After my idea of a patchwork, structural dress couldn’t happen I started to look back on my project to find another idea to create a final garment from. I really liked my ribcage designs, where I drew the detailed rib structure over the silhouette of a body, and so I started playing with this idea as a print. I eventually came up with making a pencil skirt from black jersey and painting this rib-like print onto the front and back to mould to the shape of the body.
After looking at preservation and forms in jars I started to think about what the forms would look like collapsed, outside of their floating fluid. So I translated this idea into fabric form and started dropping fabrics from a height and seeing what shapes they form when they land. I then started pressing these shapes to keep the creasing, and trapping it in plastic or setting it with wax. The use of wax to set the fabric again links with the idea of preservation as often things are preserved in wax.
I really wanted to make a dress out of patchwork fabric, dropped and set in wax and plastic. However, there was no wax left and there wasn’t enough that could be ordered in on time, so I have had to think of another idea of a second garment.
Here are some samples created based on the artwork of Ernst Haeckel. I drew out the pattern onto paper and then photocopied it onto acetate and exposed it onto a screen ready to screen print. As you can see in the pictures above I also experimented with printing onto pleated fabric which I really like and have had some brilliant garment ideas based on these samples.
After my visit to the museum I began looking for more abstract methods of preservation and came across Ernst Haeckel, an artist and scientist who preserves the forms of nature through his detailed artwork. I absolutely love his pieces, and I love the detail and simple layout of each piece. The artwork would make a gorgeous print on fabric. I started studying his work and using his pieces as inspiration and I think I have really hit a brilliant topic to focus on and create my final garments from.
After looking at preservation in jars, and the preservation of bodies, I visited the Hunterian Museum which was full of everything you could possibly think of from any animal, preserved in a jar. It was a beautiful museum and the contents were absolutely stunning. Although it gives you a strange feeling as you are looking at stuff which is theoretically gory and horrible and disgusting, yet there is something mysteriously beautiful about the whole place. There was a lot of inspiration from a textiles and fashion perspective as there were so many different textures and materials that would make beautiful garments, or beautiful pattern designs for fabric. It was absolutely fascinating visiting a place like that and I learnt a lot about preservation and it linked a lot to my project.