Outcomes of ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’

When told we had to write an essay for our formative assessment I was feeling nervous, but as the weeks went on and the available sessions on essay writing I felt more comfortable as I was gaining plenty of interesting ideas. ‘Smells like teen spirit’ has been a great way for me to gain more knowledge of subcultures, especially ones I’ve paid an interest to in previous years. I loved the hidden meanings of each subculture too. It has also taught me about how everything comes back into fashion, and trends are always relevant and re-occurring and that to gain great ideas it’s okay to borrow to gain your own inspiration. It’s definitely going to help me in the future with my own work.

  • Although things change, they are re-invented in the future and present
  • Colour and materials are key
  • It’s okay to break the rules
  • Influences don’t have to come from a particular place
  • Think of the history and function of fabrics
  • Ripping of materials can portray certain things
  • Questioning traditional values
  • Meanings can change.


Presentation Of My Final Pieces

These past few weeks have allowed me to experiment with old and new techniques. I have really enjoyed working with the dissolvable fabric as it was something new for me. It was challenging, and I couldn’t get my head around it at first, this is because every stitch has to join! I have also learnt that your design has a different impact on various materials. I liked re-visiting batik and transfer print technique as I thoroughly enjoyed those in my Foundation year. Shibori was new for me as well, and I was fascinated with the two shibori pieces. I used the clamping technique which makes the result of your sample random. I loved the applique technique, this was new to me and I was pleased with my result.

I have chose these 12 samples to exhibit for my final presentation as I found they were the best and  stood out to me the most. The top three worked really well and I thought of the likely possibility of using them as a collection. During the peer feedback I received lovely comments from my group. They particularly loved my jellyfish, which at first was just a transfer print. (image) Shown on the left hand side, I wasn’t pleased with it as I found it dull, however, I’m glad I kept it as I then went into the stitch workshop and was overwhelmed when looking at the hand embroidery. I added French knots on the top left to create movement and the decorative stitch going down for tentacles. Having them intertwining and going various ways also creates that movement of the sea and how they react when under water and floating.

Having done that with the jellyfish, it made me think how you can always improve your samples when adding particular things to make them stand out just that little extra bit.

You can see the left was where I started with the transfer, using the cranberry colour. I’m glad I kept this sample and didn’t chuck it away when I wasn’t happy with it as it just shows the massive improvement.



‘Acceptable in the 80’s’

Postmodernism and Post subcultural style.

In this lecture we were summarising the developments from the 90’s onwards, looking at Osgerby’s extract from 2004. We came to the realisation that in the 21st century it’s where the most borrowing takes place. Although subcultures are always borrowing, in the 21st century there is a mash up ‘super market of style’ of ideas that come from all subcultures.

In the 20th century subcultures had started on the streets, however the 21st century, goth, for example, was identified by the media industries and influenced by television, magazines and online. You can now go into Topshop and buy a whole subculture look. A quote from Steven Connor saying that ‘authentic ”originality” and commercial ”exploitation” are hard to distinguish’ (Connor,1989:185).

I personally think their aren’t any subcultures in todays world, you hardly ever see ‘punk’ or ‘goth’, even when you do there are small amounts or just one or two in a big group. I have asked a lot of my family and friends and they thought the same! That’s my experience living in Cardiff, it mat be different in other parts of the world.  People don’t stay in a certain look anymore, known as “neo-tribes” instead of subcultures. There isn’t a coherent look, taking from each style to create an individual look.

What can we learn from post modern concepts that can inform our practise?

  • Previous sessions – there are still ‘goths’ ‘punks’ etc – just less of them and more ‘supermarket of style’
  • There is no right or wrong answer as to what materials  you use
  • A mash up can inform my practise as I’ve always been interested in using materials that don’t particularly go together – my foundation year helped me realise that as my final piece was evident of post modern.

Material Matters  ADZ4777

The theme ‘material matters’ has allowed me to explore new and various techniques. I thoroughly enjoyed print and made a lot of designs that related to the mark making sessions. I loved transfer printing as I was enthusiastic about the colours and identified certain colour schemes that worked well throughout print and stitch. I kept my designs simplistic for stitch, especially when using the embroidery threads which appealed to me the most. I found stitch was a lot more time consuming than print, however I still enjoyed the process. The sessions on Monday enabled me to learn and revisit old techniques. Learning the various way to draw was new for me so I found it challenging, however I enjoyed using the various brushes to make marks and patterns. I’ve learnt this term that some of the most simplistic work can be really beautiful.

Colour schemes.

