Thursday, 21 April 2016

At work with.........Yarmouth Stores - The Cutting Room

I have been back to Yarmouth Stores a few times since my last post. The plan is to make a book documenting the journey of a garment from start to finish and introducing  - the cutters/machinists at work - the history surrounding the store with links to the fishing industry - the many types of machines used in the making of a garment - and the atmosphere and daily runnings of a workplace. 

My intention is to promote the manufacturing trade still surviving in the UK and make people aware of the hard work and craft that goes on behind the scenes to make our clothing. 

With a plan in mind I decided to focus on the first stages which takes place in the cutting room. This was quite a challenge in terms of capturing movement. I had to work quite quickly.

The fabric is rolled out 
and the pattern is laid on top. More than a hundred pieces can be cut at one time depending on the size of the blade .

The cutting room is made up mainly of two long tables and directly above are the looping and curling wires from the machinery dangling down. What really drew my interest though was the archival display of vintage patterns showcased all around the walls.  I was inspired by the array of shapes, colours and in particular the hand drawn notes, marks and instructions scribbled all over the pieces using different pens....  The pattern makers artwork/sketchbooks!! These compliment my sketches well. Today patterns are printed digitally on thin paper.

I decided to record some of the notes by photographing them up close. They make great compositions revealing the delicate range of faded colours evoking time and the range of dynamic angles and shapes of the pieces that are the structures of our garments. The balance between the weights of marks created by the varying types and weights of pen is striking. I like the way the layers abstract and cut off the narrative. These are pieces of artwork in themselves.

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