I may be well into summer now (hallelujah), but that couldn’t stop me from getting out this last school related blog post. I’ve done a post about my final textiles outcomes since GCSE so it only felt right to finish things off with my final A2 exam project based on ‘altered states’. If you fancy checking out my previous projects click through the links here – GCSE, AS coursework, AS exam, A2 coursework.On the exam board I was on (WJEC) we got to choose out of a selection of set themes. I chose ‘Altered States’ and decided to take the psychological route of ‘altered states of mind’. I quickly developed and narrowed down my idea through a visit to the Tate Britain which featured an exhibition called ‘Art and Alcohol’ looking at the portrayal of alcohol through art. Gilbert and George’s ‘Balls: The Evening Before the Morning After – Drinking Sculpture 1972’ was arguably one of the most defining and influencing art pieces I saw leading to my own portrayal of the effects of alcohol. I loved how they showed the effects of alcohol through the blurry images of photos they had taken at a bar.Having taken inspiration from other artists and carrying out scientific research about the effects of alcohol on the brain I began the design development process. I knew the most effective way to illustrate my ideas was through an installation (something I’d never done before!) and spent way too long making mini models and doing quick sketches as well as countless talks with quite possibly the best technician ever (shout outs to Maggie). Numerous fabric samples practising fusing glitter with PVC, lots of photos, embroidery samples and digital prints later I was more or less ready for the actual exam.My final installation comprises of seven stands each representing a different stage of alcohol consumption. The photos held in each stand were taken by me, then digitally manipulated in photoshop to emphasise the alcohol (which is left in colour while everything else is black and white). These images were then printed onto organza using the digital printer and then fused with PVC and glitter in order to maintain the properties of organza (which enables the images to be slightly translucent) but be able to secure the glitter details and enable a strong enough fabric to carry out machine embroidery on.
The main focus is of course the textiles work, which is most significant in the embellishment details on top of the PVC. Using machine embroidery, couching and hand sewing using thin wire, I aimed to create the suggestion that something is coming out of the alcohol, emphasising the ‘magical’ power alcohol often holds over us without us really thinking about it. Similarly the coiled wire coming out of the tops of the stand further aim to reflect this idea of the substance which has the power to alter our state of mind.
Lastly, the red fabric wrapped, almost ‘growing’, up the stands plays with this suggestion of an invasion or take over of the brain by alcohol. These ‘wiggiliy’ ununiformed shapes run throughout the installation, heavily influenced through research regarding the brain and neurotransmitters such as dopamine which all effect and alter your state of mind.
Altogether, I see the installation as being a reflection on the effects of alcohol and almost the obsession of alcohol as people -young people especially- become focused on getting drunk and altering their state of mind from stage 1 to stage 7 as quickly as possible.
To see the individual photos of each stand click through the photos on the slideshow below.
Thanks so much for reading. I hope you like my final A2 exam project – I’d love to read your thoughts on it in the comments!