Sunday, January 24, 2010

Warm from the dryer…

This has been a good arts week. My inner fashion designer was validated when I got a nice e-mail from the Trashionista show coordinators. Not only was I juried into the show, they asked if I could make a second piece! Of course I couldn’t pass up a challenge like that, so off I went trying to design another ball gown. I was channeling river themes when I started, and the piece ended up blue, silver and black. I started off by repurposing an old blue sundress—the high-waisted variety that was popular back in the eighties. Then I trimmed out a bit of material from a pair of pants that was part of an old Halloween costume. It has a smooth, crushed velvet texture that’s now the waistband. You can’t live in the eighties, I say. I needed some decoration for the waistband, so I went to my collection of silver things and found a bag full of handles from fancy paper shopping bags. I had a vision that involved the bottles of glue left over from last year’s Children’s Booth project at the Fourth Street Festival where they glued all sort of found materials onto large panels in the colors of the BEAD logo. I added water to several of the glue bottles, dunked the bag handles into the diluted glue, then laid them out as a swirly pattern on wax paper to dry. The handles became the little swirly whirlpools on the waistband. Of course I had to maintain a little continuity with the first piece, so I zipped over to Opportunity House and snagged a nice black bathing suit for the top. It also secretly fits into the water theme, although the casual admirer might not notice it. As I was in the process of dress design I stopped in at Yarns Unlimited (celebrating 30 years in business) to see their beaded handbag display and ran into Suzanne Halvorson, which is always a pleasure. I was amazed at the intricate work, and one thing that caught my eye was the dangling triangles on the beaded handbags. I decided that’s what I needed to add some width and flounce to the gown. I achieved this on the dress by cutting slits into the bottom two thirds of the sundress and sewed in triangles of shiny black raincoat material. To top it all off I pulled out some leftover black spray paint. How often do you hear the top fashion designers say that—look for the technique to be big in the spring shows! I realized I could stencil nicely on the blue material, so I introduced a few black swirly patterns to give it a more industrial feel. I can’t make a ball gown with out a dryer sheet shawl, but this time I went with silver and black. The good news is that it looks great, but the bad news is that I ran out of dryer sheets. I’m going to need more for the ‘Edible Lotus’ project that I volunteered to participate in, so I’m on the lookout for more used dryer sheets. Yes, I blend the real and the surreal in ways unimagined by the greats of the renaissance.

While my dressmaking project has taken up a lot of my time, I haven’t lost track of my tomato project. I’ve been poking tomatoes and I’m up to sixty-five, three short my goal for ‘Homegrown Tomatoes’. I’ll need to make a few more stems and hopefully I can begin pulling that piece together this week. To celebrate I bought a single red tomato from Bloomingfoods, which I’ll enjoy on a veggie burger sometime soon. Nobody else in the family likes raw tomatoes, so this one is all mine!

Until next week…

1 comment:

  1. That blue dress is amazing! I think art and science were just stepping stones to your career in fashion. Seriously girl--give up the art and design clothes--you're on a roll with those designs. The recycling world needs you.