Friday, 7 June 2013

Student Final collections inspired by MoDA

Today is the day when we announce the winner of this year's Arthur Silver Award, and here at MoDA excitement is building! The competition runs annually, and is open to all Middlesex University Art & Design and Media undergraduates. To enter the students must demonstrate how they have used MoDA's collections as part of their research and inspiration in developing a piece of studio work.

Whilst we count down the hours I thought I would 'whet your appetite' by sharing with you some examples of student entries submitted for this year's award. The following three entries are all by Final Year Fashion students, who presented their MoDA-inspired garments as part of their Final collections at an internal catwalk show, held in the Ricketts Quadrangle at Middlesex University last month:

Samantha Cracknell (BA Fashion Textiles) took inspiration from a series of postcards of moths and butterflies which form part of MoDA's ephemera collections. These led her to explore our small collection of natural history books, and in particular Beautiful Butterflies of the Tropics pictured below. On opening the pages she discovered a real, pressed butterfly, which was a wonderfully unexpected discovery!

Beautiful Butterflies of the Tropics: How to Collect Them
by Arthur Twidle, 1920,
Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (BADDA 2208)
Illustration from Beautiful Butterflies of the Tropics 
by the author Arthur Twidle
(Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture)

A real, pressed butterfly found within the pages of
Beautiful Butterflies of the Tropics, and studied by
Samantha Cracknell whilst visiting MoDA's Study Room
(Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture)

The Silver Studio's designers would use natural history books as reference to produce designs like this.
Design for a dress silk.by Winifred Mold, 1923, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (SD2764.1)


Samantha was particularly drawn to the delicate patterns on the wings of the insects, and was able to recreate the feel of these patterns in her own fabric designs. Her final garment was this beautiful hand-printed silk dress which you can see below.

Hand printed silk dress by Samantha Cracknell

Natalina Pisapia (BA Fashion) began her research for her final collection by looking at the work of photographer Robert Van der Hilst.  Excited by the clashing colours in Hilst's photos of Cuban interiors, Natalina was also taking inspiration from the 'decaying' interiors found in the work of another photographer, Thomas Jorion.  It was this interest in dated interiors and particularly wallcoverings that led Natalina to explore MoDA's wallpaper collections. Whilst visiting MoDA's Study Room she was also able to see a number of brightly coloured floral designs for fabric and wallpapers, which reminded her of aspects of Van der Hilst's work. Determined to bring these ideas together, she set about creating her own fabric designs incorporating bright clashing colours, floral motifs and images associated with Cuban culture. You can see one of Natalina's MoDA collection-inspired outfits in the photograph below.

Design in watercolour for a printed textile,
Lewis Jones, 1936, Museum of Domestic Design  &
Architecture (SD10675)
A Final collection piece, inspired by MoDA,
created by Natalina Pisapia




Naomi Hilton (BA Fashion Textiles) found her inspiration from adverts she encountered whilst flicking through the pages of some of MoDA's magazines, including Picture Post.  She was particularly drawn towards the textural nature of some of the images, which due to the way they were printed appeared to be made up of a series of tiny dots.

Front cover of the first edition of Picture Post from October 1938,
Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MJ 112)


In her final collection Naomi explored this idea, creating a menswear collection including printed fabrics and knitwear based around  the idea of  layering.up different colours and sizes of dots to create an image.

Menswear collection by Naomi Hilton

I am sure you would agree that the students' have created some impressive work for their award entries.  Will one of these three students be this year's winner?  All will be revealed tonight when the award will be presented at Middlesex University's Final Year Art & Design show, which is taking place at the Truman Brewery in East London over the weekend.  If you are not able to make it to the show tonight then please look out for the announcement of the winner on MoDA's Twitter and Facebook pages.  We will also be showcasing the winning entry on this blog, so watch this space!

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