Friday, 31 May 2019

coat not a kimono!

Garden news flash - about 6 weeks later than usual we woke up to the first frost of this year. Out in the back yard I saw a golden shower of leaves falling from the Gingko tree. For about 2 hours, until late in the morning when the tree was entirely denuded, a constant drift of leaves fell until the ground around the trunk was a thick yellow disc of leaves several metres wide. Very pretty.

I joined up to a restyling swap and received 2 garments from my partner to make over. In the picture below they are the print dress and top to the right. I felt quite challenged having only 2 prints to work with so after much mulling over about it I decided to use a nice heavy cotton coat I bought from Vinnies to make over in the technique I've been developing for a while. The coat was $8 and is very well made including being fully lined inside.




step 1) the dress and top were cut into thick and thin strips. Patches were cut from the strips and hand sewed to the coat surface  with running stitch. Note about stitching - I have long admired the Japanese Boro tradition of layering and stitching. In the past I've made tribute to that by describing the running stitch I use to sew patches onto my art to wear garments as "sashiko" stitching. However now that I've learnt the Japanese are extremely sensitive to the appropriation of their words I shall revert to "running stitch" or "kantha" from now on.

Pearls Boro, Kantha, Sashiko board on Pinterest


the zigzag print is from of my hand cut stencils, made about 8 years ago and I use it a lot

white print

pink print of stripes


step 2) after sewing a long, wide strip of the black and white print from the top along the hem of the coat and patches in various positions on the sleeves and all over I decided it was time to apply some stencil prints. Some prints were made directly onto the coat, such as the black and white ones in the pictures above and the diagonal pink stripe prints were made on piece of the dress.



Last night a whole lot more decorative running stitch was applied, sitting cosily in front of the wood fire. I'm using 3 strands of DMC embroidery thread in black, white, pink and blue.






































I'll eventually cover the whole surface so the large black areas will disappear.

I think it'll need at least 2 more days of intensive work to finish. Meantime I have no idea if my swap partner will like my rather distinctive style of surface embellishment. I can only hope she'll truly like the finished result. I know neurotypicals hesitate to hurt peoples feeling by honestly saying "I don't really like it".... hehehee, or even "ugh! it's awful" so I understand she will probably feel compelled to say she likes it, regardless of whether it's the truth....c'est la vie! No wonder nobody wants me in their workplace!


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If you are interested in buying an artwork or booking a commission, please email me at pearl@upstairs-art.com.au