Michelle Boyde: Test Pattern 01
Michelle Boyde: Test Pattern 01
Michelle Boyde: Test Pattern 01

Michelle Boyde: Test Pattern 01


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Materials: Lycra, Econyl (100% regenerated nylon fiber from post-consumer materials such as industrial plastic found in ocean and landfill waste, fabric scraps from clothing manufacturing companies, old carpets and lost or abandoned fishing nets), Nylon Elastane, Braided Elastic (rubber wrapped in nylon)
Dimensions: 150(h) x 450(w) mm
Test Pattern 01 is a bodysuit in two parts that uses lycra scraps stored from several years of fashion and costume practice, used to explore chromatic relationship. It draws inspiration from Le Corbusier’s ‘Architectural Polychromy’ colour keyboard system, as well as retro TV test patterns, and seeds a new study of colour relationship and scale as it relates to the body. 

Test Pattern 01 explores a chromatic scheme in a scale that emphasises shoulder width, and creates the illusion of long arms with extended ribbons of colour that fall loosely beside the body and encourage movement.

Background and choice of material: Whilst not confined to lockdown here in my hometown of Tasmania as long as Interstate, the ‘testing’ and reflective year that was 2020 often led me into the thinking and feeling tones of my childhood – and the memories that simply evoked a feeling of love and comfort.   Whilst mentally through the year I was scrambling to re-design a freelance career directly threatened by Covid, physically my hands were drawn back to the materials of memory – vibrantly coloured fabrics worn close to the body in a childhood filled with dance, skating, running and biking around in leotards and swimmers in suburban Sydney.   Lycra as a fabric, whilst evolving now from its original petroleum-based source to a recycled one, and to a high tech performance fabric, is barely acceptable for use today in forward-looking design industries, but a material that holds strong sentimental sway.

Test pattern is both a serious colour study and exercise in upcycling, as much as a simple ode to the materials of memory, that draw us ‘home’.

A Test pattern in TV terms, is typically broadcast at times when the transmitter is active but no program is being broadcast – a nice metaphor perhaps for the year that was, but wasn’t.

Image Credit: Kishka Jensen, 2021 (Model: Lanny Lutrell, Makeup:  Sophie McDermott, Hair:  Wayne Chappell); Emily Dimozantos, 2021.