While the dress was on display, my phone kept lighting up with pictures of people wiggling into my sculpture. I’ve collected some of them together, arms a wave. Mostly women, but then, during my time in the gallery, a far higher percentage of visitors were female.
To build a dress: a lesson in duct tape
This was a piece of two halves: one made at home, one built on-site in the gallery. The skirt is made from bendy MDF covered with aluminium mesh – with what became quite a complex supporting structure of curved wooden strips to give internal support. I’d essentially planned the structure beforehand, but when in the space, I’d left some flexibility to see what the materials did.
Holding it all together became the biggest challenge. After experimentation, duct tape seemed to be the answer. Unill I came back in the next day to see it had all peeled off. Lesson learnt, cheap duct tape isn’t worth it, I needed top stump up for the branded ones (usually advertised by a preditoray animal of some sort).
I also bonded (literally) with my glue gun, which worked particularly well for sticking the 500 false nails on, and securing synthetic wefts of hair. I feel an element of guilt as I didn’t sew a stitch, I’ve relied on ironing (to create the ruffles) and more glue gunning to secure the fabric.
One hairball at a time
For my photo series Toilette, I created this wig, which is made from the base of a long blonde wig. On top of that, I built the dome shape (mostly from stuffed tights…) and layered sections of hair over it. The little balls came by accident: I was rolling up the hair I pulled from my hairbrush, and decided that was a great way of adding a variety of hair textures at the end.
Then I created the more traditional curls round the bottom, and the long ponytail round the back. The whole thing was made on a wig block, so it was a relatively traumatic experiences taking it off, but luckily it didn’t collapse, and my willing models managed to wear it.
When on someones head, it has a bit of a life of its own, and I particulaly enjoyed some of the shots where it’s slunk at an angle, or forced the wearer to adopt a particular stance.
The Brooklyn Sketchbook Library
It’s almost a year since I added my sketchbook to the sketchbook library in Brooklyn, New York.
On walking into the library, I was so eager to hand it over that I immediately thrust it at the librarian. She thanked me and promptly tidied it out back, with other new arrivals.
After a beat, I realised that it might have been a nice idea to document the fact that I was handing over an art project I’d been working on for a number of months. I skulked over and asked for it back…
Much of my current work has an element of gathering and collecting, which really began with this handbags project. Women from across the world send me the contents of their handbags, which I drew within this little purse-sized sketchbook.