Sunday, 12 February 2012

A Cold Snowy Week In London

I sit here very cold, in my little room, still in my pyjama's (socks and thermals underneath and feet placed on dog for warmth) whilst I write my weekly research journal. I have a ritual that I get up early every Sunday whilst the rest of the family sleeps and I crack on.

What happened this week?  Apart from snowing, I went to hear Jonathan Chapman of 'Emotionally Durable Design' speak at CSM alongside Becky Earley and Carole Collet.  Apart, from the room being about 100 degrees and drying my eyes out and making me feel sleepy, it was very interesting.  He appears very laid back and relaxed , telling us to just focus on the one bit of the world that we can change!  So that's what I am going to do! I like him and his book (above) it is a very interesting read.  Here's a quote which is very much relevant to me and my approach to design.

Everyday objects that engage the senses invade our lives and literally depend upon our care and attention in order to survive.  Designers must aim to increase the intensity and perceptibility of subject-object dependency, enabling products to achieve and more immersive modes of prolonged user engagement.

Jonathan Chapman, Emotionally Durable Design 2005 (p.81)
Becky Earley, my director of studies, was sadly unwell so we were one down.  All went well and it was most useful, Kay Politowitz present along with Linda Sandino.  I showed my 2 half size garments.  I was a little disappointed with the outcome of my 1940s influenced dress (it bears no resemblance to a garment from the 1940s but the inspiration came from Ms Rogers and an old shirt of my mother's).  The pattern was not quite right and the collar didn't fall correctly but as the collar was only sewn on about an 2 hours before the actual tutorial so it was just one of those things.  I will correct it.

The garments are,  the 1973 inspired dress that can be restyled by unpicking and removing the sleeves and collar.  This I suppose, doesn't have to be a permanent change but the act of unpicking and re-sewing is a quite a significant decision.

All the fabric used in both sample pieces were off cuts.  The cotton used here was a lovely fabric, so easy to cut and sew.  There was hardly any fraying and ironed beautifully too.  In reality, this type of cloth is an ideal material for this methodology as it is so easy to work with.

All seams on the inside of the garment are french seams.  The dress can theoretically be restyled into 9 different garments.  Personally, I like my own version made and lined in silk.  I wore it to a party and was voted the best dress person there!! Only about 30 people at the party though so not such a feat!

The collar is not right as the front is supposed to gather into the neck and the collar will curve downward.  I will re cut the pattern and think about using another type of fabric as the chiffon was very difficult to work with.  I think this style will work better made into a full size garment.

The dress is designed (should have put pics the other way around) to turn in to a blouse.
 In the skirt of the dress is room enough for two sleeves to be cut.  I have made the pattern for the shirt and sleeves (the shirt comes out of the dress but I don't want to cut this dress up as it is a sample) but haven't had the chance for it to be constructed.
I have made a sample of the sleeves which are similar to some sleeves to be found on a Biba dress from the 1970s.  The sleeves will be quite full with tie cuffs. The ties can be materialised from the belt.  More will be revealed once it is constructed.
It is so easy for me to feel disappointed and not finish this garment because it didn't work out in reality to the garment that I had in my mind's eye but I will carry on and draw it to its natural conclusion.

Print - I must quickly jot this down, before I forget, Kay Politowitz,  talked to me about the print on the garments.  The garments have been made from scraps so of course the print looks much larger than if the garments were full size.  Additionally, she has inspired me to think about printing my own fabric and utilising a change in print design as part of the garment metamorphosis.  Is that a good word?  Metamorphosis instead of adaptation.  I need to think about it.

This journal came about from a recommendation in the book 'Visualising Research:  A Guide to the Research Process in Art and Design' by Carole Gray and Julian Malins.  Now my next step has been to create a contextual review mind map.  Blimey, it nearly sent me insane as I created it on my new Adobe CS5 Illustrator program.  I watched an hour and half of on line tutorials and still found it very confusing.  I kept turning my little bubble things solid black.  ( I wanted to scream!) It's all a learning curve, a frustrating one at that.  The colours don't really mean anything except that the pink bubbles are practise related.

Books I am Reading
Bourdieu, P.  Distinction (1979) A social Critique of the Judgement of Taste
I am struggling with this book, the language is intense and confusing but I totally comprehend and agree with what I am reading (dare I say this though?  Maybe some of the research is a bit out of date now. I don't know I am not a sociologist).  The acquisition of knowledge is a very important.  Taste, knowledge, consumption - it is very closely linked.  I will read on.
I haven't even looked at Natalie Rothstein for 2 weeks now nor opened Digital LR Cameras & Photography for Dummies however I have started reading (I'll put it in it proper bibliographic format)
Prown, J D. (1982) Mind in Matter:  An Introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method.  Winterthur Portfolio Vol.17, No.1
Now, this is interesting and good to read for those like myself studying garments within the museum context.
And for pleasure....
Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman.  I am really enjoying it.

This week,  I will focus on my existing books, read them and not start any new ones.

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