Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Green Show: Extremely High Thread Count

So, I know I promised photos of the Closer to Fine opening, and I will!  I promise!  But I didn't get a chance to take too many photos during the amazingly successful event! so I'm waiting to collect some from other people.  Thanks to everyone who came by!  Anyway, I have another show tomorrow, so here's some stuff about that:

As previously mentioned, I'm a little OCD.  I've been a seamstress for about a year now... but since the very beginning I have been collecting the little bits of "waste" that accumulated through the repetitive sewing process.  You've already seen the crazy (CRAZY) amounts of fabric I've taken home.  But here is the sincerely obsessive thread collection:

But c'mon!  Who could resist collecting this when it's such a magnificent material!!

I had a bunch of ideas of what I wanted to do with the mass of thread:  crazy lace, spin it into yarn, hair-spray sculptures...  so when I got a call-for-entries from the cafe next to work for a Green Show focusing on recycled materials, I was excited to start playing around.  I decided to try to make something lace-oriented.

I ordered a whole bunch of water-soluble stablizer and went to town!  I sandwiched the thread between two layers of stablizer, playing with different colors and patterns and structures, and then used my sewing machine to sew a grid pattern through all of the layers.  The grid provided enough structure for the material to stay together!  Success!

After a few weeks of samples, I decided that I wanted to make a sexy lace neglige out of this new-found crazy-lace material.  Any functional object would call into light the amount of waste created in industrial processes, but the neglige specifically, I hoped, would comment on the conditions that many seamstresses around the world have to endure.  I read an article once about how Mexican seamstresses in the Victoria's Secret factory make so little money sewing that they also have to work as prostitutes in order to live.  The terrible irony was that because they were so poor, they had to make their own sexy lingerie out of the scrap material from the Victoria's Secret production.  (Unfortunately, I couldn't find the article, or I'd place a link to it.)  I didn't design this piece with any intention of specifically referencing that phenomenon, but I thought a lot about it while I was making it, and maybe some of that thought will come through.

Anyway, so I started working with sexy lace patterns:

And I bought a neglige to pattern and used ALLL of the black thread that I had collected since I started working at Viv Pickle!  (And all the black thread that the other seamstresses had been collecting for me since I started this piece!  See?  OCD is totally contagious.) 

It was soo hairy!I hadn't really been prepared for that (which was silly, in hindsight.)  I had thought that I would be making something chaotic but functional, and potentially even sexy.  But the thread was bodily, and barely controllable.  But it worked: and once I had all the pieces sewn, I serged the edges...

Et Voila!  

I then soaked it in luke warm water for, like, half an hour to remove the stablizer and let it dry.  It's fantastic!  Which is good, because I have to drop it off at the cafe this afternoon.  Ha!  Talk about cutting it close!  Anyway, I would have also included a photo of the finished, dried neglige but my camera DIED! this morning!  Right when I was sitting down to write this!  Gah!!  

OH WELL!!  Cause you can go see it yourself!  The Opening is Tuesday night!

The Green Show
Cafe Estelle
441 N. 4th St, Philly
Opening Event: Tuesday, Sept 4th, 6-9pm

I will definitely put up photos of the opening and the piece in situ, but you all should definitely come and see it yourself!   

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Coming Soon: Closer To Fine and the downfall of my sanity

Ok, despite the fact that I have been CLEARLY watching too much Dawson's Creek since getting home from camp (I know, I know!  Dawson's Creek, you ask?  It's totally out of left field... but my roommates kind of got me into it)  I have gotten some work done.  I have:  started unpacking, realized some of my boxes ended up a bit moldy in the basement and subsequently reduced my crazy-big fabric stash, bought some fabric and made some curtains (what?!  I had to throw out a whole box of moldy fabric!  I deserved more!), read some stuff, messed up my never-ending knitting, gone through a number of (cough* Dawson's Creek instigated) identity crisis revolving around the applying to grad school vs. running away to Alaska debate, and spent much too much time worrying about my cat's poop.  (Having multiple cats is hard, ok?!)

AND!  I managed to get myself into 3 art shows all coming up in the next 4 weeks!  
1.  Closer to Fine (August 29-31 @ the Padlock Gallery- see below!)
2.  Estelle's Recycled Art Show (September @ Cafe Estelle's)
3.  Paper Jam (September 19 @ My House Gallery)

I'll be filling in the details about each show as I get around to, uhm, making the work for it, but today is very exciting because we've finally gotten all of the submissions sorted and I've finally finished getting all the advertising stuff done for the Closer to Fine show!  So, today, I'm officially sending out my first press release!  Here it is:

Closer to Fine 
Organized by Melanie Frazza and Nora Renick Rinehart

Queer and Feminist histories are crucial because they provide a context for our lives as feminists and/or queers in society today.  Discussing histories help highlight the struggles that people have fought and dies for over the years, and how these struggles continue today.  Also queer and feminist histories are connected, they are also divergent and recognizing their differences is vital.  However, they are linked because their resistance to patriarchal oppression is based on one's sex, gender and/or sexuality.

Closer to Fine features 15 artists including Michael Bukowsky, Kristy Road and Brad Strong, with works inspired by the histories of Feminist and LGBTQ subcultures, individuals, indentities, political ideologies and movements, communities, and issues that these communities have faced.

Closer to Fine
August 29th-31, 2008
Opening Event!  Friday August 29th 7-11pm
@ the Padlock Gallery
1409 Ellsworth St, Phila

Just letting you all know that anyone in the tri-state area and beyond is going to be required to attend the opening.  So... y'know... clear your calendars now in preparation, 'cause it's gonna rule.  And don't worry:  I won't let you forget about it in the next few weeks!