Friday, July 29, 2011

Found: Magic Lantern

This assemblage combines two pieces that have been knocking around my studio for years. The first is a beautifully rusted old candle lantern, the second a photographic glass plate image. The mirror at the back of the lantern, which reflects the light and doubles the illumination, was long gone when I fished the lantern out of a box of rubble at a salvage place, so in hobo tradition I substituted a tin can lid.

Old rusted-out lantern with tin-can-lid reflector

Lantern back, with hook for hanging from a belt

Tin can reflector in action

Lantern combined with glass plate photo image (in the dark, the image really glows)

Close-up of image (can you spot the woman by the fence?)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Whatnot Bag: Create Your Own Antique

I made this bag at least a decade ago using scraps of fabric from an interior design fabric sample book I scored for under a dollar (and still have), a couple of vintage buttons, and a lot of hand embroidery. Since then, the bag has been tossing about in one handbag after another, carrying an assortment of small, loose objects. In that process it has been battered, bruised, and thoroughly well used. The inscriptions are from one of my favorite I-Ching readings.

Bag back: "You let your magic tortoise go and look at me with the corners of your mouth drooping."

Inside front pocket: "Misfortune"

What does this mean? In ancient China it was believed that the magic tortoise could fly through the sky and was able to live on nothing but air. The idea is that if you are given the ability to live on practically nothing and thrive, and you don't recognize this as a rare gift but instead complain about what you don't have, you will reap misfortune.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Repurposed Shirt #7

The spiral mania continues with a very, very large man's shirt that required tweaking and retweaking during the process. It's large enough to serve more as a tunic, coming down almost to knee level (and I'm 5' 9"), and works well with black cropped pants.

Shirt front

This began as a classic, long-sleeve, button-down-collar shirt. The green touches were left-over material from Repurposed Shirt #6. I began by cutting off the sleeves and hemming cap sleeves instead. Then I cut away the collar and neck area entirely and used some of the original sleeve material to create a soft cowl collar. The two new front pockets were created from the bottom of the sleeves, and the original plackets and buttons from the lower sleeves make a nice pocket detail.
Close-up of one pocket and a black-on-black spiral
As with Repurposed Shirt #6, I sewed scraps of material into tubes and then sewed them down in a spiral pattern onto the shirt. Most of the spirals are green and use leftover material from Shirt #6. Above you see the sole black-on-black spiral, using a scrap of material from the original sleeves of this shirt.

Full back
Back detail
This shirt was so huge that at one point I realized it was just too big and shapeless. I solved the problem by turning the cap sleeves under yet another fold, and carrying that fold down the shirt on front and back to a distance underneath the sleeve. A square placket holds the folds in place and cuts the width of the shirt down to manageable (and wearable) size.

Placket underneath sleeves holding folds in place.

As with Shirt #6, I've capitalized on the deconstruction and reconstruction theme by using the shirt cuffs on their own. They can be worn as jewelry with another outfit. When paired with this shirt, they create the perfect abstract deconstructed garment, suitable for most any occasion.

Cuff with finished edge and sewn-on spiral.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Had Enough?

The counterpoint to the "Buy More Stuff" pin, here's a badge for those who feel they have had more than enough of just about everything.

Made from a tin can lid, a pop-top-tab, and a little bronze Buddha charm scored somewhere in Asia at some time in the past.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Repurposed Shirt #6

The sixth in the series of repurposed men's shirts. This began as a classic, long-sleeve, button-down-collar man's shirt.

Adaptations include cutting off the sleeves and rehemming (which gives you all of that sleeve material to play with) and cutting the neckline into a boat collar. Some of the sleeve material was used to create a neck edging.

The real innovation is the spirals, which add visual interest and texture. Strips of sleeve material were sewn into long tubes and those tubes were then stitched down in a spiral pattern on the shirt. The inside of the shirt fabric was slightly darker than the outside, and the tubes were all sewn with the darker fabric showing so that in addition to standing out dimensionally, they stand out a bit due to a slight difference in color.

Back of shirt

Close-up of back spiral

A second innovation resulted from contemplating the cuffs. Usually when repurposing a man's shirt I end up tossing the cuffs (like throwing away the innards when cleaning a fish). This time they caught my eye and then became part of what is now a truly deconstructed, abstract man's shirt.

Shirt cuffs

Close-up of cuff
The unfinished cuff edge was bound using a blanket stitch. Another spiral made from sleeve fabric is added.

The result—a deconstructed shirt

The cuff idea is so good I'm already using it again, and variations will appear on this blog soon.

Related Posts with Thumbnails