Tuesday, 30 April 2013


Jennifer Collier's work has had a distinct impact on my material choices throughout this project. Looking at the specific papers she's used and the effect they have visually led me to use reclaimed materials and found papers of my own.
I have collated and used many different papers, including parcel paper; pages from books (When She was Good by Philip Roth, and several aged exercise books on architecture and mathematics); bubblewrap; tissue paper; newspaper; arabic newspaper; high quality handmade paper; fashion pattern paper; tracing paper; greaseproof paper; lined paper (of several weights and colours); graph paper; squared paper; envelopes used and new; paper towels (various sources, and various colours and weights); tissues; kitchen roll; and other found papers of varying weights and colour.
One particular paper I made the active decision to avoid was wallpaper - often floral and highly patterned, this has too definite a level of imagery for my work; both the weight of the paper and the patterns would be too obvious and heavy within my work in comparison to my other material choices. Even using wallpapers within my colour palette of neutrals, this would be detracting from the work and drawing the attention when the primary focus should be the imagery I create, not that which I use. My material choices should enhance my work to give texture and colour and a certain atmosphere, but not take over.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

New Online Portfolio!

I've not updated this blog in a while, but here's a quickie just to say I've begun to set up my online portfolio, after looking through what seems to be hundreds of sites and many many different portfolios I finally settled on cargo collective to professionally display my work. The portfolio is as yet unfinished, but I've made a pretty big headway with getting it sorted. See my new portfolio: here. Any comments, criticisms and feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Jennifer Collier

As a starting point in terms of research – thinking about the process of pausing and/ or trapping – I found the early work of designer/ maker Jennifer Collier very interesting.
Jennifer Collier is a contemporary designer/ maker who I've found influential in all my textile work. She uses a variety of techniques within her work (including stitch, paper construction, fusing, trapping and embedding, waxing, embroidery and appliqué, print and image transfer, to name a few) with found papers and objects being her primary materials. Her work evokes a nostalgic feeling through the use of materials and the products they make. Typically Collier makes clothing and shoes, although she also experiments with accessories and more lately has been making art centred around the household. Scale plays a big part in her work, as Collier likes to work typically in smaller-than-life scale (and very occasionally larger-than-life) creating clothing that is too small to be worn, which is the point. The pieces are non-functional, and “[aim] to encourage people to speculate on the nature of value” (Collier). The use of old and found papers such as newspaper, old letters and magazines, maps, dress pattern paper, etc. creates a fragile kind of beauty.

Primarily I began to look at Collier’s resin pieces for this project, with the idea of suspension being in the back of my mind. To trap or hold an object in this clear transparent material is a suspension of sorts, both literally and figuratively. Collier’s resin pieces are quite simplistic, containing only buttons, small papers and other found objects, as jewellery, brooches, badges, necklaces, earrings. However, I began to develop my own thoughts about use of resin as a medium to embed with, using Collier’s work as an initial starting point for my thought process. I want to layer, or deconstruct a watch movement into resin, capturing the symbolism in what will hopefully be a very aesthetically pleasing method. This should show my reasoning and processes, how I have developed my journey thus far.

Having been initially only focusing on Collier’s resin pieces, I expanded my field of vision to consider her other works; embedding bonding and trapping are key themes throughout Collier’s work, and so her entire portfolio became to me much more important and influential than I thought it would be. I particularly liked her use of found objects and papers, and how this made me feel; I want to provoke the same feeling of nostalgia and sentimentality mixed with beauty and delicacy that is created here. 

All images are from http://jennifercollier.co.uk/ or the former version of this website, and are copyrighted to Jennifer Collier.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Pitti Filati

A small group of us textiles students visited international trend fair Pitti Filati in Florence, at the end of January. The fair was lovely, and so influential; there were so many gorgeous fabrics, samples and exhibits that gave me tonnes of ideas.

From the trade section, here are a few of my favourites:

One of the first company exhibits we saw, these pieces were gorgeous and beautifully presented, and had such lovely textures. I especially liked the use of greys and whites combined with a pop of a much stronger colour - the orange and blues.

This just caught my eye as a really interesting alternative to a yarn wrap - I love the small knit samples framing it and the graduation of colour.

The colour used in these materials were really offset by the variation in yarn thickness, texture and count, and the range of patterns created in the knit.

This little group of photos shows one of the coolest exhibits I saw on the trade floor. There were several of these unicorns with yarn horns, manes and tails, displaying several collections of fabrics each. This was the first actual company exhibit we saw upon entering Pitti, and was definitely one of the most impressive and memorable. The two fabrics below show a style that was a key trend throughout the entire fair. The piece to the left has a mixture of medium and very fine yarns in stripes, with the most delicate yarn knitted quite loosely so it has a level of translucency and delicacy that isn't seen with thicker yarns. The white yarn has also been dyed - it looked like a thick paint had been rolled onto the fabric post-knit. Sporadic dying and alternatively thick yarns were a common theme in many of the exhibitions. On the right hand side is one of my favourite techniques from the show; it is a patterned stripe where one of the yarns is mono-filament (used in fishing wire). This gave a texture with complete transparency, the most prominent and noticeable vogue in Pitti, and I loved it - it reminds me of my previous work in knit using unconventional yarns. I only wonder how comfortable it is against the skin.

Some photos of quite loose knits in some lovely yarns. A lace, holey fabric is created by the pattern within the knit.

A common method of displaying many fabric samples throughout- always using graduating colours too.

The "Space Room" - a brilliant room. The lightbox shown was covered in lots of differently sized spheres filled with lights. The spheres have tubular knitting in all different colours, patterns and sizes stretched over them to make ingenious decorative lighting. Below are more details of some of my favourites.

The selection of colours and patterns just really caught my eye here.

These displays and the fabrics on them were lovely. I like the uniformity of it.

More lovely colours and patterns with textures and lacy holes.

Just a bear, chillin'.

And on to the trend section! This years' chosen colours/ predicted theme is the Festival. The trend section had so many conceptual clothes in so many colours and styles, and then there were boards demonstrating the effectiveness of the materials. I've picked out a few of my favourites, either due to the colours, shapes or patterns used in them. 




 I didn't manage to get many photos in the forecasts section, but those that I did get were stunning.

 The lovely combination of yarns and different lace-like structures made me want to touch everything. The blacks and greys and whites and creams are very in line with my current project too, which I think made them even more beautiful to me.

Unfortunately no photos were allowed in the fashion section, and there were so many different technique samples I wanted to record, so I ended up scrawling in my notebook as I went. Pitti gave me so many ideas for this project I don't know where to start. What grabbed my attention the most in the fashion section was the amount of chaining and lace used as decor, as well as using yarns to create new innovative yarns, through a combination of stitch, macrame, crochet and knit. Punto Art, Magazzini Mercerie and Forza Giovani had the most interesting collections of samples, to me. 

Key points to note from Pitti Filati are:
-transparency; there was a lot of mono-filament used to create very fine transparent knits and fabrics
-fine, lace-like; the use of the mono-filaments and other very fine yarns creates a very fragile and delicate structure
-holes; a lot of the fabrics seen at Pitti had pointelle holes, ladders, yarn overs etc that created a very holey structure you could see through and layer over other works to form a sort of tunnel(?)... the ability to see-through these pieces was very important here, in a very similar way both to the lacy materials and the transparent materials.