Sunday 30 March 2014

April 2014!

Well, today was my first time to myself in around 3 weeks, and luckily, it was one of those really loooooong days! I feel like I've lived a whole weekend today, which has been great. After a sleep in, it was off to the markets where sadly, no treasures were found, except this nice sparkly headband!
It was great to be back in the studio, where I started some of the adjustments on my WoW pieces, as well as the labelling, and I'm starting to think about the dressing instructions! (almost a dissertation in itself!) I looked at one of my pieces, which even I struggled to put on correctly at the photo shoot, but I think with the press-studs and labels I am applying to orient it, it shouldn't be too hard to get it on the right way! Although I know there are quick-change requirements for our pieces, I feel as though you can't take everything into consideration. I'm making a one-off art-work, which evolves underneath my hands, and it's hard enough trying to make it multi-fit, let alone quick-change friendly. I often use lacing as it is multi-fit friendly, but I know it is time consuming for dressers. What's a gal to do?! Lacing doesn't feature in my work this year, but I know that my pieces are time consuming to assemble!!
For the first time in my six years of entering, I am making changes after the photoshoot! Nothing major, just a little extra volume to make this epic piece go up another level, to hopefully a stage-owning presence!
Half scale
Full scale

As well as these bits and pieces, I was working on my TAFE Studio garment pieces as well. This week I found out that whilst 1/2 scale toiling has its uses, it can also be an incredibly hard step to go from half to full scale pattern pieces. I really struggled to translate the information, and was amazed at how awry some measurements went! It has been slow progress this week, but I feel that the learning process has been well worth it. In the end, there were technical adjustments combined with intuitive guesswork - I got there in the end! Final full scale toile coming up!
Tech drawing of my Studio project
Although I have missed some Technical Drawing and Photoshop classes in the last week (due to my office replacement leaving and me having to go in to work - pooh!!) I have also managed to keep up with that work. Technical Drawing is almost a meditative experience as you ink the lines over your pencil tracing - it's so easy to wobble and go astray, but if you tell yourself that you are going to be fabulous and breathe deeply, you reach a stage where you can do it! Sometimes....!! It's been an interesting experience formalising a very organic design into a technical drawing - but it can be done!!
I'm also rather proud of my recent efforts in Photoshop to remove this image of one of my Hakaturi pieces from the photo background - a complex image to deal with! I've now done two of the three pieces, using different techniques as I explore this programme. Yikes, my eyes, my hand - this is not comfortable work!! I hope to make a composite image of the three pieces modelled by Callum (in the front garden) into one.
Life continues on in its' crazy path, but I seem to be coping with what it is bringing me. Could I maybe request a little more downtime? Oh that's right, if I get it, I fill it........

Sunday 16 March 2014

WOW shoot 2014 DONE!

WoW (ha hah!!)! It has been a huge weekend. The week finished on Friday with a mega day of patternmaking, when I finally learnt to grade! This is a little like what my homework looks like! Brain-hurty stuff for an organic, draping kind of gal!!!
Chefs Callum and Jezabel
I quite often get to go home early on a Friday - but oh no, not this one! No, not when I had to finish my garments for my photoshoot the next day! Still sewing at 1pm Saturday afternoon, I finally stopped before packing the last piece into the kombi - it all seemed too neat and easy - what had I forgotten? - ready to head off to the industrial wastelands of Salisbury with my fantastic handler, Jenelle, AKA Bunneh. We were lucky enough to be able to park right on our deserted site and unload the many components of the 2 garment shoot - nothing forgotten! We were well ahead of time, which was fortunate, as I found a few alterations that needed doing - so pleased I packed my hammer and rivets!!
Here is what the studio workbench looked like on departure!

Our fantabulous photographer Chantal arrived, and then both our stomachs went into hyperdrive as our wonderful model Jess arrived. Oh no - this was really happening!! We soon got over that though, and got straight into it. As you know, I can't show you the results of this for many months, so..... All I can say is thank you to my fabulous team of ladies for an amazing afternoon - love your work!!
We headed home, exhausted, but  needing to recharge in time for our celebratory pizza night, which was greatly assisted by Mr Haynes' pizza dough skills - thanks Jeremy! A great night in the courtyard was had, resulting in many full bellies!!
We enjoyed something of a sleep-in, before I sadly had to go to work in the office - I know, but at least it was quiet on a Sunday! I returned home to get ready to head off to Gallery 159 for the opening of Kay Faulkner's weaving exhibition.
Kay Faulkner, giving us the stories behind her creations
The embellishment plan....
 So, it's back to the last few weeks of TAFE for this term, where we are working on our design for our 'Studio' project. 1. I love that I have a subject called 'Studio'. 2. It's SO fantastic that we get to design, present in fashion sketches, pattern-make, dye, and embellish our creation. Squeeeeee! I have made a toile for my design in half scale - feeling blessed to have made it in silk taffeta scraps from Wendy Makin - can't find the calico!
I have chosen some designs that will challenge me - that's why I'm here!

