Continuation of work.
Having in mind a slight shift of direction from focusing on air pollution to focus on craft I rewrote the project brief which is uploaded on document page. I want to focus on the idea of using craftsmanship as a mean of long term reduction of air pollution. Seek sustainable solutions in new approach to the production of fashion.
I asked my tutor for feedback about this idea and the project brief. I was told that it is good and that I shouldn't worry about it too much because it's just a draft and the idea may be changed.
My tutor advised me to look closer at the deconstruction and reconstruction methods, machinery and scrap pieces of machines and develop shapes from my primary research images to work with. I was also advised to look for museums with machines that I could visit over the weekend.
Thinking about the idea of machinery and humans I got intrigued by the tension between humans and machines and the fact that craftsmanship would not be able to function without them and the other way round. Having machines people started to appreciate craftsmanship. At the same time - machines were built by people. They are both beneficial to methods of production (they allow for a bigger precision for example) and detrimental (traditional approaches to craft die out, air is polluted). This creates this tension and energy between both that results in a suspense. I find it really intriguing and poetic at the same time. Perhaps that would be next step of development, to try to recreate this suspence in my design process. Something like balancing on the line between hand work and machinery.
I researched yesterday and today more about the craftsmanship as a way of development of sustainable fashion. I found the brand "Bonotto" that creates unique textiles in a craft based process. Here are some quotations from the book "Fashion Oddysey" where this process of creation is described:
“Therefore he [Giovanni Bonotto] resolved to invest in quality, considered not just as specific features of the fabric itself, but as a totally new cultural approach. He invented the concept of “slow factory”, with which he pointed out the idea of giving a cultural dignity to the fabric, or what he calls a “soul”.“
“He collected pre-war mechanical looms (the ones other companies discarded because they were inefficient and slow), restored them and started producing a type of fabric nobody is now able to replicate. A particular kind of fabric with defects. Only experts and highly skilled artisians are operating these machines”
from: "Fashion Oddysey"
This made me think of what my tutor told me earlier – defects, the element off a fabric or garment that cannot be made by an industrial machine almost at all, but can be by human hands. This gives the uniqueness to the piece. This idea of making things look old was what I was suggested to think of before as well. I really like this idea, because this also creates the suspence between human and a machine – old, useless pieces need to be fixed or replaced by new. The point is that they won’t be. There this tension appears, almost like a protest, but not rejecting machines completely. This also makes me think about using parts of old machines as a way of making samples or drawings.
I am thinking about the aspect of deconstruction of a machine that my tutor and my classmante suggested me in terms of simply breaking it. To get to the very center of a machine. I need to find an old piece I could destroy. Fernand Legers painting resemble in shapes a deconstructed machine - perhaps I could use the experiment of destroying a machine to get shapes for the body, like he did for his paintings - this will work with the idea of exploring tension of human and machine, just like Fernand Leger did. I could try incorporating elements of machine details into the designs too, but not be too descriptive.
This brand and it’s philosophy are by far one of the most important elements of my research, because it links together m thinking of craft and machinery.
“We want to paint the air with our hands”
Giovanni Bonotto uses this description as a way of representation of his aims to create magical and unique textiles. In context of my project it also fits to the idea of making a garment in a way that is not polluting the air. It is truly poetic and makes me think of stitching in the air, fringes that move around the body, holes that open the garment for air or giving this soft and delicate texture to my samples. I think this could be felt or tuile or soft kind of yarn.
I was experimenting with some knitted samples as well. I wanted to move from the partially paper samples to something more accurate, as the time flies very quickly and I need to start actual work. If anything is wrong I can edit it later on, but I need to begin at least. I was using knitting machine for the first time ever and I enjoyed it very much. I did two samples that I consider ready and some more to finish with nalbinding or lucet.
While making I had some ideas and observations:
- Sprang can be only intervowen into the sample when it’s knitted in from the side that was casted off before. In case it’s the other one it’s unravelling. (One sample got destroyed because of that, so I am going to rework it with weaving or some other techniques).
- It is much easier to work with knitting machine, so I will use it for my project from purely technical reasons – to do one garment only with very time consuming techniques may be slightly too time consuming. I need to keep balance between both. Also, knitting machine gives a nice and quick skelethon for more experimentation.
- I had the idea of fringes. It gives a very nice and soft effect, almost like painting the air around the garment. I could include it in some next experiments.
- I do not consider these samples as real samples in any way, it is more of practice with knitting machine and colour experiments.
While discussing my work with my tutor I was told to look at some details of machinery as well, so this is what I did. All of that is on research page. I think that these images are inspiring for shapes more than textrus but it is good, because that is what I need now. I have a lot of textural references. I will try collaging them as garment ideas in my sketchbook.
List of tasks to complete by Monday:
- Garment research – we were told to look at some sustainable designers or historical garments or examples of workwear. I have some historical references already (medieval times and armours), so I want to focus on finding some designers.
- Charity garments – we have to bring some charity clothes. I want to bring some knitwear. I remember our tutor showing us how to rework old knits on a knitting machine. That is what I am thinking of now.
- Drawing materials, needles, scissors, glue and pins
- A3 cartridge paper
- 3-2 pictures on A3 from our research that we think represent the research best
Evaluation of this stage of the project:
What went well?
I learned how to use knitting machine and I know how to manipulate thread on it, I experimented with sprang and found a way to include it into a sample. Knitting machine is really effective so I can use it further in the project too.
What did not go well?
I still have no particular colour choices. I want too keep it still open and experiment, but it should be more precised. I defined few colours that I like most from my color schemes so far: light blue, red, dark green, brown, orange and light purple. Silver and kobalt blue are treated as a contrast now. But it is too much. Before the workshops on Monday I want to choose a colour scheme, at least first version.
How can I move from now?
Get some old, scrap metal and experiment with it. Find a machine or a device which is no longer needed. Finish samples from today – finish the brown sample and the small blue one, fix the sample that got broken. Do some more collages with the images from today’s visit in the library. Think of the shilouette. Don’t forget to make it symmetrical, not like the last time during lace project. Do the tasks for Monday.
The yarn shop I want to visit is very close to Archway, so I will go there next week and buy yarns I am sure I will need – I must know the colours before so there is no point going now.
© Julia Labis, all rights reserved