Before doing this technique, I saw some of the other group’s samples, and I was not sure what I thought of it. But after doing it myself, I discovered that I really like it. Below are a few samples I made.

This was made using one pence coins. I dyed it in a yellow bath first, then dipped one end into a green bath. I am really pleased with this sample, I really like how the green didn’t cover the whole area that I dipped into the dye and how the coins left a copper colour in places.
tie dye
This sample is a long thin piece of fabric that I tied three knots in, and I like how unpredictable the pattern is. I also really like the blue, as it is close to the colour that shibori is traditionally dyed, indigo.

These two images are from the same sample, which I cut in half and ironed one half. I liked the un-ironed but was intrigued to see what it would look like ironed and I was lucky to have enough to have both simultaneously. The ironed half is my favourite as you can see all the lines where the fabric was tied and areas that have less dye on them. I’m not sure where the blue areas came from but they contrast well with the pink and I am very happy with this sample.


Reflexive Embodiment

In this week’s study group we discussed object, subject and reflexivity. We are the object when seen and the subject when doing something. Crossley says when both the object and subject are the same, we have reflexivity.

An example of this is looking in the mirror or a selfie:

In this picture I am both the subject (I see somebody in the picture) but also the object (I am the person in the picture). So we have reflexive embodiment.

(I have an eye infection, hence the tiny eyes and no eye make up!)

Using The Dye Baths For The First Time

I was excited to use the dye baths, and see what results would come from them. The first technique we were taught was blocking out dye from certain areas. To do this, you have to fold the fabric up, then use two blocks of the same shape either side of the fabric and clamp them. When the fabric is taken out of the bath and the blocks taken off, the area that was blocked remains the original colour. Below is a photo of one of the samples I made using this technique.

After the fabric had dried, I decided I wanted to stitch into it to add detail. I simply stitched inside the squares using different stitches on the machine. It looks good, and I am pleased with the colours that I chose. However I think it would have worked better on a different fabric, as this one is very thin and stretched when I put it in an embroidery hoop, causing the squares to be slightly misshapen.

Heat Transfer

In one of the dye workshops that we did, we learnt the technique of heat transfer. It is a very simple but effective technique, all you have to do is paint a design on paper with heat transfer inks, wait for it to dry and then use the heat press to transfer the design onto fabric. Below are photos of two samples I created that I think are the best of all the samples I did for this technique.

heat transfer 2
Here, the design was created with berries that I painted in various colours and dabbed onto the paper. I then blocked out a part of the design using some leaves while it was in the heat press. I am very pleased with the outcome of this design, the photo doesn’t show how effective it really was.
heat transfer
This fabric was dyed before I transferred the design. I dyed it yellow, then dipped one end of it into a green dye bath for a dip dye effect. The design was created with painted leaves being pressed onto the paper. I really like this sample, as the colours work well together. However, the transferred design is a little faint, I think this is because it was the second time transferring this design.

The Body in Society – Heteronormativity

Heteronormativity is the belief that society is built on strict ideologies that heterosexuality is the norm. It is often also white heterosexuality that is promoted. Tanya McNeill studied sex education in the USA and argues that the government’s ‘promotion’ of heteronormativity in education policy and curricula legitimates homophobia in schools. A large number of schools only teach about heterosexual sex and relationships, and then only teaching the method of abstinence or abstinence until marriage. Arizona state code even prohibits schools from ‘promoting homosexuality’ in it’s sexual education curriculum, with a number of other states requiring that homosexuality is presented in a negative light.

From my own experience of sex education in England, I don’t remember being taught about anything other than heterosexuality. From reading the government’s ‘Sex and Relationship Education Guidance’ given to schools, it is clear to see that the UK’s sex education curriculum is much more inclusive of homosexuality than the USA’s, but still focuses on heterosexual sex and relationships, and preventing pregnancy. While the focus is mainly on abstinence, schools are also required to teach about other methods of contraception. I think it is important to include all sexualities within sex education, more than just heterosexuality and homosexuality, as I only learnt about others like asexuality from being a member of the blogging website Tumblr. It is unlikely that parents will teach their children about anything other than their own sexuality, if they discuss it at all. Therefore it is important that schools teach it, all-inclusive, not just ‘promoting’ heteronormativity.

