This month in the lead up to the Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand’s annual symposium, I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to come and work in Whitecliffe’s DEMO, a temporary project and exhibition space. It has been great so far.
I’m preparing for a relational and performance project over the weekend of the Unbound: Liberating Women Symposium at Otago Polytechnic. I’ll be collecting material, in the form of signatures and comments from delegates at the symposium dinner on Saturday the 22nd of September. The signatures or marks will be made on pieces of a garment, prepared and marked, the following day I’ll sew the garment together in a project workspace.
My material of choice is calico, and I’m working in ballpoint pen, I like the texture and neutral colour palette of this fabric. I’m washing and drying it, so minimal handling, and I’m keeping the pattern marks, placing them on the outside of the garment/sculpture rather than concealing evidence of construction.
The final object may look something like this…
I have created this coat, based on a 1940s pattern, I wanted to chose a style and structure that was sculptural and may not be easily placed in a ‘time’. This first object is a starting point for the final design. I also think that the 1940s were a really interesting period for women here, and should this object convey that era, it would be ok, and open up other conversations.
At DEMO I worked through the process of making from scratch (I had drawn the components of the pattern on the fabric in advance). I needed to work through the process, can I complete this in a day? Yes. Are there any elements of the construction that I need to sharpen up on? Yes! Are there design elements that I can edit? Yes.
From this part of the process, I know that I want to extend the sculptural properties of this coat, and I’ll be redrafting the pattern to add length and fullness, I’m adding two metres to the current length. This, I suspect will change the coat, making it less ‘coat-like’ more performance garment – should I wear it – hopefully it will not inhabit a ‘costumey’ space, but, I’m hoping will play upon a sense of uncanniness or surrealism. The additional length will also impact on the amount of sewing I’ll be doing, and already I feel like this project will be about endurance !
More next week…