Reflections on 'Self Identity' Project
Project Brainstorming and Starting Point
Today was the initial begging of my project proposal. Initially I did not know what I wanted to do. However, soon enough I started thinking about my own identity and how diverse it is. being Swedish and Armenian had caused me to become a person that has had an interesting upbringing when following traditions as well as having both viewpoints of the world.
I started writing my project proposal, and what I want to convey is the contrast between these two cultures however contemporarily show the harmony that has allowed me to become the person I am today. To do so, I have a rough idea of having a final garment showing this juxtaposition however not look like to different dresses sewn together, therefore try to present a balanced harmony with my final garment.
Working in my sketchbook, I have started looking at folklore surrounding both cultures. Looking at Armenian plates, their recognisable patterns shows natural element painted in predominant blues. These flowers expand through the white plates have a similar aesthetic to Swedish folklore patterns and prints as well. Both countries show use of colour, however differently. Today I was mostly exploring Armenian patterns and learning a new technique - transfer printing I started being able to transfer specific images to others. I want to continue exploring this idea further in my pages.
As yesterday I had done some transfer printing, I continued doing so, however I started juxtaposing Swedish and Armenian prints as well as images of Armenian women. By being able to transfer images, it allows me to directly show the juxtaposition of cultures however them merging as well. However I quickly understood that the transfers where not as successful as yesterday as the ink of the images had dried making them less opaque on paper. However, I tried printing them on tracing paper and quite surprisingly it created an interesting weathered effect.
Looking at Swedish patterns, it is quite evident that embroidery is used often. Therefore, I want to explore this idea of embroidery by looking at Swedish and Armenian patterns/tiles. Both cultures have common floral patterns, however Armenian tapestries and garments also express a geometrical pattern to them. Looking at traditional clothes, similarities can be seen; both cultures wear garments that are loose fitting however sinched in at the waist. This is achieved through different techniques through their folklore clothing. Swedish garments explore the idea of a tighter upper part through corsets that are detailed with embroidery, whilst Armenian garments for women see the waist as ideal for accessory placement. Through woven fabrics, they resonate the aesthetic of Armenian rugs as they have a geometric quality whilst Swedish embroidery is mostly floral and an exploration of the natural forms. I want to therefore convey though my garment the idea of a sinched in waist that presents both floral and abstract geometric patterns.
As I have done enough research on patterns, my next step is to now look at architecture. This is because in my final garment I want to show a joining of folklore with architecture. Initially I will look at Scandinavian design and how it expresses minimalism and minute colour use. Exploring this element will allow me to create a final outcome that is more explorative and visually more interesting to visually look at then just recreating Swedish and Armenian patterns. Therefore I will want to overlay embroidery and crochet (as I have explored this within my sketchbook), with the geometric forms and shapes of Swedish architecture.
My next step therefore is to join the pattern exploration in my sketchbook with architecture that I will look at as well. From then on I can then start questioning the application of my research on the body.
Today I had my progress tutorial, I got some feedback. My project proposal read well and was clear, I was also told that I had a clear focus on the project direction as my sketchbook pages show progression of ideas clearly. Moreover, after explaining what I will do as a progression in my sketchbook, I was given advice to start looking at the geometrical shapes and forms of Swedish architecture as well a joining Armenian structural elements. This is exactly what I was going to do as I will be experimenting with architectural dynamic shapes. Moreover, I was told that I have to correlate my work to fashion designers especially as I am applying the final outcome to the body I should look at how artists relate their work on the human form.
23rd of March
During Easter Break I started photographing Armenian prints and carpets that I have in my home. As the photographs I found on the internet, Armenian tapestry presents a geometric element I wish to convey in a final garment, moreover I think this can also be a nice connection to the geometric shapes within Swedish and Armenian Communist buildings. A reoccurring colour scheme within these prints was clear use of warm tones with hints of cool tones. The predominant use of maroons and browns is emblematic to Armenian colours used in crafts as well as folklore. This will be one of my main colour schemes for my future garment.
28th of March
By doing research on architecture I want to incorporate a more structured element to my future garment. By looking at Swedish design, a predominant technique used is cladding. Therefore to recreate this I started making a 'corset'. Not only will the corset be commenting on the Swedish architectural textures but also mimic the Armenian and Swedish belted and corseted that traditional garments had. I want to use a material that is opaque and stiff to be able to maintain the shape wanted. Therefore what I have found is a synthetic treated material that reminds has a certain grip to it.
I started constructing the corset by creating pleats on the sides of the hips to create a protruding shape to the figure.
2nd of April
I sent an email to my 4D buddy giving them relevant information relating to their project as well as artists that are coherent to her project proposal about Security.
9th of April
Today was our first day back from Easter break. We were paired with our 4D buddy to peer assess each other. My peer told me that my work was interesting as well as there being a present flow in my work and ideas through my research on workflow as well as my sketchbook. She told me however that I had to have more sketchbook work as well as show my development in how my garment and more illustrations. I agree with her as I haven't been focusing on my sketchbook as much as I should be. I aim to do more illustrations of my future garment as this will lead me to my eventual construction of the garment. My team member said that by creating illustrations it will help me with the development of my work as well as hit criteria that I am currently missing - which is presentation of work as well as development of ideas.
This is vital as I do not believe that the corset I made looks coherent and well integrated with the garment idea. I need to work on illustrations that will help me with a new idea that conveys the structural element I am trying to express within my final work.
10th of April
Today I talked to Frances about my work and she agrees that the corset is not as successful as the rest of my work. She agrees that I can recreate the geometric idea with macrame. Moreover, when talking to Frances she believes that I should add white to the macrame as that will translate with the idea of Swedish minimalism and simplicity.
