Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Runaway Runway ... and the Wildlife Rescue
(Above: Stitched, recycled tyvek mailing envelope. Click on this or any photo in this blog post to enlarge.)
An artist residency is truly "the gift of time". I love getting up in the morning and immediately going to "work" ... stitching and making art! It is a fantastic way to spend the day. Yet, every day I also try to "see something" new in Key West and to ride my bicycle. As a result, I'm getting to know the place pretty well and also getting a little tanned (or at least my arms and lower legs are!)
Yesterday I went to the Wildlife Rescue Center and the White Street pier. I saw lots of birds. Some can't be released back into the wild due to the injuries they've sustained. Others are mending and will be set free. Lots of birds just enjoy the pond and the jungle-like grounds. The place is near the White Street pier. It was windy but the sun was shiny brightly. I know that the color of the ocean is a result of some complicated way sunlight refracts and reflects through the water ... but, seriously, the two sides of the pier seemed like two totally different bodies of water!
One side was variegated green ... from mint to kelly.
The other side was all turquoise and blue! Both sides were amazingly clear to the sandy bottom. There were plenty of fish too!
Although the cruise ships dock on the other side of the island, I cycled past this one earlier in the morning.
So ... what have I been up to "art wise"?
(Above: Runaway Runway 2012 two-piece recycled garment. )
I've been working on my Runaway Runway 2012 garment. This fashion show of recycled materials is being held on Saturday, April 21st. This is also the same day as the Historic Elmwood Tour of Homes and the Columbia Open Studios. Our home/business, Mouse House, will be featured for both these events ... and then we'll get to the Township Auditorium for the fashion show that night!
My mother and youngest sister Sonya came to Runaway Runway 2011. The morning after the show, Sonya and I designed the concept for this year's entry. Sonya warned me not to blog about it but I can't help myself. (Plus, I've never really been someone to keep an art secret. When asked about the possibility of others copying me, I've always figured I'd simply invent something else ... something even better! I have faith in my imagination.)
The two-piece garment will be worn by my neighbor's daughter. She's fourteen and into pageants. The base fabric is recycled packaging felt from River Runner, the local kayak and canoe shop. The owner, Guy Jones, has been donating this felt to me for years. It is the same material I use as the base of my "In Box Series" and all my faux-stained glass fiber pieces. Most of my Grave Rubbing Art Quilts don't have traditional batting; they've got this recycled, black packaging felt.
The white buttons were salvaged from the floor of the former South Carolina State Mental Hospital's laundry and alterations building. I used them in my December storefront window installation at S & S. Now, I've been stitching like "crazy" to cover the felt ... a little every night before going to sleep in the big, comfy bedroom chair. Even the decorative buttons around the neckline came from the mental institution.
(Above: "Junk" from my youngest sister Sonya's travel agency!)
The garment isn't all that will be on the cat walk next month. My model will be carrying a red faux-alligator bag made from "junk" from Sonya's travel agency. She sent it to me within a month of last year's fashion show. Some of it dates to 1989 ... like the disc covers for travel agency computer programs from Delta Airlines!
(Above: Stitching the tyvek mailers.)
Some of the mailing envelopes were made of tyvek. I stitched a grid ... well ... several grids! Then I zapped them with a heat gun. Heat made the fabric pucker and bubble. I painted it red.
(Above: Stitched, zapped, and painted sheets of recycled tyvek mailing envelopes.)
I gently ironed the "material" as flat as I could. Then, I restitched the largest piece onto a couple of bubble-wrapped mailing envelopes.
(Above: Bubble wrap mailing envelopes about to be stitched onto the zapped and painted red tyvek.)
(Above: Red faux-alligator bag for Runaway Runway 2012.)
Eventually, I used some of the foam material and more tyvek for the strap. More buttons from the Mental Hospital were added ... plus an elastic hairband that I took from one of the other artists-in-residences! Kristen Michelle is appearing at the Waterfront Theater's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She was generous enough to supply the used hairband I needed for a purse closure!
I also added some wax and black crayon to better emulate the look of faux-leather.
The interior still shows the materials used in the construction. There's another accessory for my model ... but I'm keeping that one "a secret" for a bit longer!
Unbelievably, I ran out of painted Wonder Under. I use this while constructing my faux-stained glass fiber pieces. I'm currently working on twelve, small "Windows" (approximately 13" x 11".) It was nice to allow the washes of color to dry in the tropical garden just outside my cottage!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 1:49 PM