Saturday 30 May 2015

Emma McCluskey

The botanical drawings of Textile graduate Emma McCluskey were breathtakingly beautiful and her presentation incredibly professional as you can see here in her interiors lookbook Unnatural Botanics.
"Floral imagery has been used throughout textile design and is intrinsic to the imagery of printed textiles. The collection, ‘Unnatural Botanicals’, is my interpretation of floral design. The collection comprises of hand painted motifs that have been developed from drawings of plants found in botanic gardens. These motifs have then been digitally placed into a composition and transformed into patterns through the use of Photoshop. Working with a specific colour palette, the collection incorporates dark muted tones combined with bright accented colours. I want to create a collection that highlights both my unique drawing and design style alongside my competence of digital software in creating a floral collection for the commercial textiles’ market. The collection explores the use of different types of pattern and presents itself on a range of digitally printed interior fabric and wallpaper showing the possible application of the designs for the interiors’ market." Emma McCluskey 

Friday 29 May 2015

Hannah Pexton

Textiles at Dundee College of Art are always a joy, the development work, sketches and samples are boundlessly wonderful. This is some of  Hannah Pexton's graduation collection 'Under The Microscope', rich with delicate transparencies and textures.
"I have a deep interest in Biology and throughout my experiences of handling and investigating the subject I have found there to be many beautiful and inspiring images waiting to be interpreted in a creative manner through textiles. The aim of this project was to take the beauty of the inner body and place it on the outside." Hannah Pexton 

Thursday 28 May 2015

Molly MacDonell Finlayson I

"Inspired by Valentine’s Scots adaptation, I have re-imagined The Soldier's Tale as a small Scottish touring piece, making its way around far-flung village halls and community centres. Small-scale touring theatre is a lively and longstanding culture in Scotland, a world in which I have been involved since childhood. Touring theatre takes extraordinary, beautiful things to unexpected places."
"In my designs, I have taken inspiration from the colourful score and characterful language, and from Scottish landscape and culture.  Exploring the idea of journeying, I have created screenprinted textiles inspired by old maps of Scotland. Eccentric ensembles suggest dressing-up. Hand-painted tartans and screen-printed  textiles suggest that the actors have modified garments themselves, inspired by the landscape through which they are travelling. Connecting all these influences – music, language, landscape, dressing up – is the layering of colour and pattern."  Molly MacDonell Finlayson

'The Soldier, returning home on leave, is tricked by the devil to exchange his battered old violin for a big book with the key to wealth untold.  Returning to his village, he is not recognised, by friends, family or fiancé. He realises he has been duped by the devil and years have passed. The gains of wealth are meagre in comparison to the simple pleasures of his past life.
 Drowning his sorrows in the pub, he is interrupted by a royal proclamation. The king’s daughter is sick, and the man who cures her will be rewarded the kingdom. Joseph sets off to the palace, but the Devil appears with the violin. Urged on by the Narrator, Joseph challenges him to a game of cards. While the Devil gleefully wins, Joseph tops up his glass, until the Devil topples over.

Joseph rushes to the Princess’s bedchamber with his violin, where he plays as never before. She awakes in a dance of joy and they fall into each others’ arms. The Devil arrives. He will not be defeated. In exchange for their happiness, the Soldier and Princess must never stray beyond the boundaries of this kingdom.
Some years later, the Princess asks Joseph about his mother. Breaking the pact, they travel to visit her. With the Princess behind him, Joseph is first to cross the border. The Devil springs up, snatching away the violin in a triumphant, gleeful march.'

