On Friday, July 20, 2018, artist Sarah Casey and Dress Detective Ingrid Mida offered a drawing workshop hosted at the Contemporary Textile Studio Co-op in Toronto. In this workshop, participants were introduced to methods of examining and interpreting garments through drawing.
Participants were able to draw selected artifacts from the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection, principally dress fragments and other garments whose poor condition precluded them from being accessioned. Too beautiful to go into the bin, these objects are considered ‘dead artifacts’ but were retained for just such a purpose – as creative inspiration.
Participants were led through a series of drawing exercises by Ingrid that she uses in the classroom to help students learn the Slow Approach to Seeing from The Dress Detective. Some of these exercises are included in a chapter written by Ingrid included in Teaching Fashion Studies, edited by Holly Kent (Bloomsbury 2018). Sarah also guided students through mark making exercises to encourage students to consider different methods of creating texture and invoking the sensation of touch.
After lunch, Ingrid gave a talk about the artifacts from the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection. She also discussed how she unravels narratives related to dress artifacts and encouraged participants to think about the personal stories revealed in garments as well as considering the broader cultural values reflected in fashion. Sarah gave a demonstration of egg tempera on acetate and workshop participants then experimented with a variety of papers and mediums.
In the end, each participant reflected on how the workshop resonated with their own practice and all left with a deeper appreciation of the merits of slowing down to look and to draw.