Sunday, January 18, 2015


I find it interesting to push limits of creativity with varied materials and venture into what one may consider Alternative Art if for no other reason that to have fun and bring creative thoughts into the visual realm. Mostly though no matter how fun my alternative work may seem it belies an underlying message about consumer waste of a throw away society and how our waste impacts nature. So when the call came out... Skirts must be constructed only of found upcycled materials and must be wearable. 
I jumped at the opportunity to design and create a Skirt for the event. My present undertaking of using items destined for the trash bin based on that mandate as well as... skirts are to incorporate the theme of "Finding the Magic in the Mundane"
The Mundane materials that had outlived their previous purpose are slightly tattered lime green and pink plastic tablecloths, red and yellow surveyors tape, two metal kitchen strainers disassembled, pink cotton thread found at a past rummage sale, plastic mesh fruit bags, worn out leggings, silver tinsel and possibly cassette tape. The Magic is in the process of turning mundane materials into a skirt inspired by 1920 Flapper era.
Dismantling vegetable strainers.

Blast of color and shine.

Six skirts will be chosen to be constructed for the festival.
I'm happy my design was chosen and have been busy each day working on my skirt as the SkirtsAfire fashion show and media blitz happens February 23rd, though the skirt must be submitted by the 20th. My design is being altered a bit from the original sketch as I found the thin plastic tattered in places making it challenging to work with. One mandate of the design is that the skirt be wearable and hold up for the fashion show and further display; so I've cut up ragged tights destined for the rag bin and backed the waist to hip section to re-enforced the waistband area as potential of the plastic tablecloths to tear was too great. Another challenge is machine stitching thin plastic. I've discovered stitch length needs to be at 4 and to sew very slowly. Go too fast the thread breaks or the plastic tears, too small a stitch can also cause a tear due close perforations. Happily though the yellow surveyors tape is quite strong and durable adding strength to the skirt where needed.

The sketch proposal displayed a zigzag pattern around the upper portion of the skirt which has been simplified due the materials being used.

Designing the hip sash is creative fun, its a lot of playful arranging and rearranging, a bit of pulling stitches to create ruffling, cutting and twisting mesh bags and joining layers for fullness. Ah, its all coming together. Soon what was kitchen cast offs will be a skirt for dancing the night away in.

Art Clothing seems to be in a category of its own. While perusing online I see many creative artists working with clothing as art or using the image of clothing in art in varied ways with varied media. It amazes me as well as inspires to view the amount of artists who create using found items and stand by the motto to reuse, recycle and upcycle diverting items from the landfills.

Its beyond time to quit indiscriminate buying and tossing as our landscape is literally littered with plastic refuse that does not break down, its non-friendly to the planet. So what I hope for is to inspire others to be creative with what they have on hand, reuse what you can, recycle, upcycle and support local small farmers, local artists and artisans.

The alternative art I create tells a story, it has a past life and I hope creates awareness.

1 comment:

Red said...

Now the good metal thing you're ripping apart is a container used in steaming food ...I think. We have one but haven't used it for years.