Thursday, 21 November 2013

Starting the second sample - exploring cowries

After a work-enforced break, I am coming back to my blog to catch up with what I have been doing. My last entry was about the first sample for for assignment 1 of Textiles: Exploring Ideas, inspired by 13th and 14th century medieval images. The first sample was more of a conceptual piece, and the second one is supposed to be different. While I was doing the work on the first one, I kept coming back to, and noticing, images which are related to the cowrie shell ideas. I decided that I would go along with this for the second sample, especially as, since I had already extended my deadline, a bit of extra time from changing themes would be ok.

Arab cowrie
What appeals to me about them is:

The oval/ not oval shape - curved

The way the pattern emphasises the entrance, drawing the eye and curiosity inwards.

The contrast between the soft, curved, blurred shapes and the hard shininess

The fantastic pattern on the back of the arab cowrie

The slightly uncomfortable feeling that there might be something a bit too female about  the shape.

The colour palate - bluish white, coral/copper, palest pink, mahogony. I noticed when I first started collecting images of cowries that theres something rather stylishly 1950s about this colour palate, that asks for clean shapes and geometric patterns.

I wanted to try out some more repeat patterns this time, as I like the look of repeats often, but haven't done much work on them myself. Also because of the sketchbook work I did initially with cowries that led me into squares because of the calabash shaker image.

Sketchbook work:

I printed out some repeats of one of the cowrie photos I found online. I like the way this reflects the 1950s idea somehow, and the wood background is a good colour for this. Repeating it emphasises the spots and the entrance even more, and the 'teeth' shapes, which are also suprisingly regular and hard.

But the unchanging regularity of it is less appealing, rather deadening.

Earlier, I had found an appealing picture of lizard skin on pinterest. It had some of the same qualities as cowrie shells - the irregular oval shape, 3 dimensions, and lines in the middle of each oval. But each one was a slightly different shape with different proportions. This led to an emphasis on the similarities between them, and was more appealing.

I printed out some more of the original cowrie images, and played around with different arrangements of them.

The top one with alternate shells upside down, gave an attractive regular curvy line, and the whole thing lost the feminine feel, and the emphasis on the  pattern round the entrance to the shell.

I played around with various star shapes, but again, these didn't add anything.

I tried regular rows again, but this time against a background of straight lines. I used strips of gold tissue because it was the coppery colour which I thought could reflect the highlights in the spots. I like the way the contrast hightened the blue in the white shell, and the curvy 3D nature of the shells.

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