Thursday, 31 December 2009

Crazy on Kachinas

After completing a few different drawings and collages focusing on the kachina dolls I had planned to look into other aspects of Buffy's culture, such as the beadwork, jewellery and quillwork. However, after flicking through quite a few books for inspiration I felt a little overwhelmed by the vast amount to look at/draw. In addition, after finding more images of the kachina dolls on the Internet I couldn't help but draw more and more of them. I think they are so interesting and unique and as this is a short project, I figured I will just really focus on them. I particularly like the old style kachinas the best, as they are more naive looking and quite retro. Each one is completely different and I can't help spending hours on the Internet trying to find more and more. I need to try and finalise my colour scheme tomorrow so I can get thinking about yarns. I have a good idea of the colours I want to use but I need to get it down on paper so it is clear. From further exploration of the kachina dolls, I'd like the samples to be quite illustrative and playful. I'd love them to be made up of tiny little kachina faces, but not too sure how this could be achieved. I also plan to look into other research, such as beading etc for ideas on technique to combin Style Hopi Aya KachinaeLarge Traditional Hopi Salako Mana KachinaTraditional Style Hopi Hilili Kachina with the images of the kachinas. I have included some more images of the most recent old style kachinas I have found. Traditional Style Kachina Sculpture

Friday, 25 December 2009

Pitt Rivers Museum

I visited the Pitt Rivers Museum as I am at home and have wanted to go since it was mentioned to us at college. I also discovered they had quite a few Native American objects in there, so it would be a good source of inspiration for my project. It was a really interesting place, particularly the way the objects are shown together. It is quite cluttered, and the main room is very dark, so I did actually find it quite difficult to see things. However, the balcony which housed quite a few more objects was a bit lighter, and this was my favourite bit of the museum. I was particularly inspired by the beading from all different parts of the world. This opened my eyes up to cultures I wouldn't necessary think of exploring such as India, Pakistan, China. I find the jewellery from these cultures fascinating, and would love to do a project featuring these sometime in the future. Also, the beading and headdresses from Kenya were particularly beautiful. There wasn't as much Native American objects as I had hoped for, however I took some good photographs which I plan to draw and study from. It was difficult to get really good quality photos in terms of exact colour, but they have inspired me to think towards what colour scheme I would like to use. My scoubidous came in the post which I plan to try and knit into my machine to make fringing once I get back to London. As I used fringing in my previous project I need to ensure these have a totally different aesthetic. Perhaps I could attach fringing onto a big chunky piece of knitting (wool and chunky machine), and then felt it. This way I can cut out square like shapes to imitate my dimensional drawings. The fringing could be quite spaced out on the chunky machine, as it would gather together quite a bit once I have felted it.

Sunday, 20 December 2009


Here are some wooden dolls I found online that remind me of the Kachina dolls I've been looking at. Love the shapes, colours, retro feel.

Nick Cave Soundsuits

I discovered Nick Cave's soundsuits a while ago in a book I have on contemporary textiles. However, they recently caught my attention again recently, particularly after looking into Native American Kachina Dolls. I like the otherworldly, monster like quality of them and the way they combine a whole multitude of unusual materials. In addition, I'm also keen to explore Buffy's 60's and 70's persona, and have been looking at vintage craft books and magazines. In particular wacky, eccentric craft that could only belong to that era. Granny squares galore, crochet madness, and a multitude of colours. Nick Cave's soundsuits seem to really sum up these two aspects of Buffy's life that I am interested in exploring.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Kachina Dolls

I have been pouring over books on Native Americans for the past week and have found some really inspiring research. I particularly love the beading and fringing, and I could see this translating onto the knitting machine beautifully. In addition, at the LCF library I found an amazing book on Pueblo Indians costume, which then led me on further to researching around this particular area. I discovered wonderful imagery of masks and then stumbled across small dolls called Kachina Dolls. The dolls are supposed to be given to children, so they can learn about different spirits through them. Each doll in unique and has a purpose and story behind it. I found a particularly brilliant website displaying many of the dolls. Shown are some pictures I found on the site.
I am returned home to Oxford tomorrow, and plan to visit the Pitt Rivers Museum on Monday, where there is a selection of these dolls, as well as other items that would be particularly useful for my research.

Neighbourhood Colour Exhibition

I was really pleased with my final piece, and my progress in this project. As it was my first project in knit I was quite worried at first that I was going to be behind. I found it quite overwhelming learning a whole new specialism, and little things such as choosing yarn, dyeing it, etc. However, I now feel a lot mroe confident with this, and moving forward I really aim to push myself and use materials and techniques that I haven't before. I am excited about the new project and already have some ideas in regards to techniques. My next step is to conquer the industrial machines which I am still quite nervous about. Over the Xmas holidays I aim to set up my own machine with the ribber, so I can fully grasp how the machine works once it is transferred to a double bed. Once I have become comfortable with this, the only difference is simply how the industrial machines work.

I had good feedback from this project, and the only piece of criticism was that the samples were a lot more playful than the final piece, which I agree. The tutors liked the free a-symmetrical style of my initial collaged fashion designs, and perhaps the final piece is a little bit too constructed/planned.

