Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Going to Hell in a Handbasket

And here we have the handbaskets, the first in what may or may not be a series. These are false artifacts from the NanoAmericans - the eco migrants who roam the earth after soaring temperatures, rising seawater, and a dwindling water supply led to failed crops, economic collapse, and the realization that if mankind is going to continue at all it will have to be on a much smaller scale (thus the "nano"). NanoAmericans are adept at using foraged materials and refuse from the previous use-it-and-throw-it-away culture. Neither plastic bags nor soda cans are manufactured any more and these materials are considered semi-precious.

NanoAmerican artifacts

Basket used as an offering at the birth of a child, crafted from three plastic bags and coveted soda can tabs.

Aerial view of NanoAmerican birth basket

NanoAmerican water-sighting basket, used for divination ceremonies during searches for potable water

Underside of water-sighting basket showing coiled technique combined with blanket stitch

Monday, May 21, 2012

Seeing the Tropics (or what to do with all those photos)

This project involves yet another step in the Seeing series, inspired by several symposiums at the Exploratorium on that topic. A still photo just doesn't accurately represent the way we see things as we stitch together an array of visual bits and pieces to form a gestalt. This collage format represents to me the way I actually see, and captures a more genuine sense of the "truth" of a setting. Below are three examples from a recent trip to Costa Rica.

Monteverde Cloud Forest (click on image to see larger version)

Reading Clues in Nature (click to enlarge)

Wilson Botanical Gardens/Las Cumbres (click to enlarge)

How to Make Your Own "Seeing" Collages

You can make these using a computer graphics program or you can work with photo prints, scissors, and glue, which is how I created the original series.

• First decide on desired end size. The ones above were six inches by eight inches. The original series was done in postcard format in 4 inches by six inches. Once you've got your end size, decide on your unit-square size, which has to divide evenly both vertically and horizontally into your end size. For example, the squares above are two inches, making a horizontal span of 3 squares = 6, and a vertical span of four squares = 8. Create your grid in your computer graphics program or draw a grid on a sheet of stiff paper. Your unit squares will be pasted (either virtually or in reality) onto this grid.

Create a grid.

• Next, sort through your photos looking at them with a new eye. What you're looking for are details and close-ups—a fragment from the original photo. Cut out the fragment in the size of your unit square (e.g., 2" x 2").

Pick a visual focus for each square

• Start playing with your squares on the grid, arranging and rearranging until they make visual sense to you.

Arranging squares on the grid

For those using a computer, remember that all images (including the original blank grid) need to be the same dpi. In some ways it is a lot more fun to cut up old photos and play with the squares at your leisure. Dig out old photos that are moldering in the closet and play with those.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Upcycled Men's Shirt #12

This remix of a recycled standard man's shirt involves a trip to the tropics. This is a project in two stages, the first of which is detailed here. In anticipation of a voyage to Costa Rican cloud and rain forests, I wanted to create cool, airy apparel suitable for warm temperatures and high humidity.

Here is the finished product.

Shirt front (click image to enlarge)

Shirt back

The project involved a used, one dollar shirt from my corner thrift store made of light, white, 100% cotton. The first step (one I use regularly in upcycling men's shirts) is to remove the collar, picking away the stitching that holds the collar in place. The neckband is then restitched. Sleeves were cut off so they hang just below the elbow. Note the assymetrical front, with right side shorter than the left. The right side of the front, as well as the back, were cut shorter to eliminate a few inches, including the bottom back curve and the balloon effect that men's shirts often create at the bottom. The left front was left as-is for visual interest.For this shirt I did something I seldom do in upcycling—I purchased a half-yard of new white cotton eyelet material.

Eyelet material replacing shirt yoke

Eyelet yoke

Eyelet yoke
For this step I carefully cut away the existing shirt yoke, staying about 1/4 inch inside the existing stitching at neck, shoulders, and back. I then used the cut-away piece as a pattern to cut out a new yoke from the eyelet material, adding about a 5/8 inch seam allowance. I turned the seam allowance under about 3/8 of an inch all the way around, pinned it to the shirt, and stitched it down.

Because I know just how hot and humid it can get, I also wanted the shirt to be very loose fitting and even more airy, so I started cutting at the side seams of the shirt and continued the cut right through the seam on the underside of the sleeve.

Side/sleeve vents of eyelet material
Using a section of eyelet material about 3 inches wide, I created a long panel which was then stitched to the shirt to create a vent that runs in a continuous line from the sides right up under the armpit and out to the sleeve end.

Additional lower front pocket

Some of the left-over material from a cut-off sleeve was used to create an additional pocket. One can never, ever have enough pockets. 

As noted, this is just stage one of a two stage project. Stay tuned for the second half.
Related Posts with Thumbnails