Live My Art Wear My Art

Term 2

Live my Art… Wear my Art…

Building on the work of Yayoi Kusama that we examined last term, this term we are examining the power of artists to express their creative selves beyond the canvas. Yayoi Kusama is an artist who ‘lives her art’. In many photos of her work, she is seen as an extension of the work, painting or sculpture, dressed in the dots that that adorn her work, and her hair is often coloured so that she disappears into her work. Yayoi Kusama, lives her art.



In the past there have been many artists that have taken their work and surrounded themselves in their own imagery, wearing clothes of their designs, making rugs, curtains and painting frescos on the wall in the designs that they have created themselves. For these artists, it was important to immerse themselves within their own aesthetic. Vanessa Bell, an artist in the Bloomsbury Group, immersed herself in her own work by decorating her house with her paintings, covering her furniture with her own designed textiles, and making rugs based on her own designs.


Artist Sonia Delaunay also surrounded herself with her own designs and decorated her domestic artefacts with images that she had created. She famously said:

“I always changed everything around me… I made my first white walls so our paintings would look better. I designed my furniture; I have done everything. I have lived my art.” Sonia Delaunay


In some cases individual artists worked to create textiles on a small workshop basis and then, due to their success, went on to create companies. This is the case with the Marimekko design company based in Finland. This term we will examine the world of the textile designers that have worked with Marimekko over the years.


In order to produce work that will enable the students to live their art, we will engage in a series of workshops that will support students to create a carefully researched and considered design. To do this, we will examine the elements of art and a range of drawing techniques and materials. Observation of a selection of subject matter will be the launch pad for our explorations this term and we will create a journey or story of how an image begins and ends through the work of Marimekko, Orla Keily, Marie Gudme Leth, and Sonia Delaunay. Through the work of these artists and textile designers we will come to understand the passion behind the idea that the artist can live their art.

Students will begin their journey by choosing a subject that they are interested in. These interests may fall into a range of categories such as nature, animals, fruits/vegetables, toys and shapes and patterns.


They will do a series of detailed drawings related to their chosen subject matter and then reduce these images in preparation for the creation of a textile block or print. The reduced images will be inspired by the drawings of Ellsworth Kelly and the bold and considered images from Marimekko.

This preparatory work will form the basis of the design work that will, in turn, create the key elements for the structure of their textile printing block and final printed design. Students will then have a choice about how they realise their design work and live their art – this may involve them printing on a T-shirt, bag or piece of fabric that they can later make into something.

We need dark to see light, grey to grasp colour, work to notice playfulness, emptiness to appreciate life…

The fun begins….


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