RESEARCH: Whats the point

Axel Vervoordt: Interior design

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Yuji Ueda: Ceramics

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In Japanese ceramics the literal reality of an object as form, texture, and material is always important but these exist with an abstract or traditional spiritual meaning; the work points beyond itself to a set of aesthetics and values that illuminate it. The viewer immediately sees the beauty of the objects but the concepts and meanings they deal with are like icebergs; mostly submerged beneath the surface. The attitudes and values that produced the work are not so easy to see. I was already familiar with the Japanese principal of Wabi-sabi, however i had never considered it in the context of Japanese ceramics - as opposed to designers such as Yamamoto. 

In the same way that pieces such as this piece inspires curiosity in the sense that it's meaning is not immediatly obvious, i want the viewer of my piece to question aspects such as what makes the skirt more masculine than feminine / would it be worn by both genders / is it even idenifiably male?  

Marc Swanson

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Inspired by the statues of roman togas, i thought about ways of reflecting such a concept with fabric. I thought it might be interesting to experiment with plaster, for the pleats on the right side. As with the manipulation of silk, I wanted to explore the idea of transforming the fluid properties of the fabric into something more structural. 

Cracked mud

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Pigment dyeing

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Men in skirts: Punk

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Massai warrior

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Frieze art fair

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This work reminded me of one of my textile samples from Bianca Saunders project, yet the variation in fabric, and therefore texture makes this piece far more exciting. 

Frieze art fair

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Cai Guo-Qiang

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'White tone', 2016

Created using gunpowder, recalling the rock art that adorns cave walls

Prada Mode exhibiton

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Breathtaking video instillation of aerials over the desert

Saline #2

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Harry Morgan 'Untitled'

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'Untitled' from Dichotomy series

Interesting fusion of materials, combining glass with concrete.

Text

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Female Samurai

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Hakama study

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Bravehearts: Men in skirts 2003

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Throughout the history of Western dress, women have borrowed elements of men's clothing. And yet the reverse has rarely been the case. Nowhere is this asymmetry more apparent than in the taboo surrounding men in skirts. Bravehearts: Men in Skirts, an exhibition opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on November 4, looks at designers and individuals who have appropriated the skirt as a means of injecting novelty into male fashion, as a means of transgressing moral and social codes, and as a means of redefining ideal masculinities.

The exhibition will explore how skirts have exposed the male leg to display male prowess throughout history. Skirts worn in ancient Greece and Rome projected the ideals of youth and virility, a form of hyper-masculinity that is also projected by the Scottish kilt.

A comprehensive survey of skirted garments worn in Asia, Africa, and Oceania will reveal that there is no natural link between an item of clothing and masculinity and femininity, but instead an arbitrary set of culturally specific associations.

 

West African Bogolan

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The body paint markings on the members of the suri tribe made me consider other contexts within African culture where similar patterns are present - such as Bogolan. Bogolan is dyed using traditional methods using fermented mud. This made me consider more interesting ways of dyeing fabric. 

Slave to the rhythm

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Tribal Mud houses

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Matteo Gampaglia

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Tim Walker exhibition: V&A

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Natural dyes

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'Men in skirts' - exhibition book

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 Notes taken from reading:

  • Until the 14th century, men and women tended to both wear skirted garments - gender was ideniotifed by other means (eg colour / length)
  • Since the Great masculine renunciation of the late 18th / early 19th century, men have followed a restricted dress code. 
  • Since 1960's, men have enjoyed more satorial freedom, but not to the same extent as women.
  • Book looks at designers that have appropriated the skirt as a way of injecting novelty into mens fashion as well as transgressing moral and social codes - redefining ideal masculinities. 
  • 'Skirt' = any garment that is not divided down the middle.
  • Studies of men wearing skirts in different cultures reveals they are not inherently maculine or feminine. 
  • 'Skirts are more suited to the male anatomy and liberate men from conventional male stereotypes.
  • Gaultier's trousers 1985 gave the illusion of a skirt - which sparked an explosion of commentary
  • For many men, the feminine connotations of a skirt are too potent to overcome the fear that by wearing a skirt, their gender idenity might be brought into question.
  • Egyptian skirt / greek tunic / roman toga / english gowns (middle ages) ///// Sarong / caftan / kurta / qamis / kimono
  • the roman toga was so crucial in defining a mans status, many contemporary designers often reference it
  • A wrap looks best on a man that has a strong sense of identity - a man should wear a wrap, not the other way around. - interesting for when considering a photoshoot

 

Ali Sahba: Brutalism

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DECONSTRUCTED TROUSER STUDY

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N. Dash

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Frieze Art fair, N.Dash

Minhee Kim: Textiles

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This work displays traditional Korean funeral attire, worn by the deceased before the body goes into a grave. There is a myth that lives are extended if children prepare parents’ funeral clothes while the parents are alive. Inspired by this idea, Minhee constructed this piece with monofilament which looks like old women's hair, as a prayer for longevity of the 28 Korean survivors alive at the time of construction.

