Daily headlines in mass-media magazines like Newsweek and People tout horrifying tales played out in our society: "JonBenet Ramsey and the Culture of Child Abuse." "Rape, murder, a baby dead at a prom." "Too fat? Too thin?" "How media images of celebrities teach kids to hate their bodies." Striking statistics reveal that 70 percent of 12 to 13-year-olds know someone who drinks, and 29 percent know someone who has a gun.
Has the Disneyesque view of childhood been lost forever?
During the course of this project I will explore the ways childhood has been transformed by mass media, biotechnology and computers. Painting, sculpture, photography, film and video are all represented in this re-examination of "innocent" stereotypes in art from the last decade.
Today I visited the CSM library I wanted to look into artists that had used the same inspiration of innocence lost to get a feel for the different angles in which I could take the project. Presumed Innocence was an incredibly inspiring book that I found in the library, written in conjunction with the traveling exhibition, Presumed Innocence, organized by guest curator, Jean Crutchfield, the catalog presents the works of 23 artists who demonstrate how childhood has been transformed by today’s society.
As well as this I found several child sociology and phycology books in which extracts enlightened me on the way that ‘human becomings’ react to certain adult situations and the ways in which their brain process certain information. These books were titled Pictures of Innocence by Anne Higonnet and Childhood and Society by Nick Lee.
Another book which was the main source of inspiration for the project Innocence Lost was I Don’t Wana Grow Up by Sean Vegezzi this was a series of photography taken over a five year period which depicted a group of teenagers growing up in New York, showing their daily outings and regular acts of vandalism (mainly graffiti). It was the writings that accompanied these photographs that really opened my eyes to the fear that most teenagers have when they begin to reach adulthood and begin to notice that all of a sudden their innocence is gone their childhood is over and they really do have to grow up weather they like it or not.
After the research taken from the previous day I began to record drawing of broken toys, I thought that this was a good starting point due to the fact that toys are a massive symbol of childhood. These destroyed and neglected toys were the perfect way to begin depicting the brief in which I had chosen.
I visited the Museum of childhood, which showed various old toys and stuffed animals. As well as this I began to buy and destroy my own toys and recording them through mixed media. I began to use coloured pencils, crayons as well as inks to create childlike drawings of these broken toys, i would change the way i held the pen and draw using the technique of continuous line to make my drawings look more infantile. However, I would then incorporate blacks using charcoals to create darkened outlines and overlies to give the drawings a more sinister look to them. i think that this worked well and i am begging to create my colour story for the project.
The change from becoming an a adolescence to an adult is a big one, and I often feel like I wish that I could be a child again. Innocence Lost evokes the message of children in today’s society and how we are all forced to grow up and come to terms with the world in which we live in from such an early age. I feel that are youth naivety and innocence is being robbed form us more and more each day and as adults we are constantly having to weigh out the pros and cons of a situation instead of just taking the risk of enjoying ourselves.
This project shows me pushing back at this it expresses a mix of childhood purity mixed with the constraints, horrors and darkness of the adult world. At first glance my range of mixed median and samples seem bright, cheerful. I have deliberately tried to hide my message to make people look deeper, just as I have had to do myself with the research and development of the project so far.
Today I continued to create images of broken toys; I also began to look into the hidden and rather morbid meanings behind children’s nursery rhymes. Especially the rhyme ‘rock a bye baby’ the rhyme depicts a cradle falling from a tree. The disturbing image of a child falling to its death is not one that you would think would be turned into a nursery rhyme. However, the further back in history I went the more gruesome these rhymes got especially in the era of the Victorians.
Was it right for them to be so brutally honest about the society in which their children lived in?
And is it a good or bad thing that some of these rhymes no longer exist?
Of course, we want to protect are children from the harsh reality of the real world but for how long?
Is it good for them to become aware from a young age?
Today I began playing around with dolls and dolls faces, this is a children’s toy that has been around for many years and its significance to a little girl is a huge one. A little dolls a girl to play Mummy and practice all that society portrays that she should be able to do when she grows up, such as cook and clean and look after the baby and do the food shopping, this is the image that little girls look up to.
I began playing around with scale drawing large and small dolls faces, scale is something that I will play around with a lot during my project as children are constantly wanting to be something they aren’t ready to be yet; dressing up in their parents clothes and putting on Mummy’s makeup. They constantly want to be 13 and 15 and 18 never wanting to live in the moment.
I also began cutting paper chain dolls out of today’s newspaper and sewing sad faces on them this is something that a child would so without realizing the horror stories splattered across the front page. I began layering gingham a classic school uniform fabric under these creating a more childlike look once again.
