Introduction to the construction module

I decided to do the construction module last as it was the one i was least enthusiastic about. I have always been more textiles based but i am swaying towards combining textiles and construction in my third year therefore i need more experience in to it.

After receiving the brief it made me a little more excited about it, it’s just the process and sampling which i will find tedious as with construction i just want to go straight in to making an outcome. After seeing the previous groups work it has inspired me to use a lot of construction techniques so that my dress is interesting. I already have ideas for my final dress from examining the other dresses which have been previously made but also from my own research and my own garments. I am good at construction because i am neat therefore my stitching is very precise however this does slow me down so i find myself behind at times but it is worth it as the final outcome is a lot more rewarding.


Embroidery and Sewing Workshops


The workshop today was really interesting and helped broaden my ideas on stencil cutting especially. I found the stencil cutting workshop a lot more exciting than the others because it was something that i’ve always been interested in but have never really had the patience to sit down and do it, and truthfully i never really thought about it, as i usually go straight in to printing.

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At first i tried stencils on paper, which was easy because its thin and quite flexible so it was easy to cut, i stuck to working just on the inside rather than cutting on to the outside of the paper which left a negative image, i then got a little more experimental with this and made the opposite image which turned out positive. In the end i had four really lovely and unique stencils, two on paper and two in fabric. As i really enjoyed this workshop it inspired me to try using it for my Greyfriars project, which i think was the initial plan to begin with. However, i wouldn’t use the stencils as themselves, i would want to print through them.

I just need to find the imagery to make them….

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Ideas and Planning…


The servant staircase was the space that interested me the most, it may just seem like an old staircase but there is so much potential for it, already so many ideas spring to mind. Pinterest will be a good place for me to start as there seems to be an image for everything, as my research began i discovered some interesting images of staircases, i’d seen this before but the idea never came to mind when looking at the staircase at Greyfriars. This idea seemed perfect as the staircase was like a blank canvas, there was nothing on them so it was easier to picture something on it.

In this project we are supposed to include a story, this was discouraging at first because i usually pick a theme and make samples until I am happy with a final outcome. However, after thinking harder about my chosen space i thought about how the stairs go up and how my story can progress further as it gets higher on every step, i want to produce life size samples on plain wallpaper using print, stitch, flock & foil to create our story, and on each step there will be a different part of the story.

our story cut short:

  • ‘Lady of Greyfriars’
  • Failing marriage
  • Seeks attention elsewhere
  • Pays servant to sleep with her as servant wouldn’t commit such a risky commitment without a price
  • Lady of Greyfriars falls in love with the servant and bears him a child
  • Husband will not divorce her because of his respected title
  • therefore the child has to be kept a secret
  • to punish his wife and his servant he inprisons them for a year until he plans to kill them
  • by keeping them locked away for a while gives him the ability to lie about their death telling everyone that they died from a deadly virus which befell on the family

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There was also this idea which was interesting, of the trees continuously travelling up the staircase, i found two examples of this on both a straight staircase and a spiral one, however i didn’t like the design as much on a spiral staircase and that is what i will be working with so i have decided to stick to my original idea, as it is also more interesting and sticks to the brief that we were given, i also believe that it will be easier to tell a story that way.

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I am looking forward to start my initial ideas and sampling because i am confident that i can create something really interesting and effective, however i need to focus more on the research and story behind my work rather than the final outcome at the moment so that i can create the best possible outcome in which i can present to OMCI.

Overview of the First Semester

After submitting both my studio module and my textiles support module i was so nervous whilst waiting for my results as even though i had worked so hard and put an enormous amount of time and effort in to both of the projects, i still didn’t believe that it was enough. However, i was over the moon when i recieved my results after achieving two firsts! The feeling was incredible, as i didn’t do well last year and it knocked me back so it has really pushed me to work harder through the second semester as i will do anything to achieve a first for the whole year.

My work over the first semester of year two has improved massively, both physically and mentally. I feel as though i have become more mature when designing and feel as though i now have the confidence as a designer to work independently and not be afraid to experiment with my own ideas, or feel like i have to ask for a tutors opinion first, which is an advantage for me as i could now go in to a job knowing what i’m doing.

I have also learned a lot more computer skills over the last few months, as attending the catch up sessions on a wednesday morning and thursday evening i have probably learnt more in these few months than i did over the whole of the first year, because i have recieved more one on one attention and have also had more time on the Mac to learn these techniques myself. Note taking has also been very important as i never would have remembered anything that i was taught.