Molly MacDonell Finlayson

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Nina Cutler

"The ‘Forty Elephants’ were an all female criminal gang who terrorised the streets of London in the 19th century, though evidence of their existence have found since the 17th century. There is an interesting contrast between their independent, aggressive lifestyles with the passivity and fragility of what was considered ‘true’ womanhood in Victorian society, one that elevates them to a pedestal of ‘cool’ female icons that fascinates us, as opposed to petty criminals. History is full of such strong (not necessarily good) women who, by their wits or by their guts, force their way into male roles, and even in today’s world they continue to elicit both outrage and admiration. Society seems to have a sense of discomfort when women straddle both the feminine and the masculine, the hermaphrodite being that sheds any need of the male, a challenge to the established rules of gender." Nina Cutler
"This collection is for those ‘bad girls’. They are the lasting legacy of the Forty Elephants, a reimagining of the girl gang, stealing symbols of femininity and masculinity from different parts of history. 90s black American gang culture with the impossible beauty of Pre-Raphaelite women, the idealised Madonna. They are the imagined future tribe of an apocalyptical world, and they are on top. Gold is the perfect element, and in this alchemical culture, the (new) Forty Elephants are the paragon of the hostile hermaphrodite." Nina Cutler 
Nina's work has been nominated for the ID diversity now award and Nina has strong and interesting views on identity, fashion and space; the personal space that your clothing creates by having a large silhouette and occupying a larger area around your body.
"Gender and race are the most common boxes that one must tick and yet identities are neither static nor fixed, in fact are in constant flux. This collection explore influences from women depicted in pre raphaelite painting juxtaposed with 90s male hip hop fashion. These two contrasting cultural symbols represents idealised forms of femininity and masculinity. It also utilises the method where marginalised groups (such as young black male) uses oversized clothing to exert control over spaces that are usually denied." Nina Cutler 

Monday 25 May 2015

Keith Gunning

This is Keith Gunning's graduate collection from San Francisco's Academy of Art University School of Fashion's  Fashion Show on May the 14th. (Getty Images)
Featuring warm acid coloured neoprene and porcupine like quills of cable ties sewn into the seams to accentuate styling and create a dynamic silhouette.  The look has a very art deco feel of symmetry and drama. It  also reminds me of the crown on the Statue of Liberty's with the radial thorns/ spines.
Keith born  in Ireland and raised in Canada, will be studying at Studio Bercot in Paris from September 2015.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Constructs of Identity and Diversity

These are some garments resulting from a collaboration between 2nd year Fashion and Interior Design students at ECA around the theme of 'Constructs of Identity and Diversity' the garments produced had interesting construction using padding and pleating to create silhouette, texture and interest.

Friday 22 May 2015

Charles Fréger. Portraits in lace: Breton Women

Charles Fréger's new book called 'Portraits in Lace: Breton Women' a very exciting collection of images of Breton women from every generation and region. 
The book features fifty headdresses, each is introduced and described in a separate reference section with specially commissioned illustrations. I always love Charles Fréger's projects and his interest and exposure of what is left of European folk traditions, dress and costume.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Laura Mills-Whittaker II

 Laura Mills-Whittaker's second graduation collection was based on Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood of 1954 and she designed a costume for Miss Price.
"Reading this hilarious play it became apparent to me that Thomas’ small fictional Welsh fishing village is a place entirely consumed in itself. It reminded me of a gossipy 1950’s American suburban neighbourhood where everyone knows everything about everyone else. It was for this reason, as well as wanting to understand the time the play was written a little better, that I decided to set my interpretation in the 50’s."  

"The colour palette comes mainly from impressionist seascapes, but also from my own primary research at Holy Island in Lindisfarne. I thought this would be a good location for a site-specific adaptation of the play, as there’s a causeway that separates the island, creating an isolated place which is perfect for the self-absorbed town of Llareggub. The textiles and prints I created for this project were inspired by the seaside; again communicating this sense that the place where they are is all the characters know, so their clothes begin to reflect their surroundings." 
"Miss Price is an overly pleasant dressmaker and sweetshop-keeper who is sweeter than the things she sells; therefore I made sure she was perfectly pink and frilly! There is also a lot of floral imagery associated with her character, so her skirt is covered in hand-sewn laser cut flowers and corals." Laura Mills-Whittaker

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Laura Mills-Whittaker

Laura Mills-Whittaker's James and the Giant Peach costumes were stimulating on many different senses as you can see from the photograph above James was captivated by the smell and feel of his luscious peach which wafted peach fragrance past the catwalk audience.

"The main theme that stood out for me in this well-loved story was the idea of escape. Often, Roald Dahl would escape to his writing shed to conjure up his imaginative stories and themes within his books often reflect something about his life. James escapes from an abusive, dark and cruel world into a surreal world of imagination and wonder; is this just a child’s imaginative way of coping with the life he is bound to or are these magical events actually happening? Therefore the genre of performance I wanted to explore was immersive theatre; whereby the audience are able to escape with James from the monotone human world in the initial scenes, into an exciting and colourful environment within the Peach – a huge dome-like installation in which the audience can sit." 

