Exploring new materials

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.

The world beneath our feet

IMG_1881IMG_2248 IMG_2236 And in this case I mean directly…. the pavement and all the painted symbols, patches, scars and stripes that we walk over every day with almost not a second glance. Except for me of course. It is a true saying that inspiration can come literally from anywhere as I have lately been staring at the pavement and all the patterns and textures that I so often stomp across to reach whatever destination I am heading for.
Featured image

The reason for the collection of research images that I have tonight launched on my Pinterest account is the collaboration I am working on with friend and co-creative, the milliner Gemma Sangwine. She did not bat an eyelid when I said I wanted to base our collection on the pavements, something I put down to our many years of friendship. We agreed to call it the streetscape instead as the ranges of ironwork and bollards found in our towns and cities may suddenly appear tempting. If you haven’t already sign up to our blog to find out just what I am going to do with those images.

A Letter of Introduction

So this journey really started about 19 years ago when two young, fresh faced students started on the Textiles and Fashion degree course at Winchester School of Art.

Flash forward to today and those two graduates now both have studios in the same building down in the Golden Valley just outside Stroud, live in a shared house up a steep hill with views of the Slad Valley, and they both work in textiles and design…..¬†Gemma Sangwine & Nick OzanneNick designs and produces a range of hand woven textiles under the studio label of Leto & Ariadne. Gemma works predominately with vintage materials to make hair accessories, specialising in bridal-wear, and is a fledgling milliner under the tutelage of Denise Innes at the British School of Millinery.

Now, finally, they are embarking on an official collaboration, as part of a new project called ‘Two Make’ organised by the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen and the University of Exeter.

(Photo by Camilla Reynolds Photography)