I’ve always admired one of my colleague’s way with words. She can articulate her views and opinions with apparent ease and has a very enjoyable manner when she is talking with the people around her. Most of all, I love her ability to use a ‘turn of phrase’ at just the right time for maximum comedic effect. While having a conversation with her recently she used one of my favourite idioms while talking about a well-known Irish social event usually attended by the upper middle classes in Dublin. I saw this as a great opportunity to explore the relationship between text and textiles as it is literally referencing material and material culture.
The design was very straight forward, it had to say what it says as simply as possible, let the materials do the rest (I had some I can’t believe it’s not fur in my studio). I settled on a suitable font as soon as I saw Wolf in the City by Maella K on dafont, a really nice font indeed.
Working with fur was a new experience for me, I knew what I wanted to do with the construction of the piece but what I had to get around was the very thick pile on the fur. Given that I only had a enough fur for one shot at making the piece I ruled out stitching the text directly onto the fabric as this would have required me to be very accurate with placement.
I trialled the piece in cardboard first to get the scale and positioning right before stitching it directly onto some heavyweight interfacing. My mate Nigel owed me a favour so I gave it over to him to stitch the letters to the fur. He had a great approach to solving the problem by snipping into the interfacing and stitching it behind the letters before sewing them down onto the fur.
Unfortunately, the pile on the fur made it too difficult for the text to sit properly so I had to unpick all of Nigel’s work and try again. It’s useful to note that what happened here is an example of someone else carrying out the labour on your behalf but you still coming out at the end with a deeper understanding of something even though you didn’t do the work yourself. Nigel did the physical task for me but I still got all the benefits of the learning. I finally realised that I had to precision cut the interfacing right back to the edge, paint it black then float the letters on the pile by attaching them with glue. Last step was to hang a pair of fancy pink knickers from a single gold thread.
Thanks to my mam for providing the knickers and not asking a single question when I requested them. If you’re too young to understand what “All fur coat and no knickers” means click here.