow, not too dark and look similar to one another. With scans it is automatically the case that all images are similarly enlightened. Even though I on some scans the 3D work was pressed by the scanner or created shadows which both did not look good. So if bringing 3D work in it is better to have either the original or a photography of it.
I spent the whole night selecting images and printing in the library and then went to class with my draft sheets in the morning.
Today Pusia was ill and John Booth could not give a tutorial for everyone. So I could not show my sheets I had prepared yesterday. Being tired from the night in the library it was a bit harder work as usual when working on my ear project again. I had created textile examples such as weaving examples over the last few weeks. In my sketchbook I know placed them in the right order and selected some to show in sketches on the body.
I think in this book my drawings are the strongest from now. I sort of found a drawing style which suits me. At this stage of the ear project where I have not done draping yet iI just placed collages and photos on the body to suggest garment designs. So my drawings are very loose at the moment and more based on mood. It is the stage in between research and development. As soon as I start draping I want to add also more informational drawings to ensure clarity in my design ambitions.
Today I continued my draping work for the ear project (museum project). I used the yellow chiffon as a basis for my drapings. I observed my book and what I liked and developed three bigger collages inspired by the small ones at the beginning of the book. I thought of these small collages as inspiration for shapes on the one hand and as inspiration for colour, prints on the other hand. So the bigger collages I created now I tried to place on the body in a way they contributed to the shape of the garment or just to show a print on a particular place on the body.
I tried one dress with the print on the chest which I liked very much as it was so simple but effective. It is basically a chiffon poncho with a turtle neck but the print makes it so special. I generally noticed that all collages and print designs work well on a simple cut and plain fabric as the print in its minimalism is expressive. (A case of less is more.) So my drapings were not very crazy, simpler but by adding the print designs they became more special. I am wondering if this is regarded as positive when doing very basic but effective drapings or if you should always try to push the boundaries by draping “crazily”.
I particularly chose a girl in my hall again for the drapings. But this time I did not draw her but also photographed her. The photographs contribute to a varied sketchbook and her looks fit perfectly with the aesthetics of my project which I find very important as when looking through a sketchbook the story you want to tell needs to become clear and understandable because you won't have the chance to always explain your work.
28/01/2016 2. reflection
Today I had a tutorial with Alice about my portfolio sheets. She looked at all my work also at the loose sheets. She recommended me not to add too much work but to edit it. I have mauch loose work outside of the sketchbooks as I did much draping as well as many print designs and more complex final outcomes for the cultural Identity project. She said in future I should do not such an extensive amount of draping and rather start developing from these drapings earlier in my sketchbook.
I think that I really have focused too much on my final outcomes in the lanyard/ Cultural ID project as well as in the motorization project. Whereas in the denim project I still need to finish my final garment. I really hope to be able to finish the denim project completely as my tutors said it was strong. So I really would love to show this sketchbook including the denim and the ear/ museum brief project for UP.
I also think it is necessary to focus on the portfolio sheets. She was not completely sure as I am not if to include the jacket project. She recommended me not to include more than 2 sheets of the jacket project. She rather told me to make about 5 sheets for the motoization project and 5 sheets for the Cultural swap project.
This morning I had a tutorial with Alice. She reviewed all my work and recommended parts I could edit, add or should leave out of the portfolio. We laid the drafts of my portfolio sheets on the table and worked through every sheet.
The first sheets were the motorization project. There she advised to combine the final outcome of my public art project with the motorization prints and wood pieces. This was a great idea. In this way I can combine two stronger final outcomes without needing to add in another project. We spoke over adding some development drawings. I could draw over my drapings and design developments and then add fabric etc to give the drapings more depth and also to make the look more specific.
The group and her also had the good recommendation to keep the drapings as a contact sheet and draw over them and manipulate them in the way I would imagine them to be as a final outcome.
For the Cultural identity project the advice was not to bring the Nazi topic to much into the portfolio as it sort of visually would distract and also as it would seem too much of German history when having GDR and World war 2 in my portfolio. So I should rather focus on the textile pieces which can be taken out of the sketchbook if they are replaced by photocopies. I should rather spread fluffy textile pieces than sticking both onto one page and I personally think I should add more drawings to this project and maybe a design development sheet
The jacket project was not so sure to put in the portfolio as well. The positive point was that in this project I have actual design development as well as precise drawings. I should also take care not to take the neon colour within the portfolio. I think it is too strong as well.
Today I worked on my sketchbook for the ear project. I fixed the drapings from Wednesday in my sketchbook and collaged them in the way I thought they could become a final outcome. I started off with placing the shape of the inner ear muscle on the body as this muscle has a very interesting, organic shape that fits with my curved ear shapes and prints developed throughout the sketchbook.
I then was more interested in an ear collage which is consisting of tangled up ears which look together as an image a bit like bowels, I tried this tangled ear collage on several; positions on the body. When doing so I noticed that some texture was missing in this collage, so in my drawings and draping images I added fabric and paper to give the collage some texture which suddenly looked more organic than the flat ear collage. Actually a sort of patchwork like fabric design started to develop from the drapings and I suddenly knew what I wanted to make as a final outcome a patchwork blanket to drape with.
Yesterday I pushed my design development further and decided on making a patchwork blanket as a final garment.
I printed the ear photo onto calico and my collages as well. Then I cut he calico with the collage pint and the calico with the ear pattern into curved shapes of course inspired by shapes of the ear. I also added fabric in mint green, yellow and orange tones and sew the pieces to a bigger piece of fabric. In some parts I added in wadding to boost the bulge like optic of ears and I did some machine quilting over the wadding bulges to even boost the gristly ear-like coves. I used different thread colours: mint green, petrol, coral and mustard yellow. The colours of my fabrics and collages in my research. I wanted to repeat not only the colours by stitching into the patchwork but also give some shapes a more ear like appearance by adding in curved and bent lines that remind of the inner structure of ears.
I think this patchwork blanket became the best visualization into a garment as it looks simply combined still minimalist but is not a naive translation of my research collages into print designs. With the created blanked many possibilities of wearing are possible.
These possibilities I wanted to show in my photoshoot of the garment. I shooted another housemate who's style is more tomboy-like/ androgyny. On her the sweet, fresh pastelly spring colours looked a bit cooler than on a "regular" person. So I chose her as my model and shot her in front of a yellow wall. In the shooting I played with light and shadow to emphasize the lightness of my colour scheme. Next to the shadow the colours seem brighter even though they are quite soft. This nice balance between dark and bright made the pictures much more interesting. It was the first time that I really made a proper shoot in a special light situation.
Today I started by keeping on working on my ear project in the sketchbook. The final shooting still needed to be documented and a connection needed to be made between the garment and the development process.
Also I wanted to include more specific, less loose design drawings as in the group tutorial it became clear that good, informative design drawings should also include details and be precise to shape and structure. I only have some drawings which I could give somebody to tailor for instance. Most of them are more abstract and mood based. So today my aim was adding more precise drawings.
Apart from that I bleached the denim for my final denim garment. I cut three light grey pair of trousers and then wrapped and twisted every single leg and tightened it with a string and yarn. At the beginning I left the denim too long in the bleach and the results were very light. Later I left the denim for a shorter time span in the bleach and the bleach pattern was much more full of contrasts as the balance of grey and white denim patches was nearly 50/50. These dark results I liked better as they were more like the bleach creations in my book inspired by the ruin down Berlin wall.
In the evening I pleated the denim on top of the apron and then draped the denim apron on my flatmate's body. When doing so I noticed that the denim apron was especially interesting worn the other way around with the bottom edge of th apron over the shoulder. I documented the drapings by drawing and photographs.