I got the photoshoot images today! I'm happy to see how my design looks like on the body since the photo shoot was a bit rush and I did not have enough time to closely look at it. I do like the white background that really shows my design feature; however, I think I will do another photo shoot later on after assessment and style it with a background that fits my topic more.
Also, I started working on my portfolio sheet these two days. I realized that since I did most of my design while draping fabrics/ pattern making on the mannequin, I do not have enough illustrations in my sketchbook. I spend quite a long time drawing a few more final illustrations for each look, in order to sum up this project. I didn't realize that I only have few samples until I scanned my sketchbook and layed them out on A2 sheets
It's the first school day!!! We had a small critique between partners to mark each other's grade on different criteria. Referencing on the self-assessment sheet, me and my partner both explained our work to each other and graded each other upon our work thus far. I received an over-all pass since I still lack some process evidence to show how I get onto my final design, which I totally agree with her because I didn't manage my time very well throughout the Easter Break.
Moreover, I did not know that we will have an exhibition for the garment so I didn't bring any hanger or didn't even completely finished my garment. I think I should think about garment presentation next time because the way I hung it on the chair today looked really messy.
Also, she thought that I need more tactile elements in my sketchbook. I only had collages and pencil-based drawings/primary illustrations. It would be easier to demonstrate my ideas with a few more samples.
I spend two days making the second layer. On the first day, I did a few testing samples to try out the polyester fabric. I quite like the effect it created by stuffing in fabrics and other materials inside it. But the bad thing about it is I have to sew it very carefully because it will leave stitch marks if I sew it at the wrong place.
I designed a "corset" and a three detachable sheathes for the sleeves so that those can be wearing on top of the first layer. Making pattern for this layer is harder than I thought because I have to think about the position of the seam-allowances because every detail can be seen through the fabric. Also, I should consider how each pattern pieces need to be sewed before making it, otherwise some edges might be impossible to sew since it is not a stretchy/bendable fabric.
When I tried to do the top-stitch for finishing, the bustline and some curving lines are not bendable. I cut out triangle shapes on the seam allowance so that the shape can be bent in the right direction.
I didn't do much work for a few days since my friend came to visit me so I have to start catching up my work and working on the final design of it. I quite like the idea of using transparent fabrics to create a shelter that limits the body so I think I would continue taking that idea. Moreover, I want my final piece to be transformable that showing the process of people's emotion throughout the journey. But I think I would be difficult to use one single piece of garment and make it change forms. Therefore, I think I could make a few layers of garments that represent each stage of people's emotion during the new year travel rush. I tried to summarize this journey in to four to five different stages:
First, people carrying numbers of luggages that overdrawn the their body.
Second, people waiting in line wearing layers comfortable and warm clothes to prevent cold weather.
Third, people use their luggages as pillows and quilt when they wait for the trains.
Fourth, people get on the train and live within a confined space.
Fifth, they finally got home and feel released.
I found an image of people living on sleeping berth inside a train, they are each doing different things on their own stack. I want to combine the idea that the body is integrated into a space in the train. The body shapes lose the identity become an object that is partly on the train. These sleeping berths uphold people looks like stacks of goods in the supermarket. I cut out the part of the body that are doing different things and then placed them on to the "stacks" I taped. However, I feel like the idea is not clearly illustrated through my collage.
Today I continued making collage and sample using the train window idea, it looks as if everything is squeezed in the small space. I cut images in the same size of people in the New year train. These zoomed image blocks captured their emotions and actions, which emphasized their tiredness inside a tiny space. Later, I made three samples using black foam and rolled them up so that it looks like luggage. However, the black detail cannot be seen clearly on the black background. I stuck some yellow tape around it, but this doesn't make it look better, I feel like it made the material look too "cheap".
I was told by Frances that I need to include more sample and mark-making on my research page, I tried to remake one of my previous pages about refugees carrying bags to find a new home. I tried to select the main colors from those images but it seems doesn't work as good as I imagined. Because most of my previous pages are more in a tone-downed color, these bright colors pop too much when I turned to this page.
Also, I should not try to include so much information on one page so that it would not look as messy. There should be some heavy and light balance on one page so that the viewers' eyes can lie on to a focal point when looking at it.