The day was spent continuing my samples I began playing around with bright colours and acrylic paints and prints, I wanted to create images that seemed as if they were drawn by children with bright colourful overlays as wel as develop my colour story. Colour has become very important throughout the project so far.
Bright colours have been used to represent the innocent role of children whereas I have used dark colours to sybolise the adult world and its society. Through each sample that I have created, I have attempted to mix both these colour groups in hope of merging the two polar opposite worlds I have been studying.
Each sample conveys the notion of a child blissfully unaware of the world outside of fairytales and nursery rhymes. Each sample began being inspired by a problem from society, the twist is to give it a childlike feel and look, from scribbling over it with coloured crayons or cutting them into paper chain dolls.
Today i completed my proposal plan, ensuring that is was detailed and analysed well. its important that each staged is planned as fully as it can be at this time, because this allows me to not fall off of my topic and makes sure that the project reaches it's end. So i have began to research online as well as gathering books from the library, this week I'm am taking notes from the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky as well as Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Both these novels see young pubescent teens being put into adult situations and being made to realise the life that lies bend them, it oversees how they handle certain situations and their outcomes and consequences.
These books have inspired me to play around with scale and look into things that don't belong, misfit and misplaced, i can see large scale areas of garments that are overpowering along side pieces that are ill-fitting, ugly. This help to show the idea of kids wanting to be somebody their just not yet ready to be yet, making decisions that shouldn't have to make. Scale is going to become a big part of my project.
Over the weekend i visited the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green to research further the aspect of toys,the museum is filled with toys from all eras and all walks of life and was a perfect scene for me to do some illustrations and research drawings. i spent the afternoon playing around with mixed media as i drew the different toys i would try and use my left hand or hold the pencil in a different way to make my drawings look more childlike.
Today i was in the library gathering more research.i began to look at Dr. Seuss books as well as child sociology and phycology books i think, to truly be able to catch the essence of innocence lost i have to understand the intimate workings of the child mind and what makes them to certain things and how they react to todays society. as well as this, the images and writings of Dr. Seuss have always contained hidden within them, morals, meanings and ways of life. theses could be made into interesting stitchings or prints on elaborately over and under scaled garments.
I have really just been continuing drawings and sketches from all the research i gathered last week, i have been trying to visualise it more into prints and actual designs in my head but i feel that it is to early to develop this fully yet. for now i just need to continue with my mixed media collages and smaller samples so that have enough information to then translate into fashion illustrations.
I have continued reading into societies and the impact it has on their children/youth. i began looking into different eras as well as present ones to see how these different societies impacted the children of their time and why, i began looking a classic images that are referred to children and have been for generations such as the doll. I developed this 'doll' persona or image of you will through drawings and collages as well as researching different stories and rhymes involving the doll and studying how they have developed and become a lot less morbid as time has passed.
Over the pat few days as well as what i have planned for the weekend; i will be continuing to take apart and recreate/reattach broken toys to create things that seem out of place, and not what it should be. i am again focusing on the idea of scale, as well as something wanting to be something its not. this whole idea is inspired by the confused teenager, that awkward stage between kidulthood and adulthood when you don't know who you are or where you belong. these 'creations' can be used as samples in my sketchbook, as well as possible silhouettes for garments. i can also draw from these or collage them into my sketchbook.
Yesterday i also watched Lord of the Flies and Boyhood, both films helped me get into the mind of a child and they way they react the situations and surroundings they are put in.
Today i began working on some more samples created from the gathered and developed researching have done over the last few weeks. I am beginning to become very conscious about the fabrics in which i use and am finalising my colour story as i want to ensure that i choose colours that communicate my aim, brief and the message that i want to convey.
I am really beginning to focus on playing around with proportions and scale i think this is now going to become a big theme within the project as all of my research of innocence lost has kinda drawn me to this conclusion of ill-fitting oversized and undersized life that is these teenagers in today's society. I am going to experiment with different materials to create prints such as stencils different broken toy pieces, toy car wheels, incorporate broken toys into the samples possibly with more grown up items – condoms, cigarette wrappers, bottle caps and just really play around with ideas and start drawing some illustrations and silhouettes and think of how some of my samples can be translated onto the body.
Today i really just wanted to go back and look at everything i had gathered and created so far.i began to look through my sketchbook and pick out my most successful prints, samples, collages and drawings. want i want to do with these over the next fe days os just go back ad try and develop them in new and interesting ways so that they are developed to their fullest.
Today I finished off the samples I have been working on. So far, I have used a lot of bright colours and imagery within my work. However, I now want to reduce that down massively so that the structure is the main focal point that represents my brief and theme instead of the imagery that is put on my final piece. I intend to do this by creating multiple structures on the body using both adult and children’s clothing. This will emphasize the scale that I have tried playing on already so far and help me create different outcomes that I can then narrow down into my final piece.
