Friday, 7 March 2014

Take Flight

Kathleen Murphy:
"After distributing collars to the rest of the group I was left with a size 16, pale blue one - by chance rather than through choice. Age & repeated washing has made it beautifully faded and worn so it flops & curls rather gracefully. Last Autumn, my first impression of the collar was of a bird with pointed wing tips. 

A few months later and closer inspection of the print on the collar leads to the discovery that it is infact a Van Heusen collar made for the RAF. I guess the pale blue should have been a clue! It appears that these collars were in use until the 1960's by RAF ground crew only. Pilots quickly abandoned the use of these particular collars during World War Two after discovering that they shrank when immersed in sea water. Sadly, when pilots were forced to ditch into the Channel during battle it led to many being tragically strangled by their own collars. It also led to the popularity of British pilots wearing silk scarves as alternative neck wear.
(Charles McCain has a poignant post on the topic HERE)

I'll follow my first impression as my sky blue collar takes flight... "


8 comments:

  1. Thank you for the lovely and moving insight to your creative process........

    ReplyDelete
  2. I too have a blue collar. So thank you for sharing your research regarding the history of these. Very helpful. Handling the collar I have made me feel a great deal of conflict, because it is so male and my artwork is very much about the female as a focus. So I doubt my collar will have any direct connection with its origins, rather it may be transformed into something rebelliously different. We shall see soon enough!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Rebelliously different' - can't wait!

      One of my first reactions to finding our that it was an RAF collar was similar to yours Cathy in that I was a little put out by suddenly how 'male' it had become. I'm still a little undecided as to how pronounced an effect this will have on the piece.

      Delete
  3. I have the blue collar too! thats awful history, and much to add to my thinking x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Um, I almost feel I wish I didn't know. However, take small comfort in knowing that our collars would have been worn by ground crew...

      Delete
  4. Really interesting K - I agree with you and Cathy in that, by associating it with maleness, I struggled with an idea for my collar given a lot of my work is delicate and not at all what you would call masculine. However I made a connection which has informed what I'm doing - I'm being deliberately cagey! Hopefully more photos next week x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Initially, I hadn't even considered how the 'male' connection would affect us so. Interesting.

      Ooh, a mystery. Now that is exciting!

      Delete