I have designed a garment with the intention of playing with negative perceptions about people from the remoter parts of the English countryside, and to act as a response to urban people’s “fear of the countryside”.
I have explored modern folk horror and have tried to find a place where the familiar and unfamiliar can co-exist. My intention for this project was to address the relationship between urban and rural England, and design a garment to question perceptions of ‘the other’ and the fear of the unknown. My garment is inspired by rural spirituality and farming traditions and rituals, and exists in a world where reality meets fiction. My final piece reflects a character that lives on a blurred line between human and environment- taking inspiration from roadkill, wild sheep coats and distortion caused by distance.
I am interested in how rural people play into “pastoral identities” and respond to the roles placed upon them. Originally my focus was on subverting people’s perceptions, but as my project has developed I have become more interested in the freedom people can find by adopting characters and celebrating the bizarre nature of folk horror and “Englishness”. My project is rooted in old English rituals around life and death, exploring burning natural materials ie. straw doll rituals, the Wicker Man etc. I have worked with melting plastic Flexi-tubs as a current reflection of these customs, to explore how a modern folk figure might exist.