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Final Major Project Reflection

When starting my final major project I had so many yet so few ideas all filling my head at once. I am always most inspired ay colour, usually fashion/era but this time I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and use this final project to discover something new about myself as a designer. The theme for my project was loosely inspired by my dissertation, which I thoroughly enjoyed writing and researching so I really wanted to try and bring something over and express parts of my dissertation visually as well as bringing in many other new aspects. The part of my dissertation that I wanted to interoperate most was the theme of powerful women, or more so women being powerful but at this stage of my project I was finding it difficult to combine this with something more and apply it to my textile design.

I don’t remember at exactly which point I decided to research erotica and use this in my designs but as soon as I did my work just seemed to unfold more naturally, research became more interesting and I began unfolding a world or artists and designers that’s I had never seen before. I have always chosen to embrace sexuality and have never been embarrassed of naked bodies, sex or all the bits in between, in fact I have been told that I can be a little crude. During the very early stages of my research and development I thought about how some people think that I am too forward or open and I came to the conclusion that this may be because nudity, sex and expressing yourself sexually is something that is rarely seen on a day to day basis, the reason being that society has deemed this as rude and unsuitable, leading to some very embarrassed and sexually unaware people! For these reasons and more I chose to research and design all things erotic and have (I hope) successfully created a collection of designs that can be used/displayed in the home that promote sexuality and do so without being explicit.

Firstly I chose my colour pallet, this would be key for getting the correct balance of sexual imagery and home friendly designs so using WGSN I created a pallet of colours predicted for S/S 2016. I then started to get together a body of drawings and research, I did start my research by looking at both men and women’s bits, in the hope of not being sexist but throughout the early to mid-stages of my project I decided that it would be much more difficult to successfully target the appropriate audience while trying to incorporate both male and female parts, so with this in mind my work took a more female inspired turn.

Many of the drawings used for my designs were from pornographic images, which made for very interesting research. By using very explicit images and softening them with continuous line drawings and splashes of colour I began to create a more society-friendly collection of imagery.  I concentrated on genitalia, nipples and masturbation, getting a collection of drawings and marks that I would then use to turn into repeat designs digitally. I was nervous of creating my collection entirely digital because this is something that I have done relatively little of in past projects, I tend to be more hands on when designing but I found that by using Photoshop and Illustrator I could turn my base images more simply and efficiently into repeat designs than if I were trying to do this by other methods, screen printing for example.

A big part of my research was body casting, inspired by artist Jamie McCartney I decided vagina and nipple casting was a great way to really get in touch with my theme. Although this started off slow, the outcome was more than I could have hoped for! Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the entire process of casting, from researching the process, to finding models to actually casting, my call out for models caught a lot of attention which resulted in me and my work being published in several paper articles! I could be happier with this, I learned something new, very much enjoyed it and got recognised for it. Body casting as well as erotic themed design I believe is something I will continue to do as I take my next steps as a designer, it something that has been more inspiring than I could have every imagined and I realise now that there are so many avenues that work if this nature can take. I have received approving messages for various artists around Europe, including a few messages passed back and forth between Jamie McCartney and myself.

As the deadline neared I was pleased to step into the final stages of my project, getting to research into and experiment with different fabrics, although this was possibly one of the most difficult stages of the project. With fabric choice comes many potential issues, which I soon discovered. I had problems with my designs resulting in a few round of pre samples being ordered, not to mention my final samples being 3 days late! Through this I believe I have stayed true to my brief and created a delicate and beautiful collection of designs suitable for the bedroom (I do believe these deigns could be applied to many other areas though) which is inoffensive and would be a statement in the home.


Self Directed Hypothetical Brief (Finalised)

Theme:

My chosen theme is Female Erotica, I am going to create a collection of 32x32cm designs  which will be suitable for bedding, wallpaper and pillows/cushions. My target market is a more adult audience. My theme has been developed through my dissertation which talks about tattooed women making a statement about their bodies and who owns them, from this I researched erotic art. I will be looking at both the male and female body but will concentrating more closely on feminine images and motifs.

Overall Aim:

To produce a collection of designs, inspired by erotic art and aimed at a broad age market of 18-40+. Due to the nature of my designs I could be difficult to design for a high street market but by being subtle and delicate with the subject I want to target both high street stores and also a more niche market. The collection will be boutique inspired to create an ‘Erotic-chic’ style. I intend on creating my designs and collection by using drawings, various print techniques and possibly incorporating some stitch. I will then scan in and use Photoshop and Illustrator or create my collection.