This evening I watched the 1995 movie ‘Kids’ directed my Larry Clark, I found it incredible interesting to watch these teenagers try to be adults as they go about their day in New York City. Although, they think that they are living the life and everything in their little bubble of a world is just how it is meant to be, but as the film develops you being to see each characters life fall apart before they do, and the way in which they handle certain situation is not adult at all but instead incredibly immature and at times rather cringe. This film, really took me back to how I, and most teenagers must have acted in those ‘in-between’ years of our lives, and how it must have looked to all those adults watching us do it.
Today I began focusing on structure this is what I will be focusing on from now on. I began looking at the book ‘Pattern magic’ by Tomoko Nakamichi her patterns focus on creating these stunning sculptural clothes that use a creative approach to pattern making. I want to begin o create some of these patterns and develop them to work with my brief, I am working with these patterns to begin to create development garments that will show the model drowned in clothing, sleeves that drape onto the floor to give off the impression that the model is a small child dressed in their parents clothes. Them dressing up, tying to be something that they are not yet ready to be.
I began creating the basic slopper used in all of the patterns within pattern magic, with this I could them create and manipulate different patterns into my own design.
After yesterday I finished creating and sewing together some of the patterns I had made into calico as shown in my sketchbook. However, I feel that these garments weren’t really fitting with my brief; I felt that I would be better able to create a play with scale if I used adults and children’s clothing. However, I still drew some illustrations from these garments and commented on them in my sketchbook.
Today I gathered both typical adult and children’s clothing and began to place them on the mannequin, it did create some interesting shapes but, it still wasn’t quite the structures I was looking for nor did I feel like the individual pieces of clothing were working well when put together. I wanted to find some common ground or a link between adulthood and kidulthood. This link to me, is the school uniform, elements are both seen in the adult world and children’s everyday school lives. I always have questioned school uniform, especially that of private schools. I never really understood why children from as young as 5 years old were being made to wear shirts and ties. So from now I will be concentrating on wearing adult and children’s shirts onto the mannequin as well as incorporating other types of school uniform, especially the gingham school dress.
Today I began placing the shirts on the mannequin creating garments that would swamp the model but still create strong structures that would convey my message. I continued to do this for the rest of the day as well as draw from the forms that I created on the mannequin in my sketchbook, this technique really helped me to begin to imagine what I could create for my final piece as well as how to develop my project further through the structure of these garments
So to develop my ideas and designs further I wanted to do some background research into designers that had been inspired by: society, structures or the shirt itself. I found certain designers that were perfect inspiration for my development.
- Daisy collingridge: who created shapes inspired my quilts there were massively flamboyant and represented some of her childhood dreams.
- Comme Des Garcones s/s 12 collection which showcased pristine white frocks in all shapes and sizes—long-sleeved duchess-satin shifts, cage-frame skirts, and cocoon-like enclosures with heavy floral appliques. These, of course, were all delivered with Rei’s trademark tailoring and mastery of volume and craft. A noticeable detail injected by the designer was the immobility or complete absence of hands, thanks to the addition of large bows or gigantic sleeves that almost sweep the floor. This seemed to send a symbolic message of bound helplessness, together with the practically fully-covered lace headpieces worn by every model.
As well as designers like Craig Green and Ed Lee.
I found my self very inspired my the s/s 2012 Comme Des Garcones collectin I really like the idea od these models being bound within the garment as it linked extremely well with the thought that children are almost suffocated within the adult world and the clothes that we make them wear. So I began to communicate this again on the body going more flamboyant and exciting, making as many versions of and different designs as I could to really make sure that I had a bulk of development and ideas. I translated these into drawings in my sketchbook I want to keep practicing my illustrations as well as the more that I draw the better I get. I feel like the next stage is to incorporate gingham, another fabric that is regularly considered to represent school uniform.
Today I reverted back to making some samples. I went back and looked at the pervious samples that I had created and tried to develop them from there. I began evolving some of my previous drawings into prints in Photoshop repeating and combining them, these I then translates these onto fabric to see if I would like to involve them in my final piece. Although, I think the prints worked really well and the imagery I used coincided with each other perfectly, I feel like because I want to make my garment more about the structure it would not be the best idea to incorporate these into my final design.
I want to now incorporate gingham into my development as I feel that it is another fabric that symbolizes school uniform however, it has more of playfulness to it so I think that it will bring a more childish element to the designs, which thus far has been slightly ignored. So I began to look into the history of gingham so to get some insight into why it is used for these summer school dresses as well as to see what else it might symbolize. Gingham is a type of simple, woven cotton or linen cloth. Originally it had a regular bright coloured stripe but later appeared as a check or plaid pattern.
