the coat project
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the coat project was created in virtual space using Maya. The texture maps where created by scanning in actual knitted samples from Barbara Walkers “A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns“ and assembled in Photoshop. The patterns are; Dragon Skin (page 136), Ears of Grass (page 254) and the Wave Edging (page 367). Click on the box to the right to play the movie.

I am deeply uncomfortable speaking or writing about my work - Carl Jung, "The artist is essentially the instrument, and he stands below his work, for which reason we should never expect from him an interpretation of his own work. He achieved his highest with his composition." Which is somewhat of a cop-out if you're a graduate student: Below is an article by Alan Schechner (to whom I am deeply indebted) documenting my work, based on a reluctant interview.

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Alan Schechner : Student Work > the Knitted Coat

Kate who has an avocation in garment making (knitting, sewing and textiles) has used 3D animation software to comment on a range of issues relating to gender, technology and women's art.

"I wanted to present women's issues in a non traditional (digital) environment". Kate designed and put together her knitted coat on the computer in exactly the same way that a real garment would have been made. This in her words "was in itself a way of addressing women's issues, using the masculine medium of high-end digital technology to invoke issues of the role of women and women's art". She has chosen to site her work in a women's boutique as a way of taking her art outside of the gallery (once again a bastion of male culture) and allowing a female audience to view it. The piece itself is a representation of a traditional Korean Woman's Kimono. The piece was modeled in Maya, a 3D modeling and animation program and Photoshop. Kate uses the Kimono for a number of reasons. Firstly because it is a form of attire that uses a very traditional form of garment making. The flat construction garment is the most basic of forms and most all traditional garments are made using this construction technique. The use of an Asian garment however also had specific personal resonances for Kate;

" I have had long discussions with Jae-Hi, a female Korean student about the kind of issues I am addressing in this piece. Jae-Hi comes from a science background and has chosen to give that up for a career in art. This is something that her family, friends and culture has been unable to understand. The garment on some level is a representation of Jae-Hi, who symbolizes the struggle of women to find their place and voice in a traditional male culture."

Kate has also applied the texture of real hand knitted swatches to the coat. The patterns she uses all are symbolic and link to the tradition of Irish Erin knitting where each pattern used had a specific meaning attached to it. " I have chosen three patterns, Wheat, and Dragon for the main body of the garment and a lace pattern called waves to fringe it. The wheat represents a concern with domestic, household issues, the baking of bread as well as wheat as a symbol of life. The Dragon both links back to the Asian theme of the garment as well as addressing the mystical link to dragons as protectors. The waves are a way of again referencing this ongoing tradition of women's art, waves symbolizing both continuity, determination and water being seen as a symbol of womanhood.

In her animation the Kimono is slowly opened to reveal an indigo block print of a naked woman in various stances. The indigo print was used as it is one of the few ways that one can print on a knitted garment. The naked woman symbolizes both woman revealing herself but also references the Greek Myth of Daphne and Apollo, the story of a woman trying to retain her independence by rejecting the amorous advances of the god Apollo. In this story Daphne chooses to run rather than acquiesce to Apollo's offer of marriage, but unable to outrun him she finally turns to her Father, the god of the river for help. She agrees to be turned into a laurel tree rather than give up her independence and Apollo, heartbroken uses the leaves of the laurel tree to wear into battle and the wood to make arrows from.

Kate incorporates the symbol of the laurel tree in her animation " The story is important because it is about the rejection of male agendas, of a woman choosing independence and of the price she has to pay for that. She retains her sense of identity but loses her freedom. This multi faceted art works uses autobiographical experience, traditional art forms and high-end technology as well as a keen sense of site and audience as a way of staking a claim for women in highly technologized contemporary society.