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Personal Process and the role of the Archive

Understanding my process and its relation to the archive

Life on the Outskirts has allowed me to question the influences of an archive. Whilst I am still trying to understand what an archive is and how it can be interpreted, I see subconscious influences emerge. The preservation of the Helen Storey Foundation archive has allowed us all to feel that we can make a difference within our own practice. I listen to Helen speak and I am fascinated by how the narrative and materiality create resonance with people.

Within my own practice I have engaged with Helen’s processes and aesthetics. I took the ubiquitous subject of drought as the basis for exploring ideas about experience, representation and mediation. Life on the Outskirts has made me question the boundaries of creating something with purpose, that could influence people’s thoughts and perspective, and creating something just because its visually pleasing. This question has challenged my practice considerably as in a way it is the intersection of both. Helen really inspired me by her shift to look at ethical practices.

Throughout my project ‘drought’ I engaged with 3D printing, which is something that really excites me, and from this I looked at water conservation. Exploring the possibilities of a wearable piece that could store water, I worked hypothetically and conceptually throughout. Without allowing myself to understand the real logistics behind something that could help people, I want to go deeper in my ideas and fulfill them.

‘Wonderland’ led me to experiment with devoré. Seeing the disappearing dress [Wonderland collection] that took months to create disintegrate connected to the place of unfathomable loss. Inspired by the concept, devoré was the way I could understand the disappearance of something that you had made. Devoré allowed me to remove fibres without causing injury to the textile itself. Looking through the devoré enabled me to see how the exploration of identity can be extended as part of the fabric is transparent and other part is opaque. The holes create a silence which could be described as an emptiness whilst the fibres still hold that loudness as space is created.

Life on the Outskirts has encouraged me to understand my process and its relation to the archive. I hope that as I continue my practice I will find new ways to engage with people and address issues that will make people question themselves. I think this will come from broadening my horizons and being more aware of the world surrounding me. As I come to understand it then I can help others to understand.

Natalie Goodall, 2nd Year, BA (Hons) Textiles in Practice (MMU)

20 March 2018