So term two has begun and my second constellation study group is ‘the body’. It appealed to me as it explores attention to the body, examining ways in which the body is used in Art. The way the design approaches the body as well as social instructions to the body and identity. I’ve used ‘the body’ a lot in my previous foundation work as my final major project was on mental health and how it affects the body and others around. Although I was making a statement in that line of work, I’m unsure whether I will do something like that again, however it’s just something I’m interested in general.
The relation between textiles and the body:
The body is very important part of textiles in two aspects. Fashion being one of them, as it is something that covers the human body, making it socially acceptable to live everyday life and keeping the body comfortable. It seems as though fashion is influenced differently in todays world due to the media and how celebrities are depicted with their fashion statements, which is very lack of clothing in some cases. Focussing on more of the aesthetic than what clothing actually does for the body in a sensible way. Clothing can also make the body look and appear a certain way, and make the person happier about themselves if the clothing on their body makes them look good. Interiors are also related to the body as bodies are always associated with interiors on a day to day basis.
When given our brief at the start we had to upcycle denim, and we could either carry on using it for our brand or use vintage, or 100% cotton. I’ve found denim to be really useful for my final piece as I am thinking of making cushions for the seating area and whenever I think of Dewalt, these keywords come to mind:
Power, Durable, Robust, Sturdy, & Bulky.
Denim fits in perfectly as it’s durable and a robust fabric. It withstands a lot, I know this as when i wanted to use my soldering iron on some denim it wouldnt even burn or make any slight hole in the denim. I am going to sample as much as I can using the denim as well as other fabrics just to see which looks more successful and fits with the Dewalt theme.
I started to look at the history of denim, and it surprised me how much it links in with Dewalt as it’s a brand aimed for workers and construction sites. Denim had also started out simply for workers, whereas today it’s turned into a highly desirable fashion, most people you see around are wearing jeans, or people own a lot of them. However, years ago denim was used for clothes worn by the workers because of the high durability. Denim is a durable textile, so it seemed to be the most logical material to be worn when working in factories. It was worn for protection and for the farmers. Denim was seen as working clothes and wouldn’t be associated with everyday life in the 1800’s.
In the 1800s, in the time of the Gold Rush, American gold miners needed clothes that were strong, lasted longer and did not tear easily. Levi Strauss, a businessman, and Jacob Davis, a tailor, supplied miners with denim trousers that were made from durable material. This marked the beginning of the legend of jeans and brand Levi Strauss is still hugely successful today. Then it became popular in the 1930s. This was due to actors staring in the Hollywood movies when wearing denim. With the beginning of the World War 2, American soldiers started wearing them when they were on the leave. When the war ended, other companies that made denim started appearing like Wrangler and Lee. Young people started wearing denim in the 1950s which was seen as a way of rebellion. This fashion was also inspired by Hollywood with by Marlon Brando with his 1953 film “The Wild One” as well James Dean’s movie “Rebel Without a Cause” from 1955. Some public places like schools and theatres banned jeans because of what they symbolised. Denim crossed from counterculture to fashion in the 1960s and 1970s when manufacturers started to make different styles of jeans.
It’s crazy to think that Denim was thought of as a working clothing item whereas now it’s used on the catwalks for designer clothing.
Tuesdays session I created my own mood board on pinterest to gain textile ideas. We discussed with the interior designer on colour schemes. We thought to put a divide between the black and yellow that we would use greys, silver, and wood within the interior space. I am going to apply that to my textile pieces. Obviously we can’t use the brand name directly onto our final pieces, but we can use things that people may recognise it by. So I have decided to make colour schemes and samples within my sketchbooks. Also using mark making techniques. After a long, thought process discussion with my collaborative team, we had all decided on the purpose of our job role and what outcomes we would produce. It was great to share ideas together. We decided that the interior space would have wooden walls as you can use a dewalt drill to drill into the wood, and use it for construction and building. Also if the store has a scent of the natural wood then it would really make it feel like its supposed to be the dewalt brand. Also the silver and grey for metal. The black and yellow are the iconic colours which we decided to use more of the black in comparison to the yellow. At first I wasn’t completely sure if I agreed with the idea, but sourcing vintage black fabric will be a lot easier than yellow. As I would probably have to dye it and that’s not very sustainable so I decided it wasn’t for the best. My final outcome is going to be a set of cushions and a wall hanging for the interior space.
I have come across a really cool and edgy upcycling online scrap book which is featuring garments that have been changed to perceive their lives. It was once a personal project but now it’s gone international. Now it re lives as a research base for B.Earleys label. Over the years it has become an on going project that is about recycling textiles. It has a combination of eco-design approaches. The division of 100 shirts means that their are concepts and narratives that can be explored. B Early wanted to connect her ideas and theories together.
Professor Rebecca Earley, London, 2014
Qiora store & spa.
