RIght now, I am thinking of hanging the dresses slightly above my eye level, suspended from the ceiling. I may pad out the skirt with red netting. I will go to the used store display place and get plus sized hanging torsos. I am thinking that the old shoe forms may be coming out of storage and will become part of the display...as will the leftovers, the stitching failures, the test pieces... Bojagi? Thread/shred piles? galvinized buckets call my name...I will need to figure out why that is. Certainly, the project is struggling to become an installation, as usual. Nostalgia is pushing its head in. Evocative objects want to be part of this. Must boogie, though, on the assembly. I have made ready the studio for production sewing. Soon it will begin.
As you can see, the first petticoat is finished. A quick dip in the indigo took the edge off of the brilliant red.
Stay tuned, more photos to follow.
The day is not yet done and neither is the ruffle. I have been embroidering 5 yards of ruffle for around 7 hours. the end is near... Much detail work, much blue tape. Maybe a yard left to do.
Indigo is an exciting process. The vat is green, the cloth comes out green and instantly starts to turn blue. The vat stinks of ammonia, yet, as the indigo oxidizes, it takes on a floral scent. It is SO beautiful! But, a lot washes out. Yesterday I did three dips per item, massaging the cloth under the surface and counting slowly to 100 on each dip. The garments were nearly black with Indigo. After the wash, they are the mottled color of faded denim. I think I am OK with that because these first garments are for the over 50 year old woman. She has seen a lot of life already and some wear and tear are to be expected.
(color note: the iPhone seems to have a hard time capturing the complex color of indigo. The most accurate color shot is the shot of the back of the dress.)
It took a lot of dinking around with Thiox to sharpen the vat sufficiently, reduce more of the free indigo. I dipped 2 pairs of leggings , 1 dress and 1 jacket today. Here they are before washing. Ultimately I dipped them 3 times. They are in the laundry now. WHAT WILL THEY LOOK LIKE? Like me, you'll have to wait and see.
I designed and ordered fabric from Spoonflower. I sewed 2 pair of leggings up today that speak: the language of the people who responded to the survey last spring. They will, of course, be dyed in the indigo vat. And there will, ultimately, be 4 pairs.
Those who know me well, know that I am "allergic" to measuring. Well, with this project it has been a crucial skill. I'm getting the hang of it. Below you will see placement marks for the dress border.
Dressage is horses, right? You can train horses to do elegant things. To march in a totally unnatural, regal manner. Right?
Not so the embroidery machine...or the embroiderer. I began embroidering directly on the dress today... along the hem edge. It is going well. there are 7 round patterns on each bias panel of the dress. I got 5 done today. #6? It tried to eat the dress . But I saved it.
I also began drafting the petticoat pattern. Using a very short half slip as a guide, I drafted the top half of the petticoat. This part will be sewn in opaque nylon tricot. Later, like tomorrow, I will figure out how long the ruffle needs to be. It will be embroidered and edged with lace.
We Jerome grantees met today at Concordia University Art Center Gallery to begin the planning for our show.
Our show is titled TRUTH TELLING. We all are dealing with various versions of hard truths that are often hidden or denied: domestic violence; ageism/sexism; mental illness; environmental loss. So we will tell our truths. The opening is slated for November 13, with an informal gallery talk from 5-6pm, reception from 6-8 pm.
Finally, after much delay, testing, seven hour stitchings ending in the trash can...I have completed the embroidery on the 50 years old and up jacket! Now, it needs to be indigo dyed and then lined. Onward, ever onward!
WEARING MY AGE
I have received a grant from the Jerome Foundation to work on a project that I have called "Wearing My Age."