Reflection day 61:
I was really nervous about spending the day today to work on my final A2 sheets for this project and I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to highlight the key elements of my research. In the end I focused my portfolio sheets on the pages in my sketchbook where I felt there was a clear link between the page, my research, and my final piece. It was interesting because in a way I sae it as my sketchbook edited, like I was taking out all the elements that my 4D buddy and tutors had shown concern about and was just keeping in the strong pieced that read well and tell a story. I do think I need to fo back and add some more mark making directly onto the page because at the moment it is simply pasted down samples and development photos. I am reluctant to take pieces directly from my sketchbook as I feel it will only further confuse my sketchbook. However there is definitely a need for something to bring the pages together so that they emphasis the development and process more and don’t come across as a large scale scrapbook.
Reflection day 60:
I was really stuck with where I should do my photo shoot for my final piece given how drastically my concept and final garment had changed as I developed the project. I thought if worse came to worse I could always photograph it straight on in front of a brick wall or in an alley. I really wanted to do it where there would be a large mirror as the photographs would show the garments from all sides, nothing would be hidden or masked over, an interesting way I felt of taking my initial research and concept up to the end. I was able to photograph in an empty dance studio and it was real interesting to use the mirror and also the empty space. I photographed the final piece with socks, flat ballet shoes, and pointe shoes. I took photos doing ballet as well as completely neutral photos. However in the end my favourites were the neutral photos with just the pink socks on because it felt more raw and vulnerable, and especially with the mirror, the photos emphasised that there was nothing to cover up to mask-over.
Reflection day 59:
I constructed and finalised my final piece today after a very long struggle with how to utilise the rope. Earlier in my development process I was researching different knots that I could use on the body and came across a knot called the leaf knot. Although this knot has nothing to do with what I associated it to, it really made me think visually of photos I’d see of female circumcision, the way the rope looks like its holding two things together. I used macrame techniques to combined the pink cloth and satin ribbon. However the rope did not bend easily enough for me to use it in the macrame as well and so instead I tied the leaf knot and tried a number of ways of draping it on the body. In the end I didn’t like how all the knitting samples were in the front and the macrame and knotting, the parts I actually thought had become more interesting were in the back. I decided to turn the poncho around and I noticed how the rope lined of almost perfectly with the breasts and the piece with all the elements really started to make sense and come together in my mind.
Reflection day 58:
I continued making the samples for my final piece today and I realised how many samples I am going to have to do if I plan on making a full shawl. After a full day of knitting samples I barely have enough to cover the full front and I have scheduled in tomorrow to be dedicated to simply contracting the garment which I wont have time for if I still need a full day of sample making to covet the back. I might compromise and instead of using the rope, ribbon, and fabric to attach the samples, knot them all together and use it to cover the back separately.
Reflection day 57:
Today I went material shopping for my final piece for hopefully for the last time. This time, instead of looking at fabric, I looked at yarn and primarily the colours that I felt communicated my ideas and development throughout the project. I also looked at the texture of the yarn to see how it could compliment the texture of the rope. I pulled together some main colours that were inspired by my research, for example light pink and dark greys and purples. However I am also using some colours which are not pulled directly from my research but that I feel will accent the piece nicely and make the main development colours really stand out. I started to construct the samples that I will be using for the bulk of the final piece and am having a lot of fun with it. I have decided not to use the lace or the pink satin in my revised final outcome as I not longer feel it is relevant as well as one if the tutors told me that the reason my samples are coming out so much stronger than my final outcome did is because the samples show more of my personality and my own style incorporated anatomy research while the final garment was looking more like I took some material that was vaguely related to my project and placed it on the body with no real proof of development. I did stick with the rope as well as the pink satin ribbon and the pink distressed cloth as I feel like they all contribute nicely to how I envision my final piece to turn out, especially if I cut up the pink cloth and resew it together to create my own rope in incorporate in with the yarn, ribbon, and rope.
Reflection day 54:
Today I talked to my 4D buddy for the last time before coming back from Easter Break and she gave me some feed back that I will need to utilise in order to make my work more coherent.
-Has too much stuff about venetian masks but not putting it in development and samples
-Relates on a page to page basis but doesn’t flow through sketchbook
-“Foot fetish?” (comment to an over use of ballerinas feet and pointe shoes)
-Look into book on ballet russes about how the male can finally be seen as an erotic figure because its being put on stage on display for the first times (boys on stage in tights with everything on display) ties into nudity and the appropriation of the body.
-Too many photos that aren’t understood
From what I understood from talking to her today is I really need to make everything relevant and I need to stop putting things in my sketchbook for the sake of filling pages. Everything needs to have a clear reason for being there and if I am unable to prove that it was essential for my development and explain my thinking, it shouldn’t be in the sketchbook as it just gets confusing. She also said that I should either take the masks out of my sketchbook for good or start using them in my sample development. It was on purpose that I kept the masks in my sketchbook as I felt they helped communicate the idea of “achieving perfection” as well as being “two-faced.” However I do see where she’s coming from and realise now that I should have used another method to communicate this idea.
Reflection day 53:
I talked with my 4D buddy again today and not her about how I was planning on progressing my research onto the body. She gave me some useful tips. However she also worried me that my project might be working primarily with sexuality rather than the body more than I had hoped.
