Spice it Up

squareSpice It Up

created for the Bernina Fashion Show
sueded rayon custom dyed by Cherrywood Fabrics


Wearable Art

I chronicled the beginning of these two pieces here.
I find it so interesting that the purple cloth I didn’t like turned into something I love. Both of these pieces were created on a severely limited time schedule. We were in the middle of having our floors refinished. The entire ground floor, including my studio, had to be moved out.
After dye work is done I love to lay down an overall texture by discharging some of the color. In this case I used some of my favorite images of ammonite fossils in a thermofax screen and discharged with Cascade dishwashing detergent. Great stuff! It’s thick like paint so that I can screen print with it and has enough bleach to take out the dye – but not so quickly that I can’t print several yards at once.
Next I use the same motif in similar colors to layer the visual textures in the cloth. Can I just say right now how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE my thermofax machine and whoever invented this process? The ammonite screens are available on my website by the way – and I can also do custom screens from your own images.

This was one of the first times I’ve simply played with the design of the clothing in a very free and improvisational way. I looked at the cloth and had a general idea of where I wanted to end up and took my scissors and began to cut. Bear in mind that I’ve been sewing clothing for almost 30 years now and have put in quite a number of hours doing things the “right” way with measuring tapes and patterns and such. I also knew I want to purposefully make these pieces larger than my size. The first layer is a simple tunic dress with very low arm openings, meant to be worn over a nice fitted t-shirt. 

The second layer is another tunic but the sides are open so it flows when you walk. I love things that flap and flow when I walk. It has lovely little buttons and beads and loops so that you can play with draping it many different ways.
The shrug has two lovely vertical lines extending down the front. Long vertical lines that bring the eye up to your face are a very good thing in clothing design. I think the shrug, with its lovely little beaded edge and some whimsical yet understated beaded fringes that hang under the arm will look lovely over a black dress all on it’s own.

The blue tunic is nice – but I think I’ll work on it more when it comes home. It’s cut on the bias, has raglan sleeves, and a veeeeery long tie so that it can wrap around several times. It’s also open on the sides up to the waistline. I sent it without the skirt. Not every experiment is a success. The skirt turned out to be almost a size six – tiny, while the tunic is very loose and could probably fit up to a size 18. I’m thinking something lovely with beading along the neckline – or perhaps some gorgeous mother of pearl jewelry to accentuate it. Who knows.
Again – scroll down to the last post to see detailed show information. These will be in Martinsville Virginia at the Piedmont Arts Association show,
The Art of the Quilt until December 30th.
I’d love to hear your comments. Any more ideas for the blue piece? Want to come try them on when they come home?

The Art of the Quilt

If you are nearby, I’d like to invite you to see
The Art of the Quilt
November 13 – December 30, 2010
Sponsored by the Piedmont Arts Association
215 Starling Avenue

Martinsville, Virginia 24112

Ph: (276) 632-3221


I have two wearable art pieces in the show.
If you are lucky enough to see it I would be thrilled if you sent a picture or two my way!
I’ll post some detail shots tomorrow.

For Your Inspiration: Jellyfish

I am fascinated by this life form.
wire sculpture
jellyfish bustle belt
Glass Model, Leopola Blaschka (1822-1895) 
Jellyfish Queen
I could keep going and going and going and going.
What enchanting creatures!

Wearable Art

This piece was made for the Bernina Fashion Show several years ago. It’s made from absolutely to die for, custom dyed, sueded rayons by Cherrywood Fabrics.

It took hundreds of hours to make with a full double circle skirt with yards and yards of reverse appliqué, an easy technique, but there was just so MUCH of it to do in this garment! can I tell you how absolutely spectacular it was to see it swishing down the runway on a professional model with all the lights and music. I felt like a rock star even though it wasn’t me up there. The dress traveled to a couple of other venues and didn’t come back to me for almost two years later. It had aged out of most of the competitions by then so it did nothing but sit on my dress form for a very long time.

Last weekend a dear friend had a “formal dress” 50th birthday party. I haven’t been to a “formal dress” anything since my senior prom in high school. Not even a company Christmas party. (Can you hear the “poor me” whine coming through here?) Quite the hardship for someone like me.

Hmmm. I was going to call my self a fashionista there, but I don’t think that term fits. I adore clothes and wearable art but am not interested in fashion trends. I believe that most current trends are incredibly unflattering to the majority of women. And girls. I’d rather just wear what I like and what looks good on me. If you want to read more about my fashion philosophy, my favorite style book of all time is Simple Isn’t Easy. It makes the case for finding a uniform that you look fantastic in, and sticking to it, no matter the current trends.

Back to the point. I got to wear my dress for the first time. And dance in it. My hubby and I know a little west coast swing and a little two step but mostly they played salsa and rock. I had fun anyway, since my lovely friend comes from a culture where all the families just get up and dance with each other without waiting for an invitation or partner. They just find joy in friendship and music and dance. I think I’m going to try to be more like that.

I wish every one of you a little time back in that little-girl-twirly-dress blissful place.

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