Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Remember the Denim Jacket?

Remember the denim jacket I was trying to embellish? I didn't think about it enough beforehand, I jumped in with flowers and it was turning into a crafty flower refashion. I was not loving it.
The original post of how it began is here.

Ricë gave me some good advice, she said "the problem is not that you don't know what to do; it's that you don't know what you want it to look like; i.e., you don't know where you're going, what style, what finished look." She was absolutely right.

So I began looking on the internet and in my Evernote notes for a direction. I wanted it less matchy, crafty, tole painting.

Jeanie suggested I get out the sandpaper, rip off the bottom hem and put it under my easel as a drop cloth. I thought that was pretty cool, though I felt like a bit of a wimp knowing I wouldn't do it.

Anyway, after some ruminating I added a flower from a thrifted blouse and a rectangle of cloth from a very old bed sheet I had in the studio for rags. (Maybe that kind of counts towards the drop cloth idea Jeanie?)
 I was liking it better. 

 My partner didn't like the patch on the arm. I knew what he meant, it was out of proportion with the bitsier stuff happening on the back. But I like the geometric shape contrasting with the organic ones, I feel it makes it all more random. I am hoping I can bring in other elements that will make it less discordant.

Now I feel like I know my direction. A jumble of flowers thrown on. Related in colour, but from different sources and styles.
I add another flower from the shirt and place it to hang into the stencilled area. I put another patch on the other arm, making sure they don't match. I am getting excited now. I have brought in some hand embroidery around the edges for looks but also because I don't trust the adhesive to keep the appliqué on.

Finally I cut another flower from the bed sheet. This time a big cabbage rose. I hang it from the shoulder seam as if it is growing over from the back.

I might keep going with it. Maybe, maybe not. I will wear it and see what I feel like (it is getting cold in Australia as we come into winter.)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Steal this Idea

I was ruminating out load this morning as I sautéed the lamb chops for my slow cooker. Yesterday I was at a private lesson with a student and she was said how she wished she could get the CD player in her car fixed. Her son told her "Just play the music on your iPod."But she doesn't want to spend an afternoon switching her music to her iPod, she wants to just keep on playing it on her CD player. And why not? I love new technology but sometimes I just can't be bothered. I would rather be doing something else.

What I found really upsetting was that I couldn't think of anyplace to tell her to go where she could get her CD player fixed. We know what a salesperson would say: "It is cheaper to buy a new one." But is it? If you don't just consider money but also the time to research and figure out what is now available and what you might want, then you think of the environment and how polluting it is to make the new player (can you even buy CD players?) and how the old one is now to be thrown out and how polluting that is. And you can't give it to someone else because there is no place to fix it.

So finally we get to my idea. My DH is pretty good at fixing stuff. Well, he isn't so much mechanical as he has a creative mind. I said to him this morning "What about a place that fixes stuff?" I like the idea of fixing stuff because it is in line with my values of not buying stuff and recycling. I think I also imagine it is a little like refashioning (which as I write this I realise is probably not the case.)

In my fantasy I take it a little further. I like making stuff but not fixing it. "What about if you fix the stuff and I will get a 3D printer and I can make stuff?" This is sounding more fun. Keep in mind my DH still has one eye on the paper. I am not getting a lot of enthusiasm back.

Do you know about 3D printers? They are kind of like our desktop printers except they make 3D stuff. How exciting is that!!! You put an image in via computer and they print it out in whatever material you want, ceramic, plastic, even metal in thin sheets like gluing layers of paper together.

So in this ongoing fantasy now that I have a 3D printer I can print out any parts my partner might need for his fixing. Or on second thought, he could actually print out the parts. I will use the printer to make little sculptures, which sounds much more interesting to me.

By this time my partner has completely lost interest in my idea because he "doesn't really like fixing stuff." Oh. Okay.

Anway feel free to steal my fantastic idea and I will send my friend to your place to get her CD player fixed.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

What Shall it Bee?

 This is what I finished today in the studio. What is it? I mean, besides a bee.
 It began here, as a game piece in a small box that I bought at a garage sale.

I know people make jewellery pendants from dominoes, so I thought this game piece could be a good beginning base. I like that it is wood.

 I sanded off the pictures. I don't mind that they aren't completely gone, it kind of retains the story of its beginning as a humble game piece this way. This will be the back.
I begin drawing the bee on. Sorry I forgot to take in-between photos. I painted in with acrylics.

The colours in the first photo are more accurate, but I wanted you to see the size. It is small, pendant sized. Shall I glue on a jewellery bail and make it into a pendant?

Monday, 14 May 2012

Mistakes as Freedom

Last week I was working on a new painting. It was going well and I was excited. My partner walked by the studio and I called him in to show it to him. He liked it, but with a big reservation... "she looks out of proportion". I had wondered about the same thing, but had convinced myself it was just that toddlers have short legs (which they do!). However when I looked anew there was no denying it, he was right. She looked strange.

"Oh no!" I said, "what am I going to do? The way I am working (using acrylic like watercolour) I can't paint over the top like I would in oil painting. There is no way to erase."

I had to do something. I couldn't deny that she needed serious redrawing. I left it for the weekend as we went up to Brisbane.

This morning I was rarin' to go, as I always am after a few days out of my studio. The sun was out, which equals me feeling happy and optimistic. I was up for an experiment.

I carefully looked at the figure's proportions. I rechecked my reference photos (but we know photos distort and even lie.) I downloaded some more photos of my step-grandchild (the model) and after careful consideration I had some idea of where the problems were.

Then I took out some sanding paper and started sanding. I was lucky, it worked better than I had hoped. The pen lines and acrylic sanded off fairly easily without taking off all the gel I had used underneath.

I had discovered a way to 'erase'. This opens up a freedom that I didn't have before. I am glad she was out of proportion so that I could discover this.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

I Didn't Think About it Enough

I haven't done any refashioning for ages. What I miss most is the hand-stitching. I wish I had some projects waiting for me, ready to hand stitch that I could pick up whenever the urge hit me.

As we are heading into the cold weather in Australia, first I had to resort my refashion projects. I had out all my summer inspiration, but there is little use in me working on the hot weather pile. Here are the new cool weather possibilities.

I did manage to tidy it up later.

The most obvious place to start was a thrift jean jacket I started ages ago. I was embroidering jacobean flowers on the yoke. This is where I stopped. It needs more leaves and bits.

I think it looks nice and all that, it was just looking too... embroidered flowers for me. What did I expect? I wanted to grunge it up or something. Make it less normal?

 I thought maybe a change of medium would help. Subject change might help too, but I can't go to putting on a rat or something, it would just look weird. But what about some stencilled flowers? I was kind of thinking stencilled like street art. But I didn't want to use spray paint. I hate spray paint.

In Ricë's latest blog post she is using freezer paper for stencilling. I hadn't tried it before so I googled it. Easy. You just cut it out and iron it on. Sweet.
I don't have any textile paint, but I have this GAC-900. You mix it one part with one part acrylic paint and it makes the final image softer and less plasticy. I have only used it once before, on a white fabric patch.

At this point it is not working so well. It isn't covering the denim. I have to use a lot of paint. I decide to paint white first under the flowers, hoping that will make the colour show a bit more. 

That seems better. I mixed some titanium white into the green as well.

Okay, here it is finished. Kind of. The painting is finished and I am pleased with how it came out, but...
I was imagining street art grunge, it is more like stencilled folk. How can I grunge it up? It is all too tame. I feel annoyed at myself. I went into embellishing this jacket without really thinking about it. It is kind of an 80's throwback.

Do I give up and start over on another jacket, or do I keep going?