-Should have moved away from ballet/pointe shoes and moved more towards body distortion while developing research
-Doesn’t understand why I’m exploring shapes and putting so much effort into shapes when I’m not using and developing them
-“Its a penis?” (comment to rope around neck of original final piece)
-Confused about genitalia
-Through whole thing she’s sees a clear theme but not enough of a colour scheme
-Too much collage not enough development
-Looking at a lot of things but not relating one thing to the other/takes a lot of effort to put put it together and completely understand connections
-Likes how the research images go together in mood but its not clear how their connected to express concept, should annotate
After talking to her it made me realise that I definitely have some half finished ideas that need to be wrapped up in the sketchbook which makes it confusing to talk about my theme and what I intend to do for my final outcome. Hopefully once I verify my colour scheme and start the construction process t will become more clear and I will be able to communicate what I am thinking into my sketchbook with greater ease.
Reflection day 52:
Today while I was experimenting with my final piece and how it can potentially drape and work on the body without the tutu the material ripped own the side. At first when this happened I was extremely frustrated that my garment had ripped. However, I quickly realised that my garment ripping was one of the best things that could have happened for my development. I decided to cut up the garment and make individual samples that I will then attach together using the rope and the ribbon and create a shawl. The final garment will changed quite drastically from what it is now. However I would have never been able to come up with it if the original piece hadn’t ripped which made it very useful for the development of the piece I’m working on now. By attaching the samples together I will also be further exploring the idea of manipulating the form and disfiguring that already exists. By tying it together with rope snd ribbon I will also be showing the restriction associated with the tied knots as well as showing how things are manipulated and help together to achieve something that onset naturally there. I am excited to start constructing my final piece now as I feel I have much more direction in what I want to do and I am also going to ditch the black tulle tutu for good as I feel it was very forced and didn’t actually represent the development of my research anymore as I got deeper into the project.
Reflection day 51:
Today I started constructing my final piece and realise I’m still very unsure of how I want it to work on the body. I ended up using the black tulle tutu underneath my final garment after all in a desperate attempt to get some shape and direction of where I wanted it to go. However I became very frustrated with how my garment was working out and am really not sure where to go with it at this point as I feel it does not accurately show my development. At the movement my final piece is feeling very generic and “pretty” which is not the look I was hoping to achieve with it and is making me feel very frustrated. I also realised that the lace and satin that I was trying to incorporate looked very much like a table top when draped over the tutu. I also need to figure out an effective way to use the rope as at this point it feels like the only thing slightly holding my project theme together along with the satin ribbon.
Reflection day 50:
I talked again today with my 4D buddy who gave me some very useful comments and advice.
-She doesn’t see how the rope relates to ballet
-Annotate to explain thinking and samples
-Justify materials used
-Likes how I’m exploring shape with different materials
-Likes the connection between the ballet dancer and the animal
-Don’t add pointe shoes, make it more about the body
-Like the suffocation and being trapped inside the body
-Really interesting samples
-Doesn’t understand porcelain besides the fact that it breaks but so does a lot of things
-Likes moving on from the yarn to the satin ribbons because didn’t understand how yarn related
The main thing that stood out to me from her comments was how she really emphasised how I need to justify the material that I use and how it will make the project stronger as a whole if I’m able to give clear reason as to why I chose to use the materials that I did. She also commented saying that she likes some of the research samples I have showing suffocating which made me even more inclined to primarily use the rope constricting the body. However I am also worried that if I use the rope to emphasise suffocation in my garment it could look like a noose tied around the neck and give my final outcome a very different feel. She also liked what I did with the ribbon as appose to working with rope and yarn as she feels the ribbon can be easily justified and contributed to ballet. However, I do think I am going to continue with the rope and yarn around the body and see the potential that comes from it.
Reflection day 47:
I talked with my 4D buddy again today and she gave me some really useful advice on how I can work with my sketchbook to make it more clear and coherent.
-Likes how I stitched ballet silhouette photos together however doesn't see the connection or development
-Need to develop shapes and not just colour and texture
-Thought that gauze with red ink represented a used tampon…
-Research isn’t going anywhere or developing any further
-Exploring mental side of ballet as well as the physical can become unclear so make sure to differentiate the two clearly
-Pink felted vagina looks like an eye which immediately made her think there was a double meaning
-Need to look at shape and relate it to the body
-Doesn’t see connection between collage and sample
-Likes thread sample and the way they hold their pattern while still being very loose and flowing
The two comments that really stood out for me in this was how she thought that the red ink strained gauze represented a used tampon as well a show sh thought the pink felted vagina had a second meaning involving an eye. These comments were really useful because they really made me start to think about how my sketchbook can be perceived so differently by someone who isn’t on the same train of thought as I am when I’m working in my sketchbook and how I need to make what I’m thinking very clear for when I’m not there to explain it, either through annotation, or just by making sure the pages flow together in a logical way that where it is clear what my aim is.
Reflection day 46:
I took the macrame ribbon pieced that I had used to drape over the black tulle tutu and manipulated them into sample of their own. I copied the colours and patterns from some body painting research imaged that I had and painted the same sort of design onto the knotted ribbon. After this dried I deconstructed the macrame and knitted the long painted ribbon into a sample. I found this interesting because of how I took an object that was previous put together a certain way with a distinct pattern and colours and took it apart and reassembled it in a different way so that the colours are still shown but how it was meant to look originally is no longer there. This is a good example using samples of how something that was once a certain format and construction could be disfigured and manipulated to show such a considerable change without actually changing the material, only how its presented. I do think that this was a successful experiment. However, if I was to do it again I would not use the colours and patterns from one individual search image but instead use my own colour scheme and patterns as a response to the research I have done as a whole as I think some of the colours I used did seem quite random when separated from the 1 singe research image it was based on and held up next to the majority of the rest of my research and development in the sketchbook.
