I'm sorry this took me a few days to start again, I quite abruptly was laid off the other day, so I've been on damage control duty. Some of my older work may come up for sale soon. So if you want some red ruffled tights or three-legged jeans, let me know.
So, as I left off, I was thinking about context to go along with the garments I was constructing. In this case, it was as simple as the automatic gesture of a putting a bag over the seat of a chair. The bag itself is also the start of the body of work I've been on since that point. I started with a narrative I'd been playing around with as a comic idea--of a group of people, a city, that had once been a large trading city for textiles and craftsman. What happens when those people are occupied, oppressed? When they have no new fabric for themselves, and are forbidden to use their own dyes in their garments? Would they craft things just as well, out of those bits and pieces? Would they hide their favorite colors away, in linings, in pockets, on undergarments?
This was the Kowloon Walled City. Just outside a major chinese city, it was a two-block square area that was considered 'hands-off' by the government. The people there, and those that joined them, transformed the apartment buildings to suit their own needs, subdividing and connecting, until the entire thing had grown into this organic city.
People will always alter their surroundings to fit their own needs.
An ancient fort across the river, filled with debris from their occupiers, becomes a safe haven, a sanctuary, and a new city, rebuilt for new inhabitants.
With the garments themselves, I began drawing inspiration from work-wear and uniforms-both in materiality and in form. They are garments made for specific purposes, and each part of them is generally important to the function of the garment or the attributes of the person wearing them. The materials are also important--stong, familiar materials like heavy wools, flannels, denim, leather. These materials imply both a strength, and a sort of integrity, which I think combines to make even the stranger garments believable as actual, every day wear.
Pants for Teoh the Thief. The first full garment I made in this body of work. Taught me the valuable lesson that I would only be able to make one garment at a time for assignments. Started working with military uniforms and felted knits, material's I'm still exploring. Also the first piece made for a specific person.
Every piece starts as sketches. These are not the sketches that came before the garment, I couldn't seem to dig any of those up, but rest assured, the pants were quite different. The drawings I start with are a guide more than a design. Since I'm working with found materials, these materials often dictate the design and working process, and change the end result. And then it's back to drawing what it is I actually made. It's interesting to see the chain of drawings informing garments that in turn inform new drawings.
Vest for Lirienne. These next few pieces are all for the same character. (Since I only show a piece at a time in critique, seeing them all together in a row was a bit of a surprise to my classmates, though. This piece I think was the first that hit the level of workmanship that I really needed.
The interior. Like the bag, the color is hidden from view. In a way, linings, and things to the inside of garments are more important. Something on the outside may just be decorative, but there's no real reason for decoration where no one sees it.
Leggings for Lirienne. I'm very happy with the garment, the context, not as much. It brought up loneliness and nostalgia, and all sorts of things I didn't intend. I wanted to completely re-do the chair, but did not have time. I'm still working on that now.
Sketch for Lirienne's shoes installation. Starting to sketch out the context is helping focus what I want to present.
Shoes for Lirienne. I think it's one of the best meetings of garment/context I've managed so far. The door looks less destroyed and more reconfigured, though I'm not sure that came across completely.
Some sketches drawn in various stages of making the garments. Obviously several pieces have not yet been made.
A series of sketches for Leoh's armguards. The drawings get more and more specific as they go on, ending with the one done in red and black.
And seeing the translation from paper to 3-d model. Which is where I am right now, just about.