Lion Brand Yarn Studio, located on 34 W 15th Street, is a treat to the eyes. It is a colorful store featuring yarn and accessories, plus creative displays. The Studio also hosts knitting and crocheting workshops. It has an entire wall called “Sampling Wall” solely dedicated to yarn samples and the required tools for sampling. The few materials that caught my eye were – the Shawl in a Ball Yarn, Lion Brand Collection Silk and the Lion Brand Collection Natural Wool.
The Shawl in a Ball Yarn is five hundred and twelve yards long. Lion Brand calculated the amount of yarn required to knit an entire shawl and thus came up with this size. This type of yarn is recommended for beginners as well as experts. It allows amateurs to create excellent accessories by just using the simplest knit or crochet stitches. The self-striping brushed acrylic, run with a 100% cotton stub, has the look and feel of silk mohair. 58% cotton, 39% acrylic and 3% other materials, this yarn must be manufactured in the Lion Brand factories. I think that industries manufacturing shawls in bulk make use of this kind of material. With its easy use and beautiful look, the speed of the process can be much faster. Priced at $9.99 for one ball, it has a pretty average cost. The fact that it has a big amount of acrylic involved in its making, makes it quite unsustainable. Acrylic is generally petroleum-based and not biodegradable. The cotton they use is conventional, which adds to the unsustainability. I can see this particular material being used by students for studio projects, or people just beginning to adopt knitting and crochet skills.
From the Lion Brand Collection, the silk fibers were most appealing. Displayed in a range of lustrous colors, the silk’s delicate beauty and richness could easily be seen. Silk is known for its luscious softness and beautiful drape. Since silk takes dye so well, they created an exclusive, hand-dyed palette. This silk is 100% pure and is made from imported yarn. It is dyed in the USA. The brand that partners with LB uses acid dyes. This lowers the purity of silk. One ball is 163 yards long and costs $24.99. Pure silk always being in high demand, I see these hand-dyed fibers being used for multi-purposes. It can be used in the fashion industry, textile industry and even for decor purposes.
Lastly, the Lion Brand Collection Natural Wool is a super bulky 100% undyed, virgin wool that has been loosely twisted with a fine woolen thread, creating chunky and textured stitches. This soft and lofty yarn is a great option for felting and hand dying, since natural wool easily absorbs color dye. It is priced at $17.99 for a ball of 131 yards. Natural wool is a planet-friendly fiber because of many reasons. It is made of pure organic carbon, has a longer lifespan than most fibers, wool products need to be washed less frequently with less amounts of water, and it is also one of the most recycled fibers. This kind of natural wool is perfect for insulation. Its bulkiness can create very warm clothing. I can see natural wool being used in fashion industries, especially in the colder regions. Wool can also be used in carpets and blankets.
These materials have their own qualities and interesting backgrounds. Exploring their origination and future was a very interesting process.
Social Space: The Monument
Description and Goals
Inspired by Henry Moore’s sculptures, I have designed a monument commemorating the birth of my younger brother. Just like Moore’s works are displayed in his beautiful home and garden in Hertfordshire, I would want to place my monument in a children’s garden in my hometown. The site I have chosen is the Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden, consisting of extended lawns and walkways that form a continuous and dynamic path through the entire garden. My brother has always loved visiting parks all over the world. Nothing makes him happier than playing in a free space with his friends and family. The Garden entertains all age-group visitors. It is a common go-to place for families to relax on the weekends. To commemorate his birthday, the best day of my life, in a place that he can let go and enjoy to his fullest is just what I want.
The design of the monument is an abstract representation of a picture that was clicked on his birthday. It consists of me holding my baby brother in my lap. Thus, the monument will have a top part symbolizing me, and a bottom depicting my brother. Keeping the concept of joy and fun in mind, I plan on making the sculpture curvy and smooth. Text will be incorporated in the bottom corner of the sculpture. It will be a subtle engraving of his birthday: 3rd September 2004, in his handwriting. Like Henry Moore’s works, there will be small holes carved out on the right sides of the top part and the lower part. These two circular structures represent and connect my heart and my brother’s face. Along with plaster, I will be using plexiglass in the lower component of the structure. I plan on creating a box enclosing the lower part that represents my brother. This box is meant to symbolize my protectiveness for him. For the front, back and lower faces I will be using transparent plexi. Whereas for the top, right and left sides I will be using light blue transparent plexiglass. To attach the sides of the cuboid box to each other, I will be drilling several holes along each edge and then threading them together with baby blue thread. The transparency in the front and back will allow a clear view of the statue. I decided to add the color blue because it was all I could see after he was born. There were light-blue colored “It’s a Boy!” goodies all around our house. This entire monument is a semi-abstract symbol of my endless love and protective nature towards my little brother.
If this monument was to be made in its actual scale, I would use sturdier materials like bronze in place of the plaster and glass instead of plexiglass. The entire structure would be about 18-20 feet tall, placed in the aforementioned site.
