One of the primary motifs that I will be using in my work will be the detail and form found in streetlamps and metal window grills. Yes, really. I find the decorative nature on something so practical intriguing. If these items were created now, many of them would be purely functional with little attention to embellishment.
These items are considered to be hard, functional, practical safety items. Most people walk past streetlamps everyday and pay them very little attention… until they’re not working. The irony of it is that in the dark you cannot see the detail of the metalwork.
Streetlamps in Europe (or previous European colonies) tend to have been designed in a previous age where everything deserved to be pretty, irrelevant of its purpose.
Metal window grills (predominantly seen in Morocco) are there to stop small children falling out of windows. There is almost no other purpose for these items… unless you consider their decorative nature. With housing being made out of clay there is very little to provide colour to the architectural landscape, and the window grills offer this by being brightly coloured. The colours found in these Moroccan landscapes will also inform my colour palette.
The images above are photos I took while on holiday, probably while a friend was impatiently waiting for me. They show the intricate nature of the design, the fluid movement that is achieved in the metal, making it seem like it’s made of something much softer and malleable.
This movement and detail will be predominately represented through embroidery, heat transfer and fabric manipulation. The practical and safety elements of the original objects won’t be lost though; I’ll be investigating the use of safety fabrics to put these designs onto. Therefore, taking all the elements of the original, everyday object and putting these attributes into something new.
These concepts are reminiscent of Sue Timney’s early work that was based on photographs she had taken of everyday objects, some of them even included the detail of ironwork…