For this body of work I have taken a mixed textile approach as it combines a series of techniques to produce a range of resolved pieces which take on the appearance of bracers, (arm protection), through the theme of Beauty in Decay.
The samples are reflective and impressionistic of the decaying logs and fungi I have discovered and am intrigued by at the National Trust properties in my locality and are also combined with the practicality of a decorative bracer. I came to the realisation that an arm could be interpreted as the branch of a tree and serves therefore as the log on which the moss or fungi grow. I also wanted to convey the message that from decay and darkness new life and beauty grows even when you least expect it and perhaps this is a personal reflection on my own life – even in the darkest times light and growth find their place. I have used a combination of materials and techniques to create this message or the impression of the textures and colours of the plant life and organisms which grow from the decaying wood.
I decided to use historical research as a background to this body of work as I have a desire to combine my interest in history and art history with my practical work and want this to be at the core of my textile practice so have felt now is an appropriate time to start to introduce these interests into my studies. I have been able to take inspiration from historical clothing at this stage through simple research into images on the internet and combine it with researching images of contemporary textiles and clothing plus concepts and techniques used by contemporary textile artists – this combination of research into the past and present has enabled me to produce a small collection of process-led resolved pieces that have a decorative purpose. At this stage the bracers serve no actual practical purpose as they could not be used as the arm protection for which they would have originally been used – that of protecting the lower arm against the string of a bow or an arrow and hence I take more inspiration from the decorative bracers of Hollywood or the Steampunk style of design. I have wanted to use the bracers as an tool or piece of clothing to convey my theme in an effective but simple manner.
I do feel that this body of work is only in its fledgling status and that is is purely the start of an investigative journey into this theme and there is a strong desire to develop it further both in terms of the bracers, which I wish to develop further in terms of refining and developing the designs, and also to take this forward with my original thoughts of the theme being used to develop a range of sleeves that form part of a larger costume based on the historical clothing of the Tudor or Elizabethan era.