Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Ossie Clark: British Fashion Genius?

I am just back from an afternoon in Manchester to see the latest exhibition at Platt Hall Gallery of Costume.
Ossie Clark, a British fashion genius, 1967 - 1977 is a small but perfectly formed retrospective of his iconic design career.

Born in Cheshire and trained in Manchester before moving to London to study at the RCA, Ossie and his wife Celia Birtwell were central figures of the "Swinging Sixties".
 I found there to be a lot of similarities between Clark's designs and those of Laura Ashley and Biba, who were both at their peak around the same time. Details like yoke shoulders, high waists, long, gathered sleeves and 1930's style bias cuts and panelling appear again and again.
 For me, what really sets Clark's work apart from the rest are the prints, designed by Celia Birtwell, 
The bold and colourful patterns are unmistakably her's and make the dresses something really special. Perhaps a retrospective of Celia next time is in order?

You can catch the exhibit until the 20th July.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Dye Works: Part One

A large part of yesterday afternoon was spent on the balcony.
Any ideas?
How about now? 
Pretty obvious right?
The end result, I hope, will be some new necklace designs. For now they'll be one off's for the open section of an exhibition at Arts Hub 47 opening this week. The cotton cord, when it's not bound in Tana Lawn as mine usually is, has a really nice drape to it, so I experimented with a few shapes to best highlight this.

First off, I cut the cord to length, and bundled it up so I knew which lengths were for which style. Then it was into a bowl of water to soak through ready to take up the dye...
 ...assisted, as ever, by Catsby. Next up was mixing the colours I wanted. Clothes dye isn't the easiest stuff to mix, it doesn't always do what you expect it to, and it's hard to tell what colour you'll end up with once it's dry. I had Bahama Blue, Sunflower Yellow and Rosewood Red, which I muddled well enough to get a tealy green, an orangey red and a warm yellow.
Some of the cord went right in to get an all over solid colour, and some of it I half immersed to get an ombre effect along the length, pulling it a bit further out every 5-10 minutes to get the gradient. For one of the designs I did a two colour ombre, starting from either end, like so...
I left it all soaking for about an hour then rinsed in cold water, taking care not to bleed the different colours, and then washed in warm water to get the last of the dye out.
 Whilst they were drying I threw a bit of silk habotai in to see what would happen.
In the teal, scrunched into a ball and tied with elastic bands.
And in the red, concertina pleated along the length, then again in the other direction before being tied.
I will show you the finished necklaces very soon, but in the meantime, here are the dried habotai pieces.

Any suggestions for what I should do with them?

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Etsy Picks: Twin Peaks

There's no series quite like Twin Peaks, and I don't think there's another TV show that's inspired so many Etsians. With all it's bizarre characters, quotable lines and retro styling David Lynch's creation is a goldmine for designers and artists. I'm nearing the very end of the two seasons (my second attempt) and I don't know what to expect, it just keeps getting weirder.
For now, here are some of my favourite Twin Peaks treasures.

Twin Peaks Brooch - 'Diane' by kateslittlestore (the sheriff badge is also pretty fantastic)

Twin Peaks poster by WilliamHenryDesign

Twin Peaks Patches by JennisPrints

 Coffee and Pie iPhone case by YakawonisQuilling

Twin Peaks travel poster by (my absolute favourites) JazzberryBlue

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