Inspired by images stuck in my head

I love books and exploring gallery bookshops. Sometimes I just have to buy the book if an image within really captures my imagination. Three years ago or more, this is where I found my inspiration for the shiftWorks project. Not that I knew it at the time…

At  Koenig Books at the Serpentine Gallery I bought Small Images by Junya Ishigami, a contemporary architect. I was intrigued by how his images captured his ‘new concept of how to organise architecture and the natural environment to mix together and make a new scape’. At the Arnolfini Gallery bookshop in Bristol I bought Remake it Clothes by Henrietta Thompson just for the image of the raincoat by Airi Isoda, for wrk-shp. They are both strong images that encapsulate ideas of the urban merging with the landscape.

Inspiration form Mexican Flea Bane growing wild 10 foot up a wall with no soil.
Inspiration from Mexican Flea Bane growing wild 10 foot up a wall with no soil.

My idea for the shiftWorks project is to create a ‘living’ dress. A dress that provides an environment for plants to grow. My vision is a distopian world 50 years into the future, where, with growing populations and urbanisation, plants are precious and space to grow plants rare – every possible surface is utilised, the sides of buildings, clothing etc.

Initial shift dress idea with Mexican Flea Bane
Initial shift dress idea with Mexican Flea Bane

There is a rich textile history of depicting flowers and plants in printed and woven garments as Marnie Fogg writes in Print in Fashion:

The appreciation of flowers is part of that universal yearning for a pastoral idyll that evokes the simplicity of a sun-filled childhood spent running through meadows. In the frenetic pace of modern urban life, city dwellers tend to feel progressively more alienated from nature, and so seek solace in a romanticised rural idyll.

Why not nuture actual plants on your person rather than having the simulacra? The additional sensory stimuli – contrasting textures, scents… is an exciting thought!

However, now I have the idea there is much to consider, lots of problems to solve… a mindmap seemed like a good place to start.  The next task is to think how I can simplify my idea to make it workable in the time available…

Mindmap for living dress
Mindmap for living dress

Where do you get your inspiration? Is it from the same sources every time?

Penny Wheeler

PS Check out my Pinterest board for more living work