The colours are commonly blue/white or red/white. This cool, breathable textile varies from medium to light-weight and can range from a very small, checked pattern to very large checks.
In India, the gamucha is a gingham towel used to dry the body.
In Indonesia it symbolises the battle between good and evil. The contrasting colours represent this relationship.
In Japan the pattern also has spiritual symbolism. The fabric was used to wrap around statues when a child had died. Japan still produces 100% cotton gingham today – more than can be said for most other countries.
I found this last one very interesting and also liked the idea of the gingham being wrapped and tight, almost like a straight jacket on the model, I think this is something I will experiment with.
After doing as much development as I could with the white shirts alone I decided to sum that section of my development up with creating some samples. I wanted them to look destroyed as If they were falling apart, as well as involving as much texture as possible. I wanted to create these effects to show my response to those inbetween years of childhood and adulthood and how one moment everything is structured and okay (like the structure of the garment) and the next it is falling apart (like the sampled textures).
I decided now to bring in a tiny bit of colour before I went fully in with the gingham dresses. I began to incorporate some black and white gingham fabric that I had as well as these fluffy green coloured scarfs that I had found in the children’s section in a charity shop I through that they were very playful and would work to add some texture to my development work. I did about 6 different versions of these on the stand and then translated them in my sketchbook through photographs and sketches.
Today I began introducing coloured gingham into my development. I have also previously been doing a lot of work on the mannequin and none on the body so I decided to instead now work solely on the body so to get a better idea of how structures I created would actually look. I just began playing around with all the different coloured gingham I had as well as adding in the white shirts occasionally. I really enjoyed doing this, I made sure to take no more then 5 minutes on each design as I took photographs and made sketches after each one. I used the ties off of the dresses to create tightened areas, and bondage look straps and ties across the body. I want to emphasize scale in some areas and tightness in others. This dapping I can later translate into patterns form my final garment. I like the shapes that I could create with the gingham dresses and the shirts. However, I feel like the garment would be more powerful if it was all white, and I created texture on certain panels of it.
So I have now decided to revert back to all white but incorporate the structures and shapes that I had created with the gingham dresses. I began to make samples of white textures that I could add into my final garment, I wanted to keep the gingham involved so I decided to create my own out of layering white fabrics on top of each other. With this, I then embroidered a grid onto the fabric and cut away the squares into a gingham pattern to reveal the fabrics beneath.
I really like this texture and think that it is the one that I will choses to add into my final piece.
Today I worked on my final designs as can be seen in my sketchbook. As well as going back and perfecting everything else that I had previously done in my sketchbook.
I am now ready to start my final piece tomorrow so I went out this afternoon to gather the materials and fabrics that I will need for it.
Today I started on my make I created the foundation shape of my garment by attaching various shirts together on the mannequin; I decided that one side to be off the shoulder to emphasize the ‘shirt’ to be too big for the model. I attached the shirts by buttoning them to each other so they would hang longer in parts and shorter then in others. The contrast of the adult shirts and the children’s shirts coincided with my underlining theme of scale. I kept playing around with the draping of the garment, removing the sleeves and adding them in other places to make them appear longer. I’m not yet sure whether my garment will have arm holes or that any of the sleeves will actually be worn as sleeves, I think that the garment will look better simply draped over the model but I will have to test this when I try it on the body.
I began adding the gingham texture that I had previously created in my samples. I began by cutting panels out from the shirts in certain areas; I wanted them to be hidden so that the texture was almost coming out of the seams in certain sections. This will symbolize the child that is inside of everyone, something I have learnt and reconnected within myself over the course of the project.
I created the texture by distressing a white fabric to start with by creating holes into it so it looked like it had been worn or moth eaten over time. On top of this I then layered a large lace like fabric that looked like loose threads attached together, and on top of this I then placed the original shirt panel.
I sewed all of these layers together and then embroidered in white thread a grid onto all of them I wanted the grid to be misshapen and imperfect; on some panels I made the grid small and on others very large again playing around with scale. i cut the squares out into a gingham pattern exposing the distressed fabric underneath and then I reattached the panels to the shirts.
Although my garment was coming along well I still felt like it needed more structure to it. To do this I then decided to add another shirt to the front of the garment.
As well as this I wanted to add wiring to certain points of the shirts to make them stick out, I added them to both sides of the garment, as well as the shirt that I had added to the front. This definitely added to the structure of the shirt however I wanted to add more as well as try to incorporate more texture to the garment.
So above where I added the wiring to the garment, I cut the panels out and layered wadding underneath them, I then embroidered grids to each section, which, with the wadding underneath presented a puffed grid. After reattaching the panels I then went about perfecting the garment and getting rid of any threads.