Information File - Public Art Project

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PART 1 - PUBLIC ART RESEARCH

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At around 55 feet high, Fulcrum creates an incredible visual illusion, luring viewers into the belief that the five sheets of self-weathering COR-TEN steel are simply propped against each other. This feat of cutting, propping and stacking material is at the very heart of Serra's oeuvre, emphasising the process and the materials employed to fabricate his sculptures. 

Interaction too plays a key role, with Serra maintaining that his works have no subject of her their own, rather that viewers become the subject once they enter the work and interact with it. Therefore, this enclosed sanctuary has three entrances, inviting us to step inside, move around, look up and perhaps indulge in a moment or two of sky gazing

http://www.broadgate.co.uk/Focus-on-Serra

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The scale of this piece was what I found particularly stunning, as well as how different openings became visible as you moved around the structure.   It almost acted as a viewfinder – highlighting and framing scenes of the city that could only be viewed from that point.  I found the placing of the sculpture in the city centre to be excellent in adding to the artwork, as the industrial metal sheets looked at home among the buildings and glass structures that surrounded it.  

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Designer Thomas Heatherwick has unveiled these two 11m-high sculptures in Paternoster Square.

The artworks, which have been likened to 'angel's wings', also act as cooling vents for a London Electricity substation. Heatherwick developed the design through experimenting with the repetition of isosceles triangles to form a complex helical form. The 'wings'are constructed from stainless steel which has been blasted with tiny glass beads to create a satin finish. Stanhope and Mitsubishi Estates commissioned the sculpture as a new focus for Bishop's Court, at the western end of the square.

http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/home/designer-thomas-heatherwick/173422.article

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The aesthetic design is derived from experiments with folded paper, scaled up to 11m in height; the vents retain the proportions of the A4-size paper used in these experiments. The Vents are fabricated from 63 identical, 8mm thick, stainless steel isosceles triangles welded together and finished by glass bead blasting.

 

http://www.heatherwick.com/paternoster-vents/

This was a smaller piece than FULCRUM, and so it was not the mass, but the simplicity of it that struck me.  It appears to be a rather complex design, however  is simply a twisted fold.  I was interested to discover Heatherwick designed this through paper experimentation, as this is something that could be easily relocated when designing my own piece. 

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BARBARA HEPWORTH - SINGLE FORM

... it was part of a series of similarly shaped pieces she created following the death of her friend, the UN Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjöld in a plane crash in 1961 so you might see the sculpture as symbolic of a damaged part of the plane...  it also shows her interest in both the way art can interact with landscape and how we can interact with art. See how there are no barriers around it. It plays upon our sense of curiosity and our propensity to touch things. You are encouraged to walk around it and touch it if you like.

http://trivialpursuits.org/2012/11/27/art-of-the-week-1-barbara-hepworth-single-form-memorial-1961/

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The Hepworth sculpture was my least favourite of the public artworks, mainly because of its situation in the park.  I preferred the city backgrounds, as they provided a more interesting overall scene.  I had noted that Fulcrum could almost be used as a viewfinder, however this is certainly true of ‘Single Form’, as the cut out circle seemed almost to be made for such a use.  However this was not fully explored, given the sculptures location, as it did not frame anything in particular, where it may have done if placed in a more intricate location. 

The scale also slightly took me by surprise, as I had expected a larger installation, especially after having visited the previous two artworks.  However, its size allowed me to start thinking of it as a final design in itself, perhaps using the hole as a space for the head, or the arm in a garment. 

While I did not particularly like the piece itself, I liked the curved shape, as generally geometry is associated with lines, squares, cubes etc.  the circular shapes being a less obvious choice.  I would like to experiment with this further. 

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PART 3 - TOMOKO NAKAMICHI

The pattern designer uses circles to incredible effect, so I was keen to trial several of her patterns within the context of the project.  If one was particularly effective, I could adapt it into a new design to inspire a final piece. 

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CRATER

The crater pattern reminded me of looking up inside the Fulcrum sculpture and noticing the circular space created by the metal sheets tapering closer together.  It also occurred to me that this may be a means of turning Hepworth’s ‘Single Form’ into a garment; by taking the circular cut out as a ‘crater’ rather than empty space.   I chose to make this pattern therefore so I could apply it to different parts of the body and develop ideas from there. 

