These are two of my earlier ideas:
A coat with the front opening curved and emphasised in a similar way to the opening of a cowrie. The rest of the coat being dry pale cream with freckles like the sides of the cowrie. The collar curved round itself like the top of one of the shells, and edged with black. It seems to be necessary to have an asymmetrical hem.
This reflects colour palette and curved designs found in the couture collections.
I think I could manage the curved bodice but don't know how I would make the hem hang right!
It would be a relatively simple matter to weave the back of this. The curved front would be more difficult to work out. A straight slit in the front could be the way into the purse, with a curved satin lining like the spiral inner of a shell itself.
Not quite sure if this would work in reality.
Both these early ideas are representing the whole shell.
Later in the exploration process I had some ideas relating to separate parts of the cowrie shell:
|Collar - fabric manipulation|
& applique of emphasis lines
|Handbag. The severity of the lines and the|
clip fastening seems to me to go well with the 'mid-century
modern' colour palette.
This collar idea was to emphasise the shape of a slim V collar using the shapes and colours of the back of the arabian cowrie shell. I visualise it in the brown/ yellow/ purplish blue colour palette on something light eg chiffon, rather than linen.
The use of batik to make the white resist markings appeals to me because it reflects the Ghanaian use of wax resist dying, and also the white lumps on the entrance of the cowrie.
This was my preferred option until recently, and I might make it one day.
But in the end I was sorry to lose the cowrie hide/reveal feeling that seems most important to me in a design sense.
Instead, I came up with the idea of making a scarf with the lozenge shaped openings on both sides, revealing a different colour.
Sketchbook design for reversible scarf in ballpoint and designers gouache.
Trying out different colour palettes combinations of
pale pink/ coral red/ naturalistic/ black white and grey
The top is the front, and the bottom the appearance of the back.