Gormley exhibition: First hand

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Shibori dye technique

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Bengala Dye

Bengala dye is an ancient Japanese technique that uses minerals extracted from the earth, and does not require any mordants or fixing. Hopefully, with the pigments i ordered, i will be able to replicate such an effect.

Natural pigment dye

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This process uses no heating, mordents or chemicals, while still enabling you to dye any type of fabric. Only a few natural ingredients, which can be resourced from the local environment, are used.

Ane’s interest in this topic started during a recent trip to Japan, where she discovered types of natural dyes called Bengala dyes.

Natural dyes have to be set with mordant.

Cave Drawings

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Seeing Gormely's drawings made me think of ancient caver drawings. As with the Suri tribe, pigments are extracted from the earth to create paints. Conceptually, I found it interesting how these are some of the earliest traces of art on earth.

Suri Tribe: Auntie

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Body paint is created from white clay and coloured ochre.

They use  natural matrial  obtained from local environment , which is believed to further enhance the relationship between the Tribes and their natural environment and create a soulful connection. ochre which is found in the local Omo River. Ochre comes in variety of colours like; Yellow, Red, Purple, Brown, Sienna, Umber. Another material that is utilized in body painting expression is yellow sulfur, white kaolin, white limestone and grey ash, common minerals found in local low lying area.

Suri Tribe

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If anything at all, Men in the Suri tribe wear sarongs. In the same way that the cave drawings were possibly the earliest forms of art, i found it interesting seeing clothing in it's most minimal and practical form. Sarongs / skirts allow the men of these tribes more freedom of movement - which made me question what exactly made western culture remove them from traditional menswear.

Suri Tribe: Auntie

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Interview with Auntie: Suri Tribe

Transcript of an interview with my auntie about her time with the Suri tribe:

"The Suri tribe paint their faces with coloured ochre and white clay and start painting their bodies/ faces from young age (no mirrors) and  will often  paint each other's faces with identical designs to show their closeness. When they are old enough they will go to great lengths to decorate themselves and  creating the flower and seed headdresses and even cowrie shells and old bits of metal they find to attract the opposite sex at ceremonial gatherings and therefore is an important skill to practise. And I think the actual painted markings / designs are based around which actual village family they come from - can’t be sure this is 100% accurate. Will research myself  if there is any significance to the actual designs themselves they paint and let you know and which colours of the clothes the women and men wear - I know much of what the women wear in terms of  clothes etc is related to if they are married or not and which tribe they are from.!
The Suri tribe practice scarification  - decorative distinctive scars on the face and body and view this practice as a sign of beauty and strength, which is usually carried out using a razor blade and then adding plant resin to the wound. For Suri men with a scar it means he has killed a member of a rival tribe.

Piercing and lip plates made of clay are a strong part of the Suri culture. At the point of puberty most women have their bottom teeth removed in order to get their lower lip pierced. Once the lip is pierced, it is then stretched and a lip plate is then placed in the hole of the piercing. Having a lip plate is a sign of beauty; a common academic thought is that the bigger the plate, the more cattle the woman is worth for her bride price. It is still unknown why and how lip plates came to be used. One theory says lips plates were used to discourage slave owners from taking the women who had them. In recent years, some young women are refusing to have their lips pierced."

Suri Tribe dance studies

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V&A Samurai skirts

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The first hand visualisation of Samurai skirts helped me understand the volume that the layering of each skirts contributes to the garment. I wanted to use layering such as this in my garment.

Samurai Edo period

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Silhouette studies of Samurai hakama skirts from the edo period. I was interested by the resemblance to trousers, which made me consider ways of combining elements of both. I also found the pleating interesting - especially as the 7 pleats hold significance. Although they appear balanced, the arrangement of the front pleats (three to the right, two to the left) is asymmetrical, and as such is an example of assymetry in Japanese aesthetics.