Door to Nowhere

Ohh, let it slip too long again. Anyway, rounding up on a bunch of projects, next week will be finish-up/installation hell.

Experimental Costume: Oh, it's going, but slowly. Sewing a million little tiny rectangles into tubes, then chaining them together is tedious work. I was originally planning on making it a vest or singlet type shape, but it's just not possible, so I'm settling on a hood shape.

So far, sorry about my terribly creepy mannequin here.

What the rest of the piece will look like, if all goes well. The shaping's a little difficult, because it's not a technique like crochet where you can just add what you need wherever.

And here's a Projects/Advanced mash-up. The door is for Projects, it'll be part of the installation piece that goes along with the shoes. The weaving's for Advanced.

I've been taking off the veneer on the door rather painstakingly with a boxcutter and a spackling knife. The wood underneath is much nicer. The handle came off an old guitar case. I removed the door's original doorknob, it was ugly and new-looking. I'll cover up the hole eventually.

Weaving close up. The colors came out rather off, but I like the gradation at least.

I also brought my clothes rack to school the other day--here's my tiny little group of garments:

Tired Mornings are Here Again

Dragging today--I've had a cup of coffee, and it only succeeded in making me jittery. In any case, here's a lunch-time update.

Ex-Cos Uniform Project--check out my lumberjack jumpsuit:

New Experimental costume project! It's for the Lost in Translation piece, though thankfully Chrissy didn't insist I copy a garment for the third time (I've done the project twice before) particularly since the technique I'm working with is a little more of a construction type thing than 'pattern it out and make the pieces' thing.

It's essentially wool chainmail--I'm using a traditional English 1-in-6 chain mail pattern to join little loops of wool. Don't exactly know what the form is going to be, but it's got a good stiffeness to it, so I'd like it to come off the body.

My other sample--cathedral windows in organza. Doesn't look as nice as I thought it would.

Shoes are just about done. Just need to line them in fur. I already filmed them, once the footage is edited, I'll post it up.

Modeled by my lovely classmate Annette:

There! It's taken me 7 hours to finish this post, haha. A long night of sewing together chainmail tubes ahead.

The Warp is Worth the Wind!

Or so my good mate Betty claims. Of course, Betty can set up a loom in a few hours flawlessly, so that's easy for her to say!

Not that I can complain--even after a nerve-wracking moment when I had to move my warp during painting it (a process I forgot to document, oops!) everything seems to have gone smoothly!

My worst nightmare!

All through the harnesses! You can sort of see the warp painting--it fades from black to white

The only real issue was that the warp and the weft turned different shades of gray! The warp is a very blue/green gray, and the weft is a more brown/peach shade. It's the same yarn, same dye, but some how immersion dying and warp-painting produce totally different colors! I sort of like the idea of using a warm gray against a cool one.

The shoes are nearly done--

Just need to put in the inner sole (fur!) and make the laces-- the ribbons are just there to show it closed.

Professional Photography

It makes quite a difference! Maybe one day when I'm not using a camera Seamus found on the street, my photos will be up-to-par. In the meantime, enjoy a couple shots from Uncle Warren.

I'm particularly happy to have a good picture of this piece. Somehow, when I told the Juniors they could keep it in the studio, sit on it, whatever, I didn't expect them to skin it! That was almost $100 worth of hair.

I never posted the finished nubby--here it is in it's colorful glory.

Painted my warp for my weaving project today--will try and take a picture tomorrow. Cross your fingers that putting it on the loom goes well.

Five Whole Days--

Did you miss me? Gave myself a little blog-break after the one-week project from hell, though I'm right back into the mix of my work. Current Class Status:

Advanced Fibers--presenting my idea tomorrow--I will try and take a picture of my sketch/sample soon. I'm working with a simple weave on a gradated warp-painting and gradating dyed weft.

Exp. Costuming--I've mostly been helping people get on track with the sewing machines--our first project was a t-shirt remix, I made some awful little shorts that I drafted wrong (which you don't need to see) and am working on what boils down to a lumberjack onesie right now. But the "Lost in Translation" constructed surface piece is coming up, so that'll be interesting.

Projects--So first we had a one-week project, now we're onto a two-week project. Though, for me, I want to film them in action, so it's really one week to finish the shoes, one week to film. And I'm making shoes. Which I have no experience doing.

The process so far:

Drafting a pattern, it's changed a bit since then.

Putting it to paper.

Some of the pieces being put together--I used the same cording technique as on the wing-vest.

Hammering the holes in the sole--I didn't take a better picture of the heel construction, but it's two layers of leather with a layer of wool inbetween it.

Just basting the sole on--I'm using a thicker waxed linen as I type this to make a more secure seam.

