Inspiration is a tricky thing to pin down sometimes. It can be incredibly fluid and often the final creation you end up with looks nothing like the original starting point. Trying to explain your inspiration can be hard.. so bear with me.
When you start making corsets, very often you take inspiration from other corset makers. And why not, there is some brilliant work out there to be inspired by! Much like when you study art at school you examine the work of well known artists to understand how they achieved what they did, you learn from their composition, colours, materials and skills. It's the same with corsets.
It can continue when you start opening your doors to clients. People will come to you saying “I found this picture of a corset, I want one like this...” That's all well and good, but if you want to create something truly original you need to look to find your own inspiration, outside of the corsetry world.
When I signed up to attend OCOC'15 I instantly started plotting my piece for the shoot on Sunday.
I'd, somewhat accidentally, made this underbust corset.
It originally started life as a mock-up to test a new pattern I was working on... when I got a bit carried away with some lace. I absolutely love combining soft drapey fabrics with the strong structure of a corset, and it's a theme you can often see running through my work. I liked the way the lace draped over this piece but I wanted to take it further.
After the models were announced I immediately felt drawn to Gingerface. I LOVE Pre-Raphaelite art, and redheads and I had all sorts of notions of a neo-gothic, painted ceiling inspired, blue and gold, midnight corset... and that was about as far as I got. Life got in the way a bit.
Not long after that I was signed off sick from stress due to my (then) day job. Which soon prompted the decision to quit and attempt to pursue Moody Corsetry as a legitimate business. At this time our little family decided to escape for a weekend to visit friends in Norfolk. We'd not seen them for an age and I definitely needed time away. Whilst we were there we visited Waxham and the coastline there. Walking along the incredibly windswept, rainy beach I had a moment of clarity, deciding to tackle this new venture head on, and understanding what I really wanted and needed out of life.
I loved that beach, despite the weather. I loved how dramatic the wind, rain, waves, stones all made it despite it just being variations of grey. This was something I really wanted to capture and so took this image. (yeah it's not great but that's camera phones for you)
And this was my new source of inspiration. I wanted to create a piece that looked like it belonged here. The rocks would be my structure and the sea would be my soft drape of fabric. I wanted it to look like the sea was twisting around the corset. Like my model had just walked out of the sea.. and it didn't really take me long from there.
Fabrics wise the corset part was straight forward, I wanted it to be black and wet looking. Corsetry satin it is then, with added antique jet beads for a a bit more interest, to bring in that sort of 'stone' quality and, well, jet is awesome so why not?! The watery fabric was a little more tricky, until I stumbled across silk chiffon shot with silver. It was that fantastic “not quite white” colour of sea foam and I literally skipped around my living room when the postman delivered it.
And here is the final piece.
Gingerface modelled it to perfection, and InaGlo photographed it beautifully. I was very pleased with myself I must say! I decided to name the piece Iceni. I like naming my showpieces after the source of the inspiration.. but Waxham didn't have a great ring to it. I thought instead to name it after the Brythonic tribe who inhabited Norfolk in 1st century BC. They were the tribe that the infamous Boudica came from, and I felt this not only linked the piece back to where my inspiration came from but also reflected the drama and strength I hope it emanates.
One day I'd really like to take this corset back to Waxham beach and have it photographed on those rocks!
You can see more of Beth's lovely work at Moody Corsetry