Objectives:

  • Research – Artists who specialise in eroticism, prints, drawing, sculptures etc.
  • Adult themed interiors and furnishings.
  • Sketch Book – using a range of mixed media, produce a body of drawings and mark makings.
  • Colour – Choose a colour pallet that is on trend for s/s17.
  • Repeat – Produce repeat designs and samples successfully using croquis.
  • Techniques – Create my deigns and samples using various print techniques, specifically lino, screen print, heat transfer and digital print. I also want to use techniques within these such as resist and fabric manipulation.
  • Display collection appropriately and professionally for exhibition.

 

Personal Objectives:

I want to use my theme to celebrate the body and sexual exploration and by using my personal style to express myself through my designs. Throughout my degree I have developed my printing skills and want use these to produce my designs to a high quality standard.

 

Deliverables:

  • Moodboards – colour, theme.
  • Research File.
  • Sketchbook showing ideas and design development  including any loose drawings or mark makings .
  • Prototypes and samples (inc selection of mounted ones)
  • Final collection of designs
  • Statement on design collection
  • Postcards and Business cards

 

Publicity Options:

  • Social Media
  • Leaflets
  • Online Publishings
  • Newspaper/magazines

Life Goals…

Cynthia Plaster Caster, what an inspiration! Starting in the 60s, Cynthia has been doing genital casts of big time celebrities such as Jimi Hendrix.

 

See her website for amazing images!


Fanny Casting

I can happily say I finally cast some fannys!! I absolutely loved it! Admittedly I was nervous, my first model is a friend from Newport University and she based a lot of her Fine Art degree work around erotica, so was not only understanding of the work I’m doing but completely supportive! It made for a very interesting afternoon, and I thoroughly enjoyed every stage of the process! Using Jamie McCartney’s Great Wall of Vagina page (and through a little trial and error) I have 4 beautiful vagina casts! One of them did break when trying to remove the plaster from the alginate, which I am gutted about because that particular model has a piercing and it looks fantastic in the cast!

This is something I will continue to do outside of my studies, I haven’t decorated any of them yet as I am concentrating on designs for my final collection, but A friend is opening a store in Cardiff and has asked for one to put on display 🙂


  
  
  


Life Drawing feat. Sex Workers

Lauren Zoe is taking life drawing to the next level, and I love it! Although the drive and meaning behind her work is slightly different to mine, I am so into what she is trying to do. It seems we have something in common, we are both final year Art & Design students, trying to make sex, erotica and our naked bodies more acceptable and remove the long standing taboo. I love the look of the work produced and this has inspired me to try a life drawing class (sadly it wont be one involving sex workers), Its been years since I tried life drawing and I know there is an evening class local!

Please give the article a read, its very powerful and I believe in supporting this beatiful, erotic art!

Meet the woman using art to demystify sex work

Lauren Zoe’s life drawing classes want participants to witness the sex acts as they happen

Being a sex worker has never been easy, but since the government introduced prohibitive anti-vulgarity laws in 2014, the problems associated with sex work have become much more acute. Pornography, prostitution and stripping remain stigmatised, while other forms of sex work – likesugar babies and escort services – barely register in the public consciousness.

Lauren Zoe is trying to change that. A final-year art student at Goldsmiths’ University – and vice president of Britain’s only student sex worker solidarity group – Lauren has just started running a series of all-female life-drawing classes that use sex workers as muses. She’s hoping to demystify sex work, pushing back against mainstream depictions of the profession. Most sex workers in Britain, she tells me, aren’t lavishly-paid call-girls or desperate women with no other option. I went to one of her classes to find out more.

There aren’t many events like this – what made you want to do this class?

Lauren Zoe: I’ve life-modelled predominantly for white male artists, and I didn’t have a great experience with it. I was sexually assaulted by an artist, and when I spoke to the police about it I was told that there was no point going through with it because I was naked. In my work with the Sex Worker Solidarity Society, I heard about similar experiences, and the idea for these classes developed from there. I’ve done various jobs, from certain types of sex work to life-modelling, being a secretary; all these jobs were performative and revolved around my femininity and sexuality. This idea that somebody being naked means they’re readily sexual for everyone else is an idea that needs to be undone, not just for sex-workers but in general.

“This idea that somebody being naked means they’re readily sexual for everyone else is an idea that needs to be undone” – Lauren Zoe

You say models shouldn’t necessarily be sexualised – how will that work in your class?

