Define or suggest?

We are off to Bath today! Myself, assistant Holly, and a few corsetmaking friends are roadtripping it there to take a look at a 1997 Mr Pearl corset that I had previously spotted in the recent Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House. There will also be antique corsets a-plenty, cannot wait. 

I am increasingly realising that there is an unanswered dichotomy in my feelings towards corsetry (and craft in general), which is the tension between things being explained and unexplained. I love to wax lyrical about technique, but I also love to present things in unclear, even vague, ways. I love to share the details of corsetmaking, but I also hate to “unweave a rainbow” as Keats had it. Certainly, the joy in studying and understanding how exceptional things are made (couture and antique corsetry) is tempered by the slight disappointment of then knowing… Once you know, you need to know more, you need to be constantly looking to new things for inspiration. And the inspiration is most effective when you don’t fully understand the thing you are inspired by. 

A line I recently read from a French Symbolist poet summed it up for me…

To define is to kill. To suggest is to create.

— Stéphane Mallarmé

One must define in order to study and teach a craft, but one must suggest in order to present art or anything with feeling. 

Anyway, enough rambling for the morning. Must brush my hair and get ready to go! Have another “wren behind the scenes” photo whilst I’m gone.



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