Saturday, 29 December 2012

Fashion Week Group Presentations

One word to some up our group presentations - embarrassing!

the week before last we watched the presentations for Milan and New York, and last week it was our turn with London and the other group who did Paris. All of the groups had a t least 2-3 people within their group who where absent on presentation day, and some people had had trouble logging into their Pebblepad account to upload their work so they had to use a word document to support their presentation.

I think that most people find giving presentations incredibly nerve racking and embarrassing, but I think that was made worse as none of the groups had got together to practise their presentations, and it showed.

I think because we had all just met each other and our teams where selected at random, we all held back a bit, I know I did. I volunteered as a 'team leader' with Becky because nobody else wanted to do it, but I did not want to start the term bossing everyone around and telling them what to do. As the oldest student on our course, a mother, an ex-learning support assistant and a generally bossy person, I know I can be prone to playing mother duck. But I didn't want to rub anyone up the wrong way at the start of our next three years together, as I know that first impressions can stick.  I set up a Facebook group to help our group to communicate outside of uni, but nobody really used it, including myself. So as a team leader I failed miserably.

Having said that, I believe that the research that I carried out and the work that I uploaded onto Pebblepad was of a good standard. I read through several different show reports and websites for information on each designer's collection, and used this as well as my own opinion on each collection to form my webfolio page. I also picked images that illustrated some specific pieces in the collection that I wrote about, so I was able to point these out to the audience during the presentation. I also researched and uploaded the Overview page for London Fashion Week. I made notes to refer to during my presentation, rather than just reading off of the webfolio page, and made an effort to make eye contact with the audience. Owing to the feedback I received, I believe this helped to make my presentation more engaging to the audience.

I think that doing a group project together at the start of the term is a good way to get us all to interact and mix as a group, and I think that is achievable within the structure of the teaching environment. But after all the initial flurry of work and good intentions, and because we knew that it wouldn't be formally assessed, for a lot of students it got placed on the back-burner and forgotten about until d-day approached, and by then it was too late.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Photoshop workshop

I am so glad that managed to attend the Photoshop sessions with Tim, the new skills I have learnt have been invaluable. I have used Photoshop before and have a basic understanding of how it works, but the skills I had leant up until now have been 'self taught' with tutorials on the internet and general fiddling about until I get the results that I am after.

Now I can do thing that I could't do before and have got faster at things that used to take me ages beforehand. I now know the proper way to add my textile designs to illustrations and can create a pattern repeat from my scanned in samples, alter there colour and change there scale. I have also learnt how to create a displacement map (a way to make your print follow the curves and folds of a garment).

One of my samples, scanned in and turned into a repeat pattern

Using Photoshop is such a fantastic skill to learn, not only does it open up lots of possibilities for illustration and digital print design, but is almost an essential requirement for most jobs in the fashion and textiles industry. I need to continue to practise these new skills that I have learnt on a regular basis, so I don't forget them.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Art and Politics

Modern art alined itself with socialism. at the time, socialism was thought to be a higher form of capitalism where an individual could better themselves, leaving behind our animal existance and freedom. Art and socialism lived together and shared the struggle. The revolutionary avant-gardes wanted to bring art and life together, but to Trotsky (a russian marxist) that would be to lose a political weapon. Art was not just about politics but art could transform the viewer from being passive to being a producer of meaning.

'Am I not a man and a brother' 
Josiah Wedgewood Medallion
Via here

This reminded me of something my dad told me about recently. In the eighteenth century Josiah Wedgewood designed and manufactured a ceramic medallion to spread the politic message to abolish slavery and to encourage people to share their ideals with others. It depicted a shackled slave on his knees, inscribed with "Am I not a man and a brother" and on the reverse " Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them".

The medallions were very popular during the period and they actually became a real fashion statement. Ladies would have the medallion mounted into a bracelet or wore them as hat pins and pendants. The image was also printed on plates and boxes and other pieces. It seems a little unexpected that something quite so frivolous as jewellery could carry such an important political message. But Wedgewood had the foresight to use fashion to promote the cause of abolishing slavery and creating equal rights for enslaved people, in the same way as art is used to highlight political messages. (source)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Hollywood, Valentino and mulled wine

So glad I went on our college trip! We managed to squeeze in a visit to Hollywood Costume at the V&A and Valentino: Master of Couture at Somerset House, as well as a seasonal shopping trip around Covent Garden.

Hollywood Costume was absolutely heaving with people. Around each exhibit, literary shoulder to shoulder two to three people deep, which spoilt it for me quite honestly. I did try and read everything and look at everything, but I have come back and can't recall anything that I found particularly interesting or exciting.

It was the Valentino exhibition that really made the trip worth while. The techniques involved in making the dresses are amazing. After walking down the 'catwalk' where his dresses are displayed, you go down stairs and can look at samples of the different construction techniques used to create certain elements of the dresses. The workers in the atelier sew everything by hand, spending hundreds of hours on a single piece. So many hours, so many women and they never use a sewing machine, they hand sew everything. Apparently Mr Giammetti bought them a machine once and it sat in a corner, unused!

Although, as with the Hollywood costume exhibition, there was no photography permitted, there is a virtual museum you can access online, and the free booklet that supports the exhibit, has a useful glossary in the back with definitions of the relevant terms and the names of construction techniques, which is useful to keep on file for reference. 

Such an amazing exhibition, I came out of it feel in enthused and excited about fashion construction, definitely worth a visit!

This short 3-part film is an interesting insight of how the curators of the exhibition decided on how to display Valentino's work.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Photography and Painting

Yesterday we had a lecture titled 'An odd relationship: Photography, painting, the problem of originality and the life and death of mediums.' I found it quite difficult to follow, but I got some small bits of knowledge from it:

The invention of photography changed the purpose of paintings. Painters began to move away from recording in a realistic style, and became more self expressive. Then photography became not just a method of recording things, but an art form with focus on composition of the image. e.g. light and shade, shapes, conceptuality and artists style. So photography influence painters at the time, but painting also inspired the way photography was used.

Also, with the invention of photography came the problem of originality, because although an original painting can be reproduced as a print, it cannot be reproduced as an exact copy in its painted form. Whereas a photograph can be reproduced as an exact copy again and again from the original negative.