Friday, April 30, 2010

My textile experiments. Nuno felting. Part 1

Haven't done much writing recently because have been concentrated on textile designing for my collection. There are some more or less successful experiments I have come up with so far. I feel like getting somewhere for the one who has never done felting or nuno felting before ))) The process is, by the way, pretty time consuming and a quite a workout. At least some alternative to GYM I have never managed to force myself to get into )))

Monday, April 26, 2010

Technologies. Nuno felting.

My collection will be heavily based on such textile technique as felting and particularly its advanced version - "nuno felting". There is some introduction of that unique textile creation method.

"Felting" (which is thought to have originated in Asia) is one of the oldest textile processes and was used for hats, wall coverings, boots, blankets and the covering of yurts. Fibres, usually wool or other forms of animal fleece or hair, are manipulated to form a densely interlaced mass which can then be flattened, moulded or otherwise shaped. Felting is an efficient form of insulation.

"Nuno" means fabric in Japanese. Nuno felting is a process which melds loose fibre, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze. This creates a lightweight felt that can totally cover the background fabric or be used as a single decorative design. The Nuno felting process is particularly suitable for fine garment making, since silk-backed felt ensures a stable felt that will not stretch out of shape like normal felt. Because it is lightweight and easy to manipulate it can also be dyed more readily than traditional felt. Other fabrics or open weaves can be used as the felting background, resulting in a wide range of textural effects and colours.


Step 1 Lengths of hand dyed silk gauze were arranged on a long table which was covered with a cut piece of a swimming pool cover. Traditional see-through bubble wrap can be substituted. Next, thin bits of hand-dyed wool woven were arranged onto the gauze. Due to time constraints, we 'decorated' only the ends of our scarves.

Step 2 These layers were covered with a thin, almost sheer, nylon material. Having several hands helped to keep the roving from being disturbed as it was positioned. Next, cool water was worked into the layers.

Step 3 A bar of soap, fitted into a nylon sleeve was rubbed over the material.....along with more water until everything was fully saturated.

Step 4 The layers were carefully rolled up and tied tightly with strips of nylon (panty hose worked great for this task). Now the hard work began. Using the pressure of hand and arms, this 'log' was rolled back and forth on the table....for what seemed like hours....but was probably only 20 mins. This friction begins the process of matting the layers together so the fibers can work their way into the gauze.

Step 5 About every 50-100 rolls of the 'log', it was unrolled and checked for signs that it was beginning to felt. Until the fibers stick to the gauze (when they can no long be picked up between a finger and thumb), the rolling continues. Once it does, it's unrolled and more agitation on just the scarf is required. This again means the addition of soap and water and lots of picking up of the material and slapping it down onto the table. This where it can get messy.

The work is finished when the gauze has shrunk up and gotten distorted as the wool fibers have penetrated the material, becoming one.

image from

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Textilicious". Marianne Lovink

Modern life is filled with contradictions. Beauty as a concept can be no longer defined easily.

That the vision which Canadian artist Marianne Lovink presents in her incredibly gorgeous sculptural installation “Hanging Garden” made from medical-use plastic that is “heat malleable”. The piece is “evocative”, “seductive” and “organic” and took 3 months to create. Lovink works with the plastic underwater almost at the boiling point. Her hands may remain immersed for ours at a time beneath the surface of the water as she stretches, cajoles, and teases the white plastic into its new forms. Each piece of the sculpture is hand-dyed with an aniline dye she mixes herself.

“I am interested in our perceptions of mutability and how we relate to hybrid form in light of the more disquieting aspects of the modern genetic research….by emphasizing the visceral, sensual qualities of the forms, I hope to disturb initial assumptions and engage the subconscious” comments Marianne. She wants her viewers to struggle with the dichotomy – surrealness versus recognizable forms, sensual yet viscerally repugnant, conscious/surface versus subconscious/deep recognition.

Fraser, J. L. 2005, ‘The Terrifying Beauties of Marianne Lovink’, Surface Design Journal, winter, pp. 42-45

This piece of art is not related to fashion but sooo “textilicious”!!! And thought provoking. To make people to revise, to reconsider their perceptions and embedded assumptions is exactly what my fashion/textile collection is aimed at.

"Textilicious". Thea Bjerg

Another incredible textile designer/artist from Denmark who specializes in thermoplastic and laser-cut techniques.

