Vintage Vogue by Sarah Clifford
This is my favorite from a series of fashion illustrations I created for Nottingham Trent University’s Journeys in Lace exhibition in 2012. Initially created simply with pencil and graphite, I then kept the attention on the figure in the foreground by cutting out selected parts in the garment pattern and underlaid the image with vintage lace sourced from The Harley Gallery in Worksop. To outline the pattern, while keeping the lace secure, I drew over the illustration with a free-hand foot on an electric sewing machine.
I was inspired when visiting the lace archive and the beautiful photos of ladies wearing their lace garments. This was a trend forecast sent from Paris to Nottingham in the early twentieth century, I found these lace patterns and images so inspiring that I instantly began drawing from them. Each illustration took about seven hours to create. I’d really like to create them on a much larger scale; seeing them in a gallery in life-sized proportions would be beautiful and the figures could appear even more realistic at a distance. There would also be more potential for the lace to be shown off within the revealing sections of the pattern, along with the possibilities with the embroidery.
I am currently studying for a degree in decorative arts, which means that I live partially in workshops. Right now I’m creating leather handbags, which I’ve been taking great pleasure in creating with exciting big industrial leather machines.
I really enjoyed drawing these illustrative embroidered pieces; I have always enjoyed illustration and it was nice to have a break from creating for the modules. It feels more personal and refreshing when I’m creating purely for enjoyment. I feel that you can see this when looking at the piece, that I had fun while making it. It’s more than a hobby, I am constantly thinking about work and throughout my education I’ve known that designing was the route I wanted to take. I haven’t yet decided on one discipline because I enjoy creating in different areas and playing with various materials and techniques.
The pieces weren’t titled for the exhibition but if I had to name the series I’d call it Vintage Vogue because when I was shown the lace archive, Joy Buttress - a textile artist - said the images and designs were the vogue of their time.