I really enjoyed the first semester, i think it’s because i truly did put my heart and soul in to the project, and planned my time well so i didn’t get stressed. I am excited for my placements in London over the summer and can go in to them with confidence knowing that i can do these things on my own. My aims for the rest of the year are to keep practicing on photoshop until i am at a professional level and experiment with more processes of hand designing and designing on a computer, however in this profession you’ll never stop learning…

Relational Aesthetics

There was a mix up on the times for this lecture as it was the first one of the second semeser and everyone thought that it started an hour later than it did, therefore i ended up missing half of this lecture so i didn’t really understand it. However, i took down a few notes and names of artists for reference.

  • Nicholas Bourriaud
  • Felix Gonzales – Torres
  • Liam Gillick
  • Rirkrit Tiravayia
  • Cartzen Hollier
  • Jorge Pardo
  • Santiago Sierra – 160cm line tattooed on four women, 2000
  • 160 cm Line Tattooed on 4 People El Gallo Arte Contemporáneo. Salamanca, Spain. December 2000 2000 by Santiago Sierra born 1966
  • Thomas Hirschhom
  • Pierre Huyghe
  • Stuart Brisley
  • Barbara Kruger
  • Philippe Parreno
  • artistic collaboration
  • cultural production
  • curatonal collective

Notes from seminar:

  • performance
  • not seeing it as being a part of it
  • say what you want to say
  • commodification – a valuable object
  • commodification of communication – selfies, video, phone, ipad
  • purchase the power of the media – advertisements, catwalk shows, exhibitions, window shopping, online shopping
  • shopping – pleasure or pain?
  • is shopping an experience or a performance? can be in a way as you show people what you buy
  • fitting rooms – would you show a friend for advice on item?
  • individuality – part of what you do
  • collaboration – Topshop(Kate Moss, Mary Katranzou), Alexander McQueen & Damien Hurst, Damien Hurst & Prada, H&M(Versace, Jimmy Choo, Matthew Williamson, Madonna, Victor & Rolf, Comme de Garcon, Isabel Marant)
  • ‘Style to Rock’ – Rihanna & Henry Holland for launch of River Island clothing range
  • Brinton Carpets- new designers
  • Designers can go anywhere
  • Orla Kiely car – collaboration of designers on different aesthetics
  • Greyfriars – anything can be an installation
  • Guests could take part?
  • what is the difference between performance art and relational aesthetics?
  • performance art – watching it (passive)
  • relational aesthetics – when you respond and react (subjective) for example: blogging

Essay Synopsis

Our essay for this year is something that I have been nervous about from the beginning of the year, even though i am good at English and literature, I have still been trying to push this to the back of my mind. At first i struggled with the synopsis and looked over my PDP brief a number of times before i started to actually do something, by looking on my blog i referred back to my lectures – i am so glad that i have attended and understood so many lectures this year as they have been very helpful – one in which stood out to me ‘Psychoanalysis and Visual Culture’ this was because it is very relevant to that of my own lifestyle as i care about what people think of me visually. When writing my synopsis it was challenging as 500 words just doesnt seem enough to fit everything in, i had to be very vague, which inevitably was the point, however i will find it much easier when writing my essay but will have to be careful not to make it too personal.

Essay Notes:

