Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fused Plastic Soft Sculpture: The Bruja Apron

Fused Plastic Bruja Apron

A second fused plastic soft sculpture - the Bruja Apron. Bruja means witch or medicine woman in Spanish. The first fused plastic sculpture was The Betty Apron, which was all sweetness and light. This apron takes a walk on the dark and mysterious side.

Front detail

The apron is fashioned from fused plastic bags, stitched and appliqu├ęd to form the apron.


Back view


Back button detail


Scroll through the fused plastic category on this blog to see other fused plastic creations, from shoes to a maker project on pop-up banner installations, to lanterns, to Barbie clothes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Mega Terrific Fabuloso Advent Calendar Surprise Ball

One of many layers

It is a challenge coming up with a totally new advent calendar concept every year. Past attempts have included walnuts, beribboned bonbons, and evolving haute couture (click here to see efforts from years gone by).

This year the calendar revolves around the idea of an old fashioned surprise ball. You unwind the crepe paper streamer to find the treats inside. This time around the treats include the usual foil-covered chocolate coins, and an assortment of hand-painted tin ornaments from Oaxaca. The balls come with an English-Spanish translation sheet (e.g., butterfly = mariposa). The vision is that the recipients will savor the chocolate, decorate their tree, and learn a little Spanish as the month of December unfolds.

Hand-painted tin ornaments

Foil-covered chocolate coins

Each layer is a different calendar day, each is a different color, and each is decorated completely differently.  There are 25 in total, and you may peruse a sampling below.

How big is the final ball? Bigger than you head.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fused Plastic: The Betty Apron

Meet Betty: back view

This is what I am calling a "fused plastic soft sculpture." The apron theme was inspired by the wonderful apron-making ladies of San Miguel del Valle. This piece was intended to go entirely another way, but I discovered fused plastic has a mind of its own. The fusing of old plastic bags created an assortment of new plastic textile pieces. I then fused or stitched those pieces together to create the sculpture.

Fused plastic textile detail


The Betty: front view

Close-up: sampling of plastic textiles

Plastic fused textile; sewn-on plastic circles

Delicate frill: scraps of colored plastic fused between thin produce bags

Fused plastic textile

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Roller Skate Key Necklace

(fine print on key reads "hardware")

Here's a reminder to keep both your eyes and mind open the next time you are scrabbling through a junk box at your local flea market. This score was actually one of two roller skate keys, the only roller skate keys in the vicinity or in all of the universe as far as I knew, displayed on the palm of a fellow buyer's hand who wanted to show me his find. I was so effusive and my voice so full of longing that he very kindly gave me one of them. The cost, when I took it to the register, was just twenty-five cents.

Roller skate key necklace

It is now part of a very simple necklace and currently one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. Anyone my age who spots it around my neck remembers the old adjustable metal roller skates that fit around the soles of your shoes and that feeling of mechanical competence and no-nonsense, can-do attitude that possession of a roller skate key guaranteed. When they spot the key around my neck they exclaim, "Awwww..." in the tone of voice usually reserved for the first sighting of an adorable puppy. As for millenials and their ilk who have absolutely no idea what this object is: screw 'em, they can make necklaces out of nostalgic junk from their own pasts.

Don't you wish you had one?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

An Ex Voto Frame of Mind

Back from Oaxaca and noticing that lately when I return from Mexico I tend to be in an ex voto frame of mind, as evidenced by the following piece. As a lapsed Presbyterian I have no saints on call, but that doesn't stop me from making promises to divinities unknown for promises delivered.

Click to enlarge

    An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or to a divinity. It is given in fulfillment of a vow (hence the Latin term, short for ex voto suscepto, "from the vow made") or in gratitude or devotion. - Wikipedia

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Paranoid's Perfect Travel Vest: Upcycled Men's Shirt #26 or So



The latest take on upcycling men's shirts sourced from my favorite thrift store right around the corner.  (to see earlier upcycling go to Repurposed Men's Shirts). I travel a lot and when I do, I always don a trusty travel vest with lots of pockets, some of them hidden. This time I'm traveling to a hot and humid location so I've used two 100% cotton men's shirts, jigsawing them together to make an unlined, lightweight vest. If you want to try a similar upcycle project, start with a basic vest pattern ( I like loose and oversize) and play with your upcycled fabric, piecing it together so you have enough for your pattern sections. Then with any leftover material, go crazy with pockets.

Front exterior pocket

The pocket above uses a piece from the front of one of the upcycled shirts, re-using the shirt's pocket to create a double pocket for the vest.

Front exterior pocket

A second exterior pocket (originally a section of shirt sleeve), extends from the front of the vest past the side seam towards the back. A dividing seam separates this giant pocket into two more serviceable pockets. There is a final, absolutely mandatory external pocket, sized to fit eyeglasses.

Three external front pockets

There are also two hidden internal security pockets. 

Security pockets

The first, more traditionally placed, keeps passport, air tickets, some cash, and ATM card handy. Includes a velcro closure

Traditional security pocket

The second, completely hidden, is invisibly stitched inside the upper back of the vest. This is for credit cards and larger amounts of cash. This pocket also has a velcro closure. The closures are there so that when it's necessary to take the vest off for airport security, stuff in the security pockets doesn't come tumbling out.

Hidden security pocket
This is the fourth travel vest I've had. I also use them at home to avoid carrying a handbag, and with heavy use they tend to wear out quickly. To see how I cannibalized one travel vest make repairs on another, see Extreme Mending (Uber Boro).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Stitched Selfies: On the Road

"On the Road": photo transfer, hand-embroidery, eco-dyed silk

Here is the last in the Stitched Selfies series for the foreseeable future. This is from an old passport picture from the early 1970s, and my passport number from that era appears along the upper right edge. 

The left half of this piece is based on a photo transfer onto cloth of the original snapshot, reduced to line drawing through the miracle of Photoshop. The right side of the piece is freehand drawing. 

The background for this work is a piece of blue silk, eco-dyed with the leaves of a rose bush.

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