Reflection - 12 08/01/19 Denim, Part Two

Portfolio Evaluation

Getting such a short notice email about the CSM interview, coupled with the fact that I assumed we would have a choice between two dates and in fact we DID NOT really freaked me out, as the choice gave me some solace in my decision to restart my denim project - the pressure was on to well and truly get my shit together. The night before, I was super stressed as I was so close to getting everything to a finished point that I was really happy with, however instead of illustrating a full line up of looks for my denim outcome, I settled for one concluding visualisation, and photographs of other considerations of placements on the body. I was really frustrated with myself at the time for choosing to get an hour's sleep rather than getting everything as perfect as it could be and giving myself that extra time to preempt answers to questions that may arise. I think in hindsight maybe that was the best decision, because, as I was running on pure adrenaline instead of my usual anxiety, I felt more at ease to be myself, with my answers more confident since I couldn't beat myself up for inevitably not saying everything that I had planned. I also think, bizarrely, those final sheets I produced were some of the most successful, as I only had the time to prioritise the most pertinent elements of my research, experimentation and development. 

I also decided to incorporate my larger samples into my portfolio, as working sculpturally is integral to my development process, and I'm really glad I did, as the tutors interacted with them in a tactile sense which I hope infers their interest. I'm trying not to read too much into things but old habits die hard.

Process Evaluation

In terms of colour, I feel as though my informed utilisation of blue (from the denim I experimented with) and red (from my research of too tight jeans causing red-rawness of the leg) really made my sketchbook cohesive (unfortunately similar to two in my previous lanyard project, however these were much less founded) despite exploring rather abstract directions. I concluded on the preferred shade of a more icy-blue through experimenting with the concentration of blue in my blue-white mix for my design developments, which I don't think is the best way for such an integral decision. I intended to explore colour composition earlier on, dedicating a page to it like I did in my lanyard project, however I decided, after re-starting my project, to prioritise experimentation, as I remember how lengthy it was to compose. I know I can only fit so much into the day, but I'm really frustrated with this, as I feel I could have found my desired shade of blue a lot sooner, and it would be more initially clear to those reading my sketchbook. I intended to introduce purple following my blowout research. however felt the three were rather weak together, as it almost watered down the two being the secondary hue of them both, so I instead stuck with royal-blue and pillar box red. I don't know whether my colour use seems too refined now though?

I really found drawing (whether that be observational or imagined) an integral tool in communicating concept, which I enjoyed hugely introducing actually!! I think I underestimated its power before, so made my illustration a centrifugal focus of this project, and the consistency of my own hand in my work really heightened how personally I express my design development process, as I often find, although drawing garments on images of relevant people aid in narrative clarity and proportional accuracy, I think it can be quite clinical; whenever I do design development, I am going to reinforce my own mind's workings with fashion illustration alongside. My pleasure stemming from drawing ignited more of a print focus in this project, with a lot of work across double pages, as stand-alone illustrative works, or to reinforce imagery in the foreground, is a process that I intend to progress with, as being abstract in terms of my hand can inspire more intriguing form (I always struggled to see the developmental benefits of print, but now that it is forming in my mind, it is taking my work in other exciting directions).

Using research into the reasoning for tribal body modification (to attract a mate during the transition to womanhood) to inform how I placed and developed my sculpture on the body, concluding on final outcomes, I think this was a really successful element as it optimises the connection between origins of inspiration and my own experimentation, interpretation and development. Thinker deeper than the most pertinent element of my research to the brief (the visual lip plate and ear weights to testing denim's kinetic potential), so not always thinking of cohesion solely in this aesthetic sense, but the bigger picture of subliminal concept (as long as this is documented at the start) would have been nice to have been introduced earlier on, maybe when I was progressing my more initial samples into designs. I suppose it is difficult as you never really know which way the project will go. On reflection, writing this, I think this is actually the way I work, with deeper narrative inspiring development, so it was interesting that my concept this time allowed for intuitive material manipulation to dominate. I think a more balanced harmony of the two, rather than one dominating the other, would be a really strong direction to move forward with: strong, thorough research, followed by informed, innovative experimentation, and then an immediate return to intriguing research to produce design development.

25th January 2019

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On Katie's recommendations, trialling the weights' effect on a material with greater elastic potential was intriguing in terms of how I was able to play with the body to propel form, appreciating just how integral it is to my practice, in terms of utilising it as an additional form, in a way. Utilising the body's features, much like the Surma and Dayak women, I was able to achieve an even greater stretch than I had imagined, using my elbow, head, shoulder and boob to stretch the fabric even more, creating a piece that I was really satisfied with, despite thinking I had stretched it to its full potential with simply the boning and the weights off the body. I wonder what happens when material is stretched too much? I intend to research this.