Continue reading The Body in Society – Heteronormativity

The Body in Society – Hegemony

Hegemony is the dominance of one social class over another using ideologies that are accepted as the norm, to prevent the lower classes revolting. Gramsci said that in the 20th Century, the bourgeoisie developed a hegemonic culture, which made up its own norms and values (ideologies), that would become the ‘common sense’ values of everyone in society.

By controlling norms and values, people’s bodies are being controlled. The norms ands values restrict what people do and say, and also affects what they wear and how they decorate their homes. It affects even businesses and cooperations, because they need and want to be seen as conforming to the ideologies of society. However, large companies are a part of the bourgeoisie (without the proletariat realising) and can also project new ideologies on society, e.g through advertising.

man on the moon
Screenshot from John Lewis Christmas advert 2015, ‘Man on the Moon’

A good example of this is the infamous and eagerly awaited John Lewis Christmas advert. It started off as a typical advert, showing products that they were selling within a Christmas setting; but over a few years it has developed into an emotional ‘storytelling’. The most recent one has also addressed the societal issue of the elderly being lonely at Christmas, imposing a feeling amongst those who watch it to go out and help the elderly. It also gives a good image of John Lewis, as it is saying that they care about the elderly at this time of year, which will persuade people to shop with them.

Kim Kardashian wearing Balmain at the 2014 MTV VMAs
Kim Kardashian wearing Balmain at the 2014 MTV VMAs

Hegemony affects the proletariat’s fashion choices and interior design choices because ideologies are imposed on them which they conform to through many different ways. The most significant one in the fashion world is designers and celebrities. When a celebrity wears a certain designer, they instantly make that designer more popular with their fans, and it is possible that the fans wouldn’t have even considered that label before their idol wore them. Celebrity culture is a great advertising tool for designers, and a recent example of this is the ‘Balmain X H&M’ collaboration between the Parisian fashion House of Balmain and the high street store H&M. It brings designer fashion down to affordable prices for the majority of society to enjoy, rather than being an exclusive club for those who can afford the expensive items, meaning that the proletariat feel as though they conform to the correct ideologies (within fashion). The Kardashians in particular wear a lot of Balmain, especially Kim. Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, said “I choose muses that are actually really different and modern – I chose them because they are contemporary, they are part of this new world”. By using Kardashian as one of his muses, he is getting his house to the forefront of the media, old and new, because of the Kardashian’s huge popularity and celebrity status; the ideologies of the House of Balmain are being projected onto the proletariat.

Continue reading The Body in Society – Hegemony

The Body in Society – Binary

“There’s a real simple way to look at gender: Once upon a time, someone drew a line in the sands of a culture and proclaimed with great self-importance, “On this side, you are a man; on the other side, you are a woman.” It’s time for the winds of change to blow that line away. Simple.” – Kate Bornstein (1995)

Binary is the concept that people are put into groups, stay in those groups and do not gravitate towards the other. For example, gender. At birth, babies are assigned to either being a girl or a boy according to their physical sex. It is almost impossible to purchase baby clothes that are gender neutral, yet if the baby is just in a nappy, there is no way that you can tell their sex just by looking at them. As children are brought up, they are given gendered toys and are often taken to gendered hobbies. For example, boys are given toy cars and dinosaurs, whereas girls have pretend irons and kitchens. Boys go to football, whereas girls go to ballet. But as those children grow into adults, some feel that they do not belong to the gender that their parents; most likely unknowingly, have pushed them into being. Some transgender people say that they knew from childhood that they were ‘in the wrong body’. Transgender people are proof that people are not 100% in a binary group, from gender to sexuality, even down to cat and dog people. Continue reading The Body in Society – Binary