  • How people feel by the way that they dress
  • Shopping obsessed – clothing – why is it important?
  • Why do you think clothing is important
  • Planning outfits – why?
  • Important when working in the fashion industry to advertise clothing and styles.
  • How do you feel in your clothes?
  • Lingerie advertisements – how are women portrayed?
  • How do you feel about lingerie & clothing adverts
  • Who cares more? Men or women
  • Write about men (harry) – how everyone is different – compare
  • Clothes play a big part of how people will portray you i.e. job interviews (smart wear) weddings, funerals, christenings etc. – what is appropriate?
  • If people walked about naked – wouldn’t be acceptable – would be judged
  • Perverts – men look at women
  • Clothes hide and draw attention
  • dress: how much clothing is appropriate in civilised society?
  • comfortable, attractive and affordable
  • will never suit everyones taste – everyone is different
  • clothes can disguise or hide parts of your body that you are uncomfortable with
  • clothing is a compromising formation
  • men need women to be clothed because the womans naked body is too frightening – powerful
  • fashion influences race, gender, class, sexuality and identity
  • Jean Baudrillard 1981: ‘Truly beautiful, definitively beautiful clothing would put an end to fashion….Fashion continually fabricates the beautiful on the basis of a radical denial of beauty, by reducing beauty to the logical equivalent of ugliness. It can impose the most eccentric, dysfunctional, ridiculous traits as eminently distinctive’
  • Roland Barthes ‘The intermittence of skin flashing between two articles of clothing –trousers and sweater – between two edges the open necked shirt the glove and the sleeve: it is this flash that seduces or rather: the staging of an appearance – as – disappearance’
  • seduction?
  • what’s your opinion?
  • how much sexuality is engaged?
  • legs, back, shoulder, structured bra, cleavage, underwear as outerwear, waistline, bottom
  • underwear – public or private dress?
  • sex – erotic fashion
  • fetish – neutralises fear
  • women may seek erotic arousal through the way they dress
  • it is not necesscary to show large amounts of human flesh, rather you should play hide and seek with the body
  • Comme des Garcon 2014 – sculpting fabric around the body
  • Clothing is a comfort blanket – people wear what they feel comfortable in and sometimes to someone else this can be wrong
  • Everyone can judge, everyone will judge
  • method of investigation, bringing out represented or convered meanings
  • sigmond freud – founder of psychoanalysis
  • cha’lacan – most influential analyst after freud
  • society believes that no greater threat to it’s civilisation could arrise than if the sexual instincts were to be liberated
  • Hippies – ‘make love not war‘
  • liberation of sexuality and sexual acts
  • sublimeration – human activities such as art that have no intentional link with sexual connotations
  • subconcious – where our dark desires and impulses reside in our minds
  • fetish – signifier, substitute for the desire over woman
  • hidden fantasies in images
  • images can allow audience to play out their fantasies
  • artists and designers allow us to play out our unconcious fantasies without feeling shame
  • the unconcious – part of the mind where our dark desires and impulses reside – thoughts are repressed by concious mind
  • sexuality – threat to civilisation
  • sublimination – human activities such as art have no apparent connection with sexuality but which actually are motivated by the sexual instinct
  • Descartes – placed man at the center of the universe, individuals
  • ‘chaos’, ‘super ego’ – authority of parents, especially father, teachers, role models
  • ego – cant always have what we want/what we want isn’t always what we need
  • Oedipus
  • lost object of the mothers body, lost paradise, ‘the mirror stage’
  • miss the original moment
  • observation of children talking to mirrors, child identifies with this image, child gets the first sense of being an individual, idea of the ‘look’
  • sense of existence in another body, not the same as the image, is an ‘ideal eye’, a fantasy
  • ego ideals – imitation of image seen through advertisement, obsession with images
  • political psychoanalysis
  • males take pleasure in the female image – object of pleasure ‘the male gaze’a males enjoyment
  • Mulvey discusses the pleasure in looking ‘in using another person as an object of sexual stimulation through sight’
  • image is often threatening
  • paintings – woman seen as objects
  • men take pleasure in looking but also fear what they see
  • men see the women they are looking at, and women see themselves being looked at
  • psychoanalysis is about the relation of images to fantasy and pleasure we take in looking at them
  • its about (mis)recognition and identification
  • the formation of subjectives
  • the unconcious appeal of and desire for images and things

Essay Sypnosis (500 words):

In this essay I will portray thoughts of my own philosophy of why clothing is so important in today’s society. I will include which designers have influenced my beliefs and opinions and why they have done so. My essay will mainly focus on a recent lecture called ‘Psychoanalysis and Visual Culture’. This lecture made me realise how important clothing really is and how it is merely a necessity of everyday life. The lectures and seminars have had a huge impact on my own opinions and have changed my views completely, as before even though it was at the back of my mind I didn’t think about clothes in depth anywhere near as much as I do now and the many different reasons why people wear the clothes that they do.

This essay will contain my personal opinions but also opinions and quotations not only from peers but from theorists themselves, I will not only point out the obvious but also look into depth of many theories in which have come across and include my own opinions as to whether I agree or disagree. My two main topics within this essay will be about how clothing makes people feel and the other about how clothing will portray a certain person to another. I chose this topic to use for my essay because I feel strongly that clothing is a necessity in my life as a fashion student as every day I will plan my outfit to not only what makes me feel comfortable not only physically but mentally too.

Clothing is important because your style will give a peer a brief idea of your personality, whether it’s good or bad, and I believe that people use clothing to show their personality which is why styles are categorized i.e. punk, indie, goth etc. they dress to be seen. Dressing to be seen will lead me on to another point of how women are portrayed to men and how men are frightened by a woman’s naked body therefore it’s almost like they need the woman to be fully clothed in order to approach her.