Reflection day 45:
Today I talked a little bit with my 4D buddy and got some advice on what she thinks of the work Ive done in. My sketchbook so far.
-Likes how I juxtapose what is normally thought of as very beautiful and looking at the ugly side instead
-Doesn’t understand how the masks relate to my work
-The masks are the opposite of “ugly” and so don’t work with the ugly side of ballet
-Like the connection between red blood and ballet pink because pink is a variant of red
-Likes the dismantling of the baby doll but doesn’t see the connection between the baby doll and ballet
-Noticed restrictions of ballet
I found it really helpful to talk with her and get her opinion of what I’m doing in my sketchbook. I 100% agreed with her that the masks no longer fit to my project brief and need to be take. Out of the development as my project had swayed to far from performance and theatre. I also donut it interesting how then looking at the dismantled baby dolls she immediately commented on why there was a baby in my work. The fact that I have used baby doll parts was something that I was worried people would get the wrong idea about and think I was looking at the babies instead of just focusing on the dismantled limbs and it was really interesting to hear from her that the fact that it was a baby doll really stood put and made me think I should have used a barbie doll instead of a baby doll. The 3rd thing I found really interesting when talk to her was how she actual liked and commented on how I had incorporated red and blood into the otherwise very pretty ballet pink. Although the use of red and blood is not something I see I will be developing further, it was interesting to hear that it was an area that had the potential to develop and expand, possibly onto the body or in samples.
Reflection day 44:
Today I did some further experiments on the body to seriously start think about how I want to combine my materials together on the body. My first thought was I could make a very large macrame using the satin ribbon and wrap it around the body over top of a tutu. I think this idea would have been quite successful if I had really started to distress the ballet pink of the ribbon and contrasted it to the black tutu that I had put underneath. However, I was not able to macrame the ribbon wide enough so that it would go all the way around the skirt and even the small section of the tutu that had been able to macrame over was looking its shape because of the weight of the ribbon. I think if I had taken the time to experiment more with how the ribbon sits on the tutu I could have come up with some interesting ways of incorporating the black tutu I was using into the final piece. In the end I think using the tutu in the final piece is either something that could work or not work, but I feel at this point it is almost too risky to add black tulle to the long list of materials I am already using.
Reflection day 43:
Today I tried experimenting with draping and tying the rope on the body. It was useful to see how it looks when draped on the body by itself and to see how the rope naturally falls. However, I feel like if I was to use rope as the base for my final garment I would have to learn some intricate knotting techniques own the body and I’m not sure if it would be 100% worth it if its going to be primarily covered in other materials and the detail wouldn’t show through. I was also thinking of weaving the rope into the lace, only this didn’t have the effect I was hoping for as the rope did not flow nearly as smoothly as the lace. The stiffness of the rope did however make me think of how it firmly held the other materials in place where I had added the rope. This made me think of how I could use this technique to build the material onto the body with shape instead of simply a mess of satin and lace draped onto the body with no form or shape. Knowing how rope is able to hold its shape with the fabric also made me think of the boning used in corset and well fitted dresses to make the garment hold its shape while complimenting the models form. With this in mind I am considering changing my development and looking more at corsets as it is another thing used to achieve the ideal figure and control the way the body is manipulated to fit the ‘perfect form.”
Reflection day 40:
I went fabric shopping today in order to start planning for my final piece. The day was in some ways successful and in other ways not so successful as I am still unsure of exactly how I plan on incorporating the materials together on the body and how to utilise how the body moves. I ended up buying a light pink satin, a light pink cloth that looks like it could be easily worn down and distressed if necessary, a white lace with a pattern that will show the rope on the underneath, pink velvet ribbon, and pink satin ribbon. I also have rope. However, while looking at the rope I couldn’t help but feel it could be more interesting if instead of using the rope to create shapes around the body with the fabric, it could be very interesting to tie the rope directly onto the body as a kind of restraint. However, this would involve very intricate knot work and I’m not sure how well it would come across if I then use satin, lace, and ribbon to drape over top of the rope bound body.
Reflection day 39:
Today I tried to in capture movement in my sketchbook using very loose and free mark making inspired by the body dancing. I then took these responses and highlighted the keys shapes that I felt stood out with rope. After doing this I instantly realised that, because of the very coarse material and texture of rope, it is not a material that naturally flows with movement very easily. This made me start to think about using a mixture of ballet pink satin and a lace fabric where I could place the rope underneath with it still being seen. By placing the rope underneath the lace and incorporating it with the satin I think it could be a good balance between the clean and pretty aspects from ballet as well as the distortion and control over the body with the rope. I feel like this also could be successful in how I use the lace and satin to cover the rope, the same way a costume covers over the harsh realities of dance and performance. With this in mind I so need to start think about how it is going to be displayed on the body. I was considering using a tutu in order ti give the garment more structure. However I feel like it could easily become very cliche, as well as very restricting in how I work and use all elements of the body.
