Lockdown 2020 and 2021. A time of serious reflection and also a time to create. Inspired by artist Robyn Burgess’s delightfully colored oil paintings of the ‘virus’ and Jody’s deep admiration for nostalgic times, this congenial window was created.
Artwork Robyn Burgess. Hand-printed silk Mirjam Aigner.
Funded by Creative Victoria and Regional Arts Victoria for the Sustaining Creative Workers initiative.
Lockdown 2021 was frustrating. Thankfully this project kept me in a positive mindset. Jody Kahlon
Lockdown 2021 was frustrating. Thankfully this project kept me in a positive mindset.
Jody describes some of her processes below:
I kept screengrab of Robyn’s work for inspiration, I had not seen the work in real life due to lockdown restrictions.
The 5 pieces I was creating for the widow display had lots of colour and texture. It all needed to work together.
Patterning and sampling took months. I had a fair bit of time on my hands in this period to experiment and refine each piece.
Fabric artist Mirjam Aigner came through with the goods once again and produced for me the most beautiful and unique hand-painted silk for the circular skirt on the featured dress.
Preparing and cutting the fabric for the skirt took a few days. Finding ‘the spot’ to join the side seams of the skirt amongst the meterage of silk was a fun challenge and fortunately, Mirjam’s prints always flow.
Cutting a toile of the cape that will adorn the knitted dress on display.
After re-jigging the pattern, I managed to cut the cape from the offcuts of the skirt fabric with millimeters to spare.
A full circle skirt has areas of fabric that are stretchier than others (the bias). These areas drop over time and reveal an uneven hem. To fix this, the skirt needs to be hung or put on a mannequin for at least a month before the skirt can be hemmed.
You can see in the pictures the lining drops first, as this fabric is finer than the handpainted silk.
I created a miniature mock of the dress using small scraps of fabric. This helped me with visualising the end product.
In the end, I edited the dress further by losing the peplum around the hips and opting for a neat belt around the waist to fasten and finish the bodice.
Between creating the sewn garments, I spent months sampling the knitwear with a local knitwear maker Pamela Molloy. She was very patient with me as I had never worked with knitting and my quest for perfection meant multiple samples until I was happy!
On a quest to refine my window displays, I had Tracy Malady a talented local woodworker customise the turned mannequin stands. Hand sanding and fishing them was a task… but they turned out well.
All my mannequins and stands have all been upcycled and customised by me.
Whilst preparing the window to install the display, I hand finish the final touches of the garments and prepare the dresses on the mannequins.
I also love this part as I get to put on my tool belt, and bring out the paint roller and hammer drill.
White walls for Robyn.
Installing the window with Robyn, her husband Richard, and Diego who is taking all the photos.
Close-ups of Robyn Burgess’s work show the incredible detail.
A collection of her ‘virus’ paintings displayed with some of her past work that compliment the colours and textures in my work.
Robyn’s ‘virus’ works were produced throughout lockdown. She aimed to paint 100 of them but stopped at 75. Painted whilst musing, they were not created to be shown in a gallery.
A huge thank you and acknowledgment to Creative Victoria and Regional Arts Victoria for the Sustaining Creative Workers initiative. The funding would have not made this possible.
The year 2020 is etched in our history; in every way, the Covid virus caused a hurricane of activity across the globe Artists produced a myriad of reactions to the crisis and my exile in the studio for two years produced work informed by loss, the unknown and hope. Robyn Burgess
The year 2020 is etched in our history; in every way, the Covid virus caused a hurricane of activity across the globe Artists produced a myriad of reactions to the crisis and my exile in the studio for two years produced work informed by loss, the unknown and hope.
Copyright Jody Kahlon 2023
Art Direction: Diego De Nicola
Design & UX: Diego De Nicola
Photography: Diego De Nicola
Copy: Suzie Grant, Domi Córdoba
Photoshoot Styling: Petrina Turner Design