I am a blogger and started blogging almost a year ago for #MyLeicester – a business a friend and I started. However, this style of blog was quite difficult for me to comprehend and understand as we had to reference and keep a formal style of writing throughout. I have found writing the blogs to be quite enjoyable even though we had to do a lot of extensive research.
I have looked at a number of blogs that my colleagues have also created for this module. I’d like to shed some light on Faith’s blog – I really like her style of writing and the way she communicates and delivers her content. Her blog has been presented really well. it is very clear to see her images and thought process of the blog. The content also flows really nicely and she has a great use of imagery that corresponds well with what she has written.
I would like to carry on my blog as I think it is a very good way of developing an online portfolio but I also think communication between an individual and their audience is really important. As I am already a blogger I would like to continue to develop my blog with more information on artists and designers who influence my work. I’d also like to discuss different techniques and processes that I use regularly. I understand the importance of referencing and would like my blog to be a source for other students, designers, artists, writers etc. when they are looking for reliable information. One of the main barriers when writing these blogs was finding information that was referenced and sourced correctly so that I could use it as a good reference in my own work.
I have enjoyed writing these blog posts and I hope you have enjoyed reading them!
I recently went to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London which is where I found this structure that I really like.
It is an architectural model called “Transparent Void of a Tree” created by Sou Fujimoto who is well known for his “permeable structures and delicate, light filled spaces” – this model has been made using acrylic and glue. The reason I am so attracted to this is because he explores the themes of both nature and the man-made; particularly focusing on how buildings and installations can “straddle the space” between them. This particular structure is merely a model for an “immersive environment” that was created for an exhibition at the V&A. Fujimoto’s work seems so light, clear and refined that sometimes when looking at these structures it appears as though “gravity has ceased to exert its pull.” (Maak, 2013)
Sou Fujimoto was born in Tokyo, 1971 and has established his own office “Sou Fujimoto Architects”. His main goal is to “create a fundamental or new relationship between people” (Gadanho, 2016, p. 13) He was invited by the V&A, alongside eighteen architects, to submit a proposal for a structure that examines notions of “refuge and retreat.” (V&A, 2016) This model, alongside six others, were “selected for construction at full-scale.” (V&A, 2016) It “reawakened people’s ability to inhabit architectural space on both a physical and an emotional level.” (V&A, 2016)
“Transparent Void of a Tree”, made in 2009, is quite simply a cube that is made up of lots of acrylic triangles which have been glued together at different angles. The object is transparent but has different levels of density when looking through – it is never truly opaque. The multiple layers created within the structure create a cloudy effect. The cube’s interior is filled with a “crystalline structure” (V&A, 2016). The geometrics, layering techniques and the composition of the model inspire me.
The concept of this structure references ‘engawa’ – this is a Japanese word that identifies the separation of the house and the garden. (Archer, 2010) “The simplicity of the Japanese culture” (Fujimoto, 2010) has influenced the works of Sou Fujimoto but he still likes to create things that are complex. The combination of nature and artificiality appeals to him as nature is “really complex” (Fujimoto, 2010) and artificialities are based on simplicity. So he likes to create something very complex by using an artificial method. (Fujimoto, 2010)
The theme of this structure is “inside and outside” (Fujimoto, 2010) which are “very exciting key words” (Fujimoto, 2010) for Fujimoto. The inside and outside of the structure are “melting together” (Fujimoto, 2010) whereby it cannot be identified as to which is the outside and which is the inside. The concept of this structure was very clear; the idea of a “transparent tree shape” (Fujimoto, 2010) but the actual construction and how to create it became a big problem for him – what I had seen at the museum was only a model/prototype of the actual structure. There were a range of factors that had to be considered, re-evaluated and changes such as the materials, structures and combinations of the triangular shapes of the glass to make it more abstract but still ensuring it looked like a real tree. (Fujimoto, 2010)
The final structure really amazes me because Fujimoto has combined two very different styles of working together both in terms of the procedure and the materials used. There’s a “nice combination of laser cut plexiglass” (Fujimoto, 2010) with a hand-craft method of using cable ties. It’s a “primitive, simple way to tie things” (Fujimoto, 2010) combined with a more precise, complex method of cutting glass. (Fujimoto, 2010) It’s almost like a “delicate stitching of the cable ties” (Thomas, 2010) is used to attach each piece of glass together.
