Saturday, 7 June 2014

Grayson Perry fabric - what it means to me!

I got some positive comments about the fabric I used for my me-made bra in the last post, so I thought I would talk about it a bit more! This pleases me, because A, I get to ramble on a bit with no particular direction and B, I get to tell you about myself and my likes a bit more!

The fabric that I used was a Grayson Perry print called 'Sissy' that he created in a collaborative project with Liberty's. There was an artists collection released in this year (I believe was 2010, but can't really remember and have done no real research...) that included six of the most prominent contemporary artists at the time. I was completely oblivious to this when I bought it and, although I had heard of Grayson and even admired his 'character', I had not really paid that much attention and certainly had no understanding of him as an artist.

I had recently moved to Reading, was jobless and was invited to London for the day by my (now) mother in law. The only thing on my mind at the time, was that I really wanted to go to Liberty's. It was getting near christmas and I really wanted to buy a couple of glass baubles to put on our first christmas tree. Whilst there I also wanted to pick up some fabric, so when I saw these prints my mind was quite literally blown. Like I said I was jobless, so 1.5 metres at full price was a fair investment to be making at the time.

Roll on a couple of years... Channel 4 showed a really great documentary, presented by Grayson Perry, about class distinction in the UK and how our roles in society are defined by where we live, the objects that we surround ourselves with, the way we dress and socialise etc... It was a fascinating view as to how we all fall (subconsciously) into these working/middle/upper class stereotypes. BTW, middle class is a distinction that applies to alot of people and is divided into many sub-stereotypes in case you were wondering. If you thought that the way you live is unique then think again! Many people around the country are probably mirroring how you live in some way or other, but this is not the point! This TV series inspired me and actually made me fall in love (not literally) with the artist. I googled him and ordered books, read his biography and went onto ebay to see what was around. It was on ebay that I finally joined the dots and connected Grayson Perry with my Liberty fabric and I was so over the moon that the piece of fabric that was so precious to me was also connected to this new fascination.

I actually feel like I own some of his artwork, as all of the characters and symbols are recurrent themes throughout his work. They all symbolise different things, but ultimately link back to him, his childhood, his desire to dress in womens clothes etc... FYI, I actually really like some of his dresses!

Here is a snippet of another print I have stashed away that I bought from ebay last year (photo courtesy of ebay!). I've only got half a metre, but I'm not sure how easy it will be to cut into this piece now.

Grayson Perry has definitely joined my list of totally inspiring creatives and being able to link him with the fabric just enthused me even more and probably placed him higher up that imaginary list. The (now, not so imaginary) list goes as follows:
  • Picasso - Sublime skill and energy
  • Elsa Schiaparelli - A couture astist in every sense
  • Grayson Perry - For his honesty as an artist
  • Jean Paul Gaultier - For his fabulous sense of humour in fashion. Wasn't he great in Rapido?
  • Vivienne Westwood - Amazing use of shape and form with an aggressive edge in terms of message or style.
  • Jaskson Pollock - What can I say? There's something so divine about the colours and the marks!
Look at that list! Going back to Grayson Perry's documentary, you could say that this is very predictable and almost bland in it's obviousness, but these people inspire me every day!

Ramble over!


Katie said...

Lovely stuff, thanks for sharing!

marilla walker said...

Thanks Katie! Hopefully this means you made it to the end without falling asleep! ;-)

Caroline said...

I love Gayson Perry's stuff. Always fun and makes you think too.
I have just discovered your blog via Kathryn from Yes I like That and it made me realise I had talked to you at NYLon in the V&A cafe quite early on in the day because I rememered you and your lovely little one ; )
You have some very cool me-made outfits and I notice you have a weakness for Tatty Devine too (same here).

marilla walker said...

Oh gosh, I have just been over to your blog and seen your Pollock tee! Great minds obviously think alike hey? Total Tatty weakness. I only have a handful of bits, but always am on the look out for new additions ;-) hope you enjoyed the meet-up! I had such a lovely time and was so glad I didn't chicken out of going x

Caroline said...

Hi Marilla - there is a JPGaultier exhibition on at the Barbican until mid-August if you fancy another trip to London and a fellow JPG fan to go with ; )

Anonymous said...

Have you been to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition in London? I haven't made it yet but will do before it finishes.

marilla walker said...

I've not been yet, but was planning to. Would be great to have company! What about this month sometime? Email me rillafree(at)hotmail(dot)com. Caroline, Charlotte and anyone else who would like to join in. X

Sew2pro said...

Hi Marilla
Love the fabric, love your blog and love your ambition!

I too have a (small) Grayson Perry story to share one but the reason I realized I was a fan was reading his newspaper column many years ago (10?) where he described how we sometimes have to make things because we can't buy them good enough. Why I started sewing I guess.

Anonymous said...

Like you Marilla and Marianne Sew2Pro I was pretty oblivious to GP although I have seen him striding around Kings Cross in red tights and a little blue dress! He gave the Reith lecture this year and was brilliant. I love his pottery but I had not seen this textile before. Thank you for writing about it.

Marilla Walker said...

Thanks Kate and Marianne! It's so great to find knew inspirational people, as you never know when they're going to come along, so I was so excited to learn about GP. A great British artist of our time!