In my next set of samples I'd love to work with entirely different yarns - some that are quite irridescent, shiny, sparkly. Also colours that are more pastel like, a hot pink, mustard yellow, violet, grass green, grey/green. I'd love to incorporate unusual materials such as leather applique, scoubidous, painted sticks/fimo, leather strips, beaded macrame.

My Muse

Our project for Indigo involves us finding a muse to be inspired by, and capturing the essence of them through a collection of fashion fabrics. I have chosen to look at Buffy Sainte-Marie as my muse, a 1960's folk singer, who is very proud of her Native American roots. I am fascinated by Native American culture, and was also very inspired by Buffy's life and what she has achieved, as well as her beautiful looks. I love the 60's images of her which all look very nostalgic and romantic. Here is a little about Buffy's life, which I found through her biography on the Internet:

Buffy was born February 20, 1942 on the Piapot Cree Indian reserve in the Qu'Appelle valley, Saskatchewan, Canada. She was orphaned and later adopted, growing up in Maine with parents Albert and Winifred Sainte-Marie, who were related to her biological parents. She attended the UNiversity of Massachusetts, earning degrees in teaching and Oriental philosophy, as well as a Ph.D. in Fine Arts. In 1964 on a return trip to the Piapot Cree reserve in Canada for a Powwow she was welcomed and (in a Cree nation context) adopted by the youngest son of Chief Piapot, Imu Piapot and his wife, who added to Sainte-Marie's cultural value of, and place in, First Nations culture.

Here is some more information from her website:
Buffy Sainte-Marie was a graduating college senior in 1962 and hit the ground running in the early 60s, after the beatniks and before the hippies. All alone she toured North America's colleges, reservations and concert halls, meeting both huge acclaim and huge misperception from audiences and record companies who expected Pocahontas in fringes, and instead were both entertained and educated with their initial dose of Native American reality in the first person.

By age 24, Buffy had appeared all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia, receiving honors, medals and awards, which continue to this day. Her song 'Until It's Time for You to Go' was recorded by Elvis and Cher, and her 'Universal Soldier' became the anthem of the peace movement.

She disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson years. Unknown to her, as part of a blacklist which affected Eartha Kitt, Taj Mahal and a host of other outspoken performers, her name was included on White House stationary as among those whose music 'deserved to be suppressed', and radio airplay disappeared. Invited onto TV talk shows on the basis of her success with 'Until It's Time for You to Go', she was told that Native issues and the peace movement had become unfashionable and to limit comments to celebrity chat.

In Indian country and abroad, however, her fame only grew. Denied adult TVCaudience in the US, in 1975 she joined the cast of Sesame Street for 5 years. She continued to appear at countless grassroots concerts, American Indian Movement events, and other activist benefits in Canada and the US. She made 18 albums of her music, scored movies, gained international acclaim, raised a son, earned a Ph.D., and won an Academy Award Oscar and a Golden Globe for the song 'Up Where We Belong'.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Missoni Exhibition

Today I went to see the Missoni exhibition at the Estorick collection of Modern Italian Art. I've recently decided to change my specialism to knit, so I was especially interested in seeing the whole design process behind Missoni's amazing garments. There were screens showing rolls of knitted fabric being made in the Missoni factory, and the set up of the exhibition was surrounded by yarn spools, in their trademark eye-catching colours. The first room I went into showed a lot of the inspiration behind the Missoni brand, mainly Futurism, geometrics, and the work of Sonia Delaunay. There were many research sheets that showed the design process that went into the knitted swatches produced. These were mainly combinations of colour, which were then charted next to machine needles to indicate the pattern set up ready to be knitted. I found the use and combinations of colour really inspiring as this is something I have been wanting to explore further this Summer and into my 2nd year of the course. The tones of colour were so varied, including combinations I would never think of putting together, which makes me think I need to be more adventurous with this. There was also a lot of black outlines within the work, which really brought the brights together. The garments were really fascinating, the detail, the colours, and techniques used. I tried to capture the detail in the photographs I took, as they really were so intricate.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Carlos Cruz-Diez

I went to see this exhibition on Cork Street, of Carlos Cruz-Diez's work who is described as a a Venezuelan kinetic and op artist. I was looking for inspiration on new colours to work with, and the combinations he used were really inspiring. There were so many colours together but they worked well, each line fading into something else. The pictures looked completely different from far away, up close, and also from the sides. Over the Summer I plan to create a sketchbook of inspirational colour schemes to incorporate into my work within the second year.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

H&M Copenhagen

Here are some photos from the interior of the flagship H&M store in Copenhagen. There were illustrative expressive drawings decorating the interior walls, which I really liked the style of.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Copenhagen Art Show

I visited Copenhagen for a short trip this week and on the last day was told to go to an art show that could be of interest. I believe it was student's that submitted their work, and there was a cross between a few art disciplines. There were a few textile pieces that were particularly interesting including an embroidered/tapestry inspired piece which featured appliqued leather bunny shapes. The piece had a mirror image effect of symmetry and there was a lot of detail that went into it.