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Graduate Spotlight: MA Fashion Artefact student Jo Cope

Student Voices: Tim Swan
Student Voices: Tim Swan

Written by
Published date
19 February 2017

Up next on the LCFMA17 Graduate Spotlight Series, we speak to MA Fashion Artefact student Jo Cope. She tells us about her final project – The Language of Feet in the Walk of Life, why she chose LCF, and her top tips for students.

The Language of Feet in the Walk of Life installation by Jo cope

The Language of Feet in the Walk of Life installation by Jo cope

My final project… is called The Language of Feet in the Walk of Life. My goal was to create fashion artefacts that push new boundaries in the crossover between fashion and gallery art. The final collection is a range of footwear art, which literally stretches traditional craft skills to the limit, to create new extreme conceptual aesthetic innovations. Using metaphors for life the work expresses the emotional and symbolic side of footwear.

In ‘Walking in Circles’ for example, footwear becomes a physical manifestation of the stages of the walking gait, the negative space in the sequence of walking, becoming the shoe itself, its repetitive cycle talking of the experience of the lost self.

Love Triangle by Jo Cope

Love Triangle by Jo Cope

‘Love Triangle’ uses physiology and body language to link feet through the unspoken words of desire, ‘the feet always point towards where they wish to go’.

The skills I used to make the artefacts were extensive – a real labour of love. The collection combines new technology such as laser body and object scanners, CAD CAM technology, as well as crafts including body casting, plaster and wood sculpting, hand and machine engineering and multiple leather lasting, heat forming and moulding techniques.

Before LCF… I did BA Fashion Design at Nottingham Trent. Due to my conceptual approach and collaborations with the performing arts department during my studies, I was invited back as a lecturer to work across various courses straight after graduation.

My top tips for new students…

  • Come with a fully focused mindset, passion and commitment.
  • Know what you are about because your work must be self driven.
  • Work from the minute the facilities open, until they close everyday, invest time in building relationships with the technicians; ask lots of question and experiment.

I chose LCF… specifically for the diverse 3D facilities and technical support it offers. MA Fashion Artefact is a completely unique course, it attracts students who want to challenge and push boundaries within the fashion industry and the art and design world. It’s the only course that I am aware of that views fashion from the same perspective as me – I want to change and evolve fashion and perceptions of it. The course has a brilliant reputation, and the standard of the craftsmanship and design thinking from past alumni is second to none.

The thing I enjoyed most… was having the opportunity to explore footwear concepts in the brilliant Cordwainers facilities at Golden Lane, working along side exceptionally experience technical staff with so many years of knowledge and having the support and facilities to push boundaries.

And the most challenging thing… I was diagnosed with dyslexia during the course so the most challenging thing was matching my ambitions in academic writing with those in 3D. I overcame this with tutor and learning support, but most importantly hard work! I am proud that I achieved my goals in both areas.

The best thing about London… is that has its own energy, you are aware that you are in a melting pot for ambitious creatives, it’s a great place for networking and meeting people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Access to suppliers, manufacturers and exhibitions is also important.

My work in five words… Futuristic, conceptual, metaphorical, challenging, skilled.

I am my own muse… the life, the experience, the person I know best. My own imagination and ways of seeing the world are my greatest design tools. I have a natural connection to conceptual art; work which is more about an abstract interpretation of the world. There is something to be gained from all art forms and my interests in art are diverse and span across many different decades. I really like the work and character of Charles Bukowski: a philosopher of life in a very raw and underground style. He is a great example of someone who created challenging work as an authentic extension of himself, I love his maverick nature.

My future plans… are to raise my profile as an artist, create more opportunities to work with galleries and curators both in the UK and internationally. The MA Fashion Artefact course has helped me to create work of such a high standard, that it is already receiving a lot of respect and I am currently working on a series of opportunities to tour the work. Being on the course was for me about being in an environment where I could create work that meets with my aspirations and ambitions, and I am sure that it will continue to open new doors. I will also continue to work with MA and BA students from a range of creative courses to inspire and support future artists and designers along side my own practice.

LCF is moving east… I enjoyed being in a beautiful historic Victorian building at Golden Lane, however the move will create the opportunity for the arts facilities to fully merge. This is bound to have a positive impact on cross-disciplinary practice, it will be very beneficial for technology and manufacturing facilities such as CAD CAM and 3D printing to coming together.