"My concept was to cre ate a sensory experience that was not only visually engaging, but in which the audience could interact with characters through other senses such as touch and smell. I looked at sensory textiles and gathered fabrics with different surfaces, and also experimented with some textile manipulation techniques such as smocking, quilting and needle felting to achieve different tactile surfaces.
All human characters were designed to be wearing monotone costumes to reflect the depressing human world, and later contrasting with the exciting visuals created within the peach, not only through costume but with aid of lighting and projection too."

 "Silhouette inspiration for the insects in particular came from structural fashion and giant puppetry - elements which you can see on the Grasshopper costume with his mechanical legs and structured insect abdomen. Strong silhouettes were important in making each character identifiable and making them no longer recognisable as humans; I wanted to distort the body to created surreal insect-like silhouettes."

"In order to create a strong sense of personality, each character obviously involved their own body of research, looking at real people, people with the same types of personality or occupation etc. The Old Green Grasshopper for example represents a sophisticated, upper-class and well-educated individual with a great passion for music, therefore I wanted him to be well-dressed with a waistcoat, jacket and bow-tie. I looked at country fashions and musical conductors as clothing and textile inspiration." Laura Mills-Whitaker

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Harry Maberly

Harry Maberly was a model for the ECA performance costume show this year and so I got a glimpse of his latest project which involves costume, but as part of his studies in the Intermedia Art Course, highlighting the plight of the red squirrel.

"This project was part of a Micro-Residency with an old factory mill in Perthshire, called Stanley Mills, organised by the mill, ECA Intermedia Art students and tutors and Historic Scotland. I wanted to make a work that responded to the area. The abundance of red squirrels in Perthshire was lovely, but it heightened my awareness of the lack of red squirrels throughout the rest of the UK. I wanted to tell a story that would hint at this subtly, blurring fact and fiction. I made the squirrel costume and went on a journey through Perthshire, which then blurred with the character in the story. I spent a lot of time simply watching squirrels, learning their physique, movements and characteristics. I had a wonderful time creating this piece."  Harry Maberly 

Monday 18 May 2015

Ellie Van Riel III

                                      Above: photograph by Laura Mills-Whittaker, Below: photograph by Laurence Winram

Ellie Van Riel's graduate collection for Performance Costume at ECA was based on 'The Distance Of The Moon' by Italo Calvino 

'A time when the moon was just above the earth. He would row out from the zinc cliffs, across the sea and climb a thin ladder up to the moon.' Italo Calvino
"Influenced by the journey through sea and space the costumes and textiles I designed were inspired by thought of movement.
Envisioned as a playful ballet piece the costumes collage together deep sea fishing lures and galactic prints of earth from above.
The distance of the moon is a short story from the Cosmicomics collection. It follows Qwfwq and his friends as they journey across the seas and onto the moon to mine the moon for moon milk, and the love triangles that ensue on these journeys. Italo Calvino writes so beautifully about the characters anti gravitational movement and the way they swim through space, that I have adapted the piece as a ballet.

I was originally inspired by the idea of repurposing objects and found objects and the idea that these characters had collaged together their own costumes from recycled objects in this further/ past never time. I wanted the costumes to look like the characters had collected all these scraps and brought them together, a patchwork of collected hardware, my delicate hand drawn patterns and bold aerial photos of the earth from above adapted into prints.
For the silhouette I was inspired by a lot of 1960s sci-fi, as this was when the book was written. I think there is something to those sleek, simple Barbarella style costumes that really epitomises the sic fi look. I wanted the costumes to be tight to the body to show the dancers bodies as they moved but I also wanted to play with different shapes and cut aways. I tried to think about how what was sexy might be different in this strange future and how I could use cutouts to highlight different areas of the body.

"The real break for me in this project was the discovery of  soft lures in the fishing shop. They create such an interesting and original type of movement, that I thought would really work for ballet. I experimented a lot with different types and testing them on different places on the body to create the most interesting and diverse selection of movement for the different characters.
I found when working with the two ballet dancers, Hossam Hashim and Amalia Tzannetaki, we spent a lot of time experimenting with how the movement of the costumes could change and improve traditional ballet moves. I think this could create and really fun and interesting ballet if it was done on a full scale production." Eleanor Van Riel