Pushing The Boundaries

Its just dawned on me how far third year is pushing me as a practising artist. Until now i have always thought of myself as solely a designer but have never pushed myself as personally as im about to do in costume. Its gradually being revealed how closely performance, art, design and space interlace. Costume is not just something you wear it becomes an extension of the body in space.  Some of my classmates are experiencing a very similar journey through confronting their own bodies and interpretations of identity.

I spent Saturday night plastering Ian Jones’ ( Third year design student’s) naked torso in mod rock for his own project. The whole process was very messy and involved a lot of torturous waiting around for the sodden thing to dry. (I am yet to receive permission to post the photos for obvious reasons)

Lucy McRae abd Bart Hess explore genetic manipulation of the body. The mutated body is something which is malleable and tactile structurally engaging with its environment .

Last week i spent an hour trying to attach my body to a sewing machine (And yes it does sound silly when i write it) . What was revealed was the direct relationship i had with the sewing machine with my body . I started to question the process of making a garment …the cutting….the pinning….the stitching. What would happen if my body went through the same process? Although i had taped a ball of screwed paper to my chest i began to thread though the surface and puncture the material with safety pins. Daringly i then put the pins through my actual fingers….It didn’t hurt…and of course it didn’t hurt because it was dead skin. But I’d never intentionally put something in my skin before and the whole experience was quite surreal.  I have negative association’s of a boy called Nathan at school taking pins off the board , putting them through his hands and parading them in-front of squeamish girls.

This week i will be looking into the latest Silicone Scandal inlvolving the breast ‘Butcher’ Jean Claude Mas and if you not aware of the whole situation…. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/27/pip-breast-implant-boss-mas

Here’s a rather scary photograph of the man in question published in the paper the other day.

Back to the point, I will be exploring what happens to the body when it experiences trauma. The swelling of the body and how it regenerates.  The topic of breast implants and plastic surgery is very relevant and personal.

Working with the support of Louise Anne Wilson who is currently lecturing at Edge Hill.  (See http://www.louiseannwilson.com for some of her professional work) The process am i undertaking is not only increasing my knowledge of contemporary fashion and costume but also challenging my own identity, fears and desires. Something you will never read in a book and clarifying every reason I have had to come to university.

Sudley House

This week we’ve just embarked on a costume module and I’m very excited. The concept is to create a costume from a site (the site being the sewing room in seminar C). It can come from anything, the room itself, the history, the fabric… a character, even the plug socket that supplies the power to run the machines. Last Friday we all took a inspirational day trip out to Sudley House in Liverpool. The staff where immensely helpful but the exhibition slightly less so. A gorgeous collection of paintings and sculptures and where displayed on the bottom floor of the house. Upstairs was the ‘Costume Drama Collection’ which consisted of a few shoes and about 7 dresses, beautiful but hardly varied. All of the clothes were from the period of Jane Austin. We came away with a few sketches in our books but a mutual lack of creativity.The costume module is about to get pretty intense in the next few weeks. I’m comfortable as a less than average machinist i will get all the support i need from the department. Brian, a costume maker, who has worked for the English National Opera is in most Thursday’s for one to one help sessions.













If you do fancy getting lost in a wooded area trying to find Sudley house, dropping your phone in a puddle, paying extortionate prices in the cafe for a drink and the likelihood of seeing more period costume in your gran’s wardrobe. Please visit

Open 10am-5pm daily.

Sporting Edge

I claimed i wasn’t going to make a new years resolution but it appears ive been roped into going to badminton. To be honest its one of the very few sports that i enjoy to partake in, its quite dainty and girly. In my three years at university ive never been into sporting edge… well ive been reluctant to. Sports day at school is still haunting any memory ive ever had of sport or physical exercise.

Sporting Edge offers outstanding sporting facilities open to staff, students and the local community. It offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor sports facilities.

Visiting Sporting Edge today i have met a very helpful lady behind the counter who has given me a free swanky-looking ‘Sporting-edge’ card.  I’m off to play badminton tonight with a few keen opponents. Sporting Edge allows you to book out the equipment so i just need to find suitable attire. Being a student at the University we get concessions prices for booking out the space to play.

Have a look at the website for more information on the facilities available…


Head’s buried in books

Over the past few weeks i feel like my face has been permanently glued to the inside pages of a book. I’ve never really enjoyed reading so writing a 3,500 research paper based on what you read in books is nothing short of procrastinating nightmare. However its done! and submitted today …hurrah!  Being on a design course most of the work is practical based and its very rare that our work involves writing (most of it is presented as designs which equivilate to a large amount of text.)  As its our final year it seems like dissertations are hanging over us like a bad smell.

Despite this negativity, the dissertation is as much about learning about other practicioners as it is about learning about yourself. It divided into three sections which are ongoing with any other modules you may be taking in your final year. The first is a reserach paper, in which i have explored the contemporary world of installation art and raised the issue of defining kistch in contemporary art. This research paper will then translate into a manifesto ( your own personal practice ) and then a project proposal, where you create a piece of performance or deisgn based on your own beliefs on what design for performance is in a contemporary world.

Now this all sounds a bit daunting , mind boggling if you don’t even know what a dissertation is . But i assure you (and myself while i read the horrific amount of notes scattered on my bed) That it is all worth it.  This is the most important thing i will ever at university. It will require my devoted attention, no excessive nights out and embracing every precious day at 9am ( the body clock flew away over Christmas) All efforts to be rewarded with a cheeky Ibiza trip in June! (The one and only thing keeping me going)

The Revelations of a Body in a Confined Space

After a mad new year it’s time to knuckle down with some work…and plenty there is!   On Thursday 12th June third year Immersive and Video Installation students will be preforming ‘The Revelations of a Body in a Confined Space’ in collaboration with Julia Griffin . Now i don’t want to reveal too much about the piece because it’s something you must ‘experience’ . The process we have gone through has been so personally revealing and radically different from any way that I have been taught before. We have experienced body and mind, lived in a moment, something that cannot be read in any book. The process we have all been through draws from eastern cultures education methods where meditation is prioritised in regards to learning.  They believe that the development of a human being is something that has to come from within, it has to be an organic process.The performance is on Thursday at 1pm in studios 4 and 5. The only thing I advise is that if you come to see it don’t bring too many layers as it will get very hot and uncomfortable!