Final Images and Evaluation

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Out of all of the projects for the FMP, this is my personal favourite and the piece I think is the strongest. Because of the powerful connection to the project, this was a bit of a emotional rollercoaster for me but it was a perfect way of honouring the people I miss, and almost a way for me to come to terms with the loss.

I’m so happy with how the dress came out. I have been asked where I bought it, which made me very happy because I wanted to create a highly professional looking dress that could be bought from a fashion brand. The finishing is perfect and my seamstress did a brilliant job. It turned out exactly how I imagined it would.

Creating the pattern was very challenging for me. I’ve never created a design as big as that, but thankfully it turned out perfect. The print is crisp, despite the fact that the images were blown up a lot larger than the original drawings. I think that although the meaning behind the print won’t be obvious to everyone, there is something about it that will make people think that it is more than just a decorative pattern. Venturing outside of my comfort zone to have such a deep, personal and meaningful concept was difficult for me but now I see that my work is so much stronger when a lot of thought goes into the design process.
Photographing and making the lookbook I felt was really important. I don’t usually undertake a lot of photography, and this project kind of made me fall back in love with it again. I now know the importance of using well thought out and beautiful photography in enhancing my illustration.
Using colour has never been my strong point, so I think I have done really well here in picking a beautiful colour palette that compliments each other really well. I also never draw flowers or fruits/vegetables ever, I used to be really bad at it and I didn’t enjoy it, but this project has pushed me to get better at one of my weak points in my drawing and designing. I also always stick to symmetry, so creating a print that was so random was really challenging, but it paid off here. A random design suits the subject matter and the flow of the dress so much better and gives the design a “natural” look.
I don’t know if I would produce more of these dresses, as this pattern is personal to me so I’d like to make this a one off. However, I see no reason as to why I can’t make similar designs to this with a similar dress.
I was initially worried that because I didn’t print the fabric or make the dress that it would seem like it wasn’t my work. However, i’ve come to realise that my role is that of an illustrator and designer – I’m not a printer or a seamstress. Focusing my efforts on being really good at one thing is really paying off for me. This year I have realised my strengths and limitations, and I know when things should be left to someone else more proficient in a skill to help me realise my ideas.
I will be collaborating with a clothing designer soon, so this project for me allowed me to get my skills up to scratch, so that when I create designs for fabric in the future it will be so much easier for me because I am already familiar with the technique. I really think that this piece will look fantastic in my portfolio, especially as up until now I have only created designs for t-shirts. Creating this dress and lookbook has strengthened my skills as an artist, and is helping me on my way to becoming a much more versatile illustrator. Although this design is dark, there’s no reason why I can’t soften up my work with brighter colours. I definitely think I could create work for more mainstream brands, which is key to me be able to secure more work and commissions in the future.
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Final Degree Show

This piece is the project that I want to display in the final show – because it will be the most interesting visually to display and I can do so much more with it than the beer bottles or the book cover.
My main inspiration was Alexander McQueen’s show at the V&A. I want my dress to not just look like an item of clothing, but also a piece of art.  I want my display to be mysterious and dramatic, and to evoke the subject matter.

 

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My idea is to display the dress as if it is floating, suspended in mid air. I will use fishing wire to create this effect, as it is strong and almost invisible.
Also suspended from the dress with fishing wire will be flower petals.  I kept all of the dead flowers that I used for references because I had a feeling I would be needing them. I will tie fishing wire to one end, then on the other end create a loop and pin the flowers and wire to the underskirts of the dress.

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Underneath the dress I want a display on the floor of flower petals, as if they’ve dropped off of the dress. I feel that this shows the themes of decay and memento mori really well – it shows the dress as almost a tree or flower, wilting and dropping petals.
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I was upset that I wasn’t able to include the insects in my design, as it would have been too cluttered, so I bought taxidermy insects that I will attach/pin to the dress using pins. The insects will create even more of a Vanitas feel because they look like they’re still alive, when in reality they are dead. This dead/alive theme is so strong within Vanitas imagery. The insects I chose are moths, a cicada and beetles – the same ones I found in my research that had the most meaning to me.

 

It was also suggested to me in my crit that i could include music playing. McQueen’s exhibition was a triumph because the music they picked for the displays made such an impact in connection with the pieces.
It is possible that I could hide some small speakers near my piece.

One choice for the music would be Shine on You Crazy Diamond I-IX. After my friend passed away I would listen to this song on repeat as the lyrics reminded me of her. The only problem is that it is a very long song and would need to be cut down. I would only pick the instrumental parts of the song, because I don’t really want to include any singing in the music.

I also thought about using this instrumental piece by Einaudi. The only issue I have is that it sounds a little too…cheerful. I don’t think it would have the right impact for the installation.

The last choice for my installation is the one I am going with. This instrumental piece by Nine Inch Nails has been one of my favourite songs for years. It has a really ethereal quality to it. This song is what I could listen to in any mood and somehow it seems to reflect it perfectly. For my installation, it will be a sombre, haunting accompaniment to the theme and I think it will work perfectly.
To make the music a little more personal to me, I decided to record myself performing a piano cover of A Warm Place. As I’ve shown before in other projects, piano is a hobby of mine that I have been trying to master since the age of 7, so it i and has been a huge part of my life. Playing piano is a good release for me, hammering away at the keys relieves a lot of stress and tension and also gives my hands a break from drawing while still stretching them out and keeping them limber.
I think that if I put a lot of effort into my installation, it could be really beautiful. I’ve never displayed my work quite like this so it is a huge challenge for me. I think that this piece is the perfect way of honouring the people I miss.

Fabric, Seamstress and Finishing the Dress

My fabric arrived from the company I ordered from and I’m so pleased with how it has turned out. The colours are perfect – subtle but not too dark. The detail shows up fine and the fabric hasn’t pixellated and remains crisp and clear despite the large size.
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I also purchased a black cotton lining material. Black seemed to bring out the colours better than white underneath the fabric.

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I gave the pattern, printed and lining fabric to my seamstress. She took my measurements, then went away and constructed some of the dress.

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At this stage the lining material hadn’t been sewn in under the main skirt yet. The colours still look great! The dress is very floaty which is exactly what I wanted.
The finished dress. I couldn’t be happier with this – the finish is so professional. The dress has good proportions and fits really well. The pattern and the fabric create a beautiful floaty effect which works very well together. The seamstress did a fantastic job and I’m so proud that I am able to wear something that is my own design but looks like it came from a store like All Saints.