This semester has been emotional, that is for sure. From the start to finish numerous events have happened in my personal life that have been upsetting or distracting. In contrast my time at uni I feel has been better than ever before. I’ve connected with more people, tightened bonds with my class and mingled with other years too. I am a more sensitive, compassionate person because of it and I am learning to deal with stress a lot better.
I thought it was an interesting choice to have us do group work during semester 1, it had its merits and its pitfalls also. It challenged me to compromise my design ideas, to listen to my group and to consider the overall outcome we had together. Every choice I made I consulted the group, from every fabric, the eyelet size, the colours, down to the thread. I wanted us to truly succeed together as a group. I tried my best to always make myself available to help the others when they needed me, I know I am good at figuring out patterns and construction, so I offered myself openly without pushing too far into the others. I didn’t want to seem like I was trying to take over the group or dictate the final look we created. The group work also pushed me to connect with someone I had never met before, pushing me to be more open and cooperative with the new students of the class. From that standpoint the idea of a group project is marvelous, making sure everyone is integrated as much as they can be.
However I do have numerous grievances with the project also, the first of which being the groupings. The groups were predetermined before we even started the year, meaning that when we came back from summer all with completely different compilations of research it was difficult to find a common theme that was unique within the class but still not too conceptual that we may have to change it. If we were grouped according to similar research I think it would have made the project progress a lot faster and smoother than it did for us. Having to work both on group research and on our own personal project at the same time was something that tripped me up also- between that, ccs, d+v, critical diaries, illustrator lessons, seminars and crits there was barely any time to focus on anything. Eventually I was able to figure out a way of managing my time so that I could cope with the workload, however this meant being at Grays from 9 am until 7 pm working and then having to drive home. It has been an extremely mentally and physically demanding project. There was a point during the project where I would look around the room and everything looked the same, pockets everywhere, quilted jackets, over sized items, eyelets upon eyelets. At a time, the project was monotonous, and everyone was becoming frustrated. As I see it there were two avenues we could take with this project: utilitarian, pocket-filled, over sized work wear -or- psychological, emotional, sensitive design. Most groups fell into one or the other category, we ended up in both.
I am proud of all I achieved this semester, and I did a lot. I feel like my design makes sense and expresses everything I wanted it to. When modelling I asked my friend gabby how it felt to wear my coat with its frame an she said: ‘ its like something’s touching me, surrounding me but I cant see it or feel it, its just there.’ This sentiment is exactly what I wanted the frame to achieve, to create an atmosphere of serenity, of contemplation, of safety whilst also presenting a visual of balance and peace. The coat itself comes from my experience of guiding, camping and survival. I wanted it to be warm and durable whilst also reminiscent of the aesthetic I experienced. The neckline shape in particular Is a sly nod to the neckerchiefs I used to wear, the cape idea came from when we would wear our blankets round our shoulders at a campfire, the structural elements came from my memories of pioneering, building huge structures from just wood and rope. Every part of the coat has multiple sources of inspiration, and a memory of mine attached to it.