My friend had suggested me to look up “Chinese people on Trains", a series of photography by Wang Fuchun. He spotlights Chinese people's behaviors on the train. "'Chinese People on the Train' is a metaphor. It symbolizes a transient and congested China where people have no goals and don’t know where they are going. "In the above photograph, the caption reads “The carriage is like a multi-faceted prism that mirrors with clarity the larger society, life, the family–everyone of us. It also resembles a stage where all kinds of comedies, tragedies, and farces are displayed. In other places, people are usually reserved and disciplined, but on the train, they are so much at ease and self-indulgent.”
As I looked into this series of photos, I did find a number of interesting images about how people sleep and live a decades ago in a small train carriage. I highlighted the interesting part of those images and define them as shapes. I think there might be some shapes that I can use later in my design. However, I was told by Katie that I need to make more samples taken inspirations from those photos. I think those images are quite interesting but I still had no clue how to translate this 2d image into a 3d forms.
I did a page about the animation character combining the Green man uniforms. I simplified the multi-head shapes into ball shapes and simplified the arms that hangs in the air as a head piece. I quite like this part of design because it is not too literal. However, I feel like my drawings under the head piece had ruined the page, both the color and the structure is not right.
I think the color consistency is not clear. I can see myself trying different colors when I flipped through my sketchbook. I should find a color scheme to work with.
Also, I think I should start working on more 3-d samples that shows how this "head piece" looks like, also, do more samples on the body. I should start creating primary research rather than using collaged images only.
I found an image about a Japanese animation character which has a girl character sitting inside the huge monster shell controlling the monster "costume". This multiple head character also have many arms that can accomplish more than one job at one time. I feel like this could be connect to the "multi roles" of the Green man. I think I can extract the shape from this animation character and create part of a garment using this shape.
I finally got some ideas after struggling for two days. As I have researched, Greenman's responsibilities go far beyond greeting people as they enter the building. Green man will hail taxies, carrying bags, give directions and keep an eye out for suspicious activity in and around the entrance of the building. The idea of multiple jobs/ different roles has inspired me. Therefore I began collage images of different work costumes and I feel like this is far more interesting than military uniforms. I tried to deconstruct the clothes (images) and reconstruct it on different body parts, this gives me some initial design ideas.
With the remaining questions I had about green man and the relevant war history, I went to the Harrods store and the Imperial War Museum with the primary aim of gathering some research about the Green Man and the history behind it.
I was interested in the part that Green women had replaced Green man's during 1915-1918 since Green Men were called up for World War One. On one of the articles I read it said, since Harrods faced a serious shortage of man, the female commissionaries are called up to replace many mens' job. Moreover, Harrods treat female colleagues equals to the male colleagues.
I went to Harrod to find the famous Green man. They were busy hailing taxis as my friends and I found the door where they are on duty. We asked one Green man if he can take photos with us, he was happy about it and more friendly as I imagined. Since we told him we are researching Harrods. He kindly introduced his uniforms which are all made in Harrods and let us take photos of the details. He also explained that he has been working for Harrods for 10 years, eight years as security guards and two years as the Green Man. I am quite surprised that he was in such a delightful manner in the afternoon when he had already served for thousands of customers. This made me understand why Harrods Green Man is so well-known that even represent the store.
Today is the first day of school day, in the morning we had an activity with partners to each explain our project proposals and then explain partner's idea to a group of six. I was a little shocked by this activity because normally we are asked to explain our own project to the group, but this time we are explaining each other's work. This means I have to truly understand my partner's work in the short 10 minutes. Also, I feel like explaining my ideas to a partner who is not familiar with this Chinese social phenomenon will be more difficult. Thankfully, by showing my partner some images of Chinese New Year Travel Rush he could understand it.
As he explained my project to other group partners, I feel like they can all understand my topic, which made me feel like my choose of topic is comprehensible for people from different culture. At this stage I feel like I have almost explained all the difficulties on the journey, so I don't know what is the next step I could work on. My group mate suggested me to think about what gift the travellers usually bring to their families.