I was initially worried as I do not have a lot of time to come up with a new idea that can replace the corset, however I was reassured that the macrame idea was interesting as well as it will be coherent with the architectural forms I want to convey.
Construction of the Garment
As I was constructing my garment, one big inconvenience was that it had to be all hand sewn. As the yarn is quite thick it cannot run through a sewing machine. This has shown to be a time consuming process, however I do believe that by hand sewing the circular weaves together, it gives me more control of their placement on the body. Moreover, having access to a mannequin has extensively helped me work out where I want to place my weaves. Being on Easter break I did not have a mannequin making my visualisation on the final end product more of an abstract thought. By using the mannequin it has allowed me to explore different placement not only of the weaves but also the macrame.
As the corset was not successful in my opinion, I had to come up with another idea to distort or change the shape of the body. I came to the conclusion, after experimentation of the macrame on the mannequin, that by adding a sleeve that had tassels elongate the arm, giving the human figure a unsymmetrical form.
However, when I made the sleeve I thought that the garment is now too unbalanced. Therefore, tonight I have been adding more macrame to the opposite side of the garment. This has been challenging as I do not have a mannequin, however by wearing my own garment I have started placing the macrame on the left hand side, hiding one leg. Initially I thought I wanted to make a belt out of the macrame technique, however I was not liking how the white yarn looked on the hips.
Today the photoshoot. I was nervous to see how my garment would look photographed. However, I was pleasantly surprised as the model quickly understood how to play with the garment's tassels and long sleeves. By doing so I believe the garment looked my dynamic and not just a stiff final piece.
As I have not made a bottom half of the garment I was unsure if the nude underwear I had provided the model would catch too much attention, however by directing the model to place the sleeve in font of her body, it concealed the underwear. Moreover, when taking the photographs I liked the full body shots and allowing the tassels that would hit the floor. However, when we started taking close up shots, the photographer told me he liked the way in which the garment filled up the empty space in the shot. I do agree with him, especially because you can see more of the detail in the close ups.
Transfer Printing - Metaphorical Overlaying of my Identity
Transfer Printing of Armenian prints and overlaying them on old Swedish postcards. This overlaying is a good starting point for my work as I physically show the overlaying of my 'roots' as an individual.
Moreover, the juxtaposition between the cool blue tones against the Swedish green and yellow garment creates an interesting colour scheme which I could experiment more with.
Experimentation with Crochet
I started experimenting with a crochet hook, and soon enough I started overlaying them on old pictures of notable Armenian women. I do believe this is a quite successful experimentation. This is because I am starting to look at how my samples can be overlaid on the body. Something I want to continue playing with are the circular shapes, especially on the upper body as it creates an interesting dimension to the body as well as giving it an organic natural feel.
26th of March
Today I went to buy yarns within the colour scheme I have explored as well as found within the Armenian prints in my house. I came across a circular wooden loom used to make round weaves. Looking at my sketchbook and the way in which I have already started playing with the idea of circular organic shapes to express Armenian folklore was what made me gravitate towards the loom.
When I started using the loom, the weaves started having a three dimensionality to them as they would become slightly concave when i'd finish a weave. To express this dimensionality on a larger scale I started sewing the weaves together to create a bulbs shape. As I had chosen yarns with colour gradients, I created a gradient within my weaves that created more detail. However, I find the weaves to be quite empty looking, therefore I think I want to experiment with using crochet incorporated within my weaves to create more texture.
Jarring Shapes expressed by Communist Bus Stops
Today I came across a photographer that photographed Soviet bus stops within the Eastern block. Looking at Chris Herwig's photographs, it is evident to see that the bus stops express brutality through jarring shapes as well as use of concrete. The bus stops express solitude as well as an insight in the dark sinister times many Eastern European countries went through during the 20th century. By using the corset as an addition I try and express those shapes, by letting the pleats protrude from the body and deform the human figure as well as conceal it. This will allow my final piece to become more of a structural piece than just a garment placed on the body.
6th of April
Today I started looking at joining the corset to the circular weaves. However, I unfortunately don't think it expresses the idea I am trying to put forward. The corset does not merge well with the weaves and feels as if it's not part of the garment. I am trying to figure out ways in which I can therefore express the geometry of architecture and shapes within my work in a successful matter that is succinct to my circular weaves and crochet. From the beginning of the project I knew that creating a piece that was not obtrusive to the organic shapes of the weaves would be challenging. However, I will be doing some development sheets within my sketchbook.
I started looking at Jil Sander's new SS18 collection and I was interested in conveying a similar element present in their spring summer collection. Some of garments have macrame which could be interesting to try and recreate in yarn. By using the same material as the weaves it will allow the two elements of my work to join well together.
The way in which the model wears the top half expresses geometric shapes and creates form on the garment. I especially like the balance that has been created by coupling a dress that is loose with a more structural element with angular shapes.
11th and 12th of April
In these two days I have been constructing the macrame segments of the garment. These two days in class I have been looking at possible solutions in which I can wrap the garment around the body, as well as how to place the macrame. Through experimentation on a mannequin I started adding the strips of macrame on the sleeves. By being long and having tassels I try and look at knitwear designers James Long and Jenny Postle, two recommendation from my tutor.
Moreover, yesterday when I talked to my tutor I was told I should add more detail to the front of the garment. I do agree as I do believe by adding smaller circular shapes onto the front will allow the garment to tie in together more coherently with my use of colour. I do think it is vital to add these smaller crochet circles as I will be adding brighter reds, blues and earthy tones.
Her use of thinner knit on conjunction with tassels as well as thicker yarns creates an interesting interplay of textures. This has definitely influenced me to experiment with different thickness of yarns as well as how I manipulate them through - crochet, yarn retention, colour use and general shape I form them into (i.e circular, knotted, loose yarn as tassels).