Morphic to BRIGHTNESS: How can Dynamic Cutting as a Costume Making Process be Explored in the Context of Dance Performance to Further Evolve the Method
Morphic is a series of five experimental costumes I have made for a new Australian dance production BRIGHTNESS, developed in collaboration with dancer and choreographer Kristina Chan and visual artist and dramaturg Clare Britton. Critical Path Responsive Research Residency (Sydney 2019) supported the development, which is due for production in 2021. My role in the collaboration is costume designer. As a creative pattern cutter, maker and designer working in fashion and textiles, this is my first work for dance. A mutual conceptual interest in the dynamics of natural systems underpins this collaborative project.
In making this series of costumes, I explored an opportunity to evolve my method of Dynamic Cutting (Sgro, 2018). Dynamic Cutting involves attuning to both material and spatial creativity in the cutting of garments. Understood as costumes or spatial textiles, I refer to them as ‘chrysalises’ reflecting their conceptual development based in my ongoing studies of metamorphosis. The ‘chrysalises’ emerge in their process of making. By directly attuning to the material and spatial qualities present when collaborating with the textile and my methods, I evolve each form which comprises this series. I do not sketch or first make a pattern; instead, I design responsively, using embodied knowledge.
By explicitly reflecting on the experimentation which has taken place during this project, I aim to elaborate on Dynamic Cutting as performative textile making. This will inform the further iteration and development of this work for production. I will discuss how I perform in collaboration with each of the materials I use as I evolve the ‘chrysalises’ and then how Kristina’s performance with them changes my understanding of the ‘chrysalises’ again, revealing their spatio-material agency.
Donna Sgro is a fashion and textile design practitioner, and lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) where she has taught in Fashion & Textiles Design and Interdisciplinary Design. Donna holds a PhD from RMIT University (2018) in the area of creative pattern cutting for fashion design practice. Donna’s fashion and textile works have been exhibited around the world, including Australia, USA, Japan, France, UK and South-east Asia. Her work is most well known for the Morphotex Dress, a world-first in biomimicry for structural textile colour. Donna’s practice-based research is focused on the development of creative methods of cutting across fashion and more recently performance.
Donna Sgro, Clare Britton, Kristina Chan