The white dresses in the pictures below are so pretty and airy you’re probably already imagining yourself or your girlfriend wearing them. But unless you are or dating Wonder Woman, that’s never going to happen, because these lovely pieces of clothing with all their frills, pleats and waves have actually been carved out of hard rock by Scottish sculptor Alasdair Thomson.
A History of Art graduate from the University of Edinburg, Thomson says his love for sculpting began when studying classical and Renaissance works for his dissertation. He dabbled in the trade while working as an apprentice for an American sculptor between 2006 and 2008. Around the same time, he became interested in clothes and the way they are depicted through art. That’s when he decided to produce his own contemporary take on the classical subject.
“I started to play around with some flowing drapery forms and eventually started carving simple T-shirts and folded men’s dress shirts,” said 32-year-old Thomson. “I produced a piece of work that was a wall-hanging called Ruby and that is when I thought, ‘Okay, there is something in that.’” His latest work is showcased in ‘The Identity Collection’, a set of 12 sculptures that explore the way fabric hangs and folds and captures that lightness and gracefulness in stone.
To complete the project, Thomson asked his friends and family to donate garments that he later used as models. “The identity of the person who contributed the garment is captured in the stonework,” he said. “We seek identity in what we wear. It identifies us with a particular group and influences the way people see us.” The collection has already been displayed in London and New York, and is due to be exhibited in Hong Kong next week.
His earlier works include ‘Lyla’ and ‘Blouse’ (for which he won the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Open Exhibition at Edinburg’s Royal Scottish Academy). He had initially put the two sculptures on pegs, but he felt that the illusion wasn’t complete. When he put them on hangers, they worked much better. “It creates an illusion where people think that they are real garments,” he said. I can’t really argue with that – I was fooled too! Thomson enjoys watching people’s expressions change as they realize the truth. “When I tell them the clothes are made out of marble, their eyes light up and their jaw drops a bit and they are shocked.”
Thomson is now trying hard to raise the bar on his next collection. “I was thinking in far more ambitious ways, visualizing garments that were flowing and had lots of folds. I do feel like maybe I am on the cusp of something,” he said. But what Thomson loves most about his work is the five minute-walk from his home to the studio, where he spends the day working. “When I am working, there comes a point when I lose myself, normally between 4pm and 8pm. When I fall into that mode of working, I can get so absorbed in what I am doing, I float away somewhere. I love that.”
Photos © Alasdair Thomson
via This Is Colossal