Introductory assignment

“In this project you’re asked to collect, then visually observe, explore and record a group of textiles and materials. You’ll create a folio of 10 to 15 drawings that visually capture the qualities and properties of the items you select.”

Stage 1: Gathering materials

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I chose the theme ‘STYLE LOUNGE’

My first thoughts were of glamour: 1920’s or 1930’s hotels in Art Deco style, with mirrors and gilding. Elegant, clean lines on the furniture, with luxurious materials: velvet, satin, leather, gleaming chrome and highly polished wood. Men in bespoke tailored suits and women in chic cocktail dresses. Cigarette holders, champagne and cocktails. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Effortlessness. Life of luxury and leisure. Seeing and being seen.

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Other ideas that came to mind:

Lounge lizards; nightclubs; hairdressers (when you google ‘Style Lounge’ this is what the first few pages are full of!); exclusive fashion, beauty, shopping places.

I was tempted to take the hairdressing theme, but decided to stick with my initial ideas as that seemed to provide the most potential for lots of interesting textures and tactile properties in my chosen objects.stylelounge3

My house in no way resembles a glamorous art deco style lounge! Nonetheless, as I considered the theme, I was able to gather a collection of objects which related to it in some way. I started with finding luxurious fabrics: Liberty print silk, satins, chinese brocade, a velvet cushion. I also got out some metallic gold cardstock to use as a possible background. My mirrors are all fixed to the wall and it was impractical to include one in my collection. I sorted through my small collection of jewellery and tried out several pieces including a silver and pearl pendant, and a small silver bag. In the end, I selected the gold flowery necklace for its interesting surface textures and shapes.

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The lid of a posh candle gave a suitably polished wooden surface. I have a selection of glittery vases and jar, and chose a large one with an elegant shape and a mottled gold surface. To reference the cocktail lounge, I included the Hendricks gin bottle, with its distinctive black glass and sophisticated label.  Finally, I wanted to include a ‘person’ in my lounge, so I picked one of my Barbies, wearing an outfit I made a few years ago, from silk velvet, using both its front and reverse, giving an interesting contrast of textures.

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I tried a variety of arrangements for the objects, finally settling on the one pictured above. I found that I preferred the arrangements where the objects were connected in some way, and with fewer background fabrics visible. This arrangement reflects the black, ivory and gold colour scheme which I associate with the Style Lounge theme. Each object contributes a different texture and shape, but all of them have the luxurious quality I was looking for. There are interesting patterns on the brocade, in the necklace, on the vase and the gin label.  Although there is no mirror, there are reflections on the surfaces of the vase and the bottle. I think that this collection of objects and surface will be an interesting group to explore in the next part of this assignment.

The other thing I notice when looking at the pictures is that I really should have ironed all the fabrics before starting!

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