Friday, 30 April 2010

Odds & Ends, and a New Idea

I am trying to finish off all the odds and ends of PC and file work, so that I can concentrate on the final textile work and many small things to do, and my reluctance to take myself away from the practical work has led to them building up! My intention is to address all of these things over the weekend, and I should still be able to stitch during the evening.
I have an exciting idea for a wall piece which would draw the whole collection together in stitch and text, so I shall start on that this will be extra work on top of the mounted samples which still have to be created, but really worth it, IF it works!

David Lam Photoshoot, Brochure Image

David has captured the essence of my work exactly in this image from the photoshoot, and I am really pleased with it. I will have to photograph the rest of the collection myself, and at present am working on backgrounds for them. I have a wonderful old screen which, on the reverse side is very tattered and is also dark in colour, so may be the answer for the dresses. The bolero and collar would benefit from a distressed wooden ground, and could be laid flat....if the wood was large enough, say door size, it might be best for the whole collection....we shall see. As there are only four weeks to go, and this will necesitate moving all the furniture in the sitting room, I had better watch the weather forcast for an early morning on a sunny day....and then try the same in the evening when the sun is in comming in from the opposite direction.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Artifacts and Reflections

A while ago I had doubts as to whether I had wasted money on collecting the vintage mother of pearl artifacts for the collection, as I did so, long before I had started making anything; however I should have just trusted my own judgement as they are all finding their place on the garments, and I love them.Here a bracelet has been used, and also a tiny cross which was given to me when I was about 9 years old, and has lived in a box now for all those years. Things are for using...even if precious, rather than lie hidden away. I use all my antiques, and get so much pleasure from them. Sometimes it can be hard to cut a piece of antique lace or fabric, but if the project is important, then it is the best use for it...enabling it to once again be seen and enjoyed in a new way.
French knots have found their way onto the lace again, along with the quilting like stitches that surround the motifs

New Detail for the "Relined" Dress

After looking at the hem for nearly a week, it did seem that something was missing. The addition of some handmade rustic bobbin lace, which was first dyed with tea, has provided just a narrow edge that has made all the difference.

Blog Address Change

I have decided to change my blog address from nelliesday, as there was no dot after the www....this has not been picked up by many, and they find themselves looking at puppies! Surmising that this could leave me "hidden" in the future, it makes sense to simply use my name...and of course this will have better search results in the artistic future!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Back to the FMP

Time to stop playing; it has been a lovely break but tonight I have small details to complete on the dresses, before taking them to uni. in the morning for "inspection". Four dresses are now complete, plus the cape collar. The bodice which will morph into a bolero is also well under way, so now it is time to concentrate on a collection of smaller mounted samples which will complement the large pieces, and to finalise the design for the little books which will tell the story of each garment....this has been in my mind since the start of the progect,and must now be realised.I think they will be handmade of fabric and paper, so it is almost time to give birth to this part of the work....all important art work takes time...cannot be rushed or made to order....that is for the industry...for commercialism, not for art.

"Land Art"

It was quite liberating to just play with art.
Free art for the garden, all made out of dead vines.

Land-Art. Clearing the Garden & Clearing My Head

The first piece is a giant nest made from old Passion Flower Vines that had been left all through makes me smile, so it must be good.

Waste Not Want Not

It seemed such a waste to discard the first bodice made for the third dress, that I have decided to use it as a large sample. There is quite a lot of potential in it as a garment shaped Sampler, and I think it will make an interesting addition to the collection. It also symbolises the warmth of quilted undergarments, made from reclaimed common fabrics which could have been worn by working class women in the 19th century....I may even call it "Waste Not Want Not" seems appropriate, and images will follow. At present I seem to be juggling half a dozen balls and trying to keep them all up in the air, but as I ended the week with a two day headache, I decided to take a break from the FMP and spend the weekend in the garden, to not only clear my head, but to clear the garden has been so neglected this year.

"Relined" the third dress

I made a descision to take the original bodice off the third dress, as it really spoilt the silhouette, once the shawl was over the shoulders. A second bodice is now complete and in place...this one made from fine, soft vintage cotton with an antique lace overlay; it looks so much better and relates far more to the bleached and stained curtain lining of the skirt. Here are some images of the development ( I shall not be uploading images of the finished works untill the time of the Colchester Exhibition).

Alternative Fashion Week day 3

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Elderly Ladies

LOL I am almost one myself....but the kind of wearers I envisage are very elderly...and would probably have bare feet...bunions and all. I thought that I might me the oldest fashion and textile student " on the block" but I'm not, by about 2 again. It doesn't matter to me, age doesn't matter, but it's weird feeling just the same inside as a teenager and then seeing yourself in the mirror.

