Reflection on my learning process

Reflecting on how I’m learning, the example of the bucket and the fire fits just right. It reflects the process in my actual studies, and I have to admit that it never did before. I don’t know If it’s me or the uni, probably both, but if I I had to choose between them it would cut my learning process in half, it would’t be a circle anymore. I feel the fire burning inside especially when I see the possibility of all the workshops my uni provides and I feel like needing a  full immersion all at once and just create whatever. Practically I’m inevitably being a bucket during the lectures, ready to fill in with all the knowledge, all those important techniques I’m given, both new or already known. But I try to empty myself even for the subjects I’m more experienced in just not to miss out a different tint of it because the same subject taught by two different people will give even slightly but somehow different results. Then I can finally explode in exploring, researching or what I love the most, practically create something I didn’t know I could or that I ever would. A vivid example of this process was the discovery of sewing machine. Even though it’s a textile course and it could come naturally to imagine that one of the tools I would use would be a sewing machine, for me it wasn’t that obvious given the times of the digital rise. So here I am in front of the sewing machine, totally inexperienced, even though my mom’s a Taylor. I never wanted to learn, I never actually liked the idea of it. But there I was, and I don’t know how it happened, I just know that in some days I found another fulfilling way of expressing myself, and it was beautiful.

 

Ducati – Futuristic Artists Inspiration

After a long research I found that Giacomo Balla is one I felt most appropriate regarding shapes and shades from whom I’ taking inspiration for extending my range of work I already have looking more closely at Ducati as brand.

Balla likes to represents movement and speed of vehicles, the solar system, objects and feelings.

But my research continues to whatever shape or artist inspires me along my Ducati line for  the possible future position of new or existing products

International Women’s Day

Cardiff Met, and especially the Textile courses, celebrated the International women’s day by inviting a few speakers to talk about what that represents in terms of global awareness of the women’s condition both in Middle East and in the Western reality:

Alumnus Alex Wall for Xandra Jane who decided young to start her own business based on sustainable design where nothing is wasted;

Jo Perrin, volunteer for Vintage Vision, a non profit social enterprise run by women that develop projects around vintage fashion from donated clothes and resell them together with the history and the emotions they bring along from their previous owners. Their approach is based on promoting the recycling and re-use of clothing and textiles;

Jean Jenkins, senior lecturer in employment research in Cardiff Met. Her research is based on the women’s work conditions in the garment industry, mostly in Middle East. Pubblications here.

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As Jenkins’s research shows, while tailoring was mostly a male occupation, with the beginning of the mass manufacturing it arrived to be today a mostly women’s occupation (80%).

While in UK women’s rights became equal as men’s from the ’70, that doesn’t apply to the Eastern countries like Bangladesh, India and Cambodia, to name a few, where work conditions are still very poor and where most of the international well-known brands are manufacturing their garment careless of that reality. A reality where the vulnerable labor sector (mostly young and female) are forced to work within closed factories without the possibility to leave, often without water, proper rest, toilets and for 11/12 hours a day. The lack of a proper Health and Safety Policy and the local police forces that stand up in defense of the factory owners instead of the workers led in time to numerous cases of building crashes and thousands of deaths.

Considering as well that ‘THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS SECOND ONLY TO OIL FOR HOW POLLUTING IT IS TO OUR ENVIRONMENT’ as sustained by Alex in her website, we can only assume that this is the top of the iceberg and begin to wonder what’s actually behind our branded clothes and the real industry behind our textiles.

We as individuals, and most of all as designers/creatives have to become more aware and create awareness, research about the materials we use and how these can influence the life of the garment and of our environment ones it’s disposed of. Question the provenience of our clothes as well as our food and everything we come in contact with during our day to day life. So where does my t-shirt comes from, who made it and how much was he/she payed if I only bought it for 2£ and in what conditions did he/she worked for me to wear it?

One of the speakers said, with my big surprise I have to admit, that the boycotting of a label is not the answer, that by doing so we take the work away of the poor workers. That we should only ask that label to provide information from where does my garment comes from. But if we continue to buy from them anyway how do we prevent those worker from being enslaved? Why should the label begin to care about it if the income continues to be the same and they didn’t care in the first place anyway?

I bring here the most exhaustive definition of boycotting I could find, not in the Oxford or Cambridge dictionaries which I found reductive, but in the Italian Wikipedia one: ‘The boycott is an individual or collective action which aims to isolate, obstruct and / or modify the activity of a person, or that of a group of people, a company or an entity or even a State, as it was considered not conform to the principle or the universal rights or social conventions’

I conclude saying how much I appreciate my tutor’s involvement in creating awareness among us while i discovered it’s not a common use in all universities. I definitely have a different mind set, even thought I always tried to waste as less as possible and doing my best to make the difference, or at least to do my part in terms of sustainability and work ethics of the factories I come in contact with during my career.