Reflection day 38:
Today I spent the day in the library which I felt was helpful in bring my research and attention back to ballet. Although my brief has changed quite substantially as far as what my final aims are and what I hope to communicate in my final piece, I am still really drawn to ballet and the expectation to achieve perfection and 100% control over the body in dance. I looked at a lot of book of different ballet companies as well as some on anatomy and different paintings and sculptures of the body and face. I got the most inspiration looking at paintings done by Pablo Picasso of the female body and how it is shown in an abstract and distorted way. I realised that looking at the same types if photos with the same skinny anorexic girl couldn’t give me much original inspiration. However, looking at how Picasso, along with other artist paint the body in these abstract sort of ways made me even more inspired to look at limb distortion. I also became increasingly interested in the circus and in particular acrobatic performances. I had previously been looking at circus animals and the harmful training that they endure to achieve a certain look. However I am now looking at the body of an acrobat/contortionist to study how they manipulate their bodies to achieve abstract and unique shapes, as well as to raise into question, at what point does the human body become so distorted and manipulated, it no longer qualifies as human.
Reflection day 37:
Today in class we had s stitch workshop which I found incredibly interesting. We took basic circular and “C” shapes in fabric and by sewing them simply together on the seem line and placing the result on the body, it created incredibly interesting 3D drapes on the body. I found this particularly interesting because of how simple the initial shapes were and how they were simply manipulated together and placed on the body to create something new and unique. This made me think about how the body can be manipulated, just like a simple circle doesn’t always have to appear as a circle when manipulated slightly, the body can be manipulated in very interesting ways to create unique patterns and shapes. This inspired me to buy and disassemble a baby doll to manipulate the pieces and come up with new ways of seeing the body. I was also thinking I could incorporate the doll pieces into my samples or final garment. However thinking it through I realised I do risk it coming across like a child massacre or childhood sexual assault which I fear would derail concept of control and push my focus right back into blood and other gruesome elements.
Reflection day 36:
I’m finding it hard to get away from looking at things that remind me of blood and bleeding when looking at the tole ballet and training has on the body. My aim is not to look at the actual gruesome elements of ballet but instead to look at the physical and mental damage it does to the body as a whole. My initial inspiration of this was looking at pink satin pointe shoes and thinking about the pain and blood that the audience doesn’t see underneath the fabric and my brain is having a hard time getting away from that idea and looking more at the control over the body that humans seek. I am going to continue to go with my immediate instincts when relating my research images to the work I do in the sketchbook. However I am going to be very aware of the research images I select and make sure that they emphasis the manipulated body instead of the injured body in order to focus my sketchbook more on shape and less on theatrical effects.
Reflection day 33:
I was working with water soluble fabric today to create interesting knots out of threat with the sewing machine. I did my first one with red thread and my first thought was that it looked like blood when draped a certain way. I did this again using other colours of thread to try and relate it to my project. However I do not plan on making blood and gore a highlighted element in my work. I thought about using the water soluble fabric to make my own “fabric” from sewn thread and making my final piece primarily that combined with rope. However I quickly decided against that as I feel it will be hard to highlight shape in my garment as well as it could easily come across as vey messy and falling apart which I feel is not the direction I am hoping to go in when looking at control and distortion. I also feel it could end up looking quite dark and gory which would quickly cancel out my initial theme of ballet and turn it into a costume worn in a horror movie by someone whose dying and has just been shot.
Reflection day 32:
I started looking at the need to control the body. I do not think I am going to continue developing this idea much but I started looking to the reproductive system and how, with anti-abortion laws in the US, the control a female has over her own body is heavily controlled by men. Although I do not plan on continuing the theme of reproduction and female rights, I did find it very interesting to look at the practice of having the fallopian tubes tied. Despite this being a medical procedure which can be required for medical purposes, I found it interesting to look at it as a way of taking control over ones own body. This, combined with my research into female circumcision made me start to look at different knots and ties. I feel like rope is also a symbol of control with made me start to think about using primarily rope in my final piece and stepping away from the worn down fabric concept. I feel like this be better in capture strength and control in my design development. I also came across this knot called the leaf knot which reminded me of the ties used in the research images I saw of the vagina and female circumcision.
Reflection day 31:
During the progress tutorial on Monday I was advised to look more at the animalistic qualities that are brought out in the distortion of the body and further compare a trained, abused animal to a harshly trained dancer or a brutally mutated body. I was also told to step away from the venetian masks and possibly look at animal masks in different cultures. I am reluctant to further develop the idea of masks because, although it does play with the idea of looking for perfection and covering up what is “ugly,” I also feel like my project could much better develop if I wasn’t so tied to masks and the face. I may start looking at body paint, the history behind it and the stories that can be told using the body, booth through paint and dance. However I also feel like there is already a lot to explore when in looking at the distortion and mutation of the “ideal female.”
Reflection day 30:
After spending the majority of the day in the library I was able to make a step by step plan for how I could proceed with my own project brief and how to combine my thoughts and research together, focusing primarily on the distortion of the body. I do feel more confident with the Harrods project at this point. However, I feel the reason for this is because of how clean my Harrods project research looks on paper and how doing my own brief will mean taking more risks. I think at the end the uncertainly and experimentation of my own brief will further inspire me and I am choosing to continue with my independent project brief.
