Fashion inspired by art/art inspired by fashion – Seams by Anthony Didlick

So Seams is over! A huge thank you to all the artists, visitors and everyone who made it happen! Over 400 people turned up to the private view on Saturday 13th to enjoy the fantastic work and the delicious cocktails such as the Sipsmith Moscow Mule and Crystal Cranberry courtesy of our awesome sponsors Sipsmith and Crystal Head Vodka.

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We were also provided with beautiful goodie bags contributions by Preciosa! Coinciding with London Fashion Week Seams aimed to connect, contrast, challenge and contextualize the worlds of fashion and art. With 67 artists and designers exhibiting, the show featured works from a variety of media.
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It was definitely another one of our fantastic Sweet ‘Art parties but as always we hope to give back and support a good cause: this time Body, a charity that strives to support people with body related issues including Body Dismorphic Disorder.
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During the night, amongst the crowds, you could see models wearing some of the beautiful garments chosen for Seams. Guests were treated to the incredible metal skeletal gowns by artist Angela Morris Winmill and the fabulous sound responsive light up jackets by Shara Hayz that were worn by our glamorous Sweet ‘Art interns!
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You could also check out the work of Rococo Wonderland, two jet black mannequins, one embellished with peacock feathers, contrasted with neon signs depicting the words ‘fragile’ and ‘lust’. There were also the challenging and critiquing works of John Gathercole whose fleshy and distorted paintings of women question the concept of beauty in our society and fashion norms. Artist Iluá Hauck da Silva’s stunning piece Veins of Vanity II explored the connection between beauty, pain and pleasure commenting on current social values and the construction of history and traditions.
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If you were able to make it or not, check out the rest of the pictures on our website and if you would like to exhibit in our next show ‘Guilty Pleasures’ do check out our opportunities page.
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Blooming Marvelous & The Cornershop – by Jade Gorman

A while back I visited two shows of a crafty nature. Lucy Sparrow’s felt creation, ‘The Cornershop’ and community knitting and crochet project, ‘Blooming Marvelous’.
Both shows have been popular spectacles for the public to get involved with and excited about.

My first visit was to Blooming Marvelous, a lavish knitted garden on display at the Arts Depot in Finchley, that’s been on tour for two years now.
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Entering the show I was amazed to read the collaborative project had 3,500 and counting contributors! People of all ages, of varying abilities, WI group members, those with learning disabilities, mental health problems, physical disabilities and visual impairments all took part.
With such a wealth of contributions the garden’s brimming with more life than any I’ve ever seen in real life! It’s over flowing with flora, fauna, woodland creatures, insects, trees, vegetables, a greenhouse, a picnic, and scarecrows. There’s even a solar system in the sky hanging from the ceiling!
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Some contributions are large-scale creations, with lots of detail, whilst others are small, like a flower or leaf and put together they build something impressive. My favourite pieces had to be the knitted puddle with muddy footprints and the washing line with big pants hanging across the room!
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It’s clear that the project’s ambition is not just to create something huge and impressive, but for the participants and visitors to enjoy themselves.
Walking around, I felt like child, fighting the urge to play with everything and bring it to life!
The Blooming Marvelous blog says discussions have recently begun for a second project and a jungle theme could be on the cards so if you’re interested in getting involved, keep an ear out for news about that!
Even though I’m not a crafty person particularly, the show was uplifting and made me smile.
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So I felt very prepared to visit Lucy Sparrow’s hand made creation after that, as it has a similar playful feel. Sparrow is well known for working with felt and using stitching as an expressive tool in her art work. She has grown to be a friend of Sweet ‘Art following her involvement in our Show #1 where she exhibited some stunningly executed but also incredibly moving works surrounding an issue close to her heart. These pieces explored the destructive nature of anorexia for those who suffer. What feels to be in some contrast, her latest creation is a fully stocked cornershop! She has made the items herself with the help of an assistant and made the work over an 8 month period of total dedication. It’s her most ambitious project and for the London show, she refurbished an old dry cleaners on the corner of Wellington Row, Bethnal Green, to give her shop a fitting location.
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As I approached the felt local, it felt like a great alternative to a usual gallery experience. The shop was busy and everybody seemed to be laughing at what they saw, recognizing the familiar brands we regularly rely on. There was real satisfaction in seeing these products that we consume endlessly, being stitched and stuffed so they’re everlasting! In this sense the project feels rebellious and a way to poke fun and amuse ourselves with the banality of the everyday.
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Similarly to ‘Blooming Marvelous’, there’s a lot of work here, nothing’s been left out in Sparrow’s fake shop. There’s everything you’d ever need from sweets to booze, crisps to newspapers, lads mags to tampons, shampoo to ketchup, marmite to oven chips and cigarettes to milk , it’s all here! My favourite had to be the rack of newspapers with amusing headlines, like ‘MAN EATS GIRLFRIEND’ and the dirty mags looming on the top shelf !
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The meaning of the project is something the artist has kept quiet about, leaving us to make our own interpretations. To me if felt like a tongue in cheek response to the economic crisis. A shop made by the people, for the people who can no longer afford the real thing after all the cuts and rise in unemployment!
It also made me think about all the thousands of products we must consume every week, every year without even giving it a second thought.
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Mostly though, it was a fun experience. There was a childlike abandon to the whole thing, a sense of not caring about being different, of stepping on corporate brands toes, or of defining what it all means or doesn’t mean and a real eccentricity that makes you proud of Sparrow.
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Obviously the popularity of making things by hand and DIY culture has been growing for many years now and both these shows prove that. They feel like a comforting relief and a backlash to the techno wizardry of our times. It’s great to see such labour intensive work and to see art that has community spirit.
We urge you to check them out and be inspired as they continue to tour the UK.

Lucy Sparrow’s The Cornershop – next on at No Walls Gallery, Brighton, October 2014
www.sewyoursoul.co.uk
Blooming Marvelous – next on at Poole’s Lighthouse from Friday 2nd Sept – Saturday 16th Oct
www.bloomingmarvellous1.blogspot.co.uk