When I first began thinking about a theme to research, I instinctively started to look at the idea of extending and distorting the body as this is something which extremely interests me especially as a type of performance piece. I therefore began to research and looked into the way our bodies have changed and the ways our limbs have extended over the years according to Darwin's theory of evolution. Because of this research, I then decided to focus more into the idea of evolution and adaptation of the body and it's functionality.
So today we Focused on receiving feedback in order to develop our research. We were put into groups of 6 and one by one went through our project proposal and our research we had found. I found this very helpful as when describing my project proposal which consisted of talking about how we as humans adapt to surroundings and how I had been looking at Lucy and batts extension pieces for research, they gave me a lot of advice on what other artists/subjects linking to extension which I could look at. The other half of the day I therefore spent researching. I looked at Rebecca Horn and the arm extensions and finger gloves she created. I thought this linked highly as by extended the limbs this allows the wearer to be able to reach further, therefore adapting the body.
Today we started off by looking at each others project proposals and gaining feedback about how they think we have completed each section. Most of my feedback consisted of comments which I already knew I had to improve on. For example, I had to finish my action plan, in order to ensure I am organized and get my work done on time. I also need to add a range of photographs onto my front page not just using two different artists but 4, and I also need to add to my bibliography. All of these things I will do soon as I have the materials, I just have not added them on yet. I need to ensure this is done by my progress tutorial as that will be my deadline.
In the afternoon we had a small workshop on drawing fashion body forms. I found this really helpful as sometimes I struggle to draw the body with the right proportions therefore this is very useful as it taught me where certain body parts should be drawn and the correct scale of drawing. I am going to make sure I go home and keep practicing this, as once I am used to it, it will allow me to successfully draw pieces onto the body quickly. Once we had experimented drawing the forms of different sizes we then went on to use tracing paper in order to draw potential designs onto the body. This worked great when thinking about idea development as by experimenting with placement and also scale (using different sized tracing paper) it made me fully aware of what scale I wanted my piece to be. From this workshop I realized that the scale of my piece would have to cover a dramatic section on the body which is very noticeable and therefore big. It needs to be placed on a section which the body interlocks and moves, in order to show functionality of my piece. Over the weekend I plan to carry on experimenting drawing different structures on to the body, using the drawing techniques i had learnt today and the tracing paper.
In the afternoon we had a narrative workshop with Chris Roberts. From looking into detail about Who, What, Why, Where and When, I was able to ensure my final piece will have a narrative to it and enough depth when thinking about the piece contextually.
Who - My piece will be from the designer to the user/audience. This is because I will design the piece
What - Value - laden narrative
Where - The narrative would be external to the object, as I think by showing a final photograph/video of it being worn, this will show how the piece is worn in actions and its effects on the body.
When - The narrative to the piece will be shown through the users experience. This is because the piece, by changing the body formation of the wearer will therefore physically show the challenges our bodies are facing through evolution.
Why - Conveying info?
'We're dealing with the scars of human evolution' - Alan Mann (anthropologist)
I began looking into fashion based research in order to receive more inspiration for my final design. I looked into Alexander McQueen's Plato's Atlantis and I loved the idea of the hybridization aesthetic of human and an animal, showing how the body has adapted. I also liked the almost non-realistic, fantastical aesthetic of the pieces as they are very eye catching, and I would like my piece to be remembered at the end of year show. This has inspired me to make sure next week when we are in the workshops, to experiment with different surfaces which are dramatic, yet still relate to the extension of the body.
We all spent this day making 3D models which therefore brought our ideas physically to life. This obviously helped a lot as it made me think more about constructing the piece and how it will be done. I was ill the day before therefore I wasn't able to create a 2D version however I was able to create some design ideas by looking at previous research composition and also previous initial designs. My favourite design was the piece that fell down the back of the wearer. I thought that as this piece was a full body piece, it would work best when looking into the per formative perspective as it would move on the body and restrict the way the use would walk especially if it was made out of metal. When making it, to add detail and texture I used inspiration from the Alexander McQueen 'jellyfish dress' by adding almost like a scaled texture, as I thought this was really interesting aesthetically as it very much drew attention to the pieces.
Today, by completing extra research on the composition of the spine, I decided to create a spherical piece in order to experiment with scale. By using the vacuum heat machine in the plastic workshop I was able to create two domes in which I had to attach to each other to create a sphere. I realised when I had completed this that even though I had used the thicker plastic sheet, it would not be heavy enough as I wanted in order to morph the body form backwards. Because of this I have decided that I will work with metal, as this will make the piece more aesthetically pleasing yet will mainly support the concept of metaphorically showing evolution shaping/challenging our bodies and the way we move physically. I plan to get into the metal workshop in order to produce the metal spheres to hang off the back, however mainly I want to experiment with the surface texture and how I will create almost a scale aesthetic.