In the afternoon, the class ran 6 different workshops to allow us continue working own this personal project, I attended the mark-making group because I feel like I should add more drawing mediums in my work so far. I was mainly using watercolor, ink and pencil, and collage materials. I need to find other mediums and techniques so that the page won't look all the same.
Today I spend a whole day doing observational drawing focuses on the amount of stuffs those "travelers" carry with them. By drawing layers and layers of bags and belongs on the body, this scene had reminded me of refugees, they all carry live necessities with them. Instead of the refugees are looking for a home, the travelers are on their way home. I want to use these luggages and bags to represent how hard it is on this journey. I looked into ways how those travelers and refugees carry their belongs and what they carry with them. This helped me to get an image of how they deal with those much bags. Some use strings to tie up all the bags, some piled them up on to one luaggage, and some people use tied the bags around the body to secure them.
Since I want this project to focus on my personal experiences, I spend the whole night in the library trying to come up with a main idea I will carry on with. When I had no clues of what to do next, I gave up a little bit and started to flipped news in my phone.
Suddenly, a news popped up in the app reporting the statics of this year's spring travel rush. A few days ago, I had the fourth Chinese New Year in different countries. I Felt homesick as I open the article. I saw images of people carrying huge luggages and necessities with them waiting in queues to buy ticket. Every year at around this time, there will be news reporting these phenomenons. But this year I feel extremely touched by the these images because it is the first New year I celebrated without any family members.
I feel like this could be the topic that I can work on with because it relates to me, I am somehow affected by this, and I can feel my self being part of them. I can see how tired they are on this journey, but it can not cover the exciting emotions on their faces. Then I started to research on to this topic, I found a Chinese designer's work that is about homesickness, he used the swirled telephone cord and many household objects as representations of home. I like how he use objects as metaphors to show his homesick feelings, I would be a good idea to look for elements that represents the "travelers" and myself.
Today's visit to Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition in the Vitoria and Albert Museum had made me understand the story behind the creation of this well-known cartoon character. This experience made me feel like I went back to the time I was still watching cartoons.
The real-scale set ups of scenes in the exhibition has recalled my memories of Winnie-the-Pooh as I walked along with A. A. Milne. and E. H. Shepards' manuscripts and sketches. This tour had allow me to look closely into Shepard's original illustrations and how he produce his drawings. For some reason, I like his proofs better than his final works. Because it is much more vivid, I can tell how he think about the character's movements and expressions as he use pencils to draw multiple rough lines on the paper. I have also learned a few techniques that might be useful for me later on, he use different mediums and tricks when he portrait different weather. When he draw rainy day, he use knife to scratch the drawing to create the sharp needle-like rain. When he draw snowy day, he applied white mediums on in between his pen marks. I think I should consider the object's property when I draw thing later on, using textures as a medium to help me achieve the feeling I want to portrait.
Today I visited Pace London, Tara Donovan's Compositions are exhibited. The artist using one singular material to create wall-mounted framed works in in various sizes. These works explores the usage of stratification as both a sculptural technique and a means to construct a two- dimensional picture frame. Donovan uses layered of heaped styrene cards and control the density and orientations of the cards as he carves in and position them on the "frame". Therefore, each works are developed through an spontaneous process of stacking the cards into uniques set of patterns. I am amazed by his work because it must be a time consuming process. Moreover, the 2 dimensional surfaces gains volume when I walked around the work, the works reveals the depth caused by the negative spaces between each of the cards. This is more interesting to me as it can be views differently when the viewer participate with it.
I started to think about my Part three project proposal after I heard the brief. Because I haven't make any project that is based on my personal experiences, I want this project to be focus on personal story telling. In this project, I wish I could do more draping on the body and develop a series of large scale three dimensional samples that can be used as part of my garment. I haven't create any final outcome or part of the garments for part 2 project. I wish I can speed up my researching process and leave more time to make a final outcome.
I stood up whole night pattern making and sewing the last layer of my design. I didn't have enough time to make a clear finish for my final layer, therefore, I decided to go with a rough edge. But I found this variation actually fits the travelers more. Because this shows more of their regardless of the bad temperature and the tiredness.
