Staying true to your practice

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The leaflet pile next to #DicktatorDon you see in the photograph shows  how to apply for one which is my art practice, that of collaboration, co-creation and interconnectedness. 
I was asked to supply a limited edition of #DicktatorDon, my interactive felt, fabric effigy of Trump.  The offer came from Sarah Staton  and her super cool,  SupaStore The premise of #DicktatorDon is that he is not for sale, or at least had not been up to the point at which Sarah approached me. I loved the idea of him being in  SupaStore , which artist wouldn't? However, I also wanted to inform people of my art project and continue with it.    Sarah Staton was kind enough to hear about my art practice as I explained that #DicktatorDon was not something that I had intended to sell. It was her suggestion that I send the gallery a  leaflet that they could print off in the USA, explaining my project, I bore in mind that the USA  have different paper sizes and so made the design files in accordance to their requirements. I didn't get confirmation back that they had been able to print the leaflets out but  when I next looked on the gallery's  blog they had posted a picture of  #DicktatorDon with the leaflets sitting next to him. I am Supa grateful to the Supa Sarah and her SupaStore.

For more information about he show look here.

Trying new exhibtion layouts of work


I have been looking into alternative ways to show Trump and it was suggested to me by my MA in Fine Art tutors that I show the making of him. I turned up to a crit having failed to make all 280 of him with him in zip lock see though bags. Each bad denoted how far he had gone in the process of being made. He has half dressed in some and missing eyebrows in the next. He looked ridiculous. He looked like some bit a merchandising, the whole set up demeaned him in some way. It was suggested to me that I exhibit him like that. So I did.  I must say I was deeply upset thought because people were stealing him from the table, not appreciative of the fact he was part of an art installation and not some free hand out gift from the convention. There were too few invilgilators too which did not help with security issues. I even had one woman (I was told this) sit and make eighteen of him at my workstation thinking she was helping. She did indeed make them very well, they are quite fiddly to make, but she did indeed make them incorrectly. 

I will know for next time but I did enjoy exhibiting him in this way.


#DicktatorDon at FiLiArts 2017



Project: Faded Glory

I have been working on a new piece that is at the moment called FadedGlory. It is an American flag that has been distressed through a technique called Devoré which I have mentioned in an earlier post.

I have been looking for some way of representing the feeling that American has been damaged or lessened because of the interference of the Russians in the American Election process.

My initial experiments focused on how much I should devour the material and how to construct the image in such a way that the fabric still held together despite the removal of significant portions of it.

After several days of playing around with design files and leaving the chemicals on for various periods I came up with a balance that gave an ephemeral and almost ghostly feel to the fabric.

Now I just have to work out how I want to display it. Hanging? Framed? Stretched?

Workshop: Devore Textiles

Devoré comes from the French verb dévorer, meaning literally to devour. I used this technique on the project Faded Glory for this exact reason, that the USA is being devoured and its constitution being destroyed by the new administration.  However, in this blog post I want to focus purely on the technical aspect of working with this process, but the project Faded Glory can be found here.


Devore is sometimes called 'burnout' where you burn away a design or pattern. In short,  devoré is a chemical paste that is applied to fabric, it then literally eats away at the material to create patterns and designs. It does not work on all fabrics for reasons I will explain and different fabrics will create different effects. This technique is often used in the fashion industry on velvet fabrics, as velvet does not fray and responds to the technique surprisingly well. 

The general consensus is that it was developed in C17th France as a means of creating a poor man's lace - a quick and spontaneous method developed as a short cut to lace type effects. At this stage it is likely that caustic pastes were block printed onto fabric, being washed away once their work was done. Yet this is where its connection with the inferior ends.

The 1920s brought devoré velvet into the mainstream, no longer a cheap tactile alterative but a luxurious and desirable fashion fabric - many vintage examples are still available. Further developments in fabric construction and fibre combinations fuelled a resurgence of interest in devoré velvet in the 1980s and 1990s when fashion garments flooded the market. Designers like Joseph Conran and Georgina Von Etzdorf revived the 1920s fabric with florals, swirls and brocade designs made into scarves and dresses in deep rich hues.


It does not work on all fabrics and the reason is that it only eats certain kinds of fibres, those refered to as cellulose. These are all non-animal fibres, so it won't work on suede or leather or wool. Below are photos of my test results using different fabrics.

Which artists have used it in the past and to what effect:

Lesley Richmond

In a future post I will be covering how my tests worked and how that effected what I did with FadedGlory. I also hope to cover something of the craftsmanship aspect of the process and how it compares with the technological aspects of  FadedGlory. I will also talk a bit about what I would like to do with the technique in the future.

Other references;

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