Thea Bjerg is regarded as one of the most original textile designers in Denmark. She often merges craft techniques with industrial processes, and experiments with ultrasonic cutting and welding, laser cut and industrial pleating which have led to crepe-treated silks, spiraling scarves, heated-fused fabrics and pleated wraps. Bergs fabrics have a unique translucence. The base fabrics she chooses for her pleated textiles are often diaphanous and the tiny folds in the material’s surface both capture light and diffract it to create a striking texture.image1
“Textiles can cover us and shroud us but they can also attract the gaze of others. This is something that I find compelling about sea life that many of the colours and textures that draw me to them enable them to hide from other creatures” (Thea Bjerg about her Aquatic collection).

It is again a sign of chameleonism, isn’t it?

Quinn B. 2009, Textile designers at the cutting edge, Laurence King Publishing, London, p.154-163

Thursday, April 22, 2010

“Mentors”. Gaudi

My favorite Gaudi's fabulous whimsical creations.
His genius has made Barcelona the most beautiful and unique European city.

Park Güell (1900-1914)

Sagrada Família (1884 -...)

Casa Batlló (1905-1907)

Casa Milà (La Pedrera)(1905-1907)

Images from: Gaudi 2002 Barselona guide, 4th ed., Editorial Escudo de Oro S.A., Barcelona and my own photographs

“Mentors”. Anne Maj Nafar

Owing to fact that my future collection is going to be textile orientated and heavily based on such textile technique as felting, precisely nuno-felting I chose as one of my mentors textile designer/artist who specializes in that method of the fabric creation.

Anne Maj Nafar is a part of a new generation of designers rebelling against mass-production and uniformity. In contrast to impersonal uniformity of modern technology, her work combines the raw and untouched wuth luxurious silk fabrics in a statement of the unification of “original basics and modern refinement”. Nafar integrates hand-felted fabrics with natural materials such as animal fur, organza, pongee and Klotzel linen and cotton. She uses the nuno-felting technique – consisting of wool fibersfelted together with a woven material, such as cotton, silk or linen – as well as merino and knitted wool. Transcending the innate human impulse to control, Nafar enables her fabrics to “grow” and develop with a will of their own, encouraging natural “imperfections” and patterns.”

Anne Maj Nafar was born in 1965 in Denmark. She first studied textiles at the Hellerup Textile College in Copenhagen in 1991, then received a Diploma in Technology in Knitwear from the Stoll Company Course Center in Reutlingen, Germany in 1992 while studied Industrial Design at TEKO till 1996 and, finally, done MA in Fashion Design Technology at London College of Fashion in 2006. Since 2001 she has been a lecturer and Fashion Design Technologist at the International Academy of South Denmark where she continues to learn and inspire.

Black S. ed., 2006, Fashionising Fabrics. Contemporary textiles in fashion, Black Dog Publishing, London, p.180-185

“Mentors”. Prada

There are some images from Fall/Winter 2007 ready-to wear collection by Prada below. The reason I’m posting them is that I find utilized by her textile designs absolutely beautiful and the way she “blended” fabrics gave me an idea how I could approach my own textile designs.

There are also some supporting images with natural sand ripples (on the right) and textile design by Yoshiki Hishinuma from her Spring/Summer 1995 collection (on the left). Just some inspiration and the way it can be interpreted through textiles.

left image from Black S. ed., 2006, Fashionising Fabrics. Contemporary textiles in fashion, Black Dog Publishing, London, p.50

“Mentors”. Alexander McQueen

In connection with recent death of Alexander (Lee) McQueen, the infinitely talented maestro of the fashion world, there were some many words said and articles written that I don’t see what I could possibly add. Just want to express my endless admiration by his genius and post some images from his last women’s collection “Platos Atlantis” which inspire me and give me some directions for embellishment I would like to apply working on my collection.

originals from

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Last class for the subject I was required to start this personal blogs (“Professional Practice for Fashion & Textile Designers” – Gosh, quite a long name!) we did some questionnaire to find out what kind of person you are with bias towards personality traits and characteristics suited for self-employment.