Following from the blue collage session I started to come to terms with the fact I absolutely love working with colour palettes and schemes. Above are some of my images where I kept to the same colour just in various gradations and saturation. I love the pale and pastel colours as well as the bright and vibrant. The first image, was painted on bubble wrap and then printed on top of calico, the acrylic is thick and has created a nice texture on the calico. I used turquoise and some navy blues over layering each other. The second image is two of my bubble wrap pieces, where the first I used bleach as a resist to see how much it would affect the remaining colour blue. It made it slightly more green compared to the one on the right. The last image was blues and purple. I used water colour, a flat brush and went in circular motions, whilst it was still wet I poured bleach on top of it and it soaked the colour up. I thought all of these colours and mark making went so well together that if I was to do them again, I could re-create these ideas and put them on fabric to use as a collection. I enjoy working with all of the techniques I’ve tried above as it makes the marks more interesting.

“Bring something in that’s blue…”

Scarlett decided to choose a plant from the studio, and as a group we then chose to look closely at the leaf to gain pattern from it, using various mark making techniques. Aisha wanted us to bring anything in that was blue. I really enjoyed this as blue is definitely a calming colour, and when carrying out the task it was genuinely calming.

The interesting thing about having a certain colour to work with is that there are so many gradations of colour. The blues range between light and dark and also indigos and turquoise. We used wet media and dry. Sticking on fabrics and ribbon, also inks and acrylic paint. We added tones and textures together, it was interesting to have a part of everyone’s interest and style and I found it enjoyable taking part as a group.

We then photocopied our work, I decided to get two A4 sheets to then collage on top in my own individual style. I used the flat brush to create thick strokes, and blowing ink on the page to make it ‘bleed’ and look like a vein in the leaf.

Punk Subculture

Punk is a very interesting subculture, I take an interest in the punks as they used ‘DIY design’ a lot, I find this links in with my own practise, especially with textiles as you can spend a lot of time upcycling materials and changing it’s original function. It had originated in the 70’s, and they explicitly challenge style establishment. The design rules were set for them to be followed, but not the punks, their design concept was to most definitely not fit in.

During this lecture we looked at Jamie Reeds design of the Sex Pistols album cover, ‘God Save The Queen’. It was interesting to analyse this image and describe it. We came up with the idea that the eyes and mouth and been erased, replaced with newspaper article style, like a ripped magazine and ransom notes. This automatically links to vandalisation, crime, and going against the queen. Covering her eyes means she is unable to be identified. Maybe that’s what the punks wanted? They were rebels and went against rules and the monarchy. The song was actually banned from the radio, as it was a play on the English national anthem, it was seen to have created new meaning and going against cultural traditions and national identity. The Queen was clearly being visually trashed and violence was shown against her image. The use of ‘bricolage’ (gathering different materials, putting a combination belonged elsewhere together creating a new meaning) and ‘resignification’ is present.

Characteristics of punk style – according to Hebdiges article.

  • chains
  • pins
  • cheap fabrics
  • trash aesthetic
  • cut outs of materials pinned on – safety pins
  • leopard prints
  • toilet chain necklace – changing functions & meaning of jewellery in style
  • tampons as earrings
  • colours that don’t go
  • jet black or hay yellow hair
  • fishnets ‘bondage’ belt strap chains

Vivienne Westwood
Mother of Punk

It is said that Vivienne Westwood was the creator of punk. Her formative style of work established the subcultural fashion and youth movement. Punk was a youthful reaction towards the older generation and through Westwoods work and McLaren, her paterner, their work captured the energy of the movement.

Vivienne Westwood designs.

Concepts, approaches, theories that I’ve learnt from this lecture:

  • Bricolage
  • In revolt
  • Homology
  • Breaking rules
  • Putting elements together
  • Conspicuous consumption

What are we learning about subcultures? What does this caste study have in common with previous?

Every case study has used Bricolage in different ways. Identity is shown in various ways, not just fashion, but visually, orally and behaviour expression. Visually shocking during the period at which they emerge. A sense of breaking rules as always. Exaggeration within the fashion and with their behaviour.

What can be applied in my own practise?

  • Everything can be signified
  • Choice of materials/medium you like has a meaning
  • Put it with something it shouldn’t go with
  • Exaggerate work
  • Address traditions of materials
  • Things have been selected, they aren’t just there
  • Explain creative decisions

Throughout my own career with art, I haven’t really noticed that I’ve used resignification within my own work, I’ve put things together that don’t usually go. For example, in my A-levels, I made a tutu out of material and laminate piece of paper to turn it into a dress. I also made a lino print and printed it onto organza fabric. I didn’t think this would’ve worked but it did.