Saturday, 9 April 2016

Reportage Project - At Work with.......Yarmouth Stores

One evening whilst cooking in the kitchen a comment on the  Inside out Program on the television caught my attention. Great Yarmouth hot spot for fashion design! Great yarmouth a small coastal town in the East of England and not really seen as a place thats the height of fashion. This is worth seeing I thought!!  

A film has been made about the fascinating story of a clothing factory in Great Yarmouth becoming very big in the fashion world of Japan! The short film by documentary filmmaker Frances Harper was really inspiring and I thought it would be a fascinating reportage illustration project.   

Drawn to capturing People and places that are full of life this was the perfect topic for me. The idea of capturing the busy scenes of the machine lockers working in the factory and the history of the fishing industry would make a great narrative. I sent them an email with regard to sketching in the factory and I heard back saying they would be happy for me to come. This was a great opportunity and really exciting. 

 Yarmouth Stores originally started making fisherman's clothing. For Hundreds of years Yarmouth was a major fishing port , depending mainly on the herring fishery and when this  died out in the 60's, they started making uniforms for our workforces - industrial workwear, Boiler suits, aprons, railway jackets, smocks ..........and continue to do so along side the latest addition of  garments for the Japanese market which fits in well with their utilitarian style. 

Here are some sketches from my first visit

I was a bit overwhelmed at first and most of the machine lockers working didn’t mind me drawing. It was great to chat about the process and craft. I took a variety of dry and wet media to  capture the atmosphere of the people and place. Here are some my sketches from the day.

The machines were fantastic to draw and quite archaic. I tried to capture the rhythm and movement of the bobbins and cotton whirling in the air.  

The images below are drawn in a handmade sketchbook that I made at the urban sketchers Barcelona Symposium a few years ago, which is great to put to good use . I like the exposure of the threads and stitches next to the sketches. The expressive marks capture the sound of the machines whirling and moving rhythmically.

The zig zag marks echo the stitches that the machines make capturing the rhythm and energy. The loose marks and weights of line capture the delicate threads in contrast to the heavy machinery. The blocks of colour focus your eye onto the garment hanging and then moving upto the machinist at work.

A Fantastic and inspiring Start, great atmosphere energy and characters. Everyone was really friendly and encouraging. I was amazed at the work that goes into making an item of clothing from start to finish. I can't wait to go again.

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