I wrap up this week's journal with three themes that have emerged from research and a need to focus and write off the exhibition's intentions and give a semblance of order.
Unapologetically, I admit working on The Vulgar and attending Judith Clark's recent talks have had an influence into the preoccupation with meta-fashion curation e.g. fashion curation that primarily expands on a theme surrounding fashion but also alludes to aspects of fashion curation. Clark's exhibition; The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined includes in its captions moments of fashion history. In 'Oes and Spangles', she hints at the conservation work-room by displaying objects using the language of dress conservators: cotton tape, insect pins, flat-laid garments almost dissected. They are 'fragments' of an outfit designed by Prada.
"Object based research focused necessarily and unapologetically on examination of the details of clothing and fabric. This process depends upon a series of patiently acquired, specialised skills...skills that have been underrated by many economic, social and cultural historians. Curators and conservators become expert at professional specialist care over cleaning, repairing, washing, pressing, storing and displaying clothing. These are skills that society at large still considers very feminine domestic occupations-almost...like doing the laundry" Taylor, 1998, p. 347-348
Taylor's quote above highlighted to me a way to look at the topic of Mending-- in daily life mending is a personal pursuit. Or an intimate pursuit; a parent mending a child's jumper. But professional menders, or conservators, are present in the stage of preserving dress and costume for the future. In a visit to Janie's studio, one can see the various textiles and garments that are so carefully mended so as to cause the least possible harm and intervention to the objects by a group of women. In this way, mending could be seen as gendered. However, when we speak of fixing, the connotations are masculine. It is your car-guy who fixes your car. Mr Fix it, the plumber.
Themes for Exhibition:
1. The Worker
Work wear-Visible Mending-Peasants-Farmers-Authentic-Rough-Distressed-Class
Followed with Artistic interpretations-imagined-tropes of mending such as visible stitching
2. The Bricoleur
Utility Wear-Inventiveness-Resourceful Mending-Military-Artisanal
Followed with artisanal/designer interpretations-inventiveness in materials-re purposing-workshops
3. The Mender
Changes to garment style via alterations-Fancy-Dress-Related to the home (children's wear, maternity alterations)-dandies-Make do and Mend
Taylor, L. (1998) 'Doing the Laundry? A Reassessment of Object-based Dress History', Fashion Theory, Methodology Special Isue, Vol 2 Issue 4, December, pp. 337-368
Post tutorial with Jeffrey Horsley:
Discussed different narratives that were identified from my research.
1. Mending & Alterations: The spectrum of mending and why it is usually done
2. A sub-division--focus on a category and go deep
3. Mending/Altering Versus Re-purposing
4. Aesthetics versus Social History of Mending
5. A linear narrative; from the humblest to the most depersonalized
Things to think about:
-Mending/Alterations- are a way to add adaptability to objects
-Aestetics- is the line between Critical/Utilitarian mending and Fabricated Wear and tear blurring?
-Value- what value does mending add to a garment? the threshold that pushes it to beyond being an object and gives it an almost mystical aura...
Possible concepts to look into:
-Contemporary aesthetics eg Margiela's use of white, not to hide or erase, but to create another layer..
-Performativity in exhibitions -how is craft 'performed'? eg Herme's laundry room & the aesthetics of a place of upkeep (laundry)
- Case studies for craft in action: Maker's House (Burberry), LV Series 3, Hermes Laundry room
Made me think back to the Architecture Biennale I saw in Venice and the open lab installation showing sustainable materials made from waste.