People will get themselves into debt from not being able to resist buying clothing or most commonly known as ‘retail therapy’ where someone – usually female – is set out to go shopping to make themselves feel better for one reason or another, usually by buying new items of clothing one will feel more glamorous therefore will expect others to view them in that way too.

This essay will be interesting for me to write because I use clothing to make a statement about myself. When I tell people that I am a fashion student a lot of them reply ‘I can see that’ therefore I find this a topic that I can relate to, obviously including the theoretical background as well as my own beliefs alongside it.

Semester 2…Introduction to Greyfriars project

Today we were introduced to our project for the second semester in a briefing at the Minories today, we were given a short presentation by OMCI which introduced us to the project and gave us an insight into how their company work and the projects that they have engaged. OMCI are a property buying company which means they buy properties, convert them and sell them on or let them out, their most recent purchase is The Greyfriars Hotel on East Hill in Colchester, the building has been of no use for quite some years but had much potential which was sought after by OMCI investments, the building started out as a family home, was then converted in to a school and is now undergoing more changes in to a 4* hotel. This project was different to the ones i have done over the last semester and previous years because:

  • we are working in groups of three which are mixed
  • there is a cash prize
  • we are designing for OMCI

I am already exceptionally excited to start this project because I already feel as though I know a lot about the background of the building. After the presentation we were able to visit the hotel itself, however merely a building site of bricks and mortar I could still see the amazing potential that this building has to offer, it’s really exciting to visually experience the process during the construction. We were shown around the whole hotel – which was absolutely huge – including all of the suites which range from principal suites, junior suites and deluxe suites. The hotel also features a reception, a library, a private dining area, resturants and bars.

In the brief we were told that we will be designing for three different areas, These 3 areas include an unused staircase which will be protected and sealed off by glass, a ledge under a window, and a wall by a balcony. At first i was baffled but it all began to come together as the tour went on. When i understood the brief fully I began thinking of ideas for textile pieces and installments that could go in to these spaces, however the spaces were odd and in a small perimeter so it started to become a challenge, i could only really think of hanging decorations such as canvas’ and wallpaper, however as the project progresses i’m sure many more will spring to mind.

The most interesting part of this project is designing for a company, but also how we will act when working as a team – especially a team that we haven’t picked ourselves. In these teams we are asked to create an installation for one of the selected areas, we are then asked to later present our ideas to OMCI in order for them to judge our designs in order to pick a final team who will then go on to make a final creation for the hotel. I think i am going to find working as a team quite difficult at first as i have never worked as a team in something like this before and i am my own person, i like my own designs, so to link our designs together it’s definitely going to be a challenge.

As part of the project we have to create a story based on the history of the Greyfriars building, therefore a man named Alan Skinner visited us in the afternoon,  Alan has worked in the building for over 20 years so obviously has great knowledge of it’s history and background due to his knowledge of the foundation through his own research and connections. He gave us a timeline of events starting from the Roman Invasion, Georgian and Victorian periods, family posession and its educational purposes.

Notes from Alan Skinner’s presentation:

  • Colchester’s hidden history, heritage
  • book and website published-public who have been involved in the building want to tell their story
  • used to be a family home-car park and houses behind was the land of the property in 1700s
  • georgian colours: cream, blues and greens
  • different styles of curtains, sofas etc.
  • no clutter, tasteful (in their terms) slightly understated in comparison to the Victorian era which was very much cluttered
  • exotic and rare plants
  • castle, military, business man, mixture of religious people, army people and local entrepreneurs passing through the building
  • Eminent Victorian
  • remembered as a ‘warm welcoming family home’
  • more of a home than an institution
  • 1904-sold to the ladies of nazareth (as written on deeds)
  • french nuns
  • converted the house and joined up with hillcress (wings) started a congruent school
  • boarding school was ‘for the education of gentlemen’s daughters’
  • over 100 years of education on the site (TLA, Philip Morant)
  • craftsmanship behind all the paint in current refurbishment shows how wealthy the family were (1755)
  • rain water head – John & Elizabeth Halls
  • Dome has been refurbished
  • Stain glass window (M.J.M – Jesus, Mary and Joseph)
  • years of history on the site at least 250 years of heritage has been uncovered
  • Botanical Gardens

Primary images of the building at it’s current state:

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