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.
Carina Ubeda, from Chile collected blood from her menstrual cycle for 5 years, then using embroidery hoops, she displayed 90 pieces of soiled cloth, embroidered the words ‘Production’, ‘Discard’ and ‘Destroyed beneath each stain, and set up and exhibition at the Center of Culture and Health in Quillota, the cloths, which Ms Ubeda used instead of tampons or pads, are presented as ‘an abstract image’, her work represented the menstrual cycle.
Like Casey Jenkins, Carina’s reasons for dong this work is similar to my own, her thought on this closely relates to what I spoke about in my Dissertation regarding female body empowerment, our reasons for decoration, exploiting, exploring our bits being an example of women showing who is in control of our bodies.
In an article featured in the daily mail about her exhibition she says;
‘We can create life,’ she said. ‘[These comments] are a little expected of men, however, some of the female comments fill me with sadness.’
And Silvana Sáez added: ‘Male blood is celebrated for being brave while ours is a shame.
‘This won’t change until we release our body as the first stage of political struggle, repression and male power of centuries.’
Her comments are in response to some of the comments left about her work, some calling it ‘Disgusting’, ‘Why would anybody want to see this?’, people have gona as far as to say ‘Oh my….that is disgusting! I do not have a degree in art, but I’m still sure it’s not art!!’ and commenting that Carina is ‘one sandwich short of a picnic’.
I do see the controversies in art such as this, having your period is as natural as breathing air, it may not be beautiful to look at but who said art has to be beautiful! It;s the meaning behind the work that people aren’t seeing because society has forced a feeling of shame an embarrassment on things as natural as our human form!
While looking for artist inspiration I remembered reading about a woman who knitted using wool kept in her vagina… at the time I didn’t give it too much thought, I did think power to her though for being so innovative! Now that I’m basing my work on the human form and looking closely at the female body I have a lot more time and respect for her work and reasoning behind it. Casey Jenkins work, Casting off my Womb, has a close connection to what I what I want to express through my current project, and she is an inspriation. Her work helps me not to fear what others think of the work you produce, and confirms my thoughts that the body is the most natural, common thing we know, its not scary it isn’t embarrassing and it’s here to stay! Here is a video feed are some pictures of her work;
It is the divine passage, womb or sacred temple. The word covers a range of meanings, including: place of birth, source, origin, spring, fountain, place of rest, repository, receptacle, seat, abode, home, lair, nest, stable.
Donna Norton does vaginal casting as an art form, she moulds and sells the casts, to which you may decorate yourself or have cut into a specific shape.
She explains her interest of Yoni casting;
The female form has always been a subject for artists who are fascinated with the curves, folds and beauty of a woman’s body.
I started incorporating the Yoni into my artwork about 10 years ago as I explored body casting techniques and found that I could create the artwork that I wanted to by using plaster moulds, alginate and clay. My work is inspired by nature in all its forms so I love being able to combine the human form with the natural textures of leaves, ammonites, stones and tree barks.
My chosen theme is Female Erotica, I am going to create a collection of 30 32x32cm designs which will be suitable for bedding, wallpaper and pillows,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.
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. 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.
- 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.
I want to use my theme to celebrate the body and sexual exploration, I want to use 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.
- 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
- Social Media
Design collection were of a small, busy scale with intricate patterns, does this represent flower power?
It may not represent the classic idea of flower power, but my designs were all inspired by flowers. I am not one to look at an intricate flower drawing, or photograph of a flower and be overcome with inspiration, so i used ‘Flower Power’ as a way to get inspiration that was attractive to me. I think the mistake i have made is using the titles ‘Flower Power’ as it instantly sets the scene of of a classic 70s image, and my work wasn’t to me taken so literally.
If I took my designs to a public audience would they connect with my theme without supporting information from me?
While im using the words Psychedelic Flower Power in my title, an audience may not connect my designs to my theme, as said previously the flower power was for inspiration, i never intended to create vintage 60/70s style designs, i just wanted to use elements of this era for inspiration, such as the use of flowers and colours. I disagree that something can only be considered psychedelic with the use of bright florescent colours, I wanted my designs to be visually ‘trippy’ and to include flowers, which i believe i have done well. My work represents the actual use and effects of psychedelics rather than the classic image created by the words psychedelic or flower power.
Does it matter or do my designs stand alone?
This is a hard one, yes it matters because i want my inspiration and research to be correctly link to my work, but at the same time each design and collection (not just my own) will be viewed differently, this is one of the joys of being a designer or artist. Yes my work can have a meaning and have been created from a particular direction, but ultimately its up to the audience to decide what they want to get out your work. For my i believe my designs stand alone, and i’ve always know that my work may never be suited for the high street, I take pride in designing for a particular audience an can only hope that the type people i design for will discover and enjoy my work, not just this collection but all work i produce.
One of the first things that caught my eye when starting at Rock-ola was the interior design of the store, it reminded me of my current subject theme, 90’s Brights and Clash. Naturally I commented and James told me that the got inspiration from artist and designer Camille Walala. Even her name was intriguing so I went ahead and checked her website and fell in love!! Her use of bright colour and bold abstract design is perfect inspiration for my project. Walala uses her designs for fashion, interior and exterior design and anywhere she can! Her work is fantastic so please check her out 🙂