Field project: Ducati

The Ducati Monster, in all of his versions, is one of Women’s favorite Motorbikes as sustained by this interesting article by Genevieve Schmitt, one of the leading experts on the subject of women and motorcycling.

Ducati Monster Inspiration:

A Mirror article of the Ducati Monster 1200 voted in 2013 at the International Motorcycle Show as the ‘Most Beautiful Bike of Show’:

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A new collaboration between Ducati and Diesel brought the concept and design of Motorcycles even further with the Ducati Diavel Diesel from where I choose the brown leather and its variation to create some of my final pieces. As stated by the Ducati Diesel team ‘The inspiration for their work is an imaginary post-apocalyptic and retro-futuristic world with a hyperkinetic vitality’:

All of which I brought in my stitching and laser cutting/engraving work:

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Mothers of Africa – textiles charity project

Mother’s of Africa is a medical educational charity, found by Professor Judith Hall in 2004, that trains midwives and medical staff in general in sub-Saharan Africa, to provide care for mothers during pregnancy and childbirth. The World Health Organisation sustains that every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, more than half of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

My teacher Maggie Cullinane decided to take part of it on a voluntary basis in 2012, at first providing a couple of hoodies for the 33 miles sponsored walk, an average distance a woman in Africa would make on foot, to get to medical help when pregnant. After realizing the situation there and remembering  her difficult pregnancy that probably wouldn’t have had a happy ending if it took place in Africa, she felt she had to do more. She then decided to resurrect a past fundraising project which had involved students and friends being sponsored to create fabric squares, which then made up into a quilt, and Mothers of Africa Sponsored Quilt Project was born.

And I’m proud to say that the Textiles course of Cardiff Met is since then active part of the project, selling ruffle tickets and organizing small events to raise money. Money that I’m sure where they end up since Maggie has an active and direct contact with the local project in Africa. Just some months ago they finished building a school!

1 Year Textiles 2017 Quilt:

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My class was divided in 4 groups, each named by an important city in which the project operates and came up with different ideas to involve people in the charity. The fundraising was fun, my group decided to make eyebrow threading and henna painting and besides doing my part for a good cause I discovered a new way to express myself.

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Curiosity – A video of a childbirth in Africa, with their traditional midwife:

Denim hexagons with Aisha


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The hexagon project was a really quick and fun way to put together creativity and team work within a short deadline ready to challenge our immediate capacity of responding to a task.

  1. Groups of two people, one hexagon each to start with for 20 minutes and then swap them to continue on the others work for other 20.
  2. Assemble the hexagons randomly on the wall close to one another and the result still makes me smile.

It’s a good way to realize that even if given same materials, from the moment we let our own creativity flow, it can only end up in as many different forms of expressions as the people who took part of it.

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London Textile Fair 11,12 Jan 2017

London’s biggest textile fair! This edition focused on Spring/Summer 2018 pre-collection and Autumn/Winter highlights presented by around 430 exhibitors from a wide number of nations, mostly from: Italy,  United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Turkey and Spain. But also from: Lithuania, New Zealand, Poland, Ireland, Egypt, Japan, Greece, Germany, United States, Czech Republic, China, Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, India and Mexico.

The January edition closed with a very positive result. See report here.

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A huge variety of fabrics adorned the space in an explosion of colours: woven, jerseys, jacquards, silks, woollens, synthetics, prints, outwear, active wear, sports wear, organic, technical and lace. And I just passed my fingers through all this samples for hours and i just couldn’t have enough.

I’ve learned that the minimum order goes around 300-500 m in most cases, in others even 1000 m, and just very few of them go down from 100 m.

Curiosity: Most of the exhibitors didn’t have problems with me taking pictures, but some of them, mostly from Spain, but also Turkey and France, were very strict in denying it. This exhibitors, or the agent/s that represented them, wouldn’t advertise any piece of the new collection on the web in order to protect their designs, so the fair is actually the only place where anyone can see them. Second of all, it happily surprised me the reaction of some exhibitors seeing my student badge. They were asking what i was studying and answering gently to all my curiosities. One of them even decided to explain in detail a technique they used to make a floral jacquard fabric.

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These are the 4 SS18 Trends by Patternbank.com:

Warped ‘Materials take on a technical and optical visual look.. Here surfaces are brought to life with abstract structure and warped 3D Techniques’

Dark Neon ‘Summer looks to a darker, neon injected aesthetic in this update on the iridescent trend. Metallic and fancy colour effects have a slight eighties look with powerful hyper real visual’

Future Craft ‘In this artisan focused trend we look towards innovative, future forms of craftsmanship. Here a fusion of cultures from the east to the west, blend together in this textural crafted trend’

Eastern Exotic ‘Decoration and embellishment is celebrated in this exotic materials trend, inspirations come from exploring India’s rich past. Here vintage exported textiles are given a twist with a vibrant colour palette to add a summer fizz’

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