Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Thrift Store Costume

Having a daughter has given me all sorts of opportunities to be crafty, thrifty, and all wastenot-y and stuff. Perhaps it goes without saying that one of my favorite times of the year is assembling a creative Halloween costume for my favorite client. Of course, this post may have been more appropriate at Halloween, but if your anything like me, holidays of any kind can be consuming and exhausting and cause me to want to rest until months later when there is two feet of snow on the ground and I remember that I never made that timely post. So, here it is now.

My daughter decided she wanted to be a princess this year. Fine, great, far be it from me to squelch this act of pure girliness. But, will I go to the big box and buy a pre-made costume? No, no, no! Halloween almost always calls for a trip to the thrift store. We found this gorgeous flower-girl dress in the kid's section for ten bucks! The spaghetti straps on this thing necessitated some additional coverinh for fall in Wisconsin, so, with the intention of making a cape I found a few regal-looking scrap fabrics in the linens section that blended perfectly. I even found the tiara in the thrift store's seasonal section. One quick stop at the craft store for assorted adornments and I was all set to transform my finds into a princess costume.

Now, I want to give credit where it's due, so I should mention here that the design of the cape was a collaboration between my daughter and I. I am always amazed at the ideas children come up. The process may take a little more patience and time, but it's well worth it once you see how proud a child is that you have incorporated some of their ideas.

The other thing I try to do when assembling a costum is choose pieces that can come apart and still be used for other things. Last year, I pinned a bunch of bright colored felt leaves to brown apparrel for a little tree costum. Afterwards, I removed the leaves and my daughter was able to wear her "costume" again and again. While the flower-girl dress we found may not be worn daily, it will be worn for the next special event and the cape has been used for a several hearty games of dress-up. Next Halloween, I am told by my daughter that she wants to be "a mermaid... no a fairy... wait, no a unicorn.... Hmmm, or maybe a christmas tree."  Sigh, I better get started in June this year.

Palimpsest: Artist Amy Rice explores meaning that goes deep

Photo courtesy of Amy Rice

One thing I have always enjoyed about creating objects using salvaged items is the transformation, the before and after, the knowledge that under that gorgeous fabric decoupaged onto a jewelry box is a piece of our past. Most of the time, I specifically search for something that lacks much value as it would be tragic for me to cover some beautiful antique etching or something. In many cases what I'm covering up is... how do I put this?... well, it's downright ugly - all the more reason to cover it, and cover it completely!

Amy Rice takes a different approach, finding opportunity and meaning in the items from the past that she discovers (old maps & letters, discarded pieces of wood, etc.). To these items, she adds new layers of meaning, creating a piece of work that is a combination of yesterday and today, a piece with multiple reads, a piece that is appealing to the eye and the heart.

The fancy word for this quality is palimpsest - which is a word dorky architect-types (such as myself) like to use to sound artsy. Despite this, it has always been one of my favorite dorky, artsy words and is most appropriate to us when you come across work like Amy's. 

Artsy words aside, it is this layering quality that provokes my strong affinity for Amy's work. I love that she uses found objects. I love the people and places she is inspired by. And, I can't wait to finish my living room so I can get some of her beautiful prints up on my wall!

You can read more about Amy and her work at her blog. Also, check out her newly created greeting cards, printed in Minnesota with soy ink and available for purchase on-line!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Catching Up

Some of you may know that another artistic venture I enjoy in my spare spare-time is photography. I've had a Flickr gallery for a while, but accumulated so many pix that were in need of uploading. After some sorting and sifting, the uploading is now complete and ready for your (hopeful) viewing pleasure.

I also have to compliment Flickr here. It is so smooth and easy to use and presents photos in such a nice, clean format. I love it!