Introducing: “Grotesque”

Following on from Dragons’ Den, I have been thinking a lot about the panel’s concern of where I would find my aesthetic. They suggested “Grotesque, Shock, Horror, Repulsion, Disgust”, and out of those words, it was “Grotesque” that stood out to me most.

Grotesque: comically or repulsively ugly or distorted.

I think I was drawn to this word because of the “comical” aspect, like how Amy mentioned in Dragons’ Den that someone made a piece on “tongues” before, to demonstrate the word “disgust”.

I thought more about my idea of creating a mechanism with the textiles, and I felt like it was very difficult. Although I haven’t made any models yet, I have been trying to question what I want to do exactly. Do I want it to inflate/ deflate? Do I want it to move by itself? Do I want it to have lights woven in? But it only made sense once I realized my aesthetic, which will now be “grotesque”. So I instantly thought of moving fingers, because we find that creepy if there were a lot, and if the fingers are touching us. It would make people move away, thus leaving your personal space alone.

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I’ve been looking at the students’ work on the BA Textile Design course at Chelsea, and I really enjoyed Emily Cole’s film called “Internet Soup”. It is about how we encounter so many images on social media and the internet today, and she questions whether the things we see are shocking anymore. What I really loved is this scene, where the hands are wiggling, and the gloves just made it seem more tangible through the screens, and it felt like they would actually touch you. So, this led to the thought of using latex gloves in my work, maybe I could twist or weave them somehow.

On Pinterest, I found this artist called Ronit Baranga, and her piece “I am a Jewelry”.

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I am a Jewelry – Ronit Baranga

Her works are very explicit in portraying something extremely grotesque! Quite surrealist too I think, and it made me realize that parts of the human body can seem quite scary or creepy. This also relates to “tongues” emerging, and here it is open mouths, fingers and babies. But I love how witty it can be too, especially the teapots and teacups. Nonetheless, it makes a lot of people want to stand back, or even be frightened. To the very least, they would stand still and analyse what these forms are exactly. And so I thought, what if I could create a woven/ knitted piece, but also embed eyes, or small doll heads, or other doll limbs to simply create a disturbing, grotesque piece? It could be wearable, or something to place on our possessions so no one will touch it.  Or an interiors piece, like on the seat of the London tube.

The key thing here is to make it seem like actual skin I think. Because the more realistic, the more creepy it will be, and if I can make the fingers move or wiggle, that is even better.

Image result for Ronit Baranga-

The fingers can also act as a loom on my piece, so weave (or knit) can still be used, which I am very glad, since these are techniques I loved the most in Parts 1& 2.

I am very happy to have found my aesthetic, and one which I am enthusiastic about. I was thinking about using lights previously, like weaving with glowing wire but I realized I was only drawn to that because it would look pretty, and it would not demonstrate my message of “personal space” clear enough. So I will focus on grotesque now, and establish my textures and color palette very soon.

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