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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Photography Competition

Mid – November landscape. Title: ‘Think big, dream far’                                                                     Entered the competition end of November! 3..2..1.and the winner is…. ME and I just couldn’t believe it!!! An unexpected satisfaction

I started to have more confidence with photography in the last few months mostly after photographer Diwan Manna payed us a visit in Cardiff Met at the beginning of November 2016 talking about the importance of clarity in the goals we want to achieve and the medium of experimentation that will lead us there. Later that month my teachers talked about the beauty of nature in one lesson and i liked the warmth i felt when Keireine said that autumn is her favorite season and that it would be interesting to observe how the same spot changes with the seasons. I also had a vision of a tree which I repeatedly reproduced in a few workshops and different media. And this beautiful landscape is my way to uni every morning. Static and in continuous transformation giving new shapes and colors at every breeze. I just couldn’t not capture it anymore and I’m so HAPPY i did.

First Presentation

Since the beginning of the course I have undertaken an exploratory path where every technique was a new experience and adventure.

Printing and stitching were completely new to me, while drawing and even mark making were on a much higher level than I ever practiced before. While working on them, I started to have more confidence and self-awareness and I began to face my potential and my weaknesses.

The wire workshop and the hand book making gave me a taste of ‘Field’ and before me started to unfold a world of possibilities that make me more enthusiastic for the things to come.

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Stitching, Dyeing, Heat printing, Hand book making and wire workshop. Mark making and drawing

Neo- Futurism (Constellation yr 1)

1909 –  Neo-Futurism begins with the first manifesto published on the 20 February 1909 by the Italian  Marinetti on a Parisian newspaper ‘Le Figaro’ arguing the need to get rid of the past and embrace the future in everything that surrounds us.

Marinetti exalts the beauty of speed (cars, airplanes…), the love of danger and fearlessness, the courage and audacity in poetry, art and architecture. Museums and schools should be buried as well as everything related to the past and permit the new generations express themselves on the heels of what technology can give. To evolve and not remain stagnant.

I recommend a view of Marinetti’s most famous poem, the  Zang Tumb Tumb  and it’s particularly interesting and onomatopoeic interpretation.

1914 –  In 1914, Sant’Elia, profoundly influenced by Marinetti’s Manifesto and in the same year the two of them met, decided to publish his Manifesto of Futuristic Architecture. He considered that the modern architect has to revolution his way of creating, use more curves rather then lines. No decoration and more efficiency. Buildings have to be functional rather then aesthetically sought.

‘The new beauty of cement and iron are profaned by the superimposition of motley decorative incrustations that cannot be justified either by constructive necessity or by our (modern) taste’ – Sant’Elia

2016 – Some astonishing architecture from Zaha Hadid here:

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A floating city concept by architect Vincent Callebaut:

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Reflections:

  • If all in a sudden our mind was erased of the past would we be creating futuristic buildings for our homes and airplanes for our displacements or would we be cutting a tree and a stone to build a wheel and a tent?
  • We all grow up developing our thoughts based on habits and knowledge that already exists.
  • Futurism enhances courage and rebellion but how can they exist if not in function of something pre-existent and ‘common’?

Conclusions

Premising the amazingly open minded Manifesto both of Marinetti and of his friend Sant’Elia, I find their extreme reaction to be based upon the historical moment of their times (Decadentism) which shows us in first place how they were firstly and deeply influenced by their past.

Decoration was an element of Decadentism and so they decided to erase it. I think not because of it’s ‘useless function’ by itself but because it represented the somnolence and stagnation of a nation who preferred escaping the present finding refugee in the aesthetics instead of rolling up their sleeves and act. But aesthetics is part of every aspect of our life. In every object or piece of cloth we buy both because we want to look stylish or because we ‘don’t care’. Either way it’s a choice, as well as the choice not to choose.

We are intimately and intricately connected to our past. That’s the place we borrowed our knowledge and experience from. That’s how we learn to know what works and what doesn’t, what makes us save time or make a certain choise. The past is an inevitable element which we can only build upon but not erase.

Neo-Futuristics found a quick and easy solution in erasing and rebuilding rather then learning from the past, keeping it’s merits and changing or improove it’s demerits.

Balance is the missing piece to Marinetti and Sant’Elia’s Manifesto!