It has to be said that the 1/2 scale designs are very cute - here I am ironing my mini-toile with my mini iron!!
That's all for now - hope you all had a great weekend, and stay tuned for more news!

Sunday 9 March 2014

Women Afoot

Kym Frame
This weekend got off to a great start on Friday night, when I attended the opening of Kym Frames latest exhibition, Women Afoot at Graydon Gallery, New Farm.
It was certainly a popular event, with the crowds barely able to move through the space, ceding way only to those bearing the absolutely delicious nibbles and drinkies! (You know by the weight when you pick up a finger sandwich how good it will be, and these did not disappoint!)
It was a beautiful exhibition, featuring Kyms' beautiful paper casts of feet, as well as photos documenting the process.

Janet de Boer
As castees ourselves, it was extra meaningful to myself, my sister and my mother to see them, and to hear and see the quotes of all the women involved. I was delighted to catch up with Janet de Boer, who opened the exhibition in great style, of course, wearing her fantastic Pendragon shoes. Congratulations Kym, on a beautiful exhibition and the fundraising for  the Second Chance Programme that it supported.

Saturday was spent entirely in the studio, working on one of the WoW pieces. Great headway was made, much damage to fingers sustained - hit with hammers, pinched in rivets, stretched around layers of leather trying to hold rivets in place, and spray painted. Hence taking it easy today and wearing my wrist brace! I felt comfortable slowing down, even with only one week to go before the photoshoot, due to Saturdays success. I'm quite excited now, and can't wait until I see the results. This year I have let both creations just grow and grow, and I am not looking forward to the next phase - figuring out how to pack them!! Hmmmmmmm......

Wednesday 5 March 2014

WoW 2014 photoshoot looms!!

With my photo shoot for this years WoW garments only  10 days away, I am pretty focused on completing these gals at the moment! The last week or so has been interesting as the many components I have been making over the last few months come together to form the whole image. It is a time of interaction with the pieces – often I have no idea what step is next until I look at them and they tell me what they need.  In a way it is the most enjoyable, as it is a form of communication – I feel like I’m not making something on my own but conspiring with it to bring it to where it wants to be. Look, I know that might sound a bit nutty, but for a control freak, I feel like I hand a lot of my control over to the pieces themselves at this stage. I have to listen to them, and frankly, I enjoy that.  It’s almost a time of recklessness, where things just have to be done so I just do them!! And look, it must be working, because even my mother thought they were looking good when she cast her eyes over them today!! Whooooooo!!!

As well as the WoW work, I have been greatly enjoying my TAFE studies, which this term includes a subject called Studio, where our brief is to design, pattern-make, and embellish a garment.  This continues on from our design subject last term, where we had to draw inspiration from an artist, (in my case, Georgia O’Keefe) collect other inspirational images, and come up with a design based on these components.  Apart from natural imagery, I have found myself very attracted to the beautiful sculptural works of Iris Van Herpen and Yiqing Yin, as my visual diary shows.

This term I have had to explore at least 6 versions of a design, all of which I have based on a form of bomaki shibori embellishment of which I have had samples pinned on a mannequin for at least 6 months, just waiting to be utilised . 
The fact that we have to use calico for this is not too distressing for me, as at least it will have the body to hold the pleats! I will be able to dye it – I am thinking dip-dyed slate grey tones to fit with my Cloudlines theme – and I will brush metallic paint or foil on the pleated fabric whilst it is still on the pipe from shibori shaping. I hope to also include beading as a second form of embellishment, using large-scale beads covered in organza to contrast the pleated shapes.  
Playing with calico bomaki shibori tubes cut in half and stitched along the middle to create an edge 

I'm liking that action around the bottom!
The patternmaking for this is a great challenge – this is what I’m at TAFE for!! It was easy for me to begin with the embellishment side of things – that’s what I do – but the structure underneath is all important. With this in mind, I am trying to make it as much of a challenge as I can, with my two final designs featuring a keyhole back, low cut back, and tapered and supported bell-shaped skirt.
The long version which I would like to do....

The bell skirt version
The keyhole back
All of these features present some interesting challenges.  I had no idea how to modify the block to do this, but with some expert help from my teacher Helen Spencer, I have some patterns ready to toile. I don’t even want to think about the lining yet!

This weeks draping excercise
Draping is also a component of our patternmaking class, and I just love it! As a very visual person, I find it immensely helpful in understanding the principles of patternmaking. Not to mention just enjoying the beauty of this technique.
Sadly, I won't be able to show you pics of the coming shoot until September, but I know you are all used to that now! Hopefully though, I will be able to show you progress shots of my Studio progress over the coming weeks.