Nearly at the end of the first term

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on my Thought Experiment. Just when I think it’s complete I have another idea, add a bit to it, tweak it, hopefully now I’ve completed my powerpoint presentation and it’s all ready to go.

At my tutorial on Monday I explained that I felt stuck with my practice. I’ve been so used to having short modules and deadlines to work to I’m floundering. Not being a maker I can’t just go into my workroom and create – I have to have a concept, process or materials to start an idea.

The Thought Experiment is not how I work, I welcome the change, but have never experienced one of those exciting moments in the early hours of the morning when a thought pings into my mind and I can’t wait to get out of bed to start on it. At the moment it’s an exercise to be got through and I’m aware that is not the correct attitude, I know I’ll not get as much out of it as I could.

I went on to outline what I’ve done since my last tutorial; the investigation into objects, the importance of them in other people’s lives didn’t sit well with me. We looked at the fact I have little emotional attachment to ‘things’ and the word decathexis came up – a new one for me.

‘In psychoanalysis, the withdrawal of cathexis from an idea or instinctual object, as occurs in narcissistic neurosis’  From the Oxford Dictionary of Pscychology

Not a great deal of help – what is cathexis?

‘In psychoanalysis, the emotional charge associated with an instinct (3), or the process of investing psychic energy in a part of the body or an instinctual object. The Austrian physician Josef Breuer (1842–1925) and Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) introduced the concept in 1895 in their book Studies on Hysteria (Standard Edition, II). The original German word used by Breuer and Freud was Besetzung, an everyday word meaning occupation; the word cathexis was coined in 1922 by Freud’s translator James Strachey (1887–1967), who revealed that Freud considered it too technical (Standard Edition III, p. 63, note 2). A word more in harmony with the German isinvestment. See also economic, hypercathexis. Compare countercathexis, decathexis. cathect vb. To load with psychic energy through cathexis. [From Greek kathexis occupation, from kathechein to hold fast].’ Again from the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology

Next we discussed my Thought Experiment – the alto ego part was picked up. I think this is the way I’m going to go – to re-invent myself – get out of the stuckness of the way I look. Fortunately my tutor didn’t recommend any reading on the alto ego; that’s not what I want to do (have an alto ego) – it has to be more. We agreed it is to be fun, just for me, for me to enjoy. A bit scary as for the last forty odd years clothes and how I look haven’t been a predominant part of my life; more a case of ‘fitting in.’ I’ll be entering into the alien world of fashion.

One exhibition on my to-see list is Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore at Somerset House.

In the meantime I’ll be reading Caroline Evans, L Bovone and Joanna Entwistle.

Some picture books to admire as well!

Rare Bird of Fashion The irreverent Iris Apfel by Eric Boman. I don’t think this book captures the wonderful spirit of Iris. The clothes are modelled on dummies and they need her personality to fill them. A lesson learnt here – it’s not the clothes per se but how they are worn. She’s not a lady of half measures – why wear one bangle when you can wear 20? Also she has the advantage of being very wealthy. How am I going to manage on such a tight budget?

Iris Apfel's Makeup Line For MAC: FIRST LOOK

A short video of older American women talking about how they look.

I think its fun to dress up, it’s an exercise in creativity.
I don’t want to go around like a dreary old lady, if someone doesn’t like what I’m wearing I don’t give a shit.
You don’t want to look crazy, the object is to look chic and that the average person in the street would never wear.
Go start playing, you can break the rules.
I’m dressed up for the theatre of life every day.

Iris says: “Great personal style is an extreme curiosity about yourself.Curiosity, after all, leads to confidence, which is one’s best accessory.”

‘If your hair is well done properly and your wearing good shoes you can get away with anything.’ I’m not so sure about this statement by Iris but agree with her about the hair, I think that’s the first thing I should change about myself. I want a radical hairstyle and will change the colour.
Here is an interview conducted by Marilyn Kirschner the Editor-in-Chief of, unfortunately it’s just the transcript with a great deal of talk about fashion designers, not in my league at all.

Lastly Fabulous Fashionistas, British women and their view on how to look good. I can relate to what is being said here as vast designer budgets are not on the agenda. Interesting to see one lady has the same Doc Marten boots as I have.


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