Sunday, June 30, 2013

Remember to Breathe

Sometimes you need a reminder. That's why I made this fabric charm necklace fashioned from recyled fabric, iron-on transfer, cotton batting, cord. A handy accessory for those of us who used to chain smoke.

Click on picture to enlarge.

Click on picture to enlarge

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wearing an Anatomical Heart on a Recycled Sleeve

A recycled cuff loaded down with false memories

A tattered take on the phrase, "wearing your heart on your sleeve." Here is another piece in an ongoing series of cuff accessories created from upcycled thrift store mens' shirts (see Repurposed Shirt #6, and Extreme Dodo for more examples of embellished cuffs). I will point out yet again that the nifty thing about using the cuffs (aside from getting to use the rest of the shirt for another project) is that if you trim the cuffs closely along the edge where they used to be sewn to the sleeve, absolutely no finishing is necessary regarding the cuff base.

The base: trimmed cuff from a man's basic button-down shirt

From there, you may embellish the cuff any way you like. In this case, embellishmets included an iron-on anatomical image of a heart, some vintage scraps of hand-crafted Sri Lankan lace, a paper flower (this cuff will never be washed), a tarnished swim-meet medal from the flea market, and a few bits of broken jewelry.

The result is a cuff full of false memories telling a tale of wonder and woe, with a little competitive swimming thrown in.

Click to enlarge

For women, a man's cuff sleeve will probably be too large for your wrist. For a simple fix I used an X-Acto knife to slit one end of the existing buttonhole so that it is large enough to fit a carved jade button. I'd recommend just leaving the original button in place since it will be hidden when the cuff is closed anyway.

Enlarged button hole and vintage carved button

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day: Reverse Storytelling Installations

I know I'm not alone in finding idle wanders through old cemeteries an evocative delight. Over here is a man who emigrated from Scotland and traveled to San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Over there is a couple who lost three young children, all under the age of four. 

This Father's Day I decided to do a cemetery wander and create little mystery tableaus to provoke the imagination of fellow cemetery wanderers and commemorate the graves of men who may or may not have been fathers.

The first step: collecting odds and ends from around my studio. When I stopped for lunch on the way to the cemetery and opened my handbag, I realized what I had created was a crazy lady's pocketbook.

Crazy lady's pocketbook

And here are the graves, located in diverse settings at the Piedmont Cemetery in Oakland.

For Thomas Turnbull who died in 1887 at age 39: a teacup.

For George Ayer, who died in 1873 at age 60: an armless figurine of a girl.

For Christopher Appleton, who died in 1860 at age 72: a child's shoe.

For Isaac Wallace, who died in 1872 at age 53: a teddy bear leg.

For Marius Widemann, who died in 1877 at age 43: a toy soldier.

And finally, though he didn't live long enough to become a father or even reach puberty, there is little George Fox, to whom I gave a toy car because I thought it was the sort of thing a nine-year-old ghost would enjoy.

For George Fox, who died in 1879 at age 9: a toy truck

Here's hoping the dead enjoy the gifts, and the cemetery wanderers come up with some fanciful explanations for the objects on the graves.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Extreme Dodo

The dodo cuff

Another accessory for members of iDodo (the International Society of Dodos): the dodo cuff. This lovely enhancement for any wrist combines a number of strategies shown on this blog in the past.

We begin with a simple cuff, recycled from a thrift store man's shirt. The nifty thing about these cuffs is that you can trim closely along the sleeve edge with a sharp pair of scissors and you've got your basic cuff base, which can then be embellished. There is no need to finish the edge, it won't unravel. For earlier experiments with cuff embellishments see Repurposed Shirt #7, and Repurposed Shirt #6.

Trim cuff closely at edge where it meets sleeve.

This cuff uses fabric charms (shown in previous post, the International Society of Dodos), along with boro mending (see Extreme Mending: Uber Boro, and more Boro Examples).

The finished cuff. Click to see larger version.

The buttonhole on the cuff was enlarged to accommodate a bigger button by extending the opening with an Exacto knife and then doing a little rough buttonhole stitching.

Enlarged and stitched buttonhole.

A carved transluscent stone button was added. No need to bother removing the original button - it will be concealed when the cuff is closed. This is how a lazy and extremely practical woman sews.

New carved stone button added.

In the picture below, the fabric dodo charms are lifted back to reveal the underlying boro stitching. In this case, scraps of fabric (with edges unfinished for a pleasingly rough look) were sewn onto the original cuff using Japanese sashiko stitching. Again, you may read more about boro by going to Extreme Mending.

Underlying boro mending work revealed.

Photos of the finished cuff are shown below. If you want to attempt your own version of a dodo cuff, you'll find a link to a free downloadable template of dodo images for use in making dodo fabric charms at the International Society of Dodos.

Back of cuff

Side view

Monday, June 3, 2013

The International Society of Dodos (iDodo)

This post celebrates the newly formed International Society of Dodos (iDodo). Our motto: If you're human, you're already a member.

The poor Dodo, an earth-bound bird about the size of a Thanksgiving turkey, toddled around Mauritius until visiting sailors bashed its brains out for sport, rendering the species extinct. With fitting irony, the International Society of Dodos bears witness to the fact that we humans belong to the only species that is single-handedly rendering itself extinct. Through guns, war, man's general inhumanity to man, and overall destruction of habitat, we are on our way out as a direct result of our own doing.

Wear an iDodo accessory to let others know that while you may be a member of a species that is self destructing, at least you're acutely aware of what is going on. A free PDF download, the Dodo Take-Away Sheet, described further at the end of this post, makes creating your own iDodo gear dead easy (if you'll pardon the pun).

Dodo Pendant
A simple statement, made using an iron-on photo transfer image to create a stuffed fabric charm with sewn-in cord loop.

Back of pendant, utilizing scrap of recycled material

Dodo Patch
The Dodo Patch again uses an iron-on transfer, applied to a scrap of recycled material. Ideal for use with a recycled man's shirt with unsightly corporate logos. Simply cover the logo with a patch (see Geek Chic: QR Code Patches for a similar strategy and how-to).

Dodo fabric patch

Patch close-up

Dodo Necklace
The Dodo Necklace uses the same type of strategy employed for the pendant (iron-on transfer, stuffed charms, sewn-in cord loops), but the emphasis here is on senseless gun violence.

Front: fabric transfers ironed onto scraps of recycled cloth

Back: scraps from recycled bathrobe

Dodo Pins
Finally we have the Dodo Pins, fashioned from recycled tin can lids and featuring a range of copyright-free vintage dodo images, all included in your Dodo Take-Away Sheet (see below). For complete how-to info on how to make pins from tin can lids, see the Tin Can Frames Tutorial and simply glue a pin backing onto your tin can frame.

Dodo head: last original depiction of a dodo, by Cornelis Saftleven, 1638

Segment of sketch by Sir Thomas Hubert, 1634

Facsimile of print by Roelandt Savery, 1626, in Royal Gallery at Berlin

Do-It-Yourself iDodo Gear:

Here is a JPEG view of the Dodo Take-Away Sheet. Download your own copy for free at my Google Groups site and you're on your way to creating your own iDodo gear.
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