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Topic: Underlying - An adventure in oilskin and oversharing.  (Read 2599 times)
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LadyMearle
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« on: July 09, 2016 10:39:00 AM »

So I kind of made a straightjacket.  Out of oilskin. But don't worry! It was for a uni project so I promise I'm sane and everything  Wink



For a little monologue on anxiety and the project concept, continue reading.  For pictures and garment details only, feel free to skip the next block of text.

The project, which I titled 'Underlying', is a commentary on anxiety and coping mechanisms.  More specifically, my own.  Anxiety can be so overwhelming and soul crushing to deal with.  I consider myself to have only suffered from it mildly, but there have still been times where it has rendered me unable to function as a proper human being.  I would describe the feeling as having no grit.  Completely benign tasks become impossible without complete meltdowns and knowing that there is no reason to be struggling with whatever the task might be makes you feel all the worse.  Its a horrible place to be and I massively respect people who deal with this kind of thing more permanently and severely.
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So my coping mechanism is avoidance.  I will physically and mentally hide from whatever has triggered my anxiety (By hide I mean, like, not leaving my room.  Not crawling under my bed or anything.  Just so you're not imagining me shutting myself in a cupboard).  So yeah.  I wrap myself up in a safe little world.
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I wanted to address the idea that my coping mechanism, while making me feel better, isn't necessarily a healthy or positive way to deal with what I'm feeling.  And also to question whether that mattered as long as it allowed me to cope.




The garment itself represents a physical manifestation of my anxiety.  The lining is embellished with clay 'worry thorns'. I made these using air-dry clay and as I formed them, I tucked a little rolled up pice of paper in each one.  On the little rolls of paper, I wrote something I was worried about or a repetitive negative thought.  The outer of the garment is made from oilskin, which I chose to use because the feeling and smell of it made me squirm (although I'm now in love with it after working with it  Roll Eyes)!






The straightjacket form suited the idea that I was wrapped up in my own anxiety-led world and that it stopped me from performing everyday tasks - hence the super, super long sleeves.





I was a little worried about using the oilskin as I'd never sewn with it before (see earlier opinion on oilskin) but it went really smoothly! I loaded my machine with a denim needle and it was a dream! The heavy fabric was happy to sit on top of itself with no pins and no shifting on straight seams. Yummy!
Curved seams were a little more work - I pinned within the seam allowance as they left marks in the oilskin and used a thimble and determination to baste the seams. Definitely worth the trouble!
I altered the Merchant and Mills Top 64 pattern for the jacket and lined it with linen.
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geekgirl1000100
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2016 11:10:38 AM »

Wow.  This is an incredible post and I applaud your bravery in posting it.  I understand completely about dealing with anxiety and hiding from the world.  I really like the idea of the "worry thorns" and tucking in your anxious and negative thoughts.

Great workmanship - both on the garment and yourself!
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LadyMearle
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2016 11:22:19 AM »

Thanks so much geekgirl1000100.  It really was an eye opener of a project! I learnt a lot about what makes me tick.  I really appreciate your kind words  Kiss xx
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LadybugsAndBumblebees
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2016 12:03:38 PM »

I suffer fro panic attacks and I found your project and your explanation of it to be extremely interesting.  Wow.  Shocked
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2016 02:41:28 PM »

Seriously beautiful project.  Well done.  Rocks.
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BirdBones
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2016 10:55:50 PM »

I am stunned by this. Not only is this seriously fabulous-looking while being slightly creepy and graceful at the same time, but using this sort of material is unusual and thus surprising and interesting.

And I am touched by the thought manifested in it- and about the most appropriate visualisation of the anxiety making one hide away wrapped up in one's own thoughts, which seem pleasant at first but are actually preventing one from living. I have great respect for you adressing this .. well, for want of a better word.. personal suffering. In a world where not only the public makes one feel like a failure when afflicted with something like that, but one is concious of the fences and restrictions one puts on and around oneself, I think it is really brave to adress this.

And while the outside is seriously stunning, I admire that you made the lining so pretty on the surface, while it - I imagine - stings you from the inside. And turning worries into something physically tormenting you by putting them into the beads is such an appropriate way, that again - I have to thank you for making this - and the thought that went into it.

This truly is one of the most touching thing I have seen in a long time.

Thank you.
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LadyMearle
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Courage, dear heart.


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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2016 02:34:22 AM »

LadybugsAndBumblebees - Thank you for commenting and sharing.  I was a bit worried that I was getting too wordy with my post, but I'm glad you enjoyed the explanation.  I hope you're taking care of yourself - panic attacks are just plain awful xxx

Mistress Jennie - Thank you very much! I'm so happy you enjoyed it Smiley xx

BirdBones - Wow. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.  I can tell that you really understand my thought process and all the little details I didn't even talk about here
turning worries into something physically tormenting you by putting them into the beads
This especially. I'm so happy you picked up on that.
I feel very strongly that mental health is something we need to be able to talk about, and something that people should never be ashamed of.  Those feelings were part of the driving force behind the project.  I'm so glad that you connected with it and thank you again for taking the time to comment. xx
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2016 12:45:26 PM »

Thank you for sharing! Love the piece. I love it when an artist shares the process and the reasoning behind everything. I suffer from depression and can relate.
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dewshinesdopp
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2016 02:37:01 PM »

That is amazing.  Both from the beauty and skill you put into it, and...I have PTSD, and I must say that your description of what you deal with anxiety-wise is one of the most accurate and eloquent and...perfect...descriptions of what it (anxiety) is like. 

Thank you for sharing a part of you with us. 

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LadyMearle
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Courage, dear heart.


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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2016 05:17:24 AM »

fatewineroses and dewshinesdopp ... Thank you both for commenting and sharing your experiences with me. 

I'm humbled by the honesty and openness that people have displayed in these comments.  We're all of us braver than we think and stronger than we believe  Kiss Kiss Kiss
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I'll tell you a tale of the bottomless blue / And it's hey to the starboard, heave ho / Look out, lad / A mermaid be waiting for you / In mysterious fathoms below
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