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What next …

June 28, 2021

So now, having perfected the wire twisting and felting the beginnings of the coat hanger dolls; they were dunked into dye baths.  Using, foraged, and finding eco-friendly suppliers I experimented with different shades that varied from green to yellow to indigo and brown and black using different mordents it all became a game of chance.  So, moving from the sculpture that needs a degree of uniform and structure so came an element of serendipity and playfulness.  Nonetheless, they were still a little statuesque, without properly formed and disproportionate hands and feet and rather odd wire heads and subtle differences of colour they were characterless.  They needed clothes, not costumes, they were not yet performers, nor strategically placed fig leaves or silken drapes they had nothing to hide.  They are made of twisted wire with a little felt to hide the joints; but need more not for warmth or dignity but for the artist’s 4th dimension; depth and furthermore distinction.  It was now I looked at artists who were masters of capture such as Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, and Pieter Bruegel dressing my sculptures as a ballet dancer, odalisque, old guitarists, glamourous girls, blue boy and girl, peasant etc.   With my adopted characters came colour I needed little or no imagination the masters had done it for me.  However, I had not considered this an issue until I attended a webinar at the Society of Dyers and Colourists about the importance colour, costume, and stage design.  Julane Sullivan explained how a costume designer must help the actor tell the story and ensure the audience understands what he is seeing.  Colour is a tool often used to give insight into themes, location, status, relationships, and personality.  While my performance will be very unsophisticated this knowledge will allow be to make informed decisions about my characters and their roles with colour, not only in the costume but scenery and lighting.  Which is important as my performance will be silent.

As the characters developed so I began to consider storytelling and performance; it was deliberate and necessary step if I were to show my work in the lockdown and/or socially distanced situation at the end of my course. However, while I was and remain without extensive technical knowledge it was to become for a while a stumbling block. While the characters were formed, and I was confident in the workmanship, the story telling and animation was completely unknown. 

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