Reflection day 29:
Today I had my progress tutorial with the tutor today where we discussed the development for both the unit 7 and Harrods live project. At this point in the project I am feeling better about the Harrods project as I feel like I cant see more direction and a clear path forward to where it could go. This being said, I’m not sure that means I should continue with Harrods moving forward because I am afraid the project will become too linear and planned out without being inspired to take developmental risks that could change the projects outcome. I also feel that, although the Harrods project had a clearer path forward, it does not really inspire me on a personal level and I am afraid I may find myself getting stuck when designing my final garment. I feel like I definitely need to plan and do more research for my own brief and try to make more sense of it before I make my decision.
Reflection day 26:
Today I did some very quick mark-making in my sketchbook while observing a few of my research images. I feel I need to make my responses more abstract and less “messy” as thats all how my immediate responses often seem to appear. I also feel I need to work on putting my own drawing directly into some of my collages and some collage directly into some of my mark-making so that they appear to be more developmental and less separate in how I show my research. I also want to look at getting some multi-coloured feathers to further look at male birds. However, I am concerned with how I will work with feathers while still achieving clean, straight military-like lines. I’m also finding the hats worn my military officers very interesting as a sort of featured items and noticed a theme with birds having brightly coloured feathers that stick up from their head. I think the military hats as well as the brightly coloured bird feathers are very important when it comes to appearance because it often one of the first and key things that are seen by someone passing by and often gives a strong, more official tone to the person and makes them seem more proper, uniformed, and authoritative, even if only as a way to draw attention.
Reflection day 25:
Today I looked more at military and pride animals for example horses and eagles. However still incorporating in the blue and yellow initial colour scheme. I think I will focus mainly on male birds as they are one of the more obvious examples of using a flashy appearance to attract a mate. As far as military pride is concerned, I want to fact more on the formations and ways of presenting themselves to the world. I might start to look at geometrical shapes as suggested by a tutor to emphasis the uniform lines and straight and precise ways of moving. I want to avoid looking at the actual pride individual countries feel and more focus on military pride as a more general concept. When researching military pride, I got a lot of result featuring the countries flag or national colours, even when simply researching eagles I got a lot of images related to the USA which made me realiser that how I wish to focus this project and my research on “looking the part” in and less on the military of individual countries.
Reflection day 24:
Today I further worked in my sketchbook for the Harrods live project and started looking in greater depth at The Swiss Guards that guard the Vatican City and are trusted by the Pope. I started looking at these specific guards because of the formal attire that they wear when on duty. The Swiss Guards were selected to guard the Vatican because of the level of bravery that they exhibited when the Vatican and Pope were under attack, and so they became the only soldiers trusted to guard the area. However, by looking at them, one would not think that they were considered the bravest or most loyal, as their uniforms feature large yellow and blue stripes going down the body with large baggy trousers and sleeves, as well as a large red feathered hat, my representing a court jester than a soldier in my opinion. However, looking at these soldiers did make me think more about “looking the part” and also the bright colours male birds feathers are in order to get a females attention. I also noticed how the colours of these Swiss Guard uniforms or bright in colours similar to the colours of some breads of pheasants, primarily with the yellow tones. Keeping this in mind, I am going to start working more at developing my research with different variations of yellow and blue to make my research more focused while still being able to expand my research within these colour restrictions.
Reflection day 23:
Q: What was your aim today?
A: My aim today while doing Danielles 3D workshop was to look at how I could take basic circular and C-shaped pieces of fabric of different sizes and sew them together in simple yet interesting ways to create interesting shapes on the body. While I was doing this I realised that the size of the shapes being sewn together plays a very key role in how successful the 3D outcome appears. I was working with shapes of quite drastically different sizes throughout the day and found myself getting further and further frustrated with the way I was having to messily gather the fabric together in order for the shapes to fit. The outcome did not appear clean or logical on the body and I realised that I would have gotten much more interesting shapes if I hadn’t been so determined to make the workshop more difficult than it needed to be in the beginning and just let the shapes work with themselves so that I could later spend more time exploring how they fit on the body.
Q: What have you learnt/ how was it changed what you were doing/thinking?
A: At the moment I don’t believe that this workshop has altered my initial plan for this project and what I plan to do moving forward. However, it was interesting for me to see the “boxy” shapes that most of my classmates were creating using the circular shapes. I would not have thought of producing such square, box-looking shapes from a circular piece of fabric. However that is what seemed to come most naturally when putting the fabric on the body.
Q: How can you incorporate it into your Harrods project?
A: These structured shapes made me think of the Green Mens uniform, as well as military uniforms, and how they have very straight and simple lines going down the body. I think if I was going to incorporate this workshop into my final garment In would look at how I could use the 3D shapes to create a more boxy, masculine shape on the body that appears strong. However, a basic construction that is actually very simple.
Q: How can you develop this further?
A: To develop the work that I did today in the workshop further I would definitely go back and adjust the initial size of the shape that I was working with to create more clean, less gathered 3D shapes. I could also work less with draping and more with the goal of giving the form a more masculine appearance. I think I could go back and work with 3D shaping in the body in a much more simple, yet effective way and will try to explore some of the boxy shape I was seeing in my classmates work in greater depth to achieve a strong masculine form.
Q: What is my Harrods wish list?
A: Literally any of the cakes in the food hall… or a llama.
