Saturday, February 26, 2011

Materials, Upcycling and Commodities

A sample of some of the interesting links I've been coming across as I go through my archived papers of bits and pieces. Told you this is the year I get and stay organized! Maybe by the year's end..

Matthew Gerring "Moon", Embroidery on black technical nylon, 9', 2005

My work is distinctly material-based, with a strong emphasis on labor and craft. However, my craft does not stem directly from any particular tradition, and my labor is of question­able value. My map of the moon, based on Victorian dark ground maps, is executed in machine embroidery on black technical nylon. It demonstrates how science has deconstructed magical celestial bodies in an attempt to "know" them. Description itself can be a sort of colonization.

The artist cuts out shapes of tree branches and leaves on one side of disposable paper bags. Assembling a tree from the cut-out parts, there is a tree standing in a bag. However it seems like the bag is holding the fragile tree inside, it is the strength of the tree that is holding the bag up. When you see it under the natural light, the delicate tree inside the paper bag shows us the strength and the proof of existence of living tree. The each tree has a model. They are the trees that the artist saw in his neighborhood or from where he has traveled. The each bag holds a portrait of a tree inside.

Gummy Bear Chandelier by Yaya Chow

This gummi bear chandelier is made of gummi bears, beads, monofilament, plastic, metal and light bulbs by Tiawanese born, mixed-media artis, YaYa Chou. YaYa explores questions about food consumption and class by rearranging embellished snacks in the forms of luxury commodity. She wants people to ask, "Who consume these foods? Who has the choice to choose?"

YaYa Chou’s works combine humor and commentary on modern lifestyles; they are inspired by language, social phenomenon and melody, stemmed from consumption, theory, and words. Mostly she investigates the assumption of what is natural and what is unnatural. She observes the distinctness of people’s cognitive thinking and the similarity of human experience in different cultures. YaYa is interested in utilizing familiar objects or images to depict the dichotomy found inside highly developed societies. Elements from nature, animal and plant images often appear in her work, because they create an invisible tension or distance from our modern lifestyles.

Color Based installation by Yaya Chow

“Color Based” is a sculpture installation project designed to emphasize the effects of artificial food coloring and flavors on children. Glass bottles filled with Pepto Bismol form a line to resemble industrial conveyor belt; while the circus tent signifies the filling machine which fills children with colorful foods/pharmaceuticals. She chose Pepto Bismol because the consistency and color reminds her of pigment in acrylic paint instead of edible items, also pink is a unique color that evokes certain emotional response. The circus tent is used here as a symbol of the hyperactivities children display after ingesting artificial food ingredients (food coloring, flavors, saccharin, salicylate… etc.). via My Modern Metropolis

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Ruminations

The start of my nest collection

What's inspiring me these days--this aluminum from an RV that was given to me by an collector of cool stuff (and scrap metalist) we met Saturday. He had a lot of interesting things, old bottles, arrowheads, metal signs, plenty of rust... The leather straps in the photo were found by me in a trail head parking lot. They probably came from a horse trailer and I know what I want to do with them. I was planning to use this aluminum for a large collage, but then thought I have enough to use in some smaller sculptural pieces. Have to make it safe and friendly so no one will cut their finger on an edge.

And Organizing Everything continues in the garage--it's almost an art form in and of itself, don't you think?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Zakka Sewing Projects

Zakka (from the Japanese 'zak-ka'(雑貨)or 'many things') is a fashion and design phenomenon that has spread from Japan throughout Asia. The term refers to everything and anything that improves your home, life and appearance. It is often based on household items from the West that are regarded as kitsch in their countries of origin, but it can also be Japanese goods, mainly from the fifties, sixties, and seventies.The interest in Nordic design or Scandinavian design, both contemporary and past, is also part of this zakka movement. Zakka can also be contemporary handicraft.

Zakka has also been described as "the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane". The zakka boom could be recognized as merely another in a series of consumer fads, but it also touches issues of self-expression and spirituality. "Cute, corny and kitschy is not enough. To qualify as a zakka, a product must be attractive, sensitive, and laden with subtext."(from Wikipedia)

I got this book about Zakka sewing and it's been giving me some ideas about little organizing things to make. Here are a couple of things I've made lately.

Little case to keep my Droid X from getting scratched. This isn't in the book,
I got the case idea from etsy where all I found were iPhone cases.

Vintage houndstooth wool and trim with houndstooth flannel and light grey flannel lining (not visible).

Basket for keeping sewing supplies, or anything!

I'm probably going to list 2 of these on Etsy as it's nice to have more than one of something. The outside is a velvety soft brushed cotton and the inside is brocade. I had just found both these vintage fabrics at an exciting new source nearby, so they didn't sit around long. For me that's a rarity.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Repurposing a Wool Sweater and Staying Warm

First of all, I cut into a merino wool (scratchy) sweater that looked exactly like the purple one here, then I sewed it together. My original thought was to leave extra on each side of the two middle panels (which were cut crosswise from the sleeves) in case they shrank more than the front and back panels which were cut going the length of the sweater. I made my panels really wide, so they used up almost the whole sweater.

I washed the scarf in hot water and a little detergent, putting it in a mesh bag and throwing in a couple light colored items to provide some friction, which is necessary for the process to work. I thought this was called "felting" but I read somewhere it's actually called "fulling".

After putting it through two wash cycles, it looked done, meaning the stitches were no longer visible. I pressed it using the iron's wool setting because it looked pretty rough. If you like that effect you could skip the ironing. I wear it with the seams on the outside. I decided not to trim the edges after all--the seams and the fraying gives this warm accessory just the right "destroyed" look that I do love, after all. And the best part--it's soft now, not scratchy !

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sewing "Antiques" Collection

This is the bad news--that's all I have. I don't even have enough white buttons to fill a Mason jar.

The good news is, I get to collect more!

However, I have quite a collection of vintage fabric and trims... And I'll show you a couple things I've made from them recently in my next post.