Before we were given our field groups and brand name, we had multiple presentations delivered to us by each of the tutors from the disciplines we will be collaborating with. When the interior design lecturer showed this on his power point presentation I couldn’t help be mesmerised by such calming and peaceful colours.
Qiora Cabin View
Imagery: David Joseph.
Location: New York City
The various bluey shades of organza gives the spa a tranquil feel and calming mood to the interior space. The layered veils hang delicately round the cabin spaces. The colours are carefully marked by overlapping layers of fabric to draw the eye continually further into the space. The visible light through the organza creates a natural feel to the spa.
I love this as being a textiles student, my way of thinking is that the material you use for an interior space does have a great impact on what your plan is and how you want your visitors to feel in that designated space. I think that the designer for this spa definitely had the right idea of how you would want to feel when having a massage or any beauty therapy treatment.
Looking at this interior space has influenced me to keep this in mind when working on the project. I have been given a brand I’m unsure of, so my next steps are to research further into the brand so I can get a better understanding of what materials, colours, and patterns I’m going to use.
In pairs, we had a hexagon shape piece of denim each and we had 10 minutes to do anything to the piece of fabric. I cut out a floral shape from one of my Laura Ashley samples. Then started to stitch some thread around the edge. Using the colour cream, I wanted to keep the colour neutral up against the black. We then had to swap patches with the person next to us. We had to work on each others hexagon. The second image is what Izzy had done to complete my original piece. She frayed the edges of the floral fabric and cut out to under lay a turquoise sheer fabric. The end image is a gathering in a beehive shape of everyone’s upcycled denim piece. This was a quick and easy task which I found interesting to have the thought process of another creative mind and to show diverse interests in colours and patterns.
For the upcycling project on denim I decided on making colour schemes at first and using the images I took to draw from. I used continuous line, without looking and left hand as techniques and not forgetting just quick sketches using ink. The colour schemes helped me develop a colour palette and worked well with bleaching.
I then started to tear the denim apart and manipulate each sample piece. I bleached the denim, used ink to over lay colour and also acrylic paint. The third image was inspiration from one of the previous images. (left)
I also took my inspiration from the nature and made a lino to print on denim, it was a trial to see how it would turn out and it didn’t look too bad on the denim, surprisingly. I also used a soldering iron to create the rips and burn the denim to give it a different texture and burn marks. Creating these ideas have given me inspiration for my Field project. I have really enjoyed upcycling denim and creating a new life for it. I think it’s important to use old and unused clothing for textile projects instead of throwing them out. During one of the lectures, I was totally inspired by a charity called Wrap. They transform the way textile and clothing is reused and how industries buy it.
Reading through their website was interesting to see what the other benefits are when you reduce the amount of textile waste. Looking through their website really encouraged me for this mini denim project. I believe in helping the environment so from now on I will definitely not throw any clothes out.
WRAP’s report on the clothing industry in the UK identifies £3bn worth of savings and reduction in carbon, water and waste of up to 20%.
So we have been introduced to field and we have been signed up to a brand and have our collaborative team.
My brand is ‘Dewalt’ and the product is an iron. At first I was confused as I hadn’t heard of that brand before. Then researching into it I found it to be heavy duty tools to be used around the house or used on construction sites. I wasn’t particularly pleased with this but then as I created a mind map of ideas I started to think of the possibilities to do with textiles. Me and the group also made a mood board, this helped to inspire for colour schemes and shapes within the tools.
Firstly, the thing you remember the most of the brand is the colour. Colour is very striking and shows its power as they use the contrasting colours of yellow and black. They are also hazard colours. I think using colour is a great way to show meaning. This is perfect as I believe colour to be a main point of textiles.
What are the associations with dewalt?
- Black and yellow
- Representation of self is through colour and heavy duty
- Hazard colour
- Diverse, striking colours, showing juxtaposition
- Hand held tools
When we were in our field groups we were answering questions such as ‘if the brand was a car…’, ‘a holiday’, ‘a film’.. Etc. It was interesting to see what everyone had thought and sharing the ideas. The questions had come from ‘Marc Gobe’ chapter 7 ’emotional branding’.
I just read an interesting article on upcycling and the beneficial reasons as to why more people should do it and what affects it has on the world. The reasons why we should upcycle unwanted textiles was so valid and true. It is a great way to give life to vintage fabrics that are no longer needed or wanted, and to have something unique that no one else has. It is said in the article that about 14.3 million tons of textiles were sent to the landfill in 2012 in the U.S, that is an awful lot of waste of garments that can be given a new life. That’s why I’m looking forward to sketching ideas and starting to sample for this project as I would definitely want upcycling to become a habit of mine. The simple reason is I am always changing my style, well I have changed my style in the last few years and have clothes I no longer want, so finding a purpose for them now would be great and that means I won’t be adding to the landfill each year with my unwanted clothes.