Assignment: After viewing the entirety of MoMA’s exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern? choose one of the 111 items organized by the curators.Write an essay in which you use the MoMA’s displays, wall text, and your own background knowledge and experience to explore multiple perspectives of meaning around the stereotypes. Include at least one specific idea from the selection we read in Anne Hollander’s Sex and Suits — introduced, integrated, and investigated, if quoted directly. Consider how and what the garment communicates — in terms of gender, sex, sexuality, class, race, culture, geography, politics, or some other identifier — and how this might depend on immediate context — location, the wearer, or even other pieces worn with the garment? Ultimately, the goal is to have an original idea about the complexities of meaning in the garment that push beyond the obvious or expected. Rely on your own observations, analysis, and argument. Work to say something beyond what the exhibition or common wisdom tells you.
Reflection: Visting the MoMA Fashion Exhibit set us off to a great start for our Bridge 3 assignments. I was clear on the topic of my essay – red lipstick. I found this particular assignment very exciting and explorative. Even though we weren’t allowed to do any research, I realized how much or how little I knew about this particular fashion accessory. After being critiqued by one of my group members, I took all her suggestions and definitely liked my essay more. These workshops proved to be very helpful.
I purchased a book titled “You. Are. The. One.” by Kute Blackson from the Strand and brought it home. The book is described as “a bold adventure in finding purpose, discovering the real you, and loving fully.” Flipping through the pages, I randomly picked one. The original text on that page was about discovering your inner self. Keeping this in mind, I began underlining the words that caught my attention. I then strung these words together into a sentence. Using watercolor, I blotted out the unwanted text. I used cool colors like blue, green and purple because they relate to the feeling of calmness and inner peace.
Ghunghat (Indian Veil)
Description: I am creating a veil that will attach to my head. My cultural heritage is Indian and I am thinking specifically about a ghunghat (Indian veil).
An Indian bride wearing her ghunghat (veil)
Goals: I have chosen the combination of wire, fabric and wood to create this garment. My aim is to make a decorative veil that can be lifted up. I will be incorporating platonic solids in the front of my veil. Instead of using plain sheer fabric, I plan on making small-scale (2” sides) flat hexagons out of wire and enwrapping them in red-colored mesh fabric. To give it a third dimension, I will be adding triangular structures on top to make it look like half a diamond. These hexagons will be vertically wired together in 2 columns and 3 rows. The top corners of the first row will be hooked on to a circular headband made out of wood. I will be making small wire rings to connect the hexagons onto the eye hooks screwed into the wood. The red spray-painted headband will rest on my forehead above ear level, going all the way around the back of my head. The mechanical aspect of this garment will be in the frontal wire structure. The wire frame will be movable so that it can be lifted up and above the headband like a hinge joint. This entire form will sit on my head, not as a hat but as a type of mask. The veil is expected to hide my face and then reveal it, once lifted. It semi-obstructs my vision and obviously the viewer’s view of my face.
An Indian woman wears a veil (ghunghat) during her wedding as well as after. It is worn as a way of showing respect to the elders. Some of the orthodox women from the rural areas wear the veil constantly because of the stereotypical dominant males. The men tend to intimidate them. Therefore, the veil is a sign of respect mixed with fear.
The constructed forms are meant to denote a female’s delicacy. The netted fabric in the small wire hexagons symbolizes elegance and shyness. The entire form being angular, signifies and simplifies its mechanical function. The fear and timidity is resembled when the veil is down. Uplifting the ghunghat would mean that she is comfortable enough with the people around, to let go of that shyness.
During the final critique, I will wear a white colored outfit which has full sleeves and full-length pants. It will relate to the piece in the way that Indian women don’t show a lot of their skin when dressed traditionally. This cultural belief is reflected in the timidity of Indian garments. Lastly, the color white will help bring out the red of the veil. It is also meant to complement the ghunghat’s daintiness and elegance.
Transfer of the Hoodie
“The transfer of the garment from the old white champ to the young black contender plays as an echo of the film’s broader racial politics.” The aforementioned sentence is well-structured and simple, without any complex punctuations. It explains the shift of the hoodie from old white men to black youth being highlighted in the movie “Creed”. The usage of words and phrases like “transfer”, “echo” and “broader racial politics” gives the sentence an interesting depth. It progresses from the topic of transfer of the garment to that of the film’s racial theme. The sentence has a substantial impact because it begins with the “transfer”. It merges well with the whole controversial theme of the essay by including the two major sides in one sentence.
 Troy Patterson, “The Politics of the Hoodie”, The New York Times Magazine, MM16, https://nyti.ms/1L5r4c6, 2016.
The MoMa exhibit, Items: Is Fashion Modern? is an interesting display of everyday fashion wear. It includes a hundred and eleven fashion items. These several garments/accessories are presented in a random order not following a chronological or thematic sequence. In my opinion, the organization of the exhibit was a little disappointing. The arbitrary sequence did not allow me to focus on any one area properly. However, I thoroughly enjoyed how relatable and comprehensible each display is. Anyone can understand the significance of these items without having to rack one’s brains like one might do at other art exhibits.
I noticed that each piece was commissioned from a particular brand, to curate in the exhibit. The brand played a significant role in bringing out the modernization of fashion. The item I have chosen is the Red Lipstick – 1952 Revlon Fire and Ice. This lipstick was purchased for the purpose of the exhibition. What struck me about this piece, is that such a small and simple entity can hold so much meaning and importance. The red color in itself has so much value. It represents the qualities of aggression, strength and courage in a woman. In 1946, Harper’s Bazaar declared, “the little stick takes on the significance of a sword.” There is plenty history behind this tiny fashion accessory. It plays a very monumental role in a woman’s life.