For me one of the reasons for embarking on this collaboration was the opportunity to try out new materials and new techniques, and top of the list to try was Thermoplastics.
I stocked up on some Fosshape and Wonderflex, and, armed with an iron and a hair dryer, set out to see what I could do with them!
The basic principles are that you can heat them and mould them to any shape, and can even bond fabrics to them, making them ideal for millinery.
Using Nick’s street scape images as inspiration I sketched out some designs and set to with moulding and cutting some of the Fosshape.
It is a soft, pliable material about 5mm thick, I cut out a piece 25cm square and pinned it onto a domed crown hat block. I heated and moulded it using an iron (set to hot!) with a sheet of greaseproof paper laid over the top. As it is heated the Fosshape contracts and hardens, and once cooled I drew out a contoured shape on it, removed the pins and cut out the shape.
At this stage Nick was also still sketching and fabricating (the weaving was yet to come!) so I opted to paint it to give a feel for what it would look like once covered in fabric.
I added a V shape cut from Wonderflex, curved it, added texture with a hot glue gun and spikes made with millinery wire.
For the underneath I lined it with a print of one of Nick’s photographs – we are exploring the idea of doing some digital pattern printing onto lining fabrics.