A small selection of snapshots from the last few months.
A small selection of snapshots from the last few months.
So, I’m stuck. Stuck, in the way that you get a vengeful piece of chewing gum stuck on the ball of your foot, and every time you move, the tackiness just pulls you back down. The kind where you probably need extreme measures, like liquid nitrogen, to freeze the gum off. It’s an annoying kind of stuck, this stuck. It’s not like the stuck you get when a rotating door stops, because the person in the compartment ahead is taking just a bit too long to leave. It’s not momentary, like that. It’s a lingering stuck. It’s a stuck that isn’t what you asked for, but just doesn’t want to leave. Like a really bad hangover come 6pm on Sunday night. That kind of stuck. An unpleasant, frustrating, sometimes even sickening stuck.
So, I’m stuck. Which is where we were in the first sentence, and still where we are now, but maybe with more understanding of the type of stuck I mean. It’s a stuck that can’t really be addressed with chemical freezing, not least because liquid nitrogen is not something I have to hand - or really ever - but it is a stuck that we’ll try to address with words today. Writing my way out of stuckness, because it’s my best tool in the metaphorical skills box. A skill box that is definitely more puttylike than specialist, because there are too many things to know and only finite time available. Though that’s a story for another day.
One of the main reasons for my stuckness of late is work. Or rather, past work and potential work, since stuckness means not much work has been happening lately. Well, money-earning work has occurred, but I’m talking about nitty gritty, personally invested, creative work here. The work that I reluctantly called work when first joining design school, but quite unflinchingly call work now. Because it is work, it was work. It took all the energy I could muster, and then, like a hungry fiend, took some more too. In fact, I’m overjoyed to report that I graduated with First Class Honours and a negative balance of enthusiasm, spark and zeal. That’s not something I write on the CV.
After a brief interlude, the seven song lists are back. Lately I've been drawn towards electronic emptiness, alongside something darker and harsher. It's an odd combination in some ways, but my fondness for intricacy, texture and layers can just as easily be found in this sonic assortment. As ever, enjoy!
I'm not a natural portrait maker. I've not yet perfected the technique of capturing moments, without a human subject becoming self-conscious by my camera's presence. Given the ubiquity of the camera phone, it amuses me how people react to a "proper" camera still. Simply the looming prospect of a 50mm f1.8 lens is enough to raise some hackles. And I once worked as a photographer.
I get it, of course. In heavy irony, I am no different. A camera enters. I recoil, and coif my hair; grimace and then fake a brilliant grin. Adjustments. Your likeness is being captured.
Trees, on the other hand, won't hide. Unlike people.
Citations is an ongoing series where I attempt to unravel the multitude of influences that pave the way to now. In these posts, I trace the people, things and experiences which shaped my thinking, and form the underpinnings of a creative outlook. You can view more of the series here.
Worn, worn, worn... how many words can I entangle today to express how much adoration I hold for you? Or perhaps that should be held, since the final issue landed with a thud through my post box in January. What struck me then, was that this was an opportune moment to reflect on the publication. Delve into those bits of the Worn ethos that I've subconsciously nicked from every issue I've read, and resonate still today.
Worn Journal has a core, maybe cult, following and doubtless, some reading here may count yourselves amongst them. I came to Worn in 2009; when, through the joys of Twitter, I was sent a review copy for the tiny blog I kept at the time. The only remnant of that review is the photograph at the top, but suffice to say reading that issue was enough to hook me into Worn's World. Back issues and subscriptions were bought, and copies remain amongst the treasured possessions on my bookshelf. Maybe you'll have similar stories.
Patterns appear when you're not looking
Miscellaneous moments and things over the last few years.
Postcards from Italy
Rome - Florence - Venice, September 2011.
Over-thinking. It's what I do apparently. Especially when it comes to creative ideas over the last year. They just twist and turn, contorting within the small space between my skull, yet never truly resolving because the doing is essential for that.
One such idea, is a piece deriving from the fashion as a social phenomena theory that circulates. I've been a little dubious as to what extent dress can reflect society, and in thinking about past influences, I began to remember the story of Echo & Narcissus. Which made me think of mirrors, as the perfect embodiment of both characters in the tale – vanity and reflection. The question whistling from the corner of my lips was:
What if we had a garment with a mirrored surface, allowing it to mimic the environment directly surrounding the wearer? A literal reflection.
Avert your eyes from my temporal optimism if you've had your fill of new year talk. Sometimes, the start of a new year means very little for me. Change is fairly constant process after all. Yet other years, like this, my shoulders soften and arms uncurl towards a warm, enveloping embrace. To the new year, welcome, I say.
As the last wilts of the old year fade, we begin.
From the deepest crevices of our cores,
From the ashes of our thoughts,
From our emotions and our lives.
Because we cry and scream,
And laugh and smile,
And every aspect of our human being craves relief.
We begin, because we cannot hold on any longer.
We begin, because we must.
In the old livejournal days, when times were simpler and the internet was a small excited child, one of my friends made an animated gif of a tree with our in-joke, “I lobe trees” on it. I was 13 then, and displayed it for longer than is probably wise to admit to now. But, we can say this was the beginning of my now blossoming interest in sustainability – and obviously, a fondness for trees.