When Fujimoto first created the model he didn’t know where he would be placing his life-size structure but he acknowledged that the V&A museum is made of stone and so he decided to use a more “contemporary material”. (Fujimoto, 2010) The process of creating models to scale is a very “old and conventional technique of representation” (Provencio & Almazan, 2011) but Fujimoto sees it as a form of visualising beforehand; thus being able to identify any problems. It makes way for innovative architectural designs.
For this blog post I’ll be concentrating on my mother’s attire on her wedding day – 31st August 1987.
My mother wore a white dress made of “satin and voile” (Dookanwala, 2016) which had purple embroidery on it. The significance of the purple is only there to state it was her favourite colour. “I did not buy the dress ready made because we couldn’t afford it.” (Dookanwala, 2016) Instead my mother bought material she liked and had it sewn by one of her friends – a semi-professional seamstress. The inspiration for the dress came from Pronuptia – a brand who specialised in wedding dresses.
The bodice of the dress was made out of satin and had a “v-line shape at the waist ever so slightly” (Dookanwala, 2016), which was only visible when looking at her from a side view due to the bouquet.
My mother “wasn’t actually going to be having a bouquet” (Dookanwala, 2016), partly due to the extra expense so when she had the dress made she added the v-cut because “the style of dress was appropriate” (Dookanwala, 2016). The bouquet my mother ended up holding is from two years beforehand when my grandmother’s youngest sister got married. “She suggested I could have hers to borrow so I took her up on it.” (Dookanwala, 2016) It’s known as a “bouquet of tumbling roses” (Worsley, 2000, p. 67) or a “loose cascade bouquet” (Worsley, 2000, p. 288). These were in fashion at the time and proves to be a “romantic option for a traditionally dressed bride” (Worsley, 2000, p. 288). A similar style of bouquet was also chosen for two of my aunties in the 20th century.
My grandparents were strict when my mother got married and they were going through “hard times” (Dookanwala, 2016), they “didn’t have a lot of money” (Dookanwala, 2016) and so there were many restrictions in terms of what they would spend money on and where they could save money by using alternative options.
My mother and her friend got together to make the hair piece attached to her scarf. The hair piece is made out of ribbon and beaded stems. “Flowers, embroidery, ribbons and beading can be added to a plain veil to provide interest; it is particularly effective when worn with a plain dress.” (Worsley, 2000, p. 290) The majority of my mother’s dress was plain with detail on the bottom half of the skirt. Her choice for the veil then helped to “complete the outfit” (Dookanwala, 2016) and made it feel more cultural. She couldn’t find a matching scarf so she had it embroidered in India; hence the embroidery is different in style and colour to the voile used on the dress.
My mother’s wedding dress is in the style of an A-Line which “has a fitted bodice and flared skirt.” (Delamore, 2005, p. 94) By definition the A-Line has a “horizontal seam at the waist” (Delamore, 2005, p. 94), however my mother’s was adapted to have a v-cut on the waist which can be looked at as an “antique” (Parker, 2013, p. 313). This is a very classic style of dress and it is “as popular now as it was 50 years ago.” (Delamore, 2005, p. 94)
The skirt was “fully gathered with as much material as we could spare” (Dookanwala, 2016). The dress was three-quarters length as the material she chose was “end of the line” (Dookanwala, 2016) and she “liked it too much” (Dookanwala, 2016) so she made the sacrifice of having it short. This gave it more of an Indian look as she is wearing churidaar trousers with it. These are like leggings but made to gather up at the ankle so they are purposefully made longer. The voile had a “lace-edged frill” which was very popular in the 1980s – Princess Diana also wore this on her wedding (Rokit, 2016).
In a time period where “everything was big” (G, 2007), her sleeves were “leg-of-mutton” (Dookanwala, 2016) which are “puff to the elbow and slim to the wrist.” (Delamore, 2005)
She wore open-toed heels and wore gold jewellery including a necklace, earrings, bracelet and bangles.
In the 1980s it was common to have this style of dress. However, the way it was made up and the cultural additions make it more unusual to be seen both in the UK and in India. My mother would have liked to wear a proper English dress for her wedding but circumstance and financial issues didn’t allow for it. At the time in India, “brides wore a more traditional lengha suit. If I was in India I definitely wouldn’t have worn white.” (Dookanwala, 2016)
DELAMORE, P. (2005) The Wedding Dress: A Sourcebook. London: Pavilion Books.