( ABOVE - Creating the pattern pieces from paper) 

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Calico mock up of crater design.  The final effect could be applied anywhere successfully, as it simply opens up a pocket from an apparently flat piece of fabric.  I particularly like the way it sits on the waist and hips, as if placed here, the hands and arms could be inserted into the crater, and become lost in the silhouette of the piece. 

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(Creating the paper pattern pieces) Trialling another piece by Nakamichi, where a flat piece of fabric is plaited into a design at the centre.  This relates back to the oriental wedding ensemble I found during my initial research, and Heatherwick’s angel wing design. 

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Once mocked up in muslin, I chose to play with ease, making the centre design tighter and looser to explore the effects. 

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After modelling on the mannequin, I wanted to translate the design into a surface design, and so stitched the fingers together to create interlocking seams in a compressed plait.  Both the right and wrong sides showed interesting designs once this had been done. 

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Using the same technique to create a half size piece, extrapolating the basic design into more of a complete garment. 

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JABORA  - BALL SHAPED ACCORDION

Nakamichi created this piece as a ball, and photographed it as a cap sleeve design as a result.  I wanted to move away from it being used exclusively as a sleeve however, and began to trail it on different parts of the body.  In the final image, the underside of the piece is slightly visible, and I particularly liked this effect, as the construction is the most complex aspect of the design, and is only visible from the inside out.  This would also change the shape that the jabora created, creating a concave rather than convex structure. 

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Although not inspired by a Nakamichi pattern, I chose to model an armadillo style pleat design inspired by a photograph of ‘Angel’s Wings’ where one wing overlaps the other.  An incredibly simple design, but one that creates an interesting structure and could be replicated at different points on the body. 

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PART 5 – 3D MODELS

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Using our research to create 3D samples that were then placed on a small mannequin.  This was particularly interesting, as we had not been creating these samples with such a small body in mind.  They achieved a whole new identity when placed on such a small figure. 

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PART 7 – PATTERN CONSTRUCTION

The ‘garment’ on the mannequin here is actually my initial half size pattern mock up, however I wanted to trial the effects when the body was scaled down.  Here the result s that the design changes when the arms are raised and lowered, meaning the piece is continually re-designed with each movement of the wearer -  certainly a concept with scope for development. 

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(My initial half size pattern modelled on half size mannequin).  While I liked the silhouette created by this pattern, it was not as instantly structural as I had intended.  I would prefer a more exaggerated circular neckline so the pattern will require some development. 

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PART 9 – CONSTRUCTION AND FINAL DEVELOPMENTS

After experiments with pattern cutting, I realised that the most effective way of achieving the exaggerated silhouette I desired was by wrapping the interlining I chose to structure the piece tight around the waist, and angled down at the front.  This resulted in a severe conical shape into which the armholes could be cut and the back seam inserted.  The next stage was to create a ‘bib’ that would hold the weight of the neck design.  I knew that I wanted a variant of Nakamichi’s ball shaped accordion (jabora) design, and so this intricate structure would need to be secured to a strong surface. 

I then created an extraordinarily long accordion piece, meaning the result was no longer ball shaped but now a concertina design.  Through modelling this piece, I reverted back to an initial idea of turning it inside out, as I liked the idea of the stitching becoming visible, as this is where the intensive work was. 

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PART  2 – RESEARCH

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Oriental wedding attire, image from 'The Wedding Dress'

The circular headpiece instantly made me think of Hepworth’s ‘Single Form’, as the head and face are framed by two different circles, much like the circle within the larger curved structure. The plait detail on the garment however made me consider Heatherwick’s ‘Angel’s Wings’, as this interlocking effect would be what was created if the two ‘wings’ were placed over each other, the fingers/triangles crossing each other and appearing to plait together. 

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ALEXANDER MCQUEEN – SAVAGE BEAUTY

The image on the left showed a way to incorporate the ‘Angel Wing’ shape into the body, almost expanding the shoulder into a wing.  The central image also shows an extension of the shoulder into a slight wing shape, and the final image on the right offers a very classic interpretation of the wing shape, a fan style sweeping structure. 