So far! The inside brown leather will be covered with a fur inner sole eventually.

And just because it's awesome, check out my latest scary-South-Philly thrift-store find:

Tomorrow I will try to get together all the photos I just got back from Warren Seelig of my work from last year.

One Week Critique--Finished

And it actually went pretty well, despite my last-minute scrambling to get the tights totally covered, as well as making something for them to go on. We don't have leg-mannequins here, and I always feel really stupid putting them on, or asking someone else too. I also didn't want to wait for the entire costume to be finished to start giving the work some context.

So, night before the crit, I decided I needed a pair of legs.

So I bribed my dear friend Betty with a bag of gummy bears to let me wrap her in duct tape.

After an uncomfortable half-hour, Betty shed her skin and regained feeling in her feet.

Stuffing the duct-tape mold with whatever scrap I could dig up. They're really pretty heavy and solid!

Threw on a hastily constructed cover. Thankfully I had some nude-ish colored knit lying around. The chair was another lucky find. I picked it up a few days ago, originally planning just to salvage the upholstery brads on the bottom. I started ripping it apart to get at the springs on the inside, but stopped because I needed to work on the tights. As I was posing the legs on it, I really liked the contrast between the texture and color of the tights, and that of the chair. So in it goes.

So, at 12:30 last night, I was done and set up.

My critique went well, though I wish the little wrinkly feet hadn't stuck out, it brought up some old people/memory connotations that I didn't really intend. It was also an interesting conversation about the work, as a whole, being a finished piece of sculpture, even if it wasn't a finished costume. I think I'm going to get a lot of sculpture/fine arts associations, but the pieces that the works focus on are absolutely Crafts work--I just feel like that's not enough.

The critique also stressed that less is more in the case of the narratives I'm working on--they thought that this piece (which I personally felt was a little vague and rushed, and had little to inform it) was enough--an indication that when/if I start doing film, I should keep them fairly abstract and plot-less. As much as I love my story, I need to let the audience contribute too.

Anyway. Now I've got a million other things to work on...But hey, I'm doing quite well on updating, I think!

New Friend

Last night, as I was working all by my lonesome when a little friend flew in through my window and promptly went crazy flying into the walls. When he calmed down, I scooped him up and let him back out. Goodbye, little buddy!

Still at work on the feather tights. I saw them on a person for the first time last night, and well, they're a bit more 'voluminous' than I thought. Edging on 'gorilla legs' rather than feathers. But hey, it's due in two days, so I guess that's just how it's going to go.

With the shorts (unfinished) that will eventually go with them. I think I'll probably dye them darker/black to make the whole thing look a little more cohesive. And add a band to the bottom, and fix up the insides.

Up and at 'em

Two days, two projects assigned, too much to do already.

Wednesday was Advanced Fibers--our long-term assignment is pretty much 'do whatever you want, but use weaving in it.) Our short-term assignment is to get 3 warps on a loom for our workshop next week with Pam Pawl. We split into groups--unfortunately, my group got stuck with a pattern with a striped warp, and we were only provided with white cotton. So tonight was dye-night for that.

Swifted yarn and dyes.

All dyed--I just threw in a little of this, a little of that, since I wasn't trying for any particular color. The weaving gods were on my side tonight too--I managed to get these back on the swift and wound up on the ball winder with no major tangles.

It will be nice to have a workshop with such an accomplished weaver, but I'm concerned from the instructions she left us that she assumes we know a lot more about weaving than we actually do.

Thursday was Projects III, and our assignment was equally open. "Do whatever you want in one week" Okay, so that last part's a little concerning for me. Garments in one week do not go well. So I made a list of things possible in that time period--gloves, hats, underwear, neck pieces--but I decided on a pair of tights/leggings/almost pants.

They will eventually go with the wing shirt and vest, and whatever skirt/knickers go under it.

Cutting out the pattern--the mesh is an army laundry bag--it's cotton and a lot heavier than fishnet. The solid was a merino wool skirt--on the top, it's there for coverage and warmth, on the bottom, to anchor it, and make it easy to put boots on over it. These areas will not be covered with feathers.

Cutting feathers--the leather was originally a really hideous leather trenchcoat. But it was made of nice leather and it was in the trash, so I took it. I'll save the scraps, they may come in handy someday. (I save the smallest little bit of fabric!)

Testing it out--I like seeing both the leather and the suede sides.

I also got my new studio set up, I'm pretty happy:

That giant pink thing in the corner is 15 yards of hot pink faux fur. I have no clue what I'm going to do with it.

My shelves of monochromatic fabric.

As for now, I'm putting together the pieces of the leggings in the studio, I will probably go home soon (now that I'm done dying my warp) and keep working!