A collaboration with Rhian Lloyd, 3rd year Communication Design.

Combining our joint love of costume making and folk history, this project centred around the small coastal village of Inverkip in Renfrewshire. Despite being a hotbed of witchcraft activity in the 1660s with many women put on trial and murdered for their suspicious activities, our research trip revealed no trace of this dramatic history. We resolved to take some 17th century sorcery back to Inverkip.

“As the tide leaves some things and takes others, so the past is in turns remembered and forgotten. Perhaps in our washed-away histories we have become wary of gatherers. Certainly in the 17th century a woman collecting washed up bones from Inverkip’s shore might have been thought suspicious, though her corset might have been constructed from whale cartilage. Even taking sand could be directions from the devil.” From Rhian’s brief.

“While thinking about the way the beach may have looked in the mid 17th Century and looking at the discarded plastic and refuse of the modern world, time becomes as fluid as the river. The trees are mostly new, they have not witnessed much change. Some perhaps were germinating in a time when witches roamed this shoreline, and pushed up their shoots as the dead twigs were gathered for the lethal pyre.” From my brief.

My pair of sleeves were inspired by the yellow ‘special mark’ buoy in Inverkip Bay, a signal of buried treasure, sewer outlets, waterskiing boundaries and shallow water amongst other things. A bright beam signalling something. A special mark for marking a special thing. Their shape is influenced by 17th century designs. The skirt is for gathering, combing, collecting; an apron all the way around.