Title: The Flock of Sheep and Two Green Woodpeckers Dress
Garment: Evening dress
Materials: Paper and Thread
& contemporary Haute Couture; the Sussex landscape; a family photograph from the 1930’s
Each time, driving up to Danny House, my first impression was of the flock of estate sheep wandering across the driveway. Twice on leaving a green-woodpecker graced my exit, swooping from tree to tree alongside the passage of my car. Whilst designing and making work at Danny House, I considered it important to include imagery that reflected the part of England in which the estate is enfolded.
The skirt of this piece took more than 3,000 metres of white thread to make, as well as many torn pieces of: Wenzhou China Paper; Handmade paper (with trapped silk thread); FSC accredited paper table cloths. All the paper I use comes from UK suppliers.
The design of the skirt of this dress reflects the shorn fleece of several sheep, draped over one another. Likewise the corset sees two green woodpeckers, flying around the torso of the mannequin, that are machine and hand embroidered onto paper. The corset has cartridge and tissue paper edging and a button/fastening made using Mizuhiki cord.
‘Mizuhiki’ is an Ancient Japanese art form that uses special cord to create traditional decorative elements/gifts and jewellery; the cord is made from rice paper, tightly wound and starched to give it stiffness.
The hooped under structure of the skirt is made of stiff card and Mizuhiki cord and is partly on show because of a story told to me by Joanna Bastin, the youngest current inhabitant of Danny House who showed me a black and white photo of her mother as one of four bridesmaids at a local wedding in which their circular hooped skirts were seen to be utterly see-through.
For more information about the retired residents of Danny House & the residency that inspired this piece please click here:
Photography by Ray Sullivan