Experimental Sketchbook day

This study visit to the Manchester Art Gallery focussed on responding to Kate Haywood’s exhibition. We began by spending an hour looking and sketching her work.
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Fashioned From Nature

This exhibition at the V&A showed how fashion has always borrowed from nature – both in terms of the materials used, and in terms of design inspiration. It also looked at the impact of the fashion industry on the environment and some innovative ways of developing this in the future.

I was fascinated by the huge variety of natural materials which had been formed into fabrics, threads and embellishments: pineapple leaves, beetle wings, glass, tree bark and more. It was also interesting to read about the international trades which had enabled these developments, such as the rubber industry.

Lace-bark tree and slippers made from the lace-bark in 19th century Jamaica.

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Study visit: Knitting and Stitching Show

I went on the OCA Study Visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show with Priscilla Edwards. Due to the terrible weather, there were only a handful of students there. I’ve been to the show before but not since becoming an OCA student. I was hoping to get some guidance on how to make the most of visiting an exhibition, which didn’t really happen. It was still, however, worth viewing several of the exhibitions and we had some interesting conversations about textiles, OCA study, and the life of the designer-maker over lunch.

Pin Up: Chantal Vouillemin (City Lit)

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Research point: Rosie Sanders

In this video, Sanders talks about the way that she focusses on colour, shapes and patterns. She describes the flowers she paints as erotic and voluptuous, and explains how she uses backlighting to examine the colours and veins in the petals in a different way. There’s clearly an emotional response to the flowers in Sanders’ work, rather than merely the descriptive representation associated with standard botanical paintings.

In this video Sanders explains some of the technical aspects involved in her painting. The close ups of her work show the subtleties she captures of colour gradients. I love how the large scale she works at (the one in the video is 7 times life size) allows her to really explore these colour shifts.

“I want them to feel the sensuous quality of it… I suppose I want them to feel what I’m feeling, the passion of it – to be excited by it.”

I’d love for people to feel something similar in response to my work. The tulips that I’m working with have the sensuous quality Sanders describes. The colours and the textures of the petals, especially as they dry and twist into incredibly complex forms, are tempting and sexy and demand to be touched and stroked. They are exciting and I want to find ways of conveying that excitement and passion somehow.



Research point: Kirsty Whitlock creating ‘yarns’

Kirsty Whitlock is a mixed media artist. From her website:

Kirsty uses recycled and reclaimed materials as a response to the throwaway culture of consumerism. Her work is concept led and exploits the overlooked qualities of the selected printed materials.

She challenges the preconceptions of embroidery and explores the potential of communicating a social message through the use of discarded household items, including plastic carrier bags and newspapers, using them as a format for embroidery.

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