Lauren Zoe: Our models will be performing sexual acts, but the artists and the class members will not behave sexually towards those performers. There will be an understanding in the room that people can’t react sexually towards them. It will be still poses first, then either a striptease or a live cam show, and we’re deciding whether she’ll do some re-enactments of BDSM. That’d be quite a good variety of performances to experiment with.

What kind of performers have you got involved?

Lauren Zoe: Our first performer works as an escort, as a camgirl and as a pornstar. She does a lot of activism as well, she runs the SWSS. I like the idea of using people who won’t normally be used as life models… it’s kind of hard with the sex work performances, because I absolutely refuse to underpay a sex worker. That completely goes against what I’m trying to do. I’ll pay the performers as close as I can to the rate they would get for sex work.

Why is it so important for you that sex workers are paid a certain rate? Is it about legitimising it?

Lauren Zoe: It’s because it’s fair. I’m consuming their time that they could be using to work elsewhere. I don’t think any work should be cheapened for the sake of art. People see sex work either as something you do because you’re desperate or something you do because you’re greedy. They think it’s something they won’t do because of their values or morals. But shaming the worker for what they do and ignoring the difficulties workers face is a problem – it’s still work.

Has there been any negative feedback on it?

Lauren Zoe: Not on campus. But we do get people saying we shouldn’t be condoning sex work. A lot of those people aren’t based in the UK, so they come from countries where the politics surrounding sex work are different. We do like connecting with people abroad, and screen a lot of documentaries from other countries. But we do find that people from America, say, will inbox us and abuse us. But it doesn’t drag us down at all. The aim is to create an educational space where marginalised people can speak their minds. I think art should encourage that sort of personal development and self-expression. The class is intended for people who want to discuss their own experiences of gender, but also relax and have fun. It’ll be quite a diverse group.

Do you think the lack of funding for similar art shows a bit of a lack of care?

Lauren Zoe: I’d love it to be arts council-funded, but I don’t see that happening! I think the fact that it’s funded by individuals rather than supported by institutions shows a lack of respect. Even the SWSS shows have been funded through sex work, not via university funding. I think that spoke volumes.

 


Creating simple repeats

While researching different ways to create repeat pattern, I came across this really simple, quick and effective way! I will be trying this out with a design of my own.

1. Draw a design.

Start in the middle of your paper. You can use any size, but I’d recommend 8.5 x 11 to give yourself plenty of room, plus that’s probably the most handy. Use a pen since it will photocopy best, or start with pencil and trace over your lines. Make sure to distribute an even amount of solid color, which will help with visual consistency in the final tile. Most importantly, do not touch the edges of the paper!

 

2. Cut, flip, tape.

Cut your drawing in half. (I know, this is scary! You can do it. Remember you can always copy, scan, or photograph your original for safekeeping.) Consider using an exacto knife for a clean cut, but scissors are fine, too.

Once you have your two piece, flip them so the original outer edges touch, back to back. Then, tape your two halves together. Tape on the backside so your drawing stays clean.

 

3. Repeat: cut (the other way), flip, tape.

Rotate your page, and cut it in half again (the other way, so that the two cuts form a cross). Flip these two new halves, and tape them back together. Again, the tape should go on the back.

  

4. Draw in the blank spaces.

Since your design is now on the outer edges, you’re likely seeing a big blank space in the middle. Fill it in! Draw in all the empty bits and finish your drawing. As before, don’t draw on the edges.

When you’re done drawing, step back and admire your work. This is your repeat tile. Isn’t it beautiful?

 

5. Copy, copy, copy — and assemble!

Now that you have your tile, the possibilities are limitless! You can photocopy it and assemble it for wallpaper, book covers, posters, or gift wrap. You can add color or embellishments. You can scan it and bring it into Photoshop or Illustrator for final touches. Maybe you digitize it for your desktop or phone background. Most importantly, have fun.

Happy patterning!

 

 


External examiner

Last week I got to meet the external examiner, Dr Melanie Miller. Although I was very nervous, the short but sweet meeting went very well! Dr Miller seemed to like my idea, and was very interested to see how I would take erotica, a theme most often used in art and convert it to textiles. After looking at the (unfinalised) designs, She made a good suggestion that I might think about what a man/woman might want to see and consider my audience, suggesting that a lesbian woman could be really interested in a wallpaper featuring the use of women but not men, and vice versa. I do agree with this, and I am thinking of separating the two for the majority of my designs, but I would like to experiment with the two together. 

All in all I think the meeting went well, I took on board what Dr Miller had to say and will continue to think about this as I design my collection.