Today I stuck the two domes together in order to see what the outcome would be of a spherical shape. Once it was finished as shown below, I realised it was a lot weaker than I had wanted, and that clearly made me discard the idea of using that type pf plastic as it would not be strong enough to carry the other spheres and also weigh down the person as the material was too light. Because of this I have decided that I will experiment with metal instead as this will be heavier and durable in order to fit in with my concept of morphing the body shape.
I then began to think about the neck piece - what it would be made out of and how it would be attached. I visited a charity shops to see if I could find any leather belts, as leather is an actual skin therefore it would be mimicking the body. I cold only find dominant coloured belts and not nude colours therefore this did not help as I wanted a skin aesthetic. I started to think then what else could I use, and i began to look into the idea of using liquid latex. From seeing outcomes of other peoples work using latex, this really inspired me as it looked like skin, however was also flexible yet strong in order to place around the neck. I thought it would also be easy to put in a rivet and attach a chain to the latex in which the spherical shapes can be hung off of. Over the weekend I will experiment with the latex and see if it is the material best for my concept.
Today we had a workshop which really motivated me when thinking about materials, colour and texture. From exchanging design ideas and receiving feedback from a partner talking about what material/colour/texture they think I should use, I got a lot of useful information. For example, my partner also thought that the neck piece should reflect the skin aesthetic, mentioning leather and also latex as a possible material. This is something I have decided to experiment with and will do over the weekend. When talking about texture of the metal spheres down the back, my partner showed me some samples of copper which had prints indented into them. I absolutely loved the way the imprints looked, especially the leaf, as it portrayed an exact skin aesthetic due to the skeleton imprints. My only question is whether the imprints would be ruined when creating the spherical shapes, therefore next week I will experiment and see the outcomes from going into the metal workshop.
Today I also reflected on my action plan, making sure I was following the schedule. I need to ensure that once I have experimented with the materials to see what will work best, that I begin creating my final piece next week to fully make sure I will have it made on time.
Today I decided it would be good for me if I had a tutorial with Karla, in order to discuss technical options when beginning to make my final piece this week/over Easter. It was very helpful as she gave me a few ideas into how to attach the domes together down the body - we both thought it would be best to use a type of stretchy material instead of a chain as it will support movement of the piece. I therefore found some latex tubes you can buy on line which i would attach with copper spirals.
Today consisted of giving our partners feedback in order to progress in our projects. We gave our partners our project proposal and they drew something in which they thought the final outcome would look like. I thought this was extremely useful as I wanted to focus more into communicating with the audience therefore it was interesting to see what my audience/partner thought. Her outcome was in fact a body piece which restricted movement from the arms to the legs. She clearly got most of the inspiration from my Lucy and Bart performance research which I was glad as this is my main focus, to create something with alters the form of the body. Now in order for me to communicate to the audience more about the concept, I will add more information in the sketchbook about the spine and its concepts behind the piece and its body placement.
During the most of this Easter week I spent experimenting with the liquid latex as it took a long time to build up the layers. I'm glad I spent so long experimenting with it as it allowed me to see different textures which could be created by applying the liquid differently. For example, when brushing the latex on and layering it up like this, it created a texture which had many different irregular marks and dents. I really liked this as I thought it reflected the skin aesthetic the most and would look really effective wrapped around the neck. I also realised as this was so textured, the copper which would neaten the ends off would have to be non embossed in order to create not so much of a clash of textures.
Today I discussed my piece with my tutor and all the technical joins. He gave me some advice on changing the form to my initial idea, just down to the back, as I would not want it to end up looking like a tail and the whole focus should be just about the spine. This definitely seemed like a better idea to me as for one, it would take less time to create if it just hung down to the back, which would be an advantage to me meaning I can focus on all the smaller details, and two, in the photos, having it just hanging off the back will create more movement in the photos creating interesting compositions.
In the afternoon we did a reflective review workshop. Each table focused on one area each of the following:
- Time management, tutorial advice, technical advice
I wrote on our sheet that I am following my schedule, focusing on my action plan and what I planned to have completed by this day. However, I thought I could have completed more work over easter to ensure I wasn't so stressed towards the end, but I couldn't do this so easily because of my outside jobs getting in the way.
I also explained to my group how useful the tutorial and technical advice has been throughout the course, as if I did not ask how to do certain things of example, create a different surface texture, I would not have been shown how to carry out specific new techniques to me, such as embossing, creating domes, soldering which will help me in the future as well as now and what I am applying to my work.
Today I went into Archway in order to polish the domes so I can carry on with drilling the holes and then attaching the pieces together. I used the pendant drill for the insides of the domes, however because of the embossed pattern, the polish did stop and go into some of the edges therefore I will have to further polish the domes manually using Brasso. Now I have done this, this has allowed me to prepare for another day in the workshop tomorrow in which I will make the copper edges to fit around the edge of the neck and the latex to neaten it off, and mainly I need to measure my models back in order to accurately ensure proper placement, as this is key for my piece as it is all about the composition of the spine.
