Fashion and Object Design with Anna Lewis

Anna begins by talking about how clothes and fabrics are a part of our everyday language. She discusses the notion of ‘fashion object’ and the importance of it being functional as well as sculptural. Anna encourages participants to think outside of the box and consider how this object could be worn. She uses the dramatic creations of fashion designer Alexander McQueen as well as images of her own work as inspiration. These examples shown, often restrict the body and use layers and components to build an abstract form.

The tasks for the day are designed around the participants creating abstract shapes that will become the basis for their fashion object. These objects will be sculpted out of Rattan and formed into structures using cable ties and pegs. Once fixed the objects will become three dimensional drawings that will be displayed together as one continual piece during the Portfolio exhibition.

Students are asked to draw the drapes and folds that have been created with fabric hanging from a washing line across the room. Using ink and Chinese brushes, Anna asks them to focus on the thick, deep lines they are creating and to carry the drawing through as one continuous sketch. After studying the fabric, the participants move on to looking at how the material falls across the body. Using a model, the students consider proportion and the different folds that come with fabric being worn. Anna gets the students to explore a ‘blind drawing’ method, wherein they keep their eyes on what they’re drawing, opposed to the paper. This approach results in very free and abstract drawings.

These drawings inform the next task of creating their Rattan fashion objects. The Rattan has been soaked in water and so is very malleable, allowing the students to begin experimenting with the pegs and cable ties. Some work in groups, others as individuals but the outcomes are varied- from fashion objects that sit on the knee that wind up the body, to head-pieces that follow down the spine. Each student has a different interpretation.

Once completed, the shadows of these objects were used to create intricate abstract drawings using fine liners and black markers. Students added tracing paper to increase these complicated layers, resulting in outcomes that were almost architectural in their use of line. Anna talks about how surface pattern is about constantly developing ideas/patterns. She mentions that these drawings would look great as screen prints and are of such a standard that would rival her 3rd year surface pattern students.




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