Reflection day 22:
Today we had one-on-one tutorials with our tutors where we talked about our ideas for both the unit 7 project and the Harrods live project. For the Harrods project, my tutor gave me the idea of looking at animals associated with military pride, as well as animals that are described using the word “peacocking” where an animal, typically the male, uses bright, vibrant colours in order to get a mate. He suggested I primarily look at pheasants as that is an animal that is particularly good at “looking the part” even if they are not the strongest or smartest of the flock. This made me think of males of different species, including humans, and how they “show-off” in order to get a females attention. I am going to look at the bright, flashy colours involved in “peacocking” while still looking at the military and the ceremonies included with that, along with how the body moves when in uniform versus how the body moves when its not. Similar to how a male acts when in the process of finding a mate versus how they act when alone.
Reflection day 19:
I put my unit 7 project on hold today and visited Harrods for the live project. While at Harrods the main thing that I could think of was how everything was for show, meant to look high class and in a certain way. I also saw how formal and proper everything was meant to appear. After seeing the Green Men, I started to think about how they reminded me of soldiers and so I started to research the military. I chose not to look at war and violence, but instead to look at military pride and showing a strong, united front with precise movements and exact formations. From there I started to look at metals of honour and specific ceremonies involving guards with certain rituals and formations for example changing of the guards. I also started thinking about what happens when you take away the things that make everything so formal and “showy” and simply look at it from a view that shows what it actually is, without the glitz and the glam. This all made me think about the accuracy in presentation that soldiers have to adhere by while marching which all tied in further will military pride, the theme in which I will be centring my project on.
Reflection day 18:
Today I tried making samples so that I could further develop my project and start moving towards some ideas for a final piece. However, I realised that I haven’t done near enough initial developmental work in my sketchbook to start looking at a basic colour scheme or key elements that I want to use. I need to start by taking all the research and notes that I look in the library and while at exhibitions and start really communicating and developing them in my sketchbook. I need to start looking at how I am going to convey all my separate research in a more conjoined way that makes visual sense without the need for endless explanation of how I got to a certain point which is what I feel is happening right now. I am going to start woking with more immediate reactions and mark-making in my sketchbook and hopefully slowly things will start to come together in a more linear way and so I will be able to start thinking of a more solid outcome without it being an endless line of concepts.
Reflection day 17:
I started working at putting the patterns that I saw on the venetian masks directly on the body to start my development with working with body art and taking what is covered up by masks and exposing it directly on the body. I think I made a good start to developing this. However, I need to further work on showing more of the dark side of ballet instead of simply drawing patterns on the figure that I see on the masks. I also want to start combining the psychological injuries that dance has on the body with the physical injuries involved. This means I need to put less focus on looking at the animalistic qualities and how the body is treated as a whole, while looking more at the physical injuries a dancer withholds and the means in which they are covered up for example through pointe shoe accessories such as padding and sports tape as well as using light weight fabric to give the illusion of floating. I do still need to expand more on the animalistic aspect of my proposal. However I think I will look at it more as a feeling of imprisonment and dehumanisation, needing to dance through excessive pain and near impossible physical standards to achieve what I required as a ballet dancer.
Reflection day 16:
I worked at bringing some of the more animalistic qualities of my research into my sketchbook today so that I could start to tie it into my theme of in captured circus animals. I did this by combining an animal body with a human body in the same sketch to show how they are intertwined. However, on the next page I feel I to quickly jumped to the next idea of fighting the body to be perfect and covering the pain and injury over with masks. Moving forward I am going to go back and look more at animalistic features and incorporate them into the human body. I also want to make more immediate responses to my research and hopefully work more with shapes that I find in the figure instead of only focusing on the figure as a whole. I further hope to look at the protrusion of hip bones and ribs, not only on disfigured human bodies, but on the bodies of malnourished in captured animals as well.
Reflection day 15:
Today I worked primarily in my sketchbook, continuing my development with the distortion of the body and the pain a dancer endures that isn’t seen by the audience. I mainly focused on the trained body of a dancer today and the side that IS graceful and beautiful, but also emphasising the costumes, accessories, and masks that are used as a cover-up. I haven’t so much looked at what happens “behind the curtain” as I feel that for right now I really want to emphasis dance as my central theme, even if it does gradually become more about the body and mind and how they are portrayed in separate ways. I’m also currently working to emphasis the theatrical masks and the artistic qualities that they hold. Basically, I am starting my sketchbook off looking simply at the side that the audience does sees, the side thats not painful and damaging, and the side that people want to watch. From here, I will start to move more into the side that makes people uncomfortable to think about and start developing my work in a way that shows the beauty, but also the broken aspects.
Reflection day 12:
Today I went back to the library and looked at books on body distortion to try and connect that with some of the images I took yesterday at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. While looking at distorted, “flawed” bodies, I started looking more specifically at body dysmorphia again. Body dysmorphia is a common condition in dancers as it is tied in with eating disorders and the idea that the body is somehow different or “flawed” then how it actually appears. This condition can accumulate from a dancer always being told that is wrong with them, and the expectation that they must be perfect all the time, no matter the amount of pain that is endured. While looking through image of anorexics in critical conditions, I noticed how prominently their bone structure appeared and the straight-edges in their body frame that reminded me of the patterns I observed in a lot of the venetian masks. This made me go back to my idea to, instead of using the masks to hide and idealises whats actually going on behind the mask, I am going to look at how a mask can become the means in which a person shows what really goes on inside their head. I started to think of this after looking at anorexic patients in critical condition because I realised that anorexia and other rating disorders is one of the only mental illnesses that, once it gets to a certain point, is incredibly hard to hide, almost as obvious as if it was painted on a mask and stuck on the anorexics face.
