Wearable Art workshop

On a last minute enrollment, I found myself at a brilliant Common Threads Wearable Art workshop last weekend. “The Human Vehicle” with Catherine Taylor-Burge. The workshop was held at MANY 6160, the old Myer building in the heart of Fremantle. Whilst the buildings’ new long term use is sorted out it is being used for artist studio/work spaces with a retail space on the ground floor full of pop up artisan shops and a cafe. There are some gorgeous things to be had…

Studio space at MANY

Old Myer building in Fremantle

Studio spaces at MANY

Studio spaces at MANY

Catherine has an extensive background in theatre costume and mascot making in the UK and she freely shared her knowledge. The workshop introduced us to light weight materials we could use in large scale costume design suitable for wearable art. We looked at how to use the body simply as the vehicle or foundation for the artwork rather than the body determining the shape of the work.

Catherine's work

Catherine’s work in progress

Catherine's studio

Catherine’s Studio

Catherine placed us into groups of two and gave each group a section of “Larry” to create a piece of artwork for. With a theme of architecture and a brief to have at least 70% of the work off the body.



My team member Julie and I were given Larry’s right leg to work on. We chose this image  from the book supplied.ImageAfter a little hesitation on the materials, we chose a compressed type foam to make the framework for our piece, connecting the pieces with T pins. Working 1We started at the waist making triangle shapes inspired by the original image, soon discovering that the arm would get in the way of our design so split the panels to accommodate this. We added some support pieces to hold the shape of the panels.

Working 2One of the considerations was to think about how the body will move…we had a hip, knee and ankle. I suggested the window shape in the image might work at the back of the knee.

Working 4 Once we were happy with this the lower leg section came together quite quickly. We originally planned to cover the panels, then thought to cover with something sheer.Working 6Working 7Interestingly, when another participant offered to model the work it really came to life. Unfortunately, my videoing skills on my camera are lacking – I have a great little clip of our model wearing the piece…sadly it flips sideways part way through, so you will have to imagine the movements…next time! The possibilities!Model5Model3Model 2The other two groups made some amazing pieces from cane and cardboard.

Workshop 3Nov 9 2015 046

My piece for the 2016 Common Threads Wearable Art completion is well underway, although this workshop has taken the possibilities to another level.

Following Fibres West I have made a couple of repairs to Gloria (Once) my piece from 2014 competition. The Tea Bag Bag has a new handle and the head band has been replaced. Not bad wear and tear since Gloria has a far better social life than me. She hasn’t come home since the showcase last year. She has been on display and/or worn at many events including 2014 Common Threads exhibition, Mandurah Tourist Bureau, Mandurah Council offices, A High Tea, Claremont Craft Fair, Mandurah Crab Fest, opening of 2015 Common Threads Showcase, Fibreswest. I find it delightful that my work about the “One Use” of items in our throw away society has been constantly “in use” for 18 months, wearing out, rather than just thrown out.

The Gilded Cage is also out and about, helping promote Wearable Art at REmida until the end of the month.At Remida 2

6 thoughts on “Wearable Art workshop

  1. I love the idea of having to mend Gloria! Not only was she made of recycled materials but she’s been darned….great message. Your blog on this should get a wider readership. DU Textiles would be a good vehicle?

  2. Great post, Louise, I’m so glad you enjoyed the day and thank you for your kind words.
    I’d certainly be interested to run another workshop as it was wonderful to be able to share my knowledge and experience with such amazingly creative people.
    Keep an eye on the Common Threads Wearable Art webpage within the City of Mandurah site – http://www.mandurah.wa.gov.au/wearableart.htm

    Best of luck to all who enter!

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