Two months have elapsed since we did this exhibition now, but I thought it’d be good to write a little something about this exhibition anyway. MA work is pretty much what my year has been (and will be) focusing on, as I’ve been wading through the murky clouds that have cluttered my view for sometime. However, before I start delving into that, let’s rewind to June: Us MA Fashion Futures lot put on a work-in-progress show at Machines Room in Hackney. Because you know, it’s easier to explain the hard-to-explain in exhibition format, with a few glasses of free wine thrown into the mix.
In the old livejournal days, when times were simpler and the internet was a small excited child, one of my friends made an animated gif of a tree with our in-joke, “I lobe trees” on it. I was 13 then, and displayed it for longer than is probably wise to admit to now. But, we can say this was the beginning of my now blossoming interest in sustainability – and obviously, a fondness for trees.
Like any good soul who wants to infiltrate a field does, research is the start. When researching Thalia Warren, I found knitwear label Chinti + Parker. As a sucker for a well-made website and design that does not rely on its ethical tag for a USP, I made mental notes to check back when I had more time. And check back I did, to find a collaboration with famed design studio, Patternity.
Witnessed in 2011, at Bath Fashion Museum
Some time ago, in the frantic rush that was probably just graduate panic, I found myself stumbling through the blog on Kate Fletcher's website. An internet adventure that led me to discovering the Fashion & the Environment course – now reconfigured into the Fashion Futures course that I'll be undertaking soon enough. I mention this as a precursor to the post today, because I've recently been revisiting past work as a result of a prompt set a few months ago.
I'm a thinker, usually. I like ideas. Clever ones especially, that get me to question things I thought to be right and true. And one such idea, was presented in the collection of Thalia Warren, graduate of the 2013 MA Fashion & the Environment group.
My original plan for this post, was to publish it alongside a video of the No Boundary Between piece installed at the Loft. It was a promise I'd made to several people who weren't able to make it to Birmingham for the actual exhibition – and one I was looking forward to keeping, mostly to try video editing again.
Last week however, my hard drive decided to throw a little hissy fit and being the fool of a person I can be, I'd not backed up the data. So, a year of photos and all documentation has been lost. I somehow managed to recover almost everything prior to that, but late 2013 - 2014 is a complete blank.
In a weird way, I actually didn't mind when I thought I'd lost everything. It felt quite freeing and a good jolt to remind me it's time to make new work, take new photos, have new experiences. I'd rather not have lost the documentation of my work, but my life – pah, that is happening now, right?!
Anyway, rather than let these process shots linger in the drafts, I thought let them loose. The last vestiges of this project. You can see my smiling face above which is, I have to admit, a rarity when I actually make work. Mostly it's grimaces, contemplation and quiet swearing until about a week after the end. This of course, only reflects my part of No Boundary Between – which involved folding two sheets of paper in the tessellation pattern, sandwiching the canvas fabric between, refolding (yes, using clothes pegs to help) and pressing. Chris had a distorted scanning & glitching process which sounded fascinating when he explained it to me in March. You'll have to ask him about that though.
All in all, it was a very interesting project to complete. It got me making stuff after a year of freaking out about making stuff (okay, I'm still slightly freaking out about making stuff, but less so) and it got me into thinking that maybe, I can actually channel over-ambition to other artwork and not necessarily always concede defeat to the conventions of fashion. Perhaps it's conflated ego talking, but that was quite exciting on a creative level.
Our days at The Loft are numbered. After a six month stint at the Priory Walk space, we’ve little under two weeks left and one final exhibition to go.
It’s a bitter sweet symphony; I’ll miss my days surrounded by talented Loft friends, yet it’s also high time to put my own wheels into action. Of course, not without a detour first: clothes may not have been made in the last six months, but following the multi-disciplinary ethos of the Loft, I did partake in a little collaborative art project back in April, No Boundary Between.
Since the project transpired because of the Loft, it seems only fitting that it’s shown again at We Are The Loft Birmingham – which means some remaking, testing and refining on my part. Still, cross discipline arts practice is becoming dearer to my heart by the day, and the idea behind this project is still interesting, though I’ll explain it another day.
Anyway, since I’ll be deep in the woodlands of making over the next couple of days, I’ll leave you with a few process shots to whet your appetites. Don’t say I don’t share some insights!