Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Katie Harris-MacLeod

‘Machlag’"Machlag means womb in Scottish Gaelic. A word of intrigue within my practice. Life, as represented by nature, is a constant, self-repeating cycle. Through birth [maiden], life [mother] and death [crone] a woman comes to understand her place within the world. From personal aspects of my own life I am able to interpret this cycle into three different but concurrent stages - Loss, acceptance and rebirth. My work is based on this cycle. As a woman I feel through loss, my connection to nature is omnipresent. I am able to learn and accept its process, through personal exposure to the natural world. This body of work conveys collations of family narratives, repetition and a poetic dialogue between multiple generations.
I have chosen, predominantly, to use [sheep] wool as it is bio-regional to Scotland, ecologically sustainable, generally underused and in absolute abundance, coming from my families farm on the West Coast of Scotland. Wool represents protection, warmth, versatility and life. It is a beautiful natural fibre, which can be used to create a vast array of commodities. It is symbolic of meaning and true to its origins of nomadic culture. Using wool to create a material such as felt dismisses the traditional role of the artist as painter or sculptor. Felt being traditionally a ‘female’ material allows one to recognise a medium which suitably reflects my situation and its relation to the body; it is vulnerable and fragile. It has an earthy heaviness and an ethereal lightness of which allows for poetic and playful concepts behind the use of the material. With its anatomical associations, it is skin like; in the way, it takes form, with gravity, stress, balance and kinaesthetic sense.
The concept behind creating large spherical felt sculptures is that these forms are translated into something that is also female; the womb. Felt is compared to that of a womb because of its ability to absorb, to insulate, to protect and to mute. It is a symbol of life and it is literally a living piece of nature. These, then womb like sculptures are translated back to a woman’s innate connection with the earth and using a material which ‘she’ continues to provide. These sculptures symbolise a progressive tide of memories and emotions, built up over the space of life, maiden/mother/crone; a space in which one can be reborn. The outside world is muffled by the thick dark walls of the womb, reminiscent of being underwater. Silence. Embodying a narrative journey of loss, abandonment and the continuous search for a space that is sacred, safe, the mother/the father, her, woman, she, our innate [human] desire and need for protection. This narrative is then recorded through, a poetic dialogue between the artist, landscape, performance and practice of the wild, [soft] sculpture, photography, sonic art and a collation of artists books and limited editions." Katie Harris-MacLeod

For me Katies work recalled Iranian shepherds from the 1950's who wore amazing felted fleece capes (see below).

As well as the work of the incredible Magdalena Abakanowicz, who I have just found out sadly died on the 20th of April this year (examples of her work below).

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Yan Smiley II

                                     Above: photograph by Gareth Easton

Yan Smiley's: 'A Voiceless Vault of Blue' (Above) and 'King' (Below) graduate performance costumes. 

'A Voiceless Vault of Blue', is a self devised sci-fi ballet set on a Scottish Loch side in 1670. The design takes inspiration from Scottish poetry, restrictions and warped perceptions of life within mirrored stained glass. 

" The album 'King' by Fleshgod Apocalypse, takes barbaric manipulations from a 19th century court to reflect on the poisonous nature of contemporary society, with the King representing honour and good within us all 

Above and below: Photograph of detail by Yan Smiley

Friday, 26 May 2017

Isobel Keeys

Isobel Keeys graduate collection for Performance Costume at ECA was created for Slade House by David Mitchell. The performance of this part of the show was incredibly eerie but also stunningly beautiful. 

"I took inspiration from the ‘still space’ that the twins are suspended in. it’s a place where they are both dead and alive simultaneously. I wanted to play on the idea of distorted reality as well as comparing the state that the twins are in, to pressed flowers.
                            Above: Detail by Torya Winters 

I also wanted to compare the fact that the flowers are being preserved in what resembles their alive state while actually being dead. I think this relates to what the twins have created perfectly.In the book, the author hints that colour is the hardest thing for the twins to maintain when projecting the world into the minds of their pray, so I used that idea of drained colour as my colour pallet. I wanted to only have accent hints of colour in the costumes; playing on the idea that things maybe aren’t quite what they seem, and that by adding small amounts of accent colour you brain would maybe fill in the blanks." Isobel Keeys

All images above: Hazel Terry. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Gracie Martin

Gracie Martin's costumes for Judith Kerr's classic story, 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea' were inspired by 1920's Art Deco patterns the tigers acceptability/ respectability, that enabled him to enter the home is interestingly conveyed by the use of the tie, the stripes on the chest are created using multiple ties and the pointed tie shape is then carried through into the design and repeated in the layered shoulders and mask.  

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Velia Ansorg

Velia Ansorg's final presentation was designed using contemporary dance to interpret Bon Iver's 10 dEAThbREasT.
The album art inspired the digital print for the garments whilst accents to the movement are accentuated using illuminated origami elements.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Abigail King

For her degree collection Abigail King designed a site specific immersive interpretation of the 'Beauty and the Beast' by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, combining it with elements of Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber'.
The shoulders of the jacket of the beast incorporate digital prints of 'The Venus of Urbino', 1538 by Titian, which peep through the suiting fabric. The dress has a sea of embroidered eyes across the shoulders.
" The costumes draw upon fetishism and sexuality to create pieces that explore gender stereotypes, femininity and Gothicism." Abigail King 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Lucy Hutchcraft, Diwali

I was in awe of this project when it was launched at the beginning of the academic year for the third year performance costume students at ECA. The freedom, texture, vibrance and exuberance that it afforded was fantastic.
Students were asked to design costumes that would use brightly coloured and patterned sari fabrics donated by the charity Scottish Love In Action, and incorporate lighting into their designs
The work for this project launched this years Performance Costume show Lucy Hutchcraft's 'King' was one of the pieces;
"This project was so much fun. We were given the task to create a costume spectacle for the Diwali festival, which had to include lights! My costume is based on the evil King Narakasura, and legend says he was thief, so my costume is covered in lots of different textiles and fabrics and creates a lot of movement." Lucy Hutchcraft

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Dayna Ali

                              Above: Photograph by Laurence Winram
Dayna Ali's degree production took Irvine Welsh's 'Marabou Stock Nightmares' as it's theme. Dayna bought it to a heightened horror and surrealism by the animation of the marabou Stork. The costume is designed to be worn back to front, with the actor patrolling the stage backwards.  The storks costume uses elements from football casuals with it's merging of football attire (all perfectly and disgustingly stained) and the mask and wings of the stork.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Ellie Finch

This week saw the annual performance costume show at Edinburgh College of Art. This show stopping costume of 'Marian' is by Ellie Finch designed for 'The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood' by Howard Pyke.
The English folktale is retold in contemporary Mexico focussing on the economic inequality and rise in violence due to the drug trade. Marian's headpiece is adorned with syringes and poppies that are reflected in the kaleidoscopic design of her full skirt which is a complex pattern of syringes, machine guns, and cannabis leaves.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Gergei Erdel

Gergei Erdei's shell-encrusted collection from London College of Fashion's MA show, inspired by 19th Century Sailor’s Valentines. Gergei's mask work reminds me of the wonderful work of James Merry for Bjork.