Like any good soul who wants to infiltrate a field does, research is the start. When researching Thalia Warren, I found knitwear label Chinti + Parker. As a sucker for a well-made website and design that does not rely on its ethical tag for a USP, I made mental notes to check back when I had more time. And check back I did, to find a collaboration with famed design studio, Patternity.
Ah December, and time for the final mini-playlist for the year. I did debate making it festive themed, but after a short-lived job as an Elf recently, I decided against it. That, and it is exceptionally hard to find festive songs which aren't overplayed to irritation. Instead, we have the usual 7 songs seemingly of the electronic persuasion today. Enjoy!
A good few years have passed since I participated in that old pastime of outfit blogging. It's not really something I think much to do these days. Partly because there are enough people documenting their clothing online, and partly because my wardrobe seems a little lacklustre at times. I would say money and time are the causes, but that would indicate that interestingness in appearance is dictated by those factors. My idealistic notions do not wish to believe that, though our current fashion system does seem to suggest money and time are the lifeblood of this, so-called interestingness in dress.
Sometimes, I remember the practice of photographing an outfit though. Locating the trusty tripod, before darting backwards and forwards within the 10 second timer on the camera – I never had a photographer boyfriend, as the running joke dictates. Documenting chance outfits is not something I would say I ever truly enjoyed, but it was something I did. Because I liked clothes. Because I was exploring my aesthetic preferences and sense of style. And most of all, because I was intrigued by how all these appearance related matters, could alter perceptions both internally and externally.
I stand out upon the balcony, blistering darkness still permeating my vision. The morning air holds still, cold but gentle, as it whistles silently alongside my ear. My head pounds, weary from the night long gone. Flickering flashbacks roll along the skyline, like a broken television set in someone else's dream. Somewhere behind, careful breaths pace the quiet brown study my mind has fallen pray to. In and out, in and out; a reminding shiver along an otherwise lonely spine.
Suddenly, through the distant valley, a sun ray cracks the dark void, scattering my loose illusions into dust. I stand still, filling my lungs with fresh morning dew. My eyes wander, watching the light rise and caress the desolate mountaintop before me.
Every so often, I become bored of texting the simple "hi, how are you?" to my friends. This is what Kaylea received some time ago. She told me I should be writing novels shortly after. I think she liked it.
Amongst other forms of needlework, embroidery is perceived to be a traditionally "feminine" type of work.
It's rare that I think too much upon this, to speak frankly. It is a technique for me, first and foremost. One that takes a considerable amount of time and patience to complete – even if you use digital embroidery as I have done before. Embroidery can be a material manifestation of ostentatious luxury, simply because of the time necessary to stitch.
Life, with all its funny twists and turns, often leaves me confused. Perhaps it's due to my constant thinking or perhaps it's just that the world can be shambolic, and negotiating your way through it isn't always a barrel of laughs. Nevertheless, we continue forth because Pandora's box let hope escape too, so we can believe that things have a strange way of working out for the best.
To quote the ineffable Monty Python:
“…when life looks jolly rotten, there’s something you've forgotten, and that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing”
Truer words never spoken.
Sometimes, the smiles come from the little things. The quirky details in an outfit. The glow-in-the-dark face on your watch. The unexpected card from a friend at a difficult time. The funny little late night conversations. The spontaneous dances. Sharing music, books, knowledge, thoughts and ideas with other souls. Making things. And really, just being a little bit more bloody grateful for everything you can surround yourself with.
The only other thing is time. Time to figure out who you are and what you believe, and the things you hope for. Words are the easy bit really, but the time it takes to understand the pieces of your puzzle? That is invaluable.
Some time ago, in the frantic rush that was probably just graduate panic, I found myself stumbling through the blog on Kate Fletcher's website. An internet adventure that led me to discovering the Fashion & the Environment course – now reconfigured into the Fashion Futures course that I'll be undertaking soon enough. I mention this as a precursor to the post today, because I've recently been revisiting past work as a result of a prompt set a few months ago.
I'm a thinker, usually. I like ideas. Clever ones especially, that get me to question things I thought to be right and true. And one such idea, was presented in the collection of Thalia Warren, graduate of the 2013 MA Fashion & the Environment group.
Awaken! Gentle soul,
Too long you have slept,
Beneath bright stars and moonlight,
Time trickles to the next,
Ah! Fair wanderer,
Breathe deeply you are told,
For lost is but a place,
Where dusty dreams can unfold.
Time for another music assortment. This month I've fallen big time for Cosmo Sheldrake's musical endeavours, so he features twice in this bitesize playlist. Alongside some other strangeness, as my ears dictated. Enjoy!
Moments of Awe
Various places in the UK, over the last few years.
I often find myself wandering into introspective reflection territory, partly as a tendency of my mind, though I suppose formulating work again is a large factor too. Whilst I generally fall into the belief that things are always changing; standing without a few stable supports is a not always a productive position and it can prevent ideas being galvanised when they strike.
In these periods, I reflect more heavily on the pieces that have shaped my thinking thus far: the snippets of my story, the things I've read, the people who have left their marks on the structure of my spine. It is from this point that I start the Citations series – an attempt to unravel the multitude of influences which have paved the way to now. My naïve hope is that it helps identify those latent supports which linger at the wayside and from this understanding, push onward. Without further ado...