Thursday, May 17, 2018

Power Cuffs: Become a Fashionista Superhero!


I have fiddled around with cuffs before, recycling the cuffs from thrift store men's shirts and embellishing them (see examples here). My current cuff obsession, however, addresses a specific need: protecting and concealing bruised wrists. As one ages, skin gets thinner and more apt to tear and bruise, an unsightly inconvenience that is exacerbated if one also happens to be taking any kind of steroid medication.

Presented with this dilemma, one can choose to either look like a frail victim, or....opt for the role of fashion-forward superhero, in the spirit of Wonder Woman or the Black Panther. If you thought the Wakanda crossed-wrists chest thump was cool before, wait until you try it with cuffs.

For this series of cuffs I've utilized a range of materials and stitching techniques, identified in the photo captions below.

Recycled man's shirt cuffs, scraps of West African indigo, Japanese sashiko stitching.


Recycled truck inner tubes lined with scraps from recycled men's shirts, embellished with vintage buttons.

Buttery soft vinyl, top-stitched with spirals, lined with scraps from recycled men's shirts, and embellished with vintage buttons.

Close-up of spiral stitching.

Recycled man's shirt cuffs and scraps from another recycled shirt.

Just how powerful do these cuffs make you feel?

Very powerful.

I have never seen anyone else wearing anything like these, and they answer a very real need. They would also look fabulous as a fashion accessory for a twenty-year-old. Hell, they would look fabulous on Chadwick Boseman.

So cuff it up!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Celestial Gifts: Bojagin-Wrapped Objects

Scraps of the cosmos

I am rounding out my obsession with Korean-inspired wrapping cloths with photos of two final pieces before moving on to an entirely unrelated project. To learn more about these cloths, called "bojagin," click on this link: Bojagin: The Gift of TravelClick here or in the sidebar to see all of the works in this category: Bojagin.

These two final bojagin are vaguely related to the cosmos and celestial objects. Materials for this first piece include scraps of red silk from a Chinese jacket, pieces of recycled men's shirts from the thrift store, and remnants of indigo-dyed cloth from West Africa. If you look more closely, you will see that there is a frenzy of activity going on as the indigo scraps rocket across the background.

Fabric scraps rocketing through space

The object to be wrapped is a chunk of meteorite from the caves near Cuetzala in Mexico. Local children find them and sell them on the street, and the little girl who sold me this one pointed out how special it is because it looks just like a fat little woman. I think it looks like a spaced-out Venus of Willendorf.

Object continuing on its celestial travels

And finally the point of all of this: the object wrapped. It is a little bundle of mystery, potential, and magic.


The second piece is all about comets, and the end result looks mid-20th-century-industrial-Russian to me. I don't know why, and I'm the one who made it. That is often the case, but in this particular instance I charged myself with suspending (in so far as possible) all cultural baggage regarding color and aesthetic judgement. Materials include pieces from recycled thrift store men's shirts and scraps of gray polkadot fabric from a robe I stitched years ago for the sole purpose of looking glamorous at Northern California hot springs and later cannibalized to make other stuff. Here is the result.

Comets in the night sky

I got admittedly carried away with the comet tails.

Stitched comet tails

The object to be wrapped is a tin container for tea, formed in the shape of a cat, purchased in Japan fifty years ago. Little containers like this liven up a traditional tea ceremony. If you have to ask about the connection between cats and the cosmos, you haven't been paying attention.

The object: a tin cat box

The box in open position

And finally, the object wrapped. And that, my friends, is the end of stitching bojagin for a while.

Wrapped cat

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