The sharpness of the central image however reminded me also of FULCRUM, and the joints of the fan shapes in the right hand image made me consider the joints in Serra’s work.  This is something I would like to further explore.  

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Images from ‘Fabulous Frocks’ and ‘The Fashion Book’ selected due to their circular nature.  The first three images showing pieces from Poiret, Pierre Cardin, Issey Miyake, Dior and Roberto Capucci focus on layering of circles to create a texture from this while the final two works by Balenciaga and Fernanda Gattinoni centre around circular structures

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Galliano for Dior and Tomoko Nakamichi – focusing on classic ideas of geometry, incredibly sharp and structured designs.  The Galliano piece relating to ideas of origami and paper art, like Heatherwick’s inspiration for ‘Angel’s Wings’.  I would definitely like to experiment with paper folding techniques when designing my own piece.   

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JOINTS – The Versace piece placed next to the joints in fulcrum made me consider how I could create more of a surface design to a structure when designing a final piece.  I was also attracted to the jointed armour piece from McQueen’s savage beauty collection, as the pieces lie on top of each other to create a beautifully structured layering effect. 

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HUSSEIN CHALAYAN – further look into JOINTS.  The structured triangular shape jutting out from the back of the garment also related to FULCRUM, as in Chalayan’s design the space is used to create a pleat, while in Fulcrum’s work the space is simply negative space.  It is not hard to imagine a pleat or godet inserted into the sculpture at this point.  

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I was keen to take the circular structure ideas further, particularly as the majority of my artist research had found pieces I associated more with Fulcrum and Angel’s Wings.  I found the circular design to be one that had not been explored fully, and therefore one that I would like to develop a design from.   Using an old pair of curtains, I tucked the gathered band under the weight of the fabric so that the piece would stand out of the body , creating a shape that encircled the neck entirely.  I particularly liked this effect, and could imagine it applied to the wrist or wait also, using the same basic concept to create alternate silhouettes.  

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Comparing Hepworth’s work to paintings by Salvador Dali – the central structure in both being remarkably similar to the sculpture.  The central image also suggests a figure, showing how an alien shape can work well with the human form.   

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F.E. McWIlliam, ‘eye, nose and cheek’ – similar to Hepworth also.  The surrealist link is certainly evident when the sculpture is viewed alongside works from the movement. 

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PART 4 – PAPER FOLDING TECHNIQUES FOR DESIGNERS, FROM SHEET TO FORM – PAUL JACKSON

(BELOW) My own experiments using and adapting techniques from Jackson’s book. 

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Using one of the samples I created, I manipulated the shape to centre around different points of the body.  I particularly like the delicacy of the structure, and would like to employ this in some way when designing my final garment, perhaps through the use of sheer fabrics. 

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Using a more standard origami style to highlight possible seams and joints on a garment. 

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PART 6 – MODELLING ON FIGURE

Taking ideas from initial research and modelling exercises to inspire life-size modelling.   I found the final two images in this series to be the more successful; the gaping hood and collar effect being the most sculptural and therefore fitting with the initial inspiration.  While I do not want to simply replicate the sculpture in my final piece, I do not want to move so far away that the basis for the design is lost. 

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PART 8 – BARBARA HEPWORTH

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I wanted to look into Hepworth’s other work to aid my developed design ideas, as I knew she used the curved elements of ‘Single Form’ to great effect in her other works.  The simple elegance of the pieces appealed to me, as many this could be reworked into fashion pieces quite successfully.  I will try to preserve the seemingly effortless feel of the works in my own ideas.

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PART 10 – REDESIGNING ‘FINAL’ PIECE

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Though the piece had been created as a bodice, it holds its structure incredibly well due to the interlining fabric I used.  This meant that it could sit on the wearer’s head or arm as exaggerated sleeves and headpieces also.  I particularly liked the effect of the sleeve and feel that an incredible garment could be created from such a sleeve design. 

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Working against the body; concealing the head for a more bizarre composition. 

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Joining with classmate Zoe Atkinson to create a collaboration design.  We noticed how the colours of the pieces complemented each other, and how the textures worked very well together.  I feel that the photographs off the body show how well the pieces interact, as both are severely structural in nature. 

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