Monday, 12 November 2012

Written Illustrated Essay

Carole Waller 

Caroline Broadhead

Suzie Freeman

The three artists I have chosen all have a common theme in their work, transparency and clothing.

As I have been working for some time now with layers and transparent materials I felt that this would be a good opportunity to examine the work of other well know practicing artists who produce textiles with this effect. I have also had a lifetime passion for clothes and clothing construction. 

Carole Waller 

photographs by kind permission of Carole Waller 

Looking at the work of Carole Waller, I am very inspired by her wonderful use of colour and bold statements. In her clothing ranges particularly the transparency of the fabrics she uses work wonderfully when layered, as in the case of her organza waistcoat from her Script collection. 

The Brushstrokes  collection is especially poignant as I loved screen printing when I was at  college and used some beautiful imagery in my final collection, which resonated with me when I saw the work within this collection that featured a beautiful portrait.

This was a coat  that I  constructed, and screen printed an oversized portrait on the back. It was later featured at Graduate Fashion Week, Alternative Fashion Week and Clothes Show Live. 

I saw Waller’s work at her Meeting Place exhibition in 2008 at the UCA and was stunned by her combination of textile and glass, as well as her clothes. 

In her video of her current collection on her website you can see that the essence of her work appears to still be “......the movement of people and their interaction, in a state of transition, moving through space.....” Exert from an essay by Alison Carter, who at the time of the Meeting Place exhibition was Senior Keeper of Art and Design, Historic Dress & Textiles for Hampshire museums and Archives Services. 

Having completed her MA Fine Arts and Fibers at the Cranbrook Academy of Arts in the USA I wondered what effect this has had on Waller’s style and whether it might be what prompted her flamboyant use of colour, or was it to do with her background in painting, possibly both.

I find her collections seem to have a certain sense of fun and vitality which very much appeals to me. It sits well with my approach to my own work, which seems to fluctuate between a love of constraint but a need for surprise, beauty and spontaneity.

In the interest of understanding Waller’s work more fully, I created a sample using just 2 layers of cloth, one a Devoré velvet and the other a nylon sheer.

The top layer has been manipulated with stitch to give a feeling of movement to the layers.

Caroline Broadhead

My second artist is Caroline Broadhead who also works with clothing but in a very different manner to Carole Waller. I have been drawn to her retrospective work as I am familiar with it and have much admired her use of transparency shape and shadows.

Like Waller, Broadhead is also interested in the movement of people and creating pieces with a strong visual impact, but she uses the structure of the piece more than the colour and embellishment to achieve this. She also likes her pieces to have the possibility to be worn but at the same time they can stand alone as a work of art, and make a statement. She became interested in the way a person moved when wearing certain clothes and what effect that had on them. I like the sculptural feel of her garments, which often incorporate 3D structures.

With her background in jewelry she has a very defined knowledge of how objects fit on the body, and this is also evident in her later work where she collaborated with choreographers, making garments and sets for dance. 

I was very interested to discover that Broadhead does not see herself in a category and is happy to move between disciplines to achieve her end result. It makes me feel happier about my own approach to my work, which I think can at times be eclectic. However her constant  inspiration seems to have been an interest in the body, or lack of it, it’s senses and movement. 

I think that Broadhead’s work with shadows and 3D shapes could relate well to my proposed final assessment piece. I like the idea of creating something that is not just an ornamental covering for a light source, but it will in turn throw shadows that have their own beauty, as in the dress featured in the sketch that can be seen  here (page 2)

I then looked at it again in the digital sketching App SketchBook Pro to see how it would look with another layer.

Suzie Freeman

My third artist is Suzie Freeman who has become synonymous with the controversial designs now know collectively as Pharmacopeia. This was a unique collaboration of Suzie Freeman, video artist David Critchley and Bristol GP Elizabeth Lee. The result was an exhibition that was an artistic response to smoking and drugs used in fertility and depression.

As with my previous 2 artists Freeman used clothing as a vehicle for her statement, creating what appears to be fabulously decorated party dresses, consisting of rows of tiny transparent pockets that on closer inspection reveal drugs or cigarette buts

The aim of this collection was to encourage people to think about the drugs we take, and the effect they have on our minds and bodies as we become increasingly dependent on them.

One piece in particular was a child’s party dress, which looked so pretty and innocent, yet contained hundreds of drugs within the pocket knitting.  In 2009 the BBC  Horizon program commissioned Pharmacopeia to make a new version of the dress for the episode ‘Pill Poppers.  

It is interesting to note that Freeman is the only artist of my chosen trio to have begun her education in textiles and fashion, which she studied at  Manchester Polytechnic followed by an MA in textiles at the Royal College of Art. 

Not all Freeman”s work is connected to health issues, she produces some beautiful accessories and framed pieces, all with tiny pieces trapped in knitted pockets of monofilament.      

I like her use of pockets to contain very small items and have used her work before as an inspirational starting point. I feel that she too could be a helpful influence with my Final Assessment piece, as one of my ideas was to hide small beach items in the structure of the piece.

My own stitch experiment has been worked by hand knitting and has involved the trapping of my favorite beech finds.

The three artist that I chose to showcase for this essay have inspired and fascinated me for several years and their work is a great legacy for British textiles.

1 comment:

  1. very comprehensive study Sharon, really informative. Loved the slide show.