Thursday, 1 May 2008


The Illustration Friday topic ‘Wrinkles’ inspired me to investigate the wrinkles in drapery. I’ve been studying George B. Bridgman’s superlative guide to anatomy for a while now and thought this would be a good opportunity to investigate his claims that there are seven basic types of fold.

When I first read the section I was somewhat sceptical that what seemed like the hugely variable forms of drapery could be categorised into seven basic forms. Bridgman explains the seven folds in turn, at each point encouraging the reader to get fabric and actually experiment. After reading through the section and making notes I found a sheet and began going through his experiments. I was able to approximate all of the types of fold he defines, though my efforts were (obviously) far less clear-cut than the diagrams.

I then started looking for folds that didn’t fit neatly into one of the seven categories. The first thing I noticed were the creases in the sheet, which bent the forms of the surrounding folds out of place. There is no mention of persistent creases in the section. The creases also seem to challenge Bridgman’s statement that “dress materials in themselves have no form.” because even when laid flat the crease in the sheet is raised about half an inch off the floor. I began this study in oil paint so I could actually sit down and look at the forms of drapery for an extended period. I finished the first pass on the painting and can already see a lot of inaccuracies that need fixing.