Reflection day 11:
Today I visited the Peggy Guggenheim Museum which was probably the most interesting and relevant gallery I’ve been too for this project. I really feel like visiting this gallery helped me expand my research and bring some of my theoretical ideas into a more physical concept. The first thing that I saw in this gallery was more sculptures of the human body. However, instead of them being idealised and flawless, they were more bumpy and distorted. I found the distortion of these bodies really interesting and was able to further connect them to some Pablo Picasso paintings that I saw which distorted the face to a point of it being almost unrecognisable, much like how a female dancer will distort her body to the point where it no longer seems to be a female body anymore, or how female circumcision is a procedure that seriously disfigures the female genitals to the point them being unrecognisable. The portraits by Pablo Picasso were also made using paint, which I could now use to place on the body as a form of body dysmorphia. Another thing that I found really interesting in this exhibition was the sculptures of animals and the sculptures and painting of women that looked like “real” women, looking more at animalistic qualities and comparing them to a human figure, and what qualifies as beauty. I also saw a lot of very interesting effects used in the paints and I further see now how I can incorporate the emotion of being trapped and in pain through my research and in my sketchbook using mark making and different collage techniques.
Reflection day 10:
I spent my day today in Venice looking at venetian masks that I could incorporate into my project. It was really interesting looking at the painting colours and techniques they used as well as there use of straight-edged shapes and metal piping. I also found the different shapes they used for each mask very interesting, for example covering only the eyes, half the face, the whole face, making the nose significantly longer, or displaying the mask in moon shape. I also noted how some masks were surrounded by fabric whiles others were surround by fabrics, as well as how they were all detained and embroidered using different patterns and techniques to tell their own unique store. I learnt that every mask has a different history and no detail on the mask was put there by coincidence, but instead as a way to convey a message through this art form. After today I am going to start looking more at animal masks as I did see some very interesting animals masks, However I feel as though it is an area that I can explore more, only now stepping away from only Venetian masks and looking more at traditional masks used in different celebrations and ceremonies all around the world.
Reflection day 9:
Today I visited the Uffizi Gallery where I observed the many sculptures displayed of the body. Each piece was sculpted in different position which I found interesting to compare to the abstract, interesting position the body makes when dancing. They also had many stone busts of heads and portraits which I was able to contribute to my research after looking at the book of contemporary portraits in the book “Samuel Cooper and his Contemporaries.” I think to further develop my research in my sketchbook I can use the images of the body is these different positions and paint over the figure in a way that doesn’t show beauty and flawlessness but instead shows the realistic version of self. I can also use the photographs I have of the portraits and display them in my sketchbook with masks overtop of the faces to further emphasis how a portrait frozen in time doesn’t accurately the actuality of who that person is, only the idealistic picture what who they are, which shows nothing of value.
Reflection day 8:
Today I visited the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence where I saw “The David” and many other sculptures of the body figure. Although this gallery did not tie in directly with my project, I did find it interesting to look at the anatomy of the sculptures as well as how they were worn down and slowly disintegrated over the many years, much like a dancers body after many years of training. I also found it interesting to look at the textiles exhibition where they demonstrated how materials and textiles are produced and the weaving and knotting techniques that the First Nations used. Besides the further research I was able to do with the anatomy of the body and looking at the gradual disintegration of the stone, I did not find this gallery particularly relevant to my project. However, while walking through the streets I came across a window display with pink, blue, and yellow porcelain ballerinas. Although I can’t really see these porcelain ballerinas playing a key role in my project, I did find it interesting to look at how much people do idealise ballet as something with so much grace and beauty, without thinking about the pain it takes to get it to the point of it appearing effortless. These porcelain ballerinas also made me think of how delicate people often think ballet and ballet dancers are, without realising it is probably one of the most demanding sports there is.
Reflection day 5:
In further looking at how animalistic qualities can show themselves in humans I started looking at how the human body can be further distorted, whether it be in ability for example ballet, mentally as such with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, or physically which made me start to look at female circumcision. The idea of female circumcision really stood out for me because it made me think of the physical requirements a ballet dancers body much achieve. Female circumcision is a way in which the body is disfigured in an extremely inhumane way. It plays with the idea of what makes a female a woman and what it means to take control over our own bodies. A lot of the time a female ballet dancer must adhere to a body standard that accurately matches the normal body type of a 12 year old body. As a result of these impossible standards, a ballet dancer will go to extreme measures to distort the body into something it was never meant to be. Moving forward I would like to look more at the distorting and mutilation of the body while still looking at the need to cover and mask over injuries to achieve the ideal form.
Reflection day 4:
Today while at the library I started researching the history of masks a bit more and discovered a lot on animal masks that I found very interesting. I like the idea of using more animalistic qualities on the human body as a way of showing the dehumanisation a dancer is expected to go through as a way of achieving the perfect dancer form and abilities. This made me think of circus animals. However, moving forward I do not wish to look at circus animals individual, but more compare them to a dancer in training and the qualities that come out that compares and contrasts animal and human qualities in similar training conditions.