This afternoon is finally the photoshoot time! It was nice to see how my design looks like when it is been wearing on the human body. I quite like the shape the sleeves creates when the model moves. However, the plastic layer on the right arm looks a bit busy. I think it would look better if I remove one of the sleeve parts.
Sadly, my phone got robbed and I lost 10000+ photos I have been saved up for two years which include some of the process images I took recently.
I struggled quite a lot with my last layer because it would really affect the entire look and I don't want it to ruin it. I thought about the "bags" idea I drew before, but when I look through Pinterest I feel like there is much design that looks similar to that, it would be a cliche if I still design that. Then I thought about other ideas to pursue the overload feeling. Since I don't have much time before the photo shoot day, I can not complete a design with exaggerated shapes. I have to think about an easy shape that can also show this feeling.
And then, I went back to my original research, I found I can directly link the idea I wrote on the proposal about Stanley Wong's installation piece for the Chinese Weaving bags. This bag is often seen on people who carry lots of stuff. And I have seen many travelers taking that bags during the rush time. Since it is made of plastic, it is durable so that it can be used to carry heavy goods. I think the pattern itself is already clear to represent this weight. I found two fabrics that both have this grid patterns.
In order to add more of the overloading feeling to this garment, I designed a sloppy sleeve that can cover the three layers underneath of it. It is asymmetrical so that it feels like this sleeve is dragging the person down like the travelers burden-bearing their heavy luggage.
On the 7 and 8th of April, I tried to finish as much as I can before school begins. I found an easier way to design the second layer by printing out images of my first and second layers and place tracing paper to draw on top of it. In this way, I can clearly tell how the design looks like on top of the two layers. The final design is combined with multiple collars, cuffs, and other garment parts so that it fit the idea of "wearing multiple" layers of clothes. However, I think I could have done better if I got sufficient time.
In terms of the fabric, I was planning to find a khaki fabric that is used for trench coats, however, I only found one fabric in the shop that matches the color I want. The fabric is too soft so it didn't create the Sharpe silhouette I wanted and I also forget to buy interfacing to support its volume. When making the pleats for the bottom part. I was too lazy to do pleats on the pattern paper, instead, I pleated on the fabric randomly. therefore, the direction of the pleats is different from what I designed originally.
I spend a whole day pattern making and sewing this first layer. I didn't get pure white fabric because I think it would match more with my previous research pages. However, I feel like the creamy colored fabric looks a bit cheap when it hangs on the mannequin. After I sewed my sleeves on, I feel like it would look better if I added interfacing or boning to support a bulge princess shoulder. After I connected one sleeve to the shoulder seam, I feel like I could leave one side open and sew elastic band around the shoulder; so that the sleeve can be pulled down or pulled up based on the look I want.
And later, I added "waistband strips" on top of the shirt as both a decoration and a function of the shirt. Once I put a string through it, the garment length can be adjustable as well.
I did a few sketches from the outer layer to the inner layer, but I think this design would not look as good if I do it this way. I should design from the inner layer to the outer layer so that I have a clearer mind of what is going to happen. I think designing my garment layer by layer as I finished each layer would be the best option for this project.
I started to design the base layer of my garment today. I was originally thinking about making a huge oversized shirt. But sooner I gave up on that idea because I think the entire design will look too heavy if I added more layers on top. So I think a loose shirt will be just fine because it won't look too bulky with many layers and it won't look too over-designed as well. I think I should keep each layer simple, I don't want there to be too many things going on at one time. Also, I want to emphasize the relaxation the travelers felt at home, I think long dragging sleeves could be a good idea to show the laziness.
Today, my friend and I went to Buckingham Palace. On our way to London eye, I accidentally found The Women’s of World War Two Memorials. I quite like the idea that the sculptor uses the women's clothing to represent this group of people who took place men's job during the wartime (17 individual sets of clothing and uniforms worn by women during the war, symbolizing the hundreds of different jobs women undertook).
