My next course at West Dean is about the different construction techniques used in making corsets. It will cover hand stitched boning channels for 17th C. corsets, how to wax and insert reeds for stiffening plus steel boning, making eyelets and lacing all the way to 1890!
The stitching will begin on the 17th of July and booking will close soon as there are limited places on this course.
This post may seem a little out of context from my usual...... I wrote a little while back about some boots that I had designed for my degree graduation catwalk show, hooves in fact. Well since that post I received an email from the V&A no less to say that not only had they got a pair in their new show, they were also pleased to say that they had accepted them into the permanent collection !!!!!! A huge honour for me, especially as I have always considered it to be my second home and temple of inspiration.
The fashion collection that they were designed for was made to celebrate the power of feminine beauty without objectifying it. The height of the boots also gave the wearer superhero proportions (1:9 instead of 1:8) and did they look good when you walked in them! It is with some irony that I noticed that those that the museum have are one of the few mens' pairs that were made.
The exhibition is on for six months.
'having an attack of the gremlins on my website at the moment but it appears you can still visit it....here'good old Dad ! update 1.6.15...gremlins being moved on and site getting an update in time for some big news !!!
My desk has been full of equipment just so that I can see to embroider these clover leaves! I had some lovely embroidery silks which are no longer in production so I wanted them used on something special. I worked on a type of silk fabric called 'paper silk' which is very fine but robust because I wanted to make an embroidered page to slip into one of the books on this piece. After the embroidery I wanted dew on the leaves but it can be a bit tricky with something like this as the scale and shape of the beads can ruin it if they are wrong...I hope I got it right! I used tiny miyuki seed beads and a few of the smallest magatama beads that I could get.
Here they are off the hoop and ironed (carefully),then trimmed down, a little edge stitching and then pinned into place with black entomology pins. As I put them in place I found that the page I had chosen gave a lovely description by Herman Melville of an elaborate tattoo of leaves.
This is a picture of the hall at the Art Workers Guild of which I am a member, or brother as we are known to each other !!! Under the busts at the top of the picture runs a name board with everyone's name from the start over one hundred years ago, my name is up there too! (William Morris is the man in the middle). This Friday we are opening our doors to the public as part of London Craft Week and I will be demonstrating...probably part of a big piece that I'm working on at the moment...
I was working on a few things over winter but it's always the things you aren't supposed to be doing that end up the most fun....like making fortune teller dolls. I made Lilith a while ago and planned three sisters for her ; Mab is the one that appeared this year. She receives her messages via a bonnet-like wig of pins (I've always admired people that wear tin foil hats to keep the aliens out).
Her clothes are styled on the court dress of the 18thC. with a pin theme throughout. The overdress is of fine taffeta brocade scraps all pinned together with old brass lace pins and embroidered with a crossed-pin motif. The panniered skirt has a line from Yeats' 'stolen child' (Mab is queen of the faeries) pricked out across the front inspired by the old waxed paper prickings for bobbin lace.( I'm thinking of putting a light inside) .The hem is tabbed like those adds you find on notice boards but the 'takeaway' is more profound !!!
In her purse( she wants money for her work) is an odd assortment of objects, I found a wasps nest, pearl necklace and some beeswax when I looked. There is a note book on the front which continues the Yeats poem.
A sneeky look whilst dressing revealed her underpinnings, she's made from an old kid leather evening glove and her fortune ruff fans out from the button opening of the glove.
A little detail of her bodice, held together with pins....all period correct .
She will be available for telling your fortune soon.