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'Ceremonies of Safety'

Cally Booker & Jen Stewart

“Ceremonies of safety” takes inspiration from the protection we attribute to physical rituals of movement, the garments we dress in and sense of confidence and intention in how we present ourselves outwardly.

In this collaboration we explored the points of connection between our two practices, graphically-led structure, rhythm, positive and negative contrast, and worked to connect the hard properties of sheet brass with the intricate structures and soft pliable nature of woven fabric. Through experimentation in combining the hard properties of metal into the processes used to design and create woven forms, we found our point of synergy. Looking to armour and ceremonial dress as points of reference for garments that combine metal and movement, we were drawn to the themes of protection and design for rituals.

Graphically-led forms came through from expanded visualisations of sound waves and woven structures, translated into the final wardrobe of garments and wearable pieces proposed for a fictional priestess. These pieces may be used for protection, intimidation, celebration and/or ceremony. We were both drawn to recording sounds generated by water in a variety of settings. Attuning to our current circumstances, domestic landscapes and the idea of protection, we chose to work with sound-data from clips of fellow participants' recording their hand-washing techniques.

The collar piece, bracelet and earrings reflect the data visualisations of recorded sound information in the waveform representation of the handwashing sound and explore the idea of protections or strengths. Repeating waveforms are built up in the collar piece to create panels reminiscent of armoury and woven forms, able to offer a degree of protection and flexibility. Visibly oversized earrings pieces created from other iterations and manipulations of the wave form and an articulated modular bracelet woven with silk threads used in the woven piece speak to the ceremonial aspect of adornment for celebration and intimidation.

The pieces are presented individually, laid out as steps or options in the ceremony of dressing, in order to capture the ideal of preparation, ritual and intention inherent in dressing for protection, battle, ceremony or celebration.

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