The findings, although, were interesting, but for me hardly surprising. In 3 out of 6 categories such as being introvert/extrovert, planning ability and creativity (in general) I happen to be “in-betweener”. Thus, as it appears I am quite an obvious chameleon even from that point of view. I’m very mood-dependent. That’s why I can be shy or can be outgoing, can be creative in my approach to problem-solving and can get really stuck, always make plans and “to do” lists but, in practice, find it highly complicated to follow them. Anyway, it’s good to know that I know myself pretty well )))

“Hungry for the words”

Hi, everyone! Long time “not seeing”! Got a bit lazy…)))

Recently read a small article in MX (Thursday April 15, 2010, p.6) about blog readers being more impressed by the amount of written words and frequency of updates rather then by the context of the written.
“Susan Jamison-Powell, a PhD student at Sheffield Hallam University presented her findings at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference. She had questioned 75 participants on the blogging site, which shares posts about daily life. …”The more words a person has contributed, the more attractive they were rated by the other members of their community. The strongest factor was found to be the total number of words they had contributed over the week,” said Jamison-Powell. Being positive and interesting did not have the same effect.”

So… although, I personally have always believed that quality is much more important then quantity it seems like that rule does not apply to keeping the blog. As I promised at the beginning I’ll do my best and will start to bombard you with posts. Nevertheless, just in case if study is not that precise I’ll try to keep them interesting and informative as well. See you very soon!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Collage & background images

This is a concept/mood board created to illustrate design conception of my future womenswear collection "Homo chamaeleanus"

These are some of images I created to use as changeable wallpapers for the blog.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"We're fated to pretend"

I find that lyrics of this song greatly suits to my design conception.

"Time to Pretend" by MGMT

I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life.
Let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives.
I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and fuck with the stars.
You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars.

This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
We've got the vision, now let's have some fun.
Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do.
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.

Forget about our mothers and our friends
We're fated to pretend
To pretend
We're fated to pretend
To pretend

I'll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms
I'll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world
I'll miss my sister, miss my father, miss my dog and my home
Yeah, I'll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone.

There's really nothing, nothing we can do
Love must be forgotten, life can always start up anew.
The models will have children, we'll get a divorce
We'll find some more models, everything must run it's course.

We'll choke on our vomit and that will be the end
We were fated to pretend
To pretend
We're fated to pretend
To pretend

Yeah, yeah, yeah (x 4)


xoxo sheverdushka

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Being a genuine “shoeholic” I just couldn’t possibly pass these gorgeous pieces by Marina Dempster – visual artist and photographer born in Mexico and based in Toronto, Canada. Unwearable but absolutely fabulous!
"My current series draws from a fascination with the idea of shoes being an extension of the body through which we transmit information to the brain about the terrain over which we travel. The confounding high-heel, while being everything that pinches, elevates us in inches, and inevitably makes us more sensitive to the ground we walk on."
Marina Dempster refers to her work as 'sculpture' using the term's secondary definition as “a natural indentation or other marking on a plant or animal.” Her primary technique is a contemporary translation of the pre-Columbian Huichol art of ‘transformational yarn painting’; preparing a form with a new skin of bees’ wax and pine-resin (traditionally called cera de campeche), which is then meticulously embedded with yarns or beads with the pressure of the fingertips and other improvised tools.
This decidedly labour intensive and thus contemplative technique is a key to Dempster's process as an artist and is a means for her to make sense of sensation. Her resonant sculptural metaphors are personal expressions of thoughts, dreams, intuitions and aspirations and are intended as a celebration of the collective human imagination and as a reminder that there are transformative and polychromatic ways of being, thinking and orienting oneself in relationship to the world's biosphere and ethnosphere.

A Good Print”, "Ebullient", "Mutable", "Horny", mixed media: found shoes, bees' wax/pine resin, glass seed beads, feathers, yarns, dyed badger hair.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moody humaeleons

Chameleon’s colour shifting is strategic and directed by lizard’s mood just the same way human beings react towards “outside intrusion”. As the matter of fact, the influence of a mood has an immense impact upon human’s behaviour and judgment. The way society members process incoming information and extend at which they tend to mimic others highly depends on a state of the mood.

Recent researches demonstrate that apparently positive mood signals that environment is safe and therefore one is more likely to rely on “existing knowledge structures, such as stereotypes” 1) and “adopt automatic behaviours” 2). While negative mood creates a feel of uncertainty and necessity “to be on guard” 3) which leads to individual being less easily influenced by other’s behaviour and mimicry tendency getting reduced.

