The Bodhi Bears are here!

I am interested in the concept of using handmade sculptural objects to spark memories of our traditional ‘Do-It-Yourself’ heritage – advocating its reappearance in our consumer society and emphasising its value in design. As such the dichotomy between handcrafts and mass produced goods is a key area of my practice.

As an Indie Designer, my practice resides in the spaces where art and design intersect. The idea for these characters evolved from my research of designing talisman-like objects. Alongside this, the work reflects my concern with the metaphysical concept of the seven Chakras examined in the writings of psychologist Carl Jung. I explore notions of warmth and whimsicality in this work, and ways to elicit emotion and nostalgia for childhood.

With a priority on the process, these works have undertaken deep experimentation; hand-dying, pattern construction, textile printing and extensive idea development that began with explorations featured in my previous post.

exploring possibilities for an art doll/bear

These creatures/bears are the prototypes for my current project. I have been learning about traditional teddy bear making techniques and patterns, so that I could draft my own. Using whatever I have in my fabric stash initially, they are not at all like the final outcome. But I enjoyed bringing them to life with my intuitive creative processes that I am becoming more familiar with each day I’m engaged with the making of them. It’s been all about trusting the process. Final resolved works are nearly completed, and I look forward to sharing them with you soon.

my first born creature

Brown Bear by Vicki Reisima (2014). Fabric, thread, buttons and Polyfill. Approximately 40cm tall standing.

Brown Bear by Vicki Reisima (2014). Fabric, thread, buttons and Polyfill. Approximately 40cm tall standing.

This is the first textile creation of many to come in this semesters project. I want to experiment altering body proportions to make the forms feel a little awkward and less common than the usual teddy bear representation. I enjoyed making a toy with jointed limbs, as opposed to sewing them into the torso. This is what appealed to me in the teddy bear form initially. I cant see myself steering away from it now, but we shall see what manifests in the weeks to come. So far, in the experimental stages, I am up-cycling pieces of my fabric stash. I expect them to look quite different, as I use whatever is at my disposal. I believe it may be what gives them a charming appeal.

 

Sketching ideas

Two ideas are currently running parallel to each other:

  1. Relationships between people and creatures
  2. Self portrait photographic shots

Mister Finch

Mr Finch is the self taught creator of these whimsical storytelling creatures. He practices a sustainable practice by collecting objects and materials that have lost their purpose, not just an ethical choice but also because he loves the nostalgic and unique qualities of them, which is what I am drawn to in his works.

It’s a joy to hunt for things for my work…the lost, found and forgotten all have places in what I make.
Most of my pieces use recycled materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I believe they add more authenticity and charm.
A story sewn in, woven in.
Velvet curtains from an old hotel, a threadbare wedding dress and a vintage apron become birds and beasts, looking for new owners and adventures to have.

Mr Finch expresses his desire for meaning and fantastical whimsy, letting his creatures tell tales of merging into the human world by means of their physical materiality. As a storyteller and lover of stories, Mr Finch nourishes my imagination and inspires me to tap into the worlds that reside therein.

My main inspirations come from nature and often I return to certain ideas again and again.
Flowers, insects and birds really fascinate me with their amazing life cycles and extraordinary nests and behaviour.
British folklore is also so beautifully rich in fabulous stories and warnings and never ceases to be at the heart of what I make.
Shape shifting witches, moon gazing hares and a smartly dressed devil ready to invite you to stray from the path.
humanizing animals with shoes and clothes is something I’ve always done and I imagine them to come alive at night. Getting dressed and helping an elderly shoemaker or the tired housewife.

Images and quotes retrieved 15th November 2013, from http://www.mister-finch.com

 

 

Stitch ‘n’ Verse series

My foremothers would stitch, crochet, embroider, knit and spin yarn.  It was my intention in this project to acknowledge and honour the threads of their work and hearts as they run through my veins as naturally as the blood that binds us. From the beginning the process of transforming cloth into form has struck me as magical. And, over the years, that magical process has had its way with me, leading me from hobby to art. Fiber Art fills me with a sense of pride and sincerity, and has proven a most responsive media for translating my creative visions into form.

I sew from the inside out. Though I work quite deliberately, consciously employing both traditional and innovative techniques, my unconscious is the irrefutable project manager.  The organic nature of this work frees my imagination and provides many opportunities for serendipity and materiality to influence the finished product.

‘Stitch ’n’ Verse is a document of the poems and fibers created and collected by my favourite forbearer Joan Russell (1923-2006).

Self-Portrait – Inspired by Marloes Dukyer

I'm all stitched up (2013) Sewing machine with thread on paperIn response to being inspired by my research on Marloes Dukyer, I drew with my sewing machine for the first time. Being a semi industrial machine, I found it very difficult to turn corners fast and smoothly enough. My Bernina 850 is only familiar with going at top speed! However, I am so excited by my results and how I may be able to create in the future using this media. I find the organic nature of the ‘sketch’ has a definite sense of freedom from constraint, enhanced by potential movement of the hanging threads and the lack of contour lines used. Every thing about this self-portrait is suggestive of me: the texture, expression, combination of colours, and unruly curly auburn hair that decides to go in a different direction from one day to the next. A great accomplishment in my books.