The Collection Series Finale (Subject yr 1)

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Created by Oliver Goldstick ‘The Collection’ is a Franco-Welsh series co-produced by Amazon and BBC . It’s an 8 part fashion drama set in Paris after the Second World War of 1947 and shot in Wales thanks to the Welsh government which, citing Selwyn Roberts words from the Q&A session, it helped enormously funding the production.

Starring: Richard Coyle, Tom Riley, Mamie Gummer, Max Deacon, Jenna Thiam, Frances de la Tour.

Maison Sabine is run by two brothers, Paul Sabine (Richard Coyle) very good in business and head of the fashion house, Claude Sabine (Tom Riley) the most talented but who leaves in the shadow of his brother, and their mother. Internal rivalries, betrayals and a thriller element arouses interest in the public while the outfits and haute couture dresses seem to take the stage from the main characters, at least for those particularly interested in fashion and textiles.

Q&A with Kate Croft (Producer), Selwyn Roberts (Producer) and Dearbhla Walsh (Lead Director) in conversation with Natasha Hale:

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The aim of the cast was to recreate the authenticity of the Paris post war period, especially regarding the outfit. Therefor a 10 people team worked night and day for 14 weeks producing outfits each with unique designs while others came from London, Paris and Rome reaching a total number of 1200 pieces.

I think that the series it’s a real value for those interested in the postwar period and relative costumes and I’m happy I could attend the preview of the Finale (Cardiff – 20/10/16) before it’s showcase on Amazon.

Enjoy!

An inspirational walk – Cardiff Arcades (Subject yr 1)

Pad Deco Boutiquelamps

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Artist – Kerrie Brown

Cardiff is also known as the ‘City of arcades’for the highest number of indoor shopping arcades in the whole UK (total length of 797m, 2,655 ft.). The style is mostly Victorian and Edwardian, it feels like stepping back in time. Inside, you can walk around a wide variety of shops. Due to my interest of study, one has caught my attention in particular, the Pad Deco Boutique. It is known to exhibit artisan-made products and fabulous home interiors made by well-known or emerging artists selected from all around the world.

When I walk through the city center (or wherever I am actually), I find it inevitable to stop at every step just to refresh my eyes with other artists work. And it’s everywhere, in a painting, a dress or a little brick in the wall, the list is endless. In this case, I found inspiration in three artists.

  • Kerrie Brown with her colorful and sophisticated pillows. I admire how she was able to maintain a sense of fun touch.
  • Missoni is an eternal classic which inspires every year with its distinctive style of a bold combination between stripes and colours.
  • Last but not the least, the vibrant and exotic fabrics from Swarm Design, from which I could’t take my eyes off, wondering about the colour palette and the way he might have used photoshop. A great result for the tropical trend.
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Artist – Missoni
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Artist – Swarm Design

Inside Cardiff Castle (Subject yr 1)

The first task for the class was for us to divide in groups and walk around the city to get to know each other better and discover Cardiff’s beauties. We firstly choose Cardiff’s Symbol: The Castle.

Once you arrive in Cardiff, the first thing to catch your attention is the Castle which is located right in the city center at the entrance of a huge park, Bute Park. The fortification was originally built late 11th century then rebuilt and adjusted in time to become as we see it now. Cardiff Castle has been involved in several conflicts during history, the last one during the Second World War  when its outer walls became an air raid shelters (structures for the protection of non-combatants as well as combatants against enemy attacks from the air – Wikipedia). In 1766 the Castle was handed to the Bute family who gave it in tribute to the city of Cardiff in 1947. At first it hosted the National College of Music and Drama and from 1974 became Wales’ most popular attraction. Right next to the Castle there is a ‘taxi boat’ that goes from Bute Park till the heart of Cardiff Bay guiding tourists and locals through the famous River Taff of the Welsh Capital.

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View of the Trebuchet and the Castle apartments in the back

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View of the Norman Keep and the North Gate inside the walls
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Tunnels within the walls

A first visit to the Castle it’s certainly recommended, better if accompanied with the audio guide. The most curious and unexpected spectacle were the tunnels inside the outer walls, not immediately recognizable. These were used as well for refugee during the Second World War for the people of Cardiff. At the sound of the sirens up to 1800 people could fastly access the cold and wet tunnels which provided kitchens, toilets, first aid posts and dormitories but people had to bring their own sheets and blankets from home.

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The Arab Room
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Texture making on the floor of the wall

Like all suggestive and historical places, Cardiff Castle it’s a cauldron of inspiration for artists and mostly for surface designers where they can see motifs in the most unexpected places. 🙂