So today I went back to the reflective workshop sheet and decided to note down a few things and reflect on myself through unit 7. I though by doing this it would help me when writing my final evaluation and also allow me to pin point specific things to work on until the final deadline.
Ideation - Sometimes I do find it difficult to get my ideas on to paper, possibly because I don't feel completely comfortable drawing the body. This is something I will keep practicing, and workshops have helped me improve. Due to this, I feel like my best ideas have come from using model making to inspire new design ideas, as I can play around with scale and form.
Making – I personally think out of every aspect of my unit 7 project, my making process was the most successful. I am happy with how independently I worked, with the help of tutors and technicians, giving me advice on how to create certain attachments, shapes, and textures. I feel I have really developed my skills in this area, and my ‘perfectionist’ nature has really helped when creating all of the smaller details.
Tutorial advice, technical, group workshops and time scheduling – I feel that throughout my unit 7 project, tutorial ad technical advice has advantaged me greatly as it has allowed me to broaden my knowledge and also skills, which will be extremely useful for the future as I am completing a Jewellery Design degree. I have learnt how to emboss metal to create a surface texture which I need in order to reflect a skin texture. I have also learnt how to create specific accurate shapes with the metal for example domes. This has all been done because the tutors have shown us ideas to explore in workshops and also given their own opinion on how to make certain things.
As the photoshoot is tomorrow, today I finished off a few little bits on my piece to ensure it was ready for the shoot. I made sure I had clothing put together for the model to wear. I bought some flesh shorts, and a nude bandeau for the model to wear as I want the focus to be on the piece, yet I also want to make sure our natural human bodies are reflected, yet not in a materialistic way. I also bought some nude tights which I thought I could possibly layer up and experiment with tomorrow which was inspired by Lucy and Bart's evolution project, using tights to link to the texture and colour of the skin. The tights are also very tight fitting which I like as they show the exact form of the human body which is my focus.
Today was the photoshoot. i was in the first slot, and went second which I think was a good idea as it gave me more time due to other people not being there. I had some difficulty when choosing what my model should wear, but I knew I wanted it very earthy, fleshy looking, relating most to the skin, without having her nude. I bought a pair of nike shorts and also a nude bandeau and tights, however when it came to styling her, I decided that it would look a lot better if the tights were almost disguised as a top instead of using the bandeau as i think it stood out too much. I was really happy with the look from the photos, as similar to Lucy and Bart, my research, they had a very neutral tone yet the piece was very noticeable. I showed my model Kaia a few photographs i had found before in order to get across what type of positions I wanted her to make. The most successful where the ones where she was almost crunched forward and her back bent, relating to the physical challenge title as I think it expressed an uncomfortable feeling, which should be shown as the project is about how our bodies have changed and negatively affected our bodies physically. I was overall really happy with the outcome of the photoshoot and how the styling worked successfully with the piece as this is what I was most worried about.
Now I have completed the shoot, I will ensure I have finished off my banner text and evaluation tonight, and begin on my sheets tomorrow so i can get everything completed on time for the deadline on Wednesday.
My initial project proposal focused on the physical challenges humans go through and the alterations of our bodies caused by adaptation. Throughout my project I stuck with this idea, yet had altered a few things along the way, for example, not just looking at our bodies, but extension on the body causing restriction - inspired primarily by Lucy and Bart and their performance pieces.
Looking over my project, I think that the most successful aspect would be the making. I feel that due to the fact I spent a lot of my time experimenting with different textures, attachments and shapes, this allowed me to progress in my making skills and explore new techniques such as embossing. In comparison, I think the least successful aspect of my work would be my initial ideas. I did find it quite difficult when firstly having to combine inspiration from the research into ideas, however I immediately got stuck into model making and this is what helped me the most when thinking of new ideas as I was able to play around with the form and scale.
When evaluating myself personally as a worker, reflecting on what I did well, and not so well, I would definitely say that my strength in this project was my time management, especially with the production of my piece. By making sure I stuck to my action plan, I allowed myself to have plenty of time to create my final outcome, and also time to experiment with different techniques - making sure the most suitable was chosen. When thinking about weaknesses however, I definitely think my drawing held me back within sketchbook/idea development work as I am not completely confident with drawing the body due to not having much experience. From realising this and also having a workshop on how to draw a fashion model, it helped me a lot as it allowed me to practice more and carry on as it will be fundamental for my jewellery degree next year.
If I were to have more time to take my idea/concept further, I would definitely go into more depth within the performance aspect of the project. I could improve it by experimenting using heavier materials in order to intentionally deform the models posture showing the effect of how our bodies may be negatively changing through media. I feel like by doing this, it would possibly allow the concept to be recognised easier and communicated to the audience.
I think overall I successfully achieved what I set out to achieve in my proposal as I created a jewellery piece extending from the body inspired by the realistic historical developments of human’s yet also using inspiration from nonrealistic modern day artists. By merging the two historical and art and design aspects together, I think I came up with a successful concept which can reach out to the audience through visualisation and a high quality final outcome.