Life has been full lately, not much sewing happening sadly, unschooling with Luna an Blake fills my day, and I have been juggling a little work this month. I have had the pleasure of doing some artist visits in Auckland schools. I tailor a slide show and talk to suit where textile students are at and what they are working on, but more excitedly, I bring Hydra and Coralline along for the day so students can get up close and hands on, they are the two garments I entered in Cult Couture last year.
The feedback has been wonderful, with students feeling like they have had some insight into the design process. The challenges, organisation and planning, experiments, technical issues, the setbacks and failures along with the excitement of discovering that an idea imaged, can come together.
I talk about the extensive visual research I undertake, and how my wider interests, like marine ecology and science fiction feed into my art projects and how this contributes to a strong concept and a good design. I talk about my choice to use what I can access in my environment, often limiting my materials to post-consumer waste rather than traditional high quality textiles, I talk about real sustainability, not the kind used to sell us more stuff. The kind of sustainability that leads to conscious choices, and deeper thinking, and looking ahead.
I present slides that document my ideas and experiments, I like to drape my ‘fabrics’, to understand how they work and get a better picture of what is possible, I bring with me some of the textiles that I developed as I experimented, and some books that I refer to when I need a bit of inspiration.
There I am talking about the hours of hand-stitching involved in attaching the woven textile to the bodice…I’m not sure if this puts people off or inspires them! In the least I suppose they get a better picture of the hours of work and skill that goes into making a garment like this.
I’m looking forward to more visits in the next few months, it’s really inspiring working with younger people. This is something I would have LOVED when I was in high school, and hopefully it helps keep art alive and real in the education system.