Alternative Fashion Show

Although I feel as if there is not time to spare, I took a day off to go to the Alternative Fashion show and cheer on the Colchester girls and admire Mary's fun dresses....I had hoped to buy one, but there were two people waiting for the same dress before me, sadly.... I am so looking forward to making some new clothes for myself, once the major progect is finished! My only purchase was a super little scarf, so I got off lightly. There was a huge amount of "vintage style" clothing on the really is the "thing" at the moment, and much as I love it, I am glad that I havn't just gone down that route with my current work...even though much of my fabric is antique. I havn't really made the collection to be worn...and certainly not by young models or it wouldn't make sense...if it does go to the Colchester fashion show, I think I will have to find some slim elderly ladies to model might work then.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Future

Something that has become very apparant to me as I stitch away is that I am just at the very start of something....not at the end. Five years of study is comming to an end but I feel as if I am in a great place and am just beginning to find my feet and place within the textile arts...I know they will become more fine art based, and personal, and find the whole concept very exciting....wondering what will be next? However, I am not even sure what piece is next for the major progect, so I must keep my feet on the ground with so much to think about and do.
It is wonderful though to be comming to the end of the degree with the satisfaction of having developed all sorts of skills, both practical and mental, and have been on such a voyage of self discovery; of finding out just how I function and why I like those things that I is also a time of much reflection.

To Meet My Past, Tracey Emmin, V&A Exhibition

I cannot say that I am a real fan of much of Tracey Emmin's work, but I find the concepts of her textile pieces interesting and I do like them. I never thought that I would ever say there were certain similarities in the way I work compared to her, but I think it is because my current work is very personal, and this is where I see a similarity. Her work is of course very personal, and I admire the fact that she honestly shares very personal details with the audience...something I am finding out that I also need to do myself.This image of a very different bed to the "more famous one" is lovely...and says just as much, but in a different visual language...I don't want to use a lot of pretentious jargon about it, but will say only that each piece works well and is a lovely piece of work.

Some quilts from the exhibition

Historic Quilt Show, V&A London

I am not a quilter, but do love traditional handskills, and this exhibition at the V&A was well worth visiting.Not only did I have a great day "off" yesterday, but was so inspired by the lovely old fabrics and stitching of the quilts. They dated back to the 1700s up untill the present time, and the docmentation and personal histories relating to some of them is much so that I bought the book of the exhibition and have gained even more imput, at this late stage for my major progect. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who loves traditional English handcrafts and history.

The third dress: a work in progress

Descisions about the design for this garments have been more difficult, as I realised that I needed to use my original stitched self portrait, for authenticity.It would be so easy just to make "vintage" put lovely old lace and fabrics together to make clothes...however, that is not what this project is is much deeper, and everything must be deeply considered.I wanted to use the soft bamboo wadding for the bodice, cutting and stitching it as I had done for Indigo 2008.Here it will have elements of Victorian line and stitch whilst combining with the "poor" fabrics of wadding and lining, and the rich details of antique lace and Mother Of Pearl artifacts used sparingly, for the contrast of "exquisite". The lovely old fine woolen shawl will add the atmosphere of history and the working class woman, whilst touches of vintage print and lace in the skirt, appliqued quite naively will add to that.

"Relined" the third dress

I'm not sure if "relined" will be the actual title of this garment..probably not. The skirt is made from vintage curtain lining which I removed from some dark brown velvet Edwardian curtains...however, on removing the lining I found a fabric lable stating that they had been relined in 1968. Curiosly, this lable could only be found if the lining was ever removed. It seemed to me almost like a secret...a hidden message and I shall sew it back onto the finished dress.

The Collar

This is a small section of the work on the collar;the "ten days allowed" reference is essential as part of the meaning of the work. I loved working on this small piece,and am looking forward to making other smaller pieces of work to stand with the dresses, but need to make the third dress before relaxing completely into the sample style work.

"Ten days Allowed": a collar

In reflection, I can see that one of the things that has the most impact on me, during my dissertation research was the image of a fine, 19th century whitework embroidered Ayrshire work collar, the pattern of which had been stamped: ten days allowed. This was the amount of time the embroiderer was given to complete it, and the payment would have been very little. Once again the contrast of the exquisite and poverty was so evident that I wanted to make my own rendering of such a collar...but it would not be a replica, or copy...but my own interpretation, made with feeling.

From the back

Detail from the back.

Dress Detail

Waistband detail.

"Woman" and the photo shoot

The dress entitled "Woman" is now complete and was used for the photo shoot, which was an absolute pleasure...David Lam knew exactly what atmosphere I was looking for and understood my work completely, so that was a confidence boost too. The atmosphere of the shot is very like that of the deserted Irish interiors that I had in my research, and the addition of one of the antique journals completed the image.The dress was shown laying flat...with the journal and a spool of thread placed on the bodice...I had positioned everything randomly, and David thought it perfect with only slight adjustments.Shown here are just a few of the surface details.

Back after three weeks!

I had promised myself to write up my blog once a week, but I would far rather just stitch and create, so I shall have to be a bit more diciplined! Now that I am enjoying the final major progect so much, it is difficult to tear myself away from the making...and there is so much that I want to do in so little time.