grad school

…Am I flailing hard enough?

They make it pretty clear to us that this year, and particularly this semester, is a time for exploration, experimentation, and other “ex” words that are generally designed to both stimulate you and keep you a bit off-balance. As a respected professor put it, “this is the time to flail about and fail big.”

Am I flailing hard enough yet? Have I failed grandly enough? Would you like some more irony on your toast?

Kids, don’t be artists. Do something easy, like brain surgery.

I kid, I kid.

Lots of questions as to process, meaning, intention, audience, concept, formal material decisions. I decided to make a cape as a large-scale material exploration. Plus, it’s still working in my conceptual brain– it’s still a piece of outerwear, which y’all know I love– plus it’s a simple enough design as to be fairly easy construction. I don’t have time for no 34 pattern pieces right know–knowwhaddimean?

I wanted to try overdyeing, so I started messing with applique over a white fabric I had in my stash. Apologies for the crap pictures– apparently my iphone and the studio lighting are NOT friends.

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I’m also starting to study a lot of surface design techniques, and I love incorporating hand stitching into the work. Obviously it doesn’t make sense to hand-stitch this whole mess, but I love to see the evidence of the hand– it makes it so much more personal and storied.

Sampler!

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Hand-stitching and reverse-applique with velvet as the underneath fabric. Very inspired by Alabama Chanin, who I loooove.

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I did some color samples, foraying into the world of dye!

73616324113820670166018575b124f7And then overdyed the whole damn thing. 1ea8ecf3aa5558082ad2c04f7fff2c66 3cb50e90db6f714c07f54a18574de39a

Detail:

f75badd6b4f5a19ea7bd5f40f187b4d1I’m really interested in beginning to work with more reclaimed textiles and less new fabrics, so for the lining I took apart two vintage velvet dresses and made franken-lining.

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There were some holes in the velvet, that I decided to highlight in mending rather than hiding them. It’s part of the fabric’s story, after all.

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Here is is inside-out. I think I might like it best that way actually. 
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I inked some secret things in the lining in my coded alphabet. I’m not loving how it looks but it’s a foray into how to incorporate language into the garment.

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13ccf8e19c58dbf226092fb281c19d7eI’ll have to get some nicer pictures at some point. I still need to figure out what sort of closure I want and finish the hem, but since I don’t think I’ll show this piece in the spring show/last crit it doesn’t seem as important at the moment. There’s a lot I like about this piece and some things I don’t, lots of ideas have been brought up. I think I may step back from garments for a bit (flailing, right?) and just focus on textile and surface design and what I can discover and convey through that medium. There are a few too many variables in the air with a garment, and I’m not sure, in my next crit, that I’m ready to answer questions about who this is for, who wears this, etc. Everyone wants to wear this, right?

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grad school

The processing of process….

Notes on November

…thus far.

Nothing dries here. Mom bought me a box of sun, which seems to be helping the doomy gloomies a bit.

I think too much about what I could be doing, and berate myself for not living the life I think I want, or am supposed to want, but if I want to be the sort of person who goes to bars alone and practices karate, why don’t I ever actually want to do those things? Perhaps the new coolness is someone who goes from home to school and back again and eats mac and cheese. This is a thing, right?

I think too much, I think. Oh wait. Crap.

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School is different the second time around. Better and deeper in many ways, but I can no longer summon that wild, vicious sense of youthful self-import that undergrad held. There is less of a sense of inevitable greatness, though it is replaced with a stronger sense of what I do and why. But I miss feeling like a ball of greatness waiting to explode. Maybe it’s a slow detonation. Also, I drink much less in this iteration, which is probably for the best. I seem to recall a lot of drinking alone and baking cookies while crying at “Friends” the last time.

So, basically, I’m awesome.

I am continuing to work with letterforms. I did the whole alphabet in large, 18″x24″ form:Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 12.05.47 PM

…and hung the whole shebang up for crit. I kind of want it up forever.

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I’m trying to learn to use it, which is trickier than I thought. Learning to write in it is going alright, but reading it is a whole other matter. Makes you realize that we don’t see the individual characters when we read; we just grab the whole word. I can READ the code-language, but I still have to parse it letter by letter. I’m going to try to get some friends to be secret code pen-pals with me to help me learn– I need stuff to read that I did not write, that’s cheating, and really doesn’t work. It’s, in the wise words of my father, like a three-year-old memorizing Go Dog Go and then pronouncing that they can read. I suspect he may be speaking from experience on that one.

I’m not quite sure where the language/code thing is going yet, but I find it compelling. I think, at the core, I’m trying to create the world I want to live in, all magical and shit, and this is perhaps how language looks in that world. It seems very important for me to be able to use it, not just have created it and let it sit there. I have lots of little seeds of ideas of how this might fit into other work later…

I also started to get back into makeup a bit, at the urging of my mentor. Again, not sure where that leads but hey, we’re all about experimenting right now. Can you tell that “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing” is a common theme recently?

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This one was mostly practice with a white base makeup I got for Halloween. There was no character theme; just play.

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My mentor suggested I remove variables to make the focus really on the face and makeup, so going forward I’m going to try a few set poses, same outfit, no wig, no face expression, just really focus on the makeup.

Oh, and speaking of Halloween, here’s how THAT turned out:

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We were pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Dancing at the Lovecraft ensued and a good time was had by all.

Right. Off to make some capes and write some letters. Huzzah!

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