Monday, July 04, 2016

Sheree Dornan - Living Art

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print cascade dress

It is always wonderful when art takes a broad stroke, when it transfers itself from one designation to another, one discipline to another, one world view to another. To connect art to a place that seems to others to be outside of itself, outside its natural remit, is to really understand art, to understand its central purpose in our lives.

Art is not there to be rarified, to be part of an ever accumulating collection, something to be passed on to future generations to maintain and then pass on again. Art is there to be lived, to be part of the now, it is there to be wrapped around the psyche, to be part of the everyday as much as it is of the special. Which is why art and design connections are particularly special.

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print on silk

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print on silk

From fine to design doesn't always work of course, there have been many disasters, many half attempts, many ill-considered ones as well. Often, art was stuck on top of a discipline, as if it were merely a form of signature from a particular artist, that it would somehow give cache to the discipline it was attempting to attach itself to. However, when it works well, when the connection is focused, sympathetic, and understood, then it works exceedingly well. 

The artist and designer Sheree Dornan has certainly succeeded in connecting and combining art and costume. Her beautiful works are so effortlessly interchangeable between fine art on a wall, and fine art on a body. This is no mere decoration of a garment, but is in fact an art piece draped upon a living person.

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print, detail

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print, detail

With minimal cutting and no waste Sheree is able to provide elegance and flow to her work. Garments appear to move as if the body that wears them is still part of the artwork, which in many ways they are. To wear a costume by Sheree is very much wearing a piece of artwork by Sheree, the two are connected so organically, that the space between one and the other cannot be seen.

Boro(d) is the name Sheree gives to her featured work. She cleverly uses the borrowed word  and technique of boro, and places it within the larger context of Boro(d), and although indeed borrowed, Sheree has made this technique and process her own.

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print, detail

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) digital print, detail

Boro is derived from the Japanese term meaning something that is tattered and/or repaired. It is a word and definition that has many explanations, and many particular and conceptual meanings depending on who you are, and how you want to see it. But it is about the continuation of a piece of cloth, one that is maintained and added to over the years, allowing the integrity of the piece to remain even as it is modified and added to throughout its history, rather like maintaining a family quilt through constant repair.

Sheree produces her borrowed concept of the boro, her boro(d), using a working process that focuses on specialised digital printing techniques onto selected silk base cloths, producing limited edition runs of each print design. 

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) hand dyed, hand stitched panel

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) hand dyed, hand stitched panels

She uses mostly rectangular pieces that can be either made into fine art hangings, or suspended, or draped wall panels, or they can be formed into garments by draping them onto a mannequin with minimal cutting and no waste. Each garment becomes, but its very existence and making journey, an individual piece, with no other copy, no short or long runs, just the individual piece in its entirety.

Hand editing is done on each piece with embellishing techniques such as stitching and beading. The hand editing is applied to both the fine art wall panels as it is to the fine art garments, in many ways making it even more apparent that the creative techniques and process is the guiding line between fine art and costume, so that art becomes costume, and costume becomes art. 

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) installation fashion forms exhibition

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) mixed media on canvas

This is the defining point in Sheree's work, that combination of art and design, of wearing a garment that has been part of the process of fine art, because it is fine art. Being closely connected to an artwork is always a difficult process for many, but to be mesmerised by wearing a piece of fine art work, to be integral to the canvas, it couldn't get much better than that.

More of Sheree's work can be found at her website: and

Sheree can also be found on social media: twitter, facebook, instagram

She is also one of 35 artists featured in the book Textile Visionaries: Innovation and Sustainability in Textile Design by Bradley Quinn

Please be aware that all of the imagery provided for this article, was indeed provided by Sheree. If you want to reproduce any of the images of her work, please ask her first. Thanks!

Sheree Dornan: Boro(d) panel detail with digital print boro patches


pansypoo said...

great idea, i think i would like to see something complicated.

Katya | Digital Marketing said...
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Hazel Arora said...

Lovely Dress "Shreen living art".