Friday, April 18, 2008

Jackson Pollack Wearable Art Skirt-part 2

Getting ready to change my "blank canvas" of color splashed linen fabric was a bit of a challenge because I didn't know ahead of time what I wanted to do with it.
I could have left it like it was and finished sewing everything up, but decided that since this was an experiment, I should just go further along.
Lately, I've been liking the color red. Wearing it is fun! So I said to myself, "if I were me, what color would I like to play with?" and there it was, red.
I have several bottles of Setacolor fabric paint that are at least 5 years old and mostly full. Again, figuring, "what have I got to lose?", I committed to the red and decided to actually use some of the many commercial stamps I've been collecting over the years. See this butterfly? It's big. Really big. It's over 6 inches across and really makes a statement. Yes, butterflies are reminders of ongoing transformation, change and beauty, but this thing is kind of blocky. Oh well. Letting it sit in a plastic bag in my garage isn't using it, is it?

I was kind of happy with how well the Setacolor by Pebeo covered the stamp and really did show up like, "WoW!" on the spattered fabric. Once I put one down, I had a hard time stopping. The little kid inside kept saying, "more, more!", but I managed to keep it down to about nine impressions across the front and back of the skirt.

Since the paint dried so fast, I hung it up and went to work on the top while the stamp was still damp. Partial butterflies were fun to do, but I wasn't all that sure about the actual design of the front of the top, so I washed out the stamp and took a break to think.

Going away from a project is sometimes the best thing you can do. While having some tea and finishing up some billing for the office, I remembered a phrase about change that really appealed to me. "Change is to give up what we are to become what we could be." I'm sorry I don't know who said or wrote that, but it stuck in my head and arrived for this project. I found a set of really neat typewriter font stamps in my stamp box and stamped the phrase out on pieces of paper. Then, it was just a matter of laying them out to see how it would look. What fun! No committment, just a chance to see how it might look!

The butterfly was the center and the words, both small and large size, fit nicely on the top.

Of course, as I looked at it, I couldn't imagine wearing the thing, but it was pretty!

I used some black fabric paint for the letters and did one word at a time. Easy!

I got so good at it, I put the phrase on the skirt too, though it doesn't show up as well because the drops and splotches have more of a pattern that pulls on your eyes, but that just doesn't matter.

This is the skirt laid out on my work table with one seam sewn and the butterflies scattered all over.

That's the nice thing about sewing something yourself. You can work with the piece nice and flat and place images over seams very easily.

I let everything dry for a few days, then pressed the painted and stamped fabric to set the paint.

The butterflies are really bright, and this is a little more garish than I am used to, but hey, who really cares? I doubt if the fashion police even have a station here in south Florida, so I will wear this thing with red dangly earrings and forget that I am over 62.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jackson Pollack Wearable Art Skirt-part 1

It was a warm and windy day here in south Florida and it seemed like a perfect day to do something I've imagined for a long time. How would it be to just throw paint at fabric?
So, here you see my initial setup. A bias cut skirt and top, just four beautiful linen pieces laid out so nicely on a tarp, held down with my usual fabric weights.
It was a sun, sun, sunny day and I was ready to go.
However, as I went back into the garage to mix up some thinned fabric paints, I came out to find my pieces flip-flopped all over and getting ready to fly down the drive way! Yikes! March winds are some serious winds, I tell ya!

Since my studio/garage is full to the brim with stuff, I was able to reach back and pull out lots of half empty paint cans to use to weigh down the linen pieces.

The fun part was the flinging of paint. All you need is a willing arm and a drippy brush to slam color down in drips and spots and slashes of color. What a surprise!
And, since it was about 70 degrees and sunny, the fabric paint dried very fast. My biggest worry was just how sneaky the wind could be. The driveway surface is uneven and little teasers of wind kept finding the smallest places to lift up the skirt and flop it over. grrrr!
I had to keep my eye on it all the time as I was mixing water into the next color or else I'd have smudges of drips and spots. Yes, I know, I know, the whole thing is supposed to be free form, but being new to this, I wanted CONTROL.


Flinging paint on an angle started to make a pattern that I liked, so I just kept slashing blue, blue and more blue. It's amazing how much paint I used. Walking around the tarp with paint brush in hand is so freeing! No wonder Jackson Pollack made so many pieces of art this way. It is mesmerizing to just fling and go.

Sometimes it's hard to know when to stop. I used about five colors and left a lot of the natural linen background.
The other thing I wasn't sure of was how the paint would feel on the fabric. I didn't want thick, stiff spots on whole areas of the skirt or top.

Considering this whole project a complete trial is the only way for me to stay comfortable and continue to change the fabric with paint. My mind set was, "it's only a few yards of fabric ($16.00 on sale) and a little bit of paint, So What iF I Ruin it! Or hate it. I can always just throw it all away....!" I have to fight my Puritan ethic of economy concerning time and money by telling it to SHUT UP for just a little while so I can have some FUN. Believe me, this voice is a nagging one that gets in the way of a lot of what I do, or a lot of times, don't do.

I tend to get hyper when I start a technique that is new to me (because of that VOICE), so after about an hour of flinging and color changes, I stopped to let the sun dry it very well, indeed.
I sat at my table inside the garage/studio and worked on carving a few rubber stamps to wile away the time and let myself be sure that I really had put as much paint on the pieces that I wanted. It wouldn't be fun to set it all up again, so I just sat for about an hour. And, besides, the weather was great! Spring in Florida means lots and lots of birdsong in the early part of the day, and my messy butterfly garden to the right of the driveway brought beautiful Monarchs careening past my head as I worked. Very cool.

Now, I just can't wait to sew the skirt together and add something to this new "blank canvas" of fabric.

Note to self: wear sneakers and socks next time.