30 August 2013

Skinny Dipping

The deed is done ... studio walls have been filled, sanded and painted; floors cleaned; work hung; symposium presentation delivered ... and breathe!

Thick Skinned (detail) - found crucifix, plastic, felt, aluminium, thread
© Vanda Campbell 2013
Thick Skinned (detail) 
© Vanda Campbell 2013
Left Behind (detail) - found earring (broken), plastic, felt, thread
© Vanda Campbell 2013

23 August 2013

On the Cuff

With a week to go, I am taking the "brave / foolish / right / wrong" (delete as appropriate) decision not to show "Off the Cuff" as part of my final MA project. Samples have been made, patterns cut and recut, stitches sewn and unpicked, but nothing is close to being presentable.

The potential for reworking clothing elements to take on the role of more traditional jewellery mounts, is something that realistically needs more time than is available before an arbitrary submission deadline.  “On the Cuff” is an expression, not so familiar as “Off the Cuff”, but at this point in time is a more appropriate description of what this work has become ... a promise of delivery in the future.

Samples so far have used pattern-cutting techniques to manipulate the fabric into forms that hint at traditional jewellery mounts.  Decreasing circles of cloth are carefully measured and stitched.  Laid flat, the form acts as a frame for the hole, the negative space, in the cloth.  Lifted, the form becomes a telescopic structure that if worn, alters the familiar shape of the body, or can be used to hide a secret, in a way not dissimilar to concealing a photograph or keepsake in a locket.

When positioned over the body (for example on the chest, or on an arm), this allows me to effectively re-present the exposed flesh.  Unadorned skin could take on the role of a gemstone, and assume the values and significance of what, in monetary terms, is often the most valuable element in traditional jewellery.  By using the textile piece to frame the body in this way, the negative space would become the positive object.  The body would be reassigned as a gemstone; the fabric would be reassigned as a frame, or mount.

I know that potentially this research could produce some really exciting work, with fabric structures being displayed in a way that are almost familiar - folded on a shelf or hung on a clothes hanger - giving an indication that they might be clothing.  But there the familiarity would stop.  The forms might not be instantly obvious.  How they are to be worn is not evident.

Exciting, isn't it?!

PS  Don't worry, Thick Skinned, Left Behind and Not so Thick Skinned are all ready and presentable, so there won't be an void where Vanda should be!

2 August 2013

Off The Cuff

I have made a number of pieces (Jilted, Thick Skinnedexploring the relationship between skin and wearable object.  To balance this, it's time to investigate the fabric layer, the clothing, which usually lies between the object, specifically jewellery, and the skin (body) on which it's worn.

As an integral part of who we are and what we do clothing has assumed many roles, including the ability to contain and carry through the addition of pockets, openings and fixings. The interplay of function and form, and the constant movement of, and interaction with, the fabric is at the centre of all of this is. Often unknowingly, people 'play' with their clothing, and in the process, momentarily redefine its form: shirtsleeves are rolled up; warm knitted sleeves are pulled down to cover fingers on a cold day' scarves are twisted and knotted; hemlines are hitched.

At this point of play, I suspect that clothing takes on a new role.  If a jumper is worn casually slung across our shoulders, perhaps with the cuffs carefully knotted on our chests, is it, at this point, a jumper, or has it become a necklace?
Found photograph
"Actress Deborah Kerr Wearing A Straw Hat, 
a Sweater Tied Around Her Shoulders"
Off The Cuff Studio work - found vintage dress, stitch, paper
© Vanda Campbell 2013
Off The Cuff Studio - found objects, paper, stitch
© Vanda Campbell 2013