Who am I? Labels and Connections
The always seeing skirt has eyes in every direction. What I see is that we all have a hibitual way of looking at life and sometimes it can be quite narrow and sometimes it can be useful but what would be possible if we could open up and have a much broader view. We look at what is right in front of us, we live in a routine, we get up, we brush our teeth & we go to bed. Lots of people suffer in this space and all you need to do is move your head a dagree or two and the whole view changes. if that is possible, what's possible if you stand up and look all the way around. There is so much more out there and innocently, we close our minds off to it, to keep ourselves safe so that we don't have so many choices. This skirt has eyes in every direction, pointing to the fact that there is a bigger view.
Dont Label Me
This is the first skirt I made, I have no idea where it came from but I hate waste and I had a whole bag of labels, name tapes from the boys at the college that I work at, had left behind and in the bad, they looked to me like a community. My logical brain wanted to group them together so i wove them together as you can see in the hem. The idea of a 'dont label me' skirt grew. We wear labels every day on our clothes and yet we don't think about them. They're small, lots of design goes into them. You can prbably tell quite a lot about someone from the labels on their clothes - perhaps how much they spend on their clothes, where they've traveled to, where they shop, what they value. All of this would be stories, they would all be guessed. We wouldn't reall have any idea. I aliken these to the labels we put on ourselves - I'm a happy person, I'm a good person, I don't like this, I'm an artist. What I see is those labels can hold us back. What would happen if we questioned those? Some labels are useful but for example, if you give yourself the label of 'I'm kind', the gates of kindness are shut because your already there. If you leave the gates open, there is more opportunity for kindness.
If we don't question our labels, we can function OK in life but actually, I think some labels really need questions, they need uncovering. Sometimes we don't even know they are there. I had one - I am not an artist. Even as I think it now, it sends shivers down my spine because it was really big and for lots of years, I just made stuff and I would give it away because I wasn't an artist. What does it even mean 'I'm not an artist'? and what does it mean if I'm not, not an artist? it just means I'm not labeling myself and there is freedom. So what this skirt represents is the questioning of labels so that you can let them evaporate. Once I questions the label 'I am not an artist', I dreamt up these skirts & this project and here I am, holding an exhibition - somethings artists do, which I wouldn't have, had I kept telling myself that I am not an artist. So I invite you to question you labels, dig deep, be brave. Whats beyond your labels is freedom.
These two are exploring who I am, with the idea that I would create 1 'Amanda' skirt but what I've seen through this journey is that is impossible. I am the space in which everything arrises and so I am nothing and yet I can do all of these things and so I am everything. I decided to make two skirts - Total Calm & Total Chaos. The circles at the hem, represent us doing what we love - colourful and shining. When we do what we love, we can stand next to anyone and be comfortable, as these circles are. We have connection and we have love. Total Chaos - Everything in this skirt is wrong - it does up the wrong way, the zips sitting in wrong, the hem isn't straight. I was quite satisfied with these until I stopped and realised - we are never all one thing. We are multiple things at once. So I cut some of the calm out and put it in the chaos and cut some chaos out to go into the calm. You could percieve me as calm when Im feeling chaotic. Where you see me between calm and chaos will rarely align with where I see myself. This to me, points to the idea that you only know people from your eyes, never theirs.
What happens when you have questioned all of your labels? There is freedom and colour. You can start off on a journey, if your eyes are open, you can end up anywhere. It's attributed to the saying by Socrates "the one thing I know, is i know nothing". That is where freedom lies. You have to be careful with infinite potential because once you think you know something, doors close, possibility closes, as if zipping up the hem of this skirt, it restricts your steps forward.
The waistband of this skirt is anagrams of 'hidden potential'. When all of the zips of this skirt are done up, it's black, with no colour and very bland. this represents each of us when we are closed to our potential, holding on to our labels like 'I am not an artist". If you hold onto your labels and keep yourself small and keep in the narrow way of looking at life, there isn't any potential, your on a treadmill and that's when I see that life is mundane, dull. But when you are open to some potential, open to the possibilities of what life holds and you start to question your labels, you start unzipping and the colour in life is revealed.
I Am, Am I? She Is, Is She?
The 'I am' side of this is full of labels that I've given myself - The Dame of Preshute, Married, Honest, Caring. The 'She is' side is full of labels that other people have given me - loud, bonkers, busy, a little bit crazy and 'someone I don't like'. That sat a little uncomfy until I realised - that's ok because sometimes I'm someone I don't like. I added this to my side of the skirt also. Sometimes, I'm in agreement with someone who doesn't like me- a strange one. So obviously, it would be a bit difficult to wear this skirt as it is. The only way to wear the whole story is to turn one skirt in side the other. It then looks as though you have the whole story - My labels and theirs but actually, the way I see it is, the bit of skirt thats missing, where the two are joined together is where the truth is. The space upon which all of these labels come.