DOOKANWALA, R.B. (2016) ‘Wedding Dress’. Interview with Khadija Dookanwala for Family Photograph, .
JULIE (2000) More 80s Fashion and Music. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6752415.stm (Accessed: 2016).
PARKER, S. (2013) ‘Fashioning Michael Field: Michael Field and Late-Victorian Dress Culture’, Journal of Victorian Culture: JVC, 18(3), p. 313.
ROKIT (2016) The History of the Wedding Dress. Available at: http://www.rokit.co.uk/blog/history-of/history-wedding-dress (Accessed: 2016).
WORSLEY, H. (2000) The White Dress. London: Laurence King Publishing.
The Italian Silk Lampas is a compilation of silks that share “a basic weave structure” (Monnas, 2008, p. 295) where the ground is formed from a warp – “threads fixed to the loom, running the length of the cloth” (Monnas, 2008, p. 296) – and weft – “threads, passed over or under the warps by the weaver, running in the width direction” (Monnas, 2008, p. 296). The pattern is formed by one or more wefts that are on a separate warp, together they create a Lampas. The unique quality of a Lampas is the contrast in texture for the ground and pattern – most often the ground is warp-faced and the pattern is weft-faced, however this is interchangeable. (Monnas, 2008)
Silk was used as a component for weaving as early as the third century in the Eastern industries. The Italian Silk Industry was not well-acknowledged until the thirteenth century. The success of the Italian Silk Industry was dependent on the importation of cloths by Europeans in the thirteenth century. It was due to Venice’s “virtue of its political, economic, and cultural ties with the Levant” (Mola, 2000, p. 162) that two different versions of fabrics were then produced: flax/cotton threads mixed with silk or just pure silk. (Mola, 2000)
The silk industry was rapidly growing in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The silk guild supervised the entire industry, its managements and the relations with the wider market which expanded fast, leading to a corporation of weavers and silk workers being formed in 1582 and 1602 respectively. (Borelli, 1998)
The Italian Silk Lampas is broadly recognised as a drapery or upholstery fabric showing power, status and wealth of those who owned it. Silk has been used largely in the textile industry as a “badge of status for the wealthiest members of society” (Monnas, 2008, p. 1). However, on special occasions the silk was used for displays and processions so everyone could embrace the “general pride and enjoyment” (Monnas, 2008, p. 1) of celebrations.
The type of silk that was worn, the detail on it, the depth of the pattern and the range of colours used, all depicted the differences in status and wealth. Some of the wealthiest members of society were known for owning silk and gold Flemish tapestries. Royal courts were known for owning Italian brocaded velvet. Other wealthy citizens owned “linen sheets striped or embroidered with silk” (Monnas, 2008, p. 1).
It was always important to ensure the specific type of textile was noted down so as to make a point of the wealth and status of the owner. (Monnas, 2008) The differences in the cloths was not always obvious. (Mola, 2000) There were a huge variety of silk fabrics available but only some were masterpieces worn by the royal families and individuals of very high status. (Rammo, 2016) The quality of the fabric used to make the silks was also an indication of the level of respect that the wearer should be shown. Those who are higher in society, social class and wealth wore the more expensive silks; commanding a higher level of respect from members of the society. (Monnas, 2008)
The interpretation of status, wealth and power was not only communicated physically through the possession of the type of cloths, it was also demonstrated in paintings. When working out of Venice, Paolo Veneziano, a well-known artist, changed his style of working whereby his work would consist of simple geometric patterns with overlapping circles instead of the more “rich oriental shapes of the lotus, chrysanthemum and peony” (Frattaroli, 2009) he was originally known for. The pattern in the paintings corresponded directly with the power and superiority of the client and their situation intentionally (Frattaroli, 2009). Some paintings were specifically altered from the original silk garment created by using distortion for iconographic purposes – this made it less expensive and took away from its original quality. (Monnas, 1990)
Garments worn today have specific meanings when worn at certain events/occasions. Similarly, in May 1509, the chief magistrate of Venice wore an ormesino – a plain, lightweight, reasonably priced silk – revealing his grief as Venice suffered a great loss of her possessions in battle a couple of days beforehand. Thus his attire communicated his emotions and feelings. Had he worn a cloth of gold, his feelings would have been hidden by the power, status and wealth demonstrated through his chosen outfit. (Monnas, 2008)
BORELLI, G. (1998) ‘A Reading of the Relationship between Cities, Manufacturing Crafts and Guilds in Early Modern Italy’, in Guilds, Markets and Work Regulations in Italy, 16th – 19th Centuries. Aldershot, Brookfield USA, Singapore, Sydney: Ashgate, pp. 19–31.
