I feel that I have achieved a lot this year and have a good balance of work to show. Everything works really well together which I am proud of. My waistcoat came out exactly as planned, if not better and it works really well with the colours in my paintings. My original plan was to display things on the floor again like my pop up exhibition but it did not work as well. I feel a more formal approach was appropriate for my assessment and the white of the walls makes the colours really stand out.
I did not achieve everything that I wanted to this year, I still have 2 big embroidery hoops I would like to work with. However, I feel this is a good thing as I am able to continue this style of work and really develop everything in my 3rd year which I am excited about. I feel that this style is something that I have been working towards my whole art life and I am really happy with it. In the future I would like to convey more of a newer version of 60’s ideals and comment on things I feel are wrong with the world. I am also going to continue developing my textiles and painting skills, there is always room for improvement.
This year has made me think about ways to exhibit art and how art pieces do not have to be displayed hanging up as a painting in a gallery. My waistcoat is a piece of art that can be appreciated displayed on a mannequin or worn by someone in the street. It is completely handmade by me and I have left stitching and overlapping of material visible to showcase this. The waistcoat pays homage to the dress of Marijke Koger and the stylings of the Fool art collective. It comments on how I would like these kinds of skills to become important in the modern world, instead of mass consumption and textile waste.
My crystal painting series follows the same 60s/psychedelic vibe. They are something that has come directly from my consciousness and are a reflection on emotions, physic waves and crystal healing. They are an attempt to keep things light and positive in a negative world. I feel that is important to react to the world from a place of love and this is something that crystals help me to achieve. My paintings are about visually sharing this message through colour, glitter and all things ‘kitsch’.
The massive influence for my waistcoat is the dress I saw at the V&A by Marijke Koger. The mix of colours and embellishments are things that spoke to me on another level and I spent a good 20 minutes staring at the dress. The description next to it at the museum was a list of words that I have researched and been inspired by for years now: “gypsy, magikal, folk heavy, escapist, hand crafted”. Koger also made the dress for herself which is one of the main reasons I made the waistcoat; for myself. To wear but also to prove to myself that I can create things that even impress myself.
After looking into Koger more, I feel that she is an artist that will stay with me and continue influencing my work. Her paintings are a level that I would like to get to in terms of crystal paintings and she is also known to have done live painting which is something I would like to get into. There is a modern an American internet artist that I have followed for a while, called Elle Paisley, who reminds me of Kroger’s work, which is reassuring to know there is a niche for this kind of work in the modern world.
^ Elle Paisley Marijke Koger ^
Once I had my template down I started to cut up square of the fabric I had collected. I had been buying fat quarters of fabric from every fabric store I went past. I stuck with floral, paisley patterns I felt were bright and quirky. I had to make enough squares to make patchwork square big enough to get the template out of for the back and two sides. I chose to create a lining to the top half as a way of getting even more quirky fabric into the waistcoat. Once the template was re-cut out of my patchwork pieces I pinned everything down to see how it looked/fit. I had to make a few adjustments and kept going back to it everyday after work. Once I was happy with the everything I begun to sew it all together. The top of the waistcoat took me a couple of weeks to do with intervals due to doing more shifts at work.
Once the top was done, the bottom only took me 5 hours to do. By now I was quick at sewing squares together. I don’t even know how many squares are in the final garment. I did the skirt to the waistcoat in quarters to break up the constant patchwork and add square of tie-dye fabric I had found in a fabric store back home. Originally, I planned to just sew the skirt on as a continuation of the top, however, once I had pinned the two parts together I really liked the way the fabric created the gaps that I decided to keep for the final design. Happy accident. Adding embellishments to the waistcoat was easier because I’m a hoarder. I collect things that I don’t need but somehow want. The sun and bells hanging from the waistcoat are from a broken wind chime I couldn’t part with and now add the weight needed for the fabric to create the gaps I liked so much. Plus, now the waistcoat jingles.
I had a feeling I would be able to successfully make the waistcoat design in my head because of how successful a waistcoat I had made a few years prior had been but the template was to reassure myself. My waistcoat design had been stuck in my head since the beginning of 2nd year but I decided to explore other things during the year because of the route I had gone down with regards to my Field work. I had, subconsciously, begun to collect material over the Easter holidays and previously bought 2 big embroidery hoops that I had planned to make bigger versions of previous work with but once I sat down with all my ideas and material my mind went back to the waistcoat idea and the dress I had seen in the exhibition ‘You Say You Want a Revolution’. My mind had been on textiles for a while because it is the topic of my dissertation and I was bored of the conventional ways of exhibiting ‘Fine Art’ thanks to research I had done this year in regards to exhibiting work. Creating wearable art is something I love doing as clothing is a massive part of how someone portrays themselves. I wanted to create something better then my waistcoat before so I decided to make a longer, dress-like waistcoat.
^ photographs from 2015 of waistcoat made in college
Before I started my waistcoat I wanted to make sure that I was able to create a top half that would be able to fit because I did not have much of a template to use. I created the template using an old cut up t-shirt and transferred it onto plain white cotton. In then began to pin everything together to make sure I could remember how to create something wearable. Considering I had not made a waistcoat in a few years and could not find my old notes to follow, I feel that I did really well in remembering simple textiles techniques. After I was happy in my skills I decided to crack on with the making of my 60’s influenced, psychedelic waistcoat.
My work benefited lot from the work I did during my second Field module, ‘Art and the Conscious mind’. The theories we talked about during this module helped to push my down a more spiritual route that made me think about the direct link between what goes on in my head and art I put out into the world. The crystal paintings are a way of representing emotions and thoughts because of the meaning that they are associated with. Each colour and form of crystal and geode meaning a different thing. Looking into other artists who have taken a crystal route, I found Alexis Arnold and Elyse Graham. These two artists works are different in style but both explore themes of time and discovering something unexpected. Arnold uses crystals to freeze books in time, removing their content so that we have to look at the object as non-functional and appreciate the beauty of nature taking over something man-made. Graham’s work explores time through its process and the discovery in the reveal of something beautiful in, what seems like, an ordinary object.