grad school

…Am I flailing hard enough?

They make it pretty clear to us that this year, and particularly this semester, is a time for exploration, experimentation, and other “ex” words that are generally designed to both stimulate you and keep you a bit off-balance. As a respected professor put it, “this is the time to flail about and fail big.”

Am I flailing hard enough yet? Have I failed grandly enough? Would you like some more irony on your toast?

Kids, don’t be artists. Do something easy, like brain surgery.

I kid, I kid.

Lots of questions as to process, meaning, intention, audience, concept, formal material decisions. I decided to make a cape as a large-scale material exploration. Plus, it’s still working in my conceptual brain– it’s still a piece of outerwear, which y’all know I love– plus it’s a simple enough design as to be fairly easy construction. I don’t have time for no 34 pattern pieces right know–knowwhaddimean?

I wanted to try overdyeing, so I started messing with applique over a white fabric I had in my stash. Apologies for the crap pictures– apparently my iphone and the studio lighting are NOT friends.

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I’m also starting to study a lot of surface design techniques, and I love incorporating hand stitching into the work. Obviously it doesn’t make sense to hand-stitch this whole mess, but I love to see the evidence of the hand– it makes it so much more personal and storied.

Sampler!

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Hand-stitching and reverse-applique with velvet as the underneath fabric. Very inspired by Alabama Chanin, who I loooove.

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I did some color samples, foraying into the world of dye!

73616324113820670166018575b124f7And then overdyed the whole damn thing. 1ea8ecf3aa5558082ad2c04f7fff2c66 3cb50e90db6f714c07f54a18574de39a

Detail:

f75badd6b4f5a19ea7bd5f40f187b4d1I’m really interested in beginning to work with more reclaimed textiles and less new fabrics, so for the lining I took apart two vintage velvet dresses and made franken-lining.

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There were some holes in the velvet, that I decided to highlight in mending rather than hiding them. It’s part of the fabric’s story, after all.

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Here is is inside-out. I think I might like it best that way actually. 
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I inked some secret things in the lining in my coded alphabet. I’m not loving how it looks but it’s a foray into how to incorporate language into the garment.

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13ccf8e19c58dbf226092fb281c19d7eI’ll have to get some nicer pictures at some point. I still need to figure out what sort of closure I want and finish the hem, but since I don’t think I’ll show this piece in the spring show/last crit it doesn’t seem as important at the moment. There’s a lot I like about this piece and some things I don’t, lots of ideas have been brought up. I think I may step back from garments for a bit (flailing, right?) and just focus on textile and surface design and what I can discover and convey through that medium. There are a few too many variables in the air with a garment, and I’m not sure, in my next crit, that I’m ready to answer questions about who this is for, who wears this, etc. Everyone wants to wear this, right?

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Coats, Works in Progress

Dream Coat: Part Two–Lining

I started in on the lining first– seemed easier, I think. I was probably wrong.

I thought it would be nice to work the flames inside Dream’s cloak into the lining, so I decided to hand-dye it. I got a really nice flannel-back satin for the lining, which I KNEW was going to be hell to dye but I decided to go for it anyway.

I apologize to my husband and kitchen.

Here’s the first go. I used a mix of I-Dye Poly and Rit, to try to deal with the mix of poly and cotton in the fabric.

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Note the curious dog face in the corner.

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I was tricked by the “wet fabric” effect into thinking that several colors were darker and more saturated than they truly were. As a result, I re-dipped several sections of the lining and the whole process took about two (long, messy) days.

Second dip!

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Once it dried, it was a lot lighter, of course, but it turned out rather pretty overall, I think. The flannel-back satin has an interesting effect because the flannel backing takes the color much better than the satin, so there is a sort of interesting sheen effect of the light satin with this darker base.
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The pictures didn’t capture the orange bottom very well–it is light but is much richer and prettier than it is appearing here.  Bah.

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Next: Into the abyss of fabric experimentation on the outer coat. I’ve realized I’m a bit paralyzed with uncertainty, so I’m going to take a slug of bourbon and just start. Caution to the wind! Into the breach!

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