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

The Dream Coat: Part Four– Finished!

The beast has been vanquished, and the Dream coat is finally done! Overall I’m quite pleased with it. I learned a lot: messed some things up, asked and answered a lot of questions, and then made more questions. It’s very comfortable to wear and feels solid like armor with all that quilting. Dream armor. I hope it lives up to its inspiration. I wanted it to feel like a story; like every time you look at it you notice some new detail, some new secret.

Here’s a shot when it was still missing collar and sleeves. You can see some of the quilting of insanity.

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Detail shot. Note the pocket flaps– I think they turned out pretty nicely.

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I also inherited some wonderful brass buttons that seemed to have arrived just for this project.

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Here it is in all it’s glory:

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Sleeve detail. The two stripes are a bit of an artist’s mark– I thought I might make them a common thread (haha) on all the coats. They represent the old magpie rhyme:

One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret,

Never to be told.

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Truth be told, I rather liked the secret-never-to-be-told, but seven was a bit more than I could deal with. So joy it is.

Back detail. I vented it in the shoulders and gave it a box pleat at the tail. I drafted both of these into the pattern and they were one of the toughest parts, having never done them before and adding them in– there was a lot of “what the hell am I doing… please please please don’t let me mess it up”  Hopefully the next ones will be a bit more graceful. Many thanks to all the wonderful bloggers out there whose tutorials, tips and tricks helped save my sanity on this.

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Some lining detail. You can see the top on my hem facing there because I fucked up. Pleat fail. Everything is ruined.

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The front facings are more simple and have silver flames and stars embroidered on. There’s a bit of ribbon piping between lining and facing as well.

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And here you can see the hidden inner pocket. Because pockets!

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Detail of the inner collar. The collar stands up, so this is rarely visible. It’s meant as a secret moment just for the wearer; something just for you. It’s a quote from Sandman and reads:

“Sometimes you wake up.

Sometimes the fall kills you.

And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”

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So it’s done. Sweet dreams.

xo

 

 

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