I feel like this could be a good idea to continue if I am still working on my Harrods project because the green women appeared when the green men went to the army and they had taken their places. I can research the type of jobs they have taken place, the types of uniforms they had worn and look into how the details of the garments different from men.
the women of ww2
I quite like the collage sample I made today. I painted three rectangular shapes in line just like the train window. And I crumpled up my research images (people and objects in the train carriage) and placed them within the black blocks with fabric swatches. This is the similar idea as what I did for the fabric in the frame. I covered/protected the images with a wide clear type which naturally create wrinkle when it sticks with the paper.
I think I could use this idea later on to fabrics as well. Use transparent fabrics as an outer layer and put other fabrics/objects inside. Maybe I could continue researching on luggage and gifts people carry back home, and find materials that can represent them, and placed them under the transparent layer.
Today I begin to think about how I can make a sample relate to the confined space inside the train. I found an image of Maison Margiela's exhibition. A tight plastic layer wearing on top of a loose garment which created folds on the underneath layer. I feel like this is quite similar to the idea I want to achieve. Just like people and luggage piled up in a tiny new year train carriage space.
I started to use different fabrics to create folds within a frame. I quite like the result of it, but I think it would be better if I try it out with other fabrics (different color and different weight).
We paired up with a partner in the fashion group to talk about the work we had done in the past two weeks. I quite like my partner's (Mei) work since it is really different from the sketchbooks I have seen before. She is minimalism, she only put a little sample/images on each page, but it looks so clean and fresh; simple yet powerful. Whilst I feel like my sketchbooks are too full, there need spaces like that to allow a breath for the audience.
We had a selection for Harrods project in the afternoon, I was not selected for it and I think I know the reason why. I had struggled with this project for a long time since I can not push myself think further out of the idea of "infantry" and "multi-tasking". I wanted to find a more fanciful concept but I feel like myself too afraid to start with a new idea or to overturn my idea. I tried to work on some samples last night but I failed. I couldn't help myself thinking about the color green; but at the same time, I don't want to work with green just because of the color of the uniform. Another reason might be: I am used to working with a landscape A3 sized sketchbook, an A4 sketchbook made me feel like there aren't enough spaces to work with.
I attended the Grayson Perry talk today and I felt fully motivated by what he said. After the interview with CSM, I feel like I have lost a goal for myself. I can't concentrate on my work. I was not motivated enough to continue researching and working on my new projects. During his speech, I felt completely inspired. Not only by his words but also through his attitudes and his cheerful personality. I started to question myself why I chose fashion, and why I create art. Do I want to learn fashion because I want to make a living in this world or do I create fashion because I enjoy designing it? This also made me questioning about the kind of design I wanted to create. Do I want it to be reckoned by most of the people or do I want to pursue the meaning of my design even though it is not widely approved?
I do think I really need this kind of talk at this stage for myself, thanks to him, I can begin to move forward.
This morning I had my progress tutorial with Katie about my Unit 7 personal project and Harrods project.
For personal project: I need to start thinking about my color palette since most of my pages are monochrome and some pages are colored, Katie suggests that those pages too jumpy when she flips through my sketchbook. I should find colors within my research images and start to use those colors when I draw/college. In terms of choice of materials/techniques, I should start to explore more techniques through sample manipulation, work on the body as well.
Since I struggled about the part about "inside the train", she suggested me to explore the contrast of volume surrounding the body versus the confined space of the traveling environment. I think this would be a great starting idea. Also, it would be great if I can start to link personal emotions, and show the strong emotional change of travelers on this journey.
Moreover, She said that I need to clearly annotate my sketchbook pages (briefly) so that each page is easily understandable for people who don't know my topic well.
For Harrods: I am happy that Katie liked my initial reservation about the project by focusing on the varied tasks that the green man does by relating it to varied occupations. However, I need to push myself more to exaggerate and develop a more fanciful concept to push the idea of being prepared.
I went to CSM library to find more books that is relevant to my personal project for my Unit 7 project proposal.
After that, I started to look for books that could give me inspirations for Harrods project. Because Harrods has a history that is about War. I looked into military books and military uniforms which correspond to my first impression of the Harrods Green. This color on the Green man always make me feel like they are the real army. Occasionally, I found a book about infantries that are wearing green uniforms who are also serving the country. I am also attracted by the uniforms they wear since it is very multi-functional.