FRATTAROLI, P. (2009) ‘The Textile Decorations of Giotto, Simone Martini and their School’, Text: For the Study of Art, Design and History, 37, pp. 35–48.
MOLA, L. (2000) The Silk Industry of Renaissance Venice. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press.
MONNAS, L. (1990) ‘Silk Textiles in the Paintings of Bernardo Daddi, Andrea Di Cione and their Followers’, Zeitschrift Fur Kunstgeschichte, 53(1), pp. 39–58.
MONNAS, L. (2008) Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.
RAMMO, R. (2016) ‘Silk as a Luxury in Late Medieval and Early Modern Tartu (Estonia)’, Estonian Journal of Archaeology, 20(2), pp. 165–183.
Fig. 1 – MONNAS, L. (2008) Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.
Fig. 2 – DI CIONE, J. and DI TOMMASO, N. (1370) Coronation of the Virgin [Textiles]. Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550 by Lisa Monnas.
Fig. 3 – MARTINI, S. (no date) Annunciation [Textiles]. Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550.
Fig. 4 – VENEZIANO, P. (no date) Coronation of the Virgin [Textiles]. Text: For the Study of Textile Art, Design and History by Paola Frattaroli.
Hello everyone! My name is Khadija Dee – at least that’s what I go by. Welcome to my blog! I am a first year Textile Design student at De Montfort University. I’m nineteen years old and have spent my whole life being surrounded by textiles as my father has his own business in the textile industry. I’m a very hands-on, physically motivated individual. I love to get stuck right in to a project; challenging both my mind and the capabilities of all sorts of materials.
Let’s jump from one side of the spectrum to the other for a moment. I love maths. Just last year my final exhibition piece was based entirely on circles, heavily influenced by the works of Olafur Eliasson and Bridget Riley.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Mathematics is my culture. It’s where the root of my interest, influence and productivity lies.
Olafur Eliasson’s “art focuses on the value of individual experience” (Beccaria, 2013, p. 8) which is also what I try to achieve in the work I have produced. Colour, light, composition and emotion are the main factors that attract me.
Bridget Riley’s “exploration into how we look at colour and light illuminates and enriches our engagement with the world around us.” (Groom, 2016, p. 7)
They both inspire me as a designer firstly due to their use of mathematics in their work but also because they focus on filling the void between the viewer and the piece of art. There’s a sense of motion, feeling and communication instilled in their work which captivates the viewer and plays on their senses. Without their influence I would not have been successful in producing my own installation ‘Spherical Dreams’. Bridget Riley’s sense of colour and proportion is phenomenal. It’s the reason her optical art is so successful as she uses individual colours to “change their identity through juxtaposition” (Kudielka, 2016, p. 35)
ASKEW, L. and GROOM, S. (2016) ‘Foreword’, in Paintings 1963-2015. London: Ridinghouse, pp. 7–10.
BECCARIA, M. (2013) Olafur Eliasson. London: Tate.
KUDIELKA, R. (2016) ‘Biographical Notes’, in Painting 1963-2015. London: Ridinghouse, pp. 81–93.
Fig. 1 – DEE, K. (2015) Spherical Dreams [3D Structure]. Leicester College.
Fig. 2 – BECCARIA, M. (2013) Olafur Eliasson. London: Tate.
Fig. 3 – ELIASSON, O. (1996) Tell Me About A Miraculous Invention [Installation]. Olafur Eliasson by Marcella Beccaria.
Fig. 4 – KUDIELKA, R. (2016) ‘Biographical Notes’, in Paintings 1963-2015. London: Ridinghouse, pp. 81–93.
Fig. 5 – RILEY, B. (1963) Dilated Centres Paintings 1963-2015 by Bridget Riley.