Monday, 16 October 2017

MoDA KATAGAMI PROJECT: MAKING THE TEXTILES FOR A COSTUME


Caroline is one of four artist/researchers who was selected by MoDA (Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture) to participate in their Arts Council England funded project 'Katagami in practice: Japanese stencils in the art school'. The project started in November 2016 and is now entering a very productive phase of developing and making the textiles for a costumed performance called 'Waves'.


I've allocated the majority of my time to this stage of the project as it is involving a laborious and careful process of hand printing the paper textiles for the costume using a hand cut stencil and printing inks. After experimenting with different inks and brushes, Speedball screen printing ink and sponges gave the best results.


I've been using pins to attach the stencils to the paper, using the holes made in the paper to then match up the stencil for repeat pattern printing so that the final printed surface pattern adheres to a grid structure. The paper katagami stencils in the MoDA collection all have tiny holes at each of the four corners of the stencils. One of the participants within the MoDA project had shared a video with the other participants showing the traditional process involved in making the stencil and printing their patterns onto fabric. The tiny holes within the katagami stencils are used for pinning the stencil to the fabric and acted as a guide for lining up the patterns to create the final length of print.



The grid structure can be seen within the finished length of printed paper as well as the wave pattern that is reminiscent  of a Briget Riley op-art pattern.


Once the printed paper is dry, I then begin the folding process, using the print as a guide for where I have to fold the paper. Again, this is a very time consuming process as to create the final folded textiles I have to fold the paper multiple times along the horizontal, vertically and diagonally. This usually takes about an hour to create the crease fold pattern that is needed to make the folded textile and requires a lot of careful precision.


The model starts with folding the paper and forming waterbomb folds along each pleated row and a process of unfolding and refolding to form multiple waterbomb folds within a single length of paper.


Folding is a very technical process, but the technicalities don't end there: because the paper textiles I'm using have to retain their folds for a filmed costumed performance and an exhibition in 2018, I have to ensure that I am making textiles that will be durable enough for both of these scenarios. I have found that varnishing the folded paper does not work, as it makes the final origami model too rigid and I wish to retain the elasticity of the paper to create a dynamic textile. I was aware that some people wet fold their models for exhibition and read this very informative article by origami artist Robert J. Laing: http://www.langorigami.com/article/paper



Rather than wet folding my textiles, I compressed the completed folded textile and then gently steamed it over a pot of boiling water to resize the paper. This causes the folded textiles to visibly contract and once it has dried, the final size of the paper is a quarter of the size it was before folding and steaming takes place.


I am using this process to make folded textiles for the sleeves and top half of the costume that will hopefully create a very dynamic and sculptural form that the movement artist will be able to manipulate and  transform into a series of interesting patterns and shapes around her body.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

PAPER STUDIO EXHIBITION





Our exhibition at Guildford Cathedral showcasing the work we made during our Heritage Lottery Fund supported residency is being currently shown inside the South Garth space within Guildford Cathedral. All the work within the exhibition, such as the 1930's wedding dress shown above, is made of paper and uses a combination of paper folding, paper engineering and paper cut techniques. The exhibition shows the diversity of working with paper material and includes costumes, architectural models, prints and textiles. The exhibition is free and will finish in September.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

MoDA KATAGAMI IN PRACTICE: WAVES

Katagami Stencil of a wave/water motif within Moda's archive
 

Silver Studio Design by Arthur Silver distemper on woven jute 1895 within Moda's archive
 
 

Digital version of the wave/water katagami stencil repeated horizontally 
 
Paper version of the wave/water katagami stencil using a hand cut paper technique that has involved removing  paper to create a pattern within the paper textiles
 

Paper version of the same wave/water katagami stencil. In this instance the cut paper removed in making the stencil textile (above) has been applied onto the surface of paper to make a 'negative' version of the hand cut stencil. The original paper was painted with circles of alternating colours of blue, gold and white using printing inks so that the paper removed from this  printed paper surface has its' own coloured design.

 

I'm currently using my commission at Moda to research the museum's archive collection of katagami stencils and the Silver Studio Collection to develop, design and make a costume installation that explores the aesthetic relationship between dynamic origami practiced within the Bauhaus and traditional print motifs found in the Katagami collection and the Silver Studio Design collection. My practice-led research is focused on how Japanese cut paper stencils can be combined with origami to generate new textile paper costumes that explore space, form and movement.

 
For the katagami project I have been working on a sample range of paper textiles drawing upon a pattern stencil within the collection at Moda that uses a ‘wave’ motif’ and a print by Arthur Silver that shows a female, a mermaid, within a waved landscape that costumes the female figure.

I've been hand cutting a reproduction of this wave motif as a repeat pattern on mulberry paper and using the removed paper cuts from this textile to mount onto paper to create a second paper textile. These are to be finished and folded into origami forms. It has been meticulous and time consuming work that has made me understand the level of skill required to make these patterns and how the repeat works for printing onto kimonas. Some of the details within these paper motifs are too delicate to replicate using digital technology, such as laser cutting, at the same scale as the original Japanese stencils and can only be reproduced by hand. 

I still wish to explore a combination of the hand and the digital within this project and have created a digital print of the motif that features the pattern in addition to creating an illustration file for use on a laser cutting machine. I plan to explore producing laser cut versions of this motif and digital prints as a contemporary craft update of this traditional textile process.


The next stage of this project involves testing materials and techniques both traditional and contemporary. I'm investigating Japanese papers, such as mulberry papers, that were, that have been used in traditional Japanese clothing , in addition to exploring tyvek, a synthetic paper material used for architectural structures, high-end fashion and municipal clothing that requires a tough, resistant surface textile.


This project is supported by Designation Development Funding from the Arts Council England.

 

Friday, 13 January 2017

THE SPACE BETWEEN: PSYCHE, BODY, SKIN, ENVIRONMENT


I will be presenting a costume installation at the Royal College of Art symposium The Space Between: Psyche, Body, Skin, Environment organised by Dr Azadeh Fatehrad (School of Fine Art) and Nathaniel Dafydd Beard (School of Material). The installation will showcase my initial research and costume practice from the Katagami in Practice commission for the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, supported by Arts Council England. I hope to write about this project in more detail in my next blog post and show the costume work in progress alongside objects from the katagami collection and Silver Studio Designs that have acted as an initial source of inspiration during this early stage of the commission.