Monday, 16 April 2012

Reflections of Process

A few weeks into the ballet unit for SDP, I have my design, I have a draped and drafted bodice and I have tackled a bright white slipper satin that behaves "like a bowl of water"- a fantastic description of slippery fabrics as dubbed by my tailoring tutor; and backed and tacked that fabric to white drill to give the starting of a bodice.

So far I can honestly say I am thoroughly enjoying it.
The highlight for me is taking steps I have already learnt (although yet to master) such as the draping for a pattern and pushing them on a step further, refining the process and learning how to create something that is industry standard with the inside knowledge, the little details that make all the difference- such as where and how to use the bias in a dancer's bodice so that it clings to the skin, and changing the grainline so that it is running into the CF and CB.

I cannot fail to mention the white here either. Up until now I have never worked with white on its own as I have to admit, it terrifies me, no really I have nightmares about it- and this particular slipper satin is the sort that will dirty if you so much breathe on it.

So I have treated it with a touch saved up until now only for new born children, respected and wrapped it, washed my hands so many times I feel I may end up with mild OCD and really looked at how I have treated my fabric.
My tutor says that you can bruise fabric (I guess like you can bruise a banana), over handling, over pressing, too much steam and too much working and you will end up with a garment that by opening night will look as if it has done several runs.

It goes without saying then that taking all of this into consideration is part of this unit and moving me on as a practitioner. I like that- the fact that I can look back and say, "there, that's when I had a revelation about the work I produce, that made me a better practitioner", and I feel this is a unit where this will be the case more than once, and of course this is the point of Self Directed Project- to be critical and honest about your habits, about how you work, about what drives and inspires you and to learn something from it and that starts with me sitting down, having a good think and putting whats in my head into something tangible that I can refer back to along the way.

Whilst I have been sharing my thoughts it's always nice to have something a little more concise and I have always favoured the bullet point, so without further ado, in summary:

  • Refining draping skills, thinking about grainline
  • Really looking at shape of panels to give an aesthetically pleasing line
  • Working with difficult fabric
  • Working in pristine white
  • Lightness of touch, precise delicate work
  • Being self aware and being your own critic
  • Passion and enthusiasm and enjoying the work

What is really encouraging is the fact that these skills are all transferable: as soon as I am done with this academic year I will be sitting down to make my first wedding ensemble which happens to be in....white, and already I am feeling so much more prepared to tackle it as a direct result of what I have learnt from this unit.

Finally, after all the words I'm finishing up with the bodice photo :)

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