1), 2), 3) Baaren, R. B., Fockenberg, D. A., Holland, R. W. 2006, ‘The moody chameleon: the effect of mood on non-conscious mimicry’, Social Cognition, vol. 24, no. 4, pp.426, 428, 427


Fashion is “a phenomenon” which displays most clearly the “contradictory human desires to “fit in” and “stand out”” 1) The fact is that human beings construct their identities through clothing 2) and “fashion their identities out of the repertories of roles to which they are exposed” 3) In other words each and every one has to “fabricate an identity” and series of “personas” in order “to perform one’s roles in socially expected manner” 4). Due to the fact that non of the “cells” of society “matrix” is “tailor-made” but rather “taken-of-the-rack” every individual has to adjust oneself, has to “fit in” and therefore, has to utilizes ones “chameleon” ability 5).

Initially, the term “chameleon effect” and its counterpart “chameleonism” were coined based on assumption that chameleons are animals that exclusively change their colours to blend in with their current environment in order to escape their enemies 6).

The term “chameleon effect”, is presented and described in a positive light emphasizing “the naturalness and unconsciousness” of this “non-goal-dependent” mimicry mechanism utilized by humans to increase “likability” and “ease of interaction” 7).

The term “chameleonism”, on the other hand, is not scientific and is used to portray some kind of deviant obsessive practice of constantly faking one’s personality so as to “respond to challenge or danger” and in an attempt “to blend inconspicuously into the group” to be able to manipulate others for the sake of own advantage 8).

Nevertheless, the recent discoveries in biology demonstrate that previous assumption about the nature of a chameleon’s colour change is not entirely true and that these reptiles predominantly apply colouration change as a way of communication, then as indication of the mood-shifts, and as reaction to weather change, and only in rare cases it gets utilized as a pure defense mechanism. Therefore, surprisingly, human beings have much more in common with these animals as it is widely believed. Our “social bodies” change their “colours” or “skins” as a way of representation of oneself to the rest, as a way of communication with the rest through designed image.

1) Entwistle, J. 2000, The fashioned body. Fashion, dress and modern social theory, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK, p. 116

2) Woodward, S. 2007, Why women wear what they wear, Berg, Oxford, UK, p. 9, 20

3) & 5) Scheibe, K. E. 1979, Mirrors, masks, lies and secrets. The limits of human predictability, Praeger Publishers, NY, USA, p.73

4) Rubinstein, R. P. 1995, Dress-codes: meanings and messages in American Culture, Westview Press, Colorado, USA, p. 44, 47

6) & 7) Chartrand, T. L., Barg, J. A. 1999, ‘The chameleon effect: the perception-behavior link and social interaction’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 76, no. 6, pp. 896, 893, 899, 901

8) Rosen, B. C. 2001, Masks and Mirrors: Generation X and the chameleon personality, Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., viewed 25 January 2010, here, p. 7, 9


Fabulous and quirky brooch by Natalya Pinchuk (judging by name she should have Russian roots))) made of wool, copper, enamel, plastic & thread. It’s a miniature landscape system portraying “an ironic act of assimilation” when “the artificial becoming absorbed into landscape of the body”.
(Legg Beth, 2008, Jewelry from natural materials, A&C Black Publishers, London, p. 119)

The face and the mask

This elegant, delicate and beautifully presented interpretation of mask by Julia Manheim (2001) I found in a book named Sustainable Jewellery edited by J. Manheim (A&C Black Publishers, London, 2009). Artist took pictures of her hand in various ways; these photographs then were processed, photocopied in black & white, and finally photocopied on coloured acetate. The most interesting aspect is that “mask” is reversed and shows what normally is covered. The hand “camouflages” the face making it “concealed” through being revealed. Absolutely gorgeous and very considered!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Hi, everyone! I’m sheverdushka.

My blog as my on-line “face” just like me will be a chameleon. It will change colours and switch moods.

This blog is a part of a Uni assessment and is something I have never done before. Keeping this blog is going to be quite challenging for me but challenge is the exciting part of it. So, hopefully you and I will get something useful from it and have some fun)))

This blog will be basically a design process diary of some sort but, first of all, the aim of my blog as well as my direction as a designer is to prompt people to think for themselves, to learn to analyse variable information and to make ones own well-considered opinion rather then one based on assumptions. So, you all are very welcome to join any discussion and to express you opinion in regards of the posted information.

The posts will include variety of written, visual and audio data I have been and will be coming across working on my dissertation and final fashion collection. It will be mainly about power of fashion and chameleonism as a common way of “social camouflage”.

image from