Reflection day 3:
Following my research with make-up and body paint I decided to look further at masks which was part of my initial proposal. However, were as before I was looking at how a dancer will use costumes and masks to become as though one with the dance and invest themselves in the dance, I am now looking at masks as another thing that hides and idealises whats actually going on, another thing to “mask the pain.” I am also going to look at how that can be flipped and how a mask can become the means in which a person shows their true personality and what goes on inside their head. I am going to start looking at the actual history of masks and how they are historically tied in with dance and performance. However, I also find the distortion a mask can have on the body really interesting as you can never see the human under the mask and whats truly going on.
Reflection day 2:
While in the library today researching dance I came across a book entitled “Samuel Cooper and his Contemporaries” and assumed it was regarding contemporary dance. When I actually went to look at the book I saw that it was actually a book on contemporary portraits. However, this made me think about how this related to my project, as a single portrait of a persons face is not an accurate showing of who that person is and what is happening in that persons life. A portrait is an idealistic view what covers up the things that aren’t pretty to look at and replaces it with a single view that masks the flaws and only shows people what they want to see. I think this is similar with ballet as dancers use accessories and make-up to cover their flaws, injuries, and bleeding feet that the audience doesn’t see in order to achieve the idealistic image. This made me think of what could happen if a portrait was more accurate and showed the side of things that aren’t pretty to look at. I then started looking at body art and am finding it interesting to see how different artists take things that are happening directly to them or around them that aren’t always seen and placing it in a visual way directly on the body in plain view of everyone watching.
Reflection day 1:
Today I started researching and going into more depth with my rough draft of my unit 7 proposal and realised the amount of room I have to expand my initial idea. My initial proposed idea is “The Last Dance” looking at injuries a dancer can so easily obtain and the feeling of being a prisoner in your own body when an injury does occur. However, today while doing research I started to look at the incredibly high standards a ballet dancer must live up to and the painful training that is endured to achieve “perfection” when dancing. I started looking at the Bolshoi Ballet, a world famous Russian ballet company. I was primarily looking at the ballet core, the part of the company that has to dance precisely along side everyone else. They have to all look the same, with not one step out of place. In furthering my research I am going to look look less at the injuries a dancer obtains and more at the injuries a dancer covers up and masks to achieve symmetry with the other dancers and perfection in the movement, no matter how damaging it is on the body.
Unit 7 task 2:
Q: List how you will fulfil your aim and your objectives in this project: (objectives are usually more specific and about what you will do or produce, the aim is usually more abstract or about the idea). Think about the methods, the skills and techniques, and the processes.
A: My aim for this project is to show the wear-and-tear that dance inflicts on the body and how the pain a dancer goes through, while in training or during a performance, is covered up and masked by the make-up, accessories, and costumes they are put into. I also hope to compare this to captured animals as a way of representing the distortion and dehumanisation a dancer goes through to fit the idealised image within entertainment industry. My objective is to create a final piece which uses fabric with a light weight nature that was previously “perfect” and now distressed, to show the effects of captivity and restraint. I also plan on using movement incorporated with fabric and rope, again showing captivity as well as the dehumanisation of the body and highlight the animalistic qualities within my theme.
Q: List and think about your audience. Is there a purpose to what you want to do, or a specific user or group it is for?
A: While working through this unit, I plan on having the idea of theatre and costume in the back of my mind. I want it to appear to be a torn apart, dirty, and distressed ballet costume. However I also want to incorporate rope, feeling “trapped,” as though an imprisoned animal, and also the dehumanisation and disfiguration dance has on the body.
Q: Are there any theories tied in with your theme? (theory can be ideas or sets of principles)
A: The central focus of my project is the idea of needing to coverup and “mask” normal human limitation and physical body structure. It is also the idea of using masks and costumes in order to hide the pain a performer goes through to achieve the ideal picture, and how dancers are often imprisoned in their own bodies and treated as imprisoned animals performing in a circus.
Q: Can you see re occurring themes in your work developing? Areas you are interested in or inspired by? For example - If you are interested in something like architecture think why? What aspect? What does it make you think of, and in what context?
A: Throughout a lot of my work I find it interesting to work with movement of the body and also creating a general story to work with as I pull everything together. I think this mainly came about from having a background in theatre and performance, as well as my fascination with masks and the idea of art directly on the body. This also makes me think of using the body to tell story, which is one of the personal fascination I have with dance, as well as the mystery of what happens backstage that the audience doesn’t see.
Q: Are you working within parameters, rules, restrictions enforced by you or external? (For example the Bauhaus movement had specific design rules it followed)
A: When I first started working on this project I primarily had the idea of working with masks and the traditional ceremonies where they may be be used. However, after doing some research in the library I found myself very interested in the people hidden behind the masks and I started looking at the physical shape and movement of the body; in particularly, the naked body and how its damage and distortion is hidden behind masks and accessories. I also started looking at natural animalistic qualities that are repressed in encapsulated circus animals. As a result, I am choosing to not work within parameters or within a restriction as I feel there is to much room to explore my theme and opportunities for my theme to grow without being tied into a specific restriction.
Q: What is the context of your project? Would it be a very different project in a different context? (Look up the meaning of context and the different types e.g. cultural, historical etc.)
A: The contexts for my project is the harsh realities of being a professional dancer in a company and the vigorous training that is required. The contexts would be different if I was looking at ballet from the audiences viewpoint, the viewpoint that only sees the final performance and not the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making the performance what it is. I also think it could be a different project if I was looking at a dance form that did not required all the dancers to have the exact same physical appearance and abilities; a dance form that embraces diversity more openly and welcomes more variety, instead of a dance form that thrives in the idea of perfection.