However, I feel like the idea of connection Harrods Green Man with military soldiers is not the direction I want to work with. I need to find ideas that is more about Green Man's characters rather than their appearances.
Yesterday, we were introduced to the Live Project brief so I decided to go to CSM library to do some research about the Harrod and the Green Man.
I watched quite a few videos showing about Harrods' history and did some online research about Harrods and its Green man. I tried to find some books that is about Harrods, however, I only found an old catalogue of Harrods' merchandise in the old time. I am amazed by the amount of goods Harrods sales in the early time. The Harrods store already had many departments in the early time, which even includes barber shops, pet stores; which suits the Harrods motto: "Omnia Omnibus Vbique".
I am also surprised that the Green Man plays an important role in Harrods' history. They are not just uniformed door man, but also the ambassadors of Harrods that represent the whole store. They carries more responsibilities than just a door man. I think researching on to Green man's character would be a good starting point.
I had a tutorial with Frances this morning for my proposal draft. While reading through my proposal together with Frances, we both found a few wordings that needs to be changed or edited. She has pointed out that a few sentences are unclear that I have to explain more. Show more example rather than use vague languages. I need to finish the rest of the schedule plan as well.
Because I want to create a narration of the story. I decided to work on different scenes that are commonly seen during the New Year Travel Rush on different pages. I organised different stage of difficulties on the journey. Traveling with heavy stuffs, waiting in line to buy ticket, facing extreme weather, experience tiredness, finding space in the crowds, and etc. Because the idea of New Year Travel Rush might be a new idea to explain to people, I want my sketchbook to show a flow of the story, detail by detail, so that people can easily understand my idea. And this will also allow myself to understand the "travellers" better.
I had difficulties to draw the shadows and wrinkles created by carrying bags, I found clothes with different weight and different fabrics, placed them on my body and wore my bags on. This helped me to visualise how the wrinkles are naturally created.
As I researching relevant images for collage on sketchbook, I found the way backpackers tie up bag on them are similar to those travellers. I quite like the collage I did using images of backpacker's backpack on the body as part of my design. Placing these images on different body part made me realised that those bags doesn't have to be manually carried, it can be part of the garment so that give reliefs to the travellers.
I had a tutorial for my project proposal this morning. I had a long discussion with the tutor about my project concept. We discussed that my proposal is too vague, it should be focus on a more specific topic. After I explained my new ideas about homesickness to him, he asked me to write more about my feelings about homesick and this phenomenon rather than broadly talking about this is about personal feelings.
I continued working on yesterday's idea on my sketchbook. I remembered myself reading an article about Migratory birds, I feel like their migratory journey is similar to those "travelers" who travels from different part of China to their hometowns. They all endures a long journey and faces extreme temperatures and difficulties, but their mind are pursuing them to go to the place where they can settle down. Just like the "travelers" facing difficulties to buy tickets, to survive in the crowds with loads of belongings; those migratory birds face countless dangers on their way to the final destinations. Some birds are being hid hard some died because illegal killing, poisoning, pollution and collisions. I feel like these two ideas could be connected as I further work along with this topic.
Today I visited a few small galleries in soho after I had lunch with my friends.
The Memory of Process by Minjung Kim catched my eyes. His work use minimalist language to portrait abstraction in series. I was surprised by his work when I look closely, they all have tactile surfaces, with wide fibres, these tactile are created by burning the edges or centre with fire, and then layer by layer collaged as one piece. I like how she use one single techniques and manipulated in different ways so that each works spreads out a different feeling to me.
Patrick Hughes' Love Box was one of my favourite works I have seen today. I saw this work when I walked down the stairs in Flowers Gallery, my friend and I almost responded together "this drawing can move!". When I looked closely, I found out the drawing are painted on a 3 dimentional surface which is precisely calculated with the drawing. He uses perception into his sculpted paintings, so that my mind was deceived into believing the impossible created by him, that a static painting can move of its own. I like the fact that I was deceived by him, believe in him, as well as participated into his works. I like how he concerned his works with optical and visual illusions, I want to create my works that carries out interesting elements that can let the viewer participate into my work.