21st January 2019

My portfolio tutorial with Katie was extremely helpful in the way that I had a professional insight into how to lay out my work. I was reassured in the sense that my process to describe my narrative in terms of sheet content was coherent with what Katie suggested, with her approach to creating a flow on a singular page incredibly helpful as this was something I knew needed improvement; looking for visual links (form, silhouette, shape, material), no matter if there are stages in between, can sometimes aid in strengthening a collective look (obviously as long as the narrative is still communicated). I intend to redo some pieces for my portfolio as a result, with my developed knowledge of colour and material use to unite abstract work. She thought that my denim project was weaker than my previous two, which I agreed with; I found it hard to balance the pressure of building my portfolio for impending digital deadlines with progressing with a project that is intended to be the bulk of it. As a result, I feel it was my reflective process that buckled, leading to a lack of cohesion (most strongly in colour) in my sketchbook, which I don't feel is me at all, as I am usually very thorough. I think hating the way that it was going made me feel really stressed whenever I tried to create work for it; I put like 75% of my energy into portfolio, which is still important, but I needed to stagger the two more equally. So, I have decided to start again from scratch, which may be an over-ambitious decision, but I'm no stranger to that lol. I know that it is a lot of work to set myself, however I am so determined to set myself up with the best chance of getting into BA, so if that means sleepless nights, so be it.

11th January 2019

My next step was to introduce the body to consider how this stretch would incorporate the human form, utilising wooden poles, an upscale continuation from the unintentional juxtaposition of the necessity of a wooden base to facilitate the nails which secured the contorted samples. I began with the use of holes again, essential to accommodate optimum elasticity, and I was really satisfied how these also enabled greater interaction with the body, encasing the top of limbs, as well as the way in which the wooden poles really pushed the material to the extent of its kinetic potential. I'm not really sure how I would incorporate wooden poles into a more sophisticated outcome, so I think I want to research into how others create stretch, maybe with their own bodies, such as medically with skin grafts, and aesthetically with body modification, and maybe even torturously, with the rack

10th January 2019

By illustrating the quotes, I was able to practice my fashion illustration, whilst generating new directions for my project to develop in terms of print, which was really exciting. I also feel as though the introduction of body language really helps to convey a concept, particularly one which cannot otherwise be communicated visually; I fully intend to keep drawing lots in the future.

9th January 2018

Working with limited materials is something I adore to practice (hence my affinity with repurposing objects), as I feel it is the best catalyst for innovative results; you really have to consider your process, which is always a good thing, to heighten the intellectual underpinning of your work. The quotes I read last night in the library really astounded me; the durability of denim was extremely intriguing, so I created my samples in response to each personal experience (stretching hence putting on skin-tight jeans, self-mending as a result of the sole-survivor denim jacket following a motorbike tumble, and reducing to its rawest form due to clingy material causing red-raw legs). I found that even this tiny fraction of research really propelled my development even in the early stages, ignited a plethora of experimentation ideas incorporating the body, based on each scenario: draping with tyres (the motorbike), wooden poles (the wooden base needed to facilitate the denim's stretch), and recreating the sense of the red-raw by forcing an optimistic leg into a minuscule diameter leg-hole. 

29th January 2019

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Considering sample placement, I reverted back to my research, placing an emphasis on the features which are aligned with sex appeal in the Surma and Dayak tribes - the lip and the lobe. Due to these features being so unsexy in terms of Westernised beauty standards, I intended to first place the sample to weigh down similarly unflattering body parts in the Western world, such as ugly augmentation of the bingo wings. I feel as though a few pulling down the stomach would also have been rather repulsive. I then reflected on what we sexualise, and placed the ring over the breast so as to encase the nipple, where the connotations of the sample completely altered into that of more bondage. It was then easy to understand how body modification, such as that of the Surma and Dayak tribes, could be used to entice sex.

24th January 2019

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IMG_4967.JPGIMG_4977.JPGIMG_4966.JPGIMG_4963.JPGThe introduction of weights did help in capitalising gravity's ability to create stretch, however barely altered the form of the denim from when it was simply hung from my fingertips - I also feel as though the edges appear quite messy as a result, as the points are just flapping, with no sense of pull. I would really like to explore another fabric to see how that could influence new routes of treatment to the denim, however I am not sure if this is allowed. I will ask the tutors.