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Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Day one at Suffolk County Archives and decided to see what it was like as a member of the public! Armed with the few notes I made at a meeting with Kate, Judith and Bridget. I started out trying to look at title deeds - but - they are obviously not catalogued by their level of folding techniques - so - the first of many incredibly helpful conversations took place with an archivist – I was pointed to the work of AA Dibben, who has written extensively on the subject - after becoming acquainted with the world of lease and release, deed, conveyance, trusts, copyhold, settlements and wills I decided to look up local book printers, sellers and publishers (Book distribution and printing in Suffolk 1534-1850 by Tony Copsey was on the same shelf as the Dibben) now armed with some names and places I was able to start to search - James Bird arrived in Yoxford in 1814 set up a shop and wrote poetry - HD 497/1 led me to a collection of his letters, unfolded, printed tracts and death notices all tipped in to sections and bound in grey board with a marbled cover - wonderful. The day just got better with numerous documents of velum with seals and stamps and ribbons embedded within the landscape of folds - held within fascinating archival boxes, folders and portfolios. The final boxes held numerous tiny documents written in Latin with fragile seals attached and held within a very specific cut and folded structure. 

Sunday, 28 October 2012


A day of starting points and revelations at the Castle study centre – defining what the research should encompass is always an exciting time – the idea of the fold in the title means that almost anything can be a part of my research – today has uncovered the overall which led to the pocket – needle cases given away in hotels – waist coats construction – over sleeves -  fans, specifically ones created cheaply in paper for advertising the etiquette of napkins – travelling porte folio’s – the pleat – 1820s fashion plates from Paris – photographs of rural workers from Norfolk - how shirts are folded - more sample books -  I’m slowly becoming acclimatised to the cataloguing system and the unique numbers attached to each object in the museum to be able to find examples of these to look at.

Monday, 22 October 2012


First session on the pleater at Norwich University College of the Arts (nuca) – interesting to see how the fabric is manipulated – the technique could be exploited by looking at the colour and thickness of thread and its relationship to the opacity of the chosen fabric. the density of the folds can’t be altered but I’ll add this to list of techniques I might use in the future – transposing the idea of spine as thread and folds as pages  the idea of time opening and closing – revealing and concealing. 

Friday, 19 October 2012


Starting points for some aspects of the research around a lecture I'm going to give to nuca students include exploring the meaning of smocks through time – agricultural labourer to bohemian crafts person – this will include an overtly political position around workers and decoration - the image of a smocked William Morris needs to be considered within this section. While developing my smocking skills I've also become interested in the diagrams that are used to communicate practical aspects of making/smocking – how to communicated a 3D time-based activity in a 2D format.

Thursday, 18 October 2012


First day at Norwich textile collection was wonderful - just settling in, working out how the system works and  reading and thinking about the history of the smock - first titbits of information that may or may not go anywhere are - 1 the image of black smocks held by the church, lent out to pallbearers in rural areas, unusual in that most smocks are white, beige or grey, although blue smocks can be found in Newark, dyed with Wode from Coventry, (where I come from!) 2 the cutting scheme for a smock from a length of fabric.

Friday, 12 October 2012


Well - 2 years ago I sat in a restaurant in Venice heatedly discussing the role and representation of folding and smocking within the clothes represented in the paintings in the Academia. It culminated in the question was smocking inherently evil? as the individuals in the paintings wearing smocking appeared to have poor character qualities. The activity itself has political overtones – workers clothes and busy hands, alongside the idea of the hidden and the process of creating folds. This conversation has developed over the 2 years starting off with a small body of works for a touring exhibition in Ireland influenced by some of the structures. This was almost subconscious but later a show titled bookmare at Camberwell College of Art and the repeat show at Norwich University College consciously started the process of exploring smocking through the objects I make. A TESS funding application at nuca led to a body of work for the windows at the Imago gallery.  A lot of meetings and conversations led me to some really excellent people to work with within some interesting collections and archives in the Eastern Region. This led to a successful bid to the Arts Council to spend a year working on the idea with a number of partners – here is the initial paper table layout with the notes written on it and finally I am starting on what I hope will be a fantastic opportunity......