what I'm doing, what I'm seeing, what I'm thinking

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Charity shop windows 2

I forgot all about this post which I put together over a year ago but never published!  The second snapshot of my window displays at a local charity shop (see previous post) - I do these twice a week and it's often the highlight of my weekly routine - I love the challenge of creating something visually alluring from the random donations piled up in the back of our shop and on the clothes rails.

The best thing about doing it is that I just use creative skills off the top of my head without having to plan and ponder as I do with my sculptural work - and the time is finite, I have to make two displays in a couple of hours so not time for preciousness.

Our 'chazza' (does anyone else call them that???)
The charity provides veterinary care for animals whose owners can't afford it. We have lots of regular customers and over the last couple of  years I've got to know lots of local people. They often say they love my windows - yet another reason for doing it, great to have the positive feedback - in contrast to all the solitary hours in the studio!!

I start by trawling the rails for good outfits and then choose a colour scheme from there. I use colour as a way of imposing harmony on all the random items.

You learn a lot about what people like - for example I guarantee that any artificial flowers will fly the same day - even dusty old things (though I do rinse them) someone's had hanging around in a vase for years!

Wow, theses photos really are from ages ago - the xmas baubles are from the year before last!

Fur and feathers - ALWAYS a hit.  In fact I remember that the outfit above - dress and boa - was snapped up before I'd even finished the window. That often happens which though good is a bit frustrating as I have to start all over again so I've taken to covering the dummies with mens' jackets till I've finished the whole installation and can take my photos. The manager tends to look at me a bit askance for doing this but I do perceive my windows as 'design events' in their own right and feel I must record them.

It dawned on me recently that creating the window displays simply feeds my life-long addiction to the still-life as art form.  And it's also all about composition, which in my work - and I think in all successful art and design work - is possibly the most crucial formal element.

There's always plenty of jewellery and scarves - we have drawers CRAMMED with them - to glam things up.

I've been doing the windows twice a week for nearly two years so just guess at the number of photos I have in my image files!!  It's getting ridiculous. I must definitely find some time to go through them all as I'd love to do more posts and see how my approach has changed, which it has in some ways, partly informed by time constraints - now I have 2 windows and 7 dummies to dress in 2 and a half hours - partly from experience of what people buy, and partly from trying to get as much money as possible from the crazy range of bric-a-brac we get donated

When I finish dressing a dummy, I sometimes think ' I should wear that' !! But then I'm mostly in studio clothes so not a huge amount of opportunity, though I have assembled a great wardrobe myself from the shop for when I'm not casting plaster!

Kilburn High Road - we love it!
The only downside to doing my windows is that whenever I go into a charity shop - which is often - I;m re-designing the windows in my mind and earmarking the best outfits for display.

As I said in my previous charity shop post, come on all you creative types - rather than anonyomous direct debits to your favourite charity, get down to your local shop and offer your design services to help them sell their stock - it works - and it's FUN!

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1 comment:

  1. That really is a dream job for you, you could be Kilburn's answer to Scrap Heap Challenge, Mary Portas and Gok Wan all rolled in to one!


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