Thursday, 28 November 2013

Design choices for the cowrie accessory

This is where I'm getting close to my deadline for this piece, and I have been having so much fun exploring that I haven't decided on a final piece yet. Of course I've had some ideas along the way but as usual find that if I plump for one too early it doesn't turn out so interesting.

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!
This one is a purse design I thought up while doing the woven sample.

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.
These two from the entrance shapes and emphasis. This does appeal to me and seems in some ways the most important aspect of the cowrie.

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.
This is the accessory I decided to go for. The red isn't quite right in this sketch - it needed to be more red and more intense. But anyway I decided to use the pink and try out the naturalistic/ black white and grey in small samples. I had some pale pink silk which I used for this, thinking that it may not take the fabric paint or the ironing of the wax as well as the white cotton I used before, so it would be a good idea to try it out before making the final sample.

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