labricoleuse: (mee)
I've been lax at sharing student projects, probably due to having taken up Instagram, but hopefully this post will remedy that a bit. This semester's graduate crafts course is Decorative Arts, but what that tends to mean is a catch-all for craft topics that don't fit neatly into one of my other three classes (Millinery, Dyeing/Surface Design, Masks/Armor). So far, we've made it through two projects--gloves and period accessories. Check them out!

Top: ultrasuede gloves with beaded trim by first year grad Erin Torkelson
Bottom: burgundy leather gloves (replica of antique pair) by second year grad Emily Plonski

Left: blue knit gloves by second year grad Max Hilsabeck
Top right: crepe knit gloves by first year grad Robin Ankerich
Bottom right: rick-rack inset gloves by first year grad Erin Torkelson

Top: royal leather gloves with cutwork by first year grad Robin Ankerich
Bottom: coral leather gloves with cutwork and ruffly by first year grad Michelle Bentley

Sequin lace fan by second year grad Max Hilsabeck

Beaded reticule by first year grad Michelle Bentley

second year grad Emily Plonski designed the frame for this velvet reticule and had it 3D printed by the makerspace at the Kenan Science Library here at UNC. This purse is now featured in a display at the library on using 3D fabrication technologies across arts and science disciplines.

First year grad Erin Torkelson designed the rigid base for a gambling purse and had it 3D printed by the makerspace at the Kenan Science Library here at UNC. She then ombre-dyed the print to get the blue halo at the bottom shown here.

Then, she created a crochet pattern and made this sweet gambling purse!
labricoleuse: (macropuppets!)
My decorative arts class has just presented their first round of projects, gloves. They make a simple pair in order to get a hang for the weird shapes of glove patterns, then a complex pair which involves some sort of challenge--either a pattern manipulation, or a material like leather, etc. Here are some images of their results.

Read more... )
labricoleuse: (frippery)
My Decorative Arts class turned in their first round of projects today, gloves! They do two pairs, one simple pair to get a feel for the strange process glovemaking requires, then a more complex pair in which they choose a more complex style, pattern, or challenging fabric (or leather).

Here are a few pix of some of their work:

Read more... )
labricoleuse: (frippery)
The Importance of Being Earnest is in its final week at PlayMakers Repertory Company; i just had some time this morning to sit down with the photo call disk and go through the crafts items, nearly all of which were made for the characters of Gwendolen and Lady Bracknell.

stage shots and discussion )
labricoleuse: (shoes!)
The first projects of the semester are done and presented, and i'm excited to share some pix of my students' work with y'all! There are really some super-cool gloves in this batch of work...

images of glove projects )
labricoleuse: (supershakespeare)
Today, i'm not the source, i'm just the conduit. Links on a variety of topics of potential interest to follow.

Topical Links for Decorative Arts Class

I'll have images of glove projects to share on Tuesday, but for now, illustrates for us in this post some answers to the question, "When is a glove more than a glove?"

And, because we can't get our respirator fit-testing dates scheduled until the end of the month, I'm postponing our shoe unit and we're moving on to parasols next. In that spirit, check out Elena Corchero's solar parasol, which turns into a chandelier after dark. I may have to experiment with this idea myself! Corchero also does a lovely folding fan/flashlight design in the same vein, and some cool reflective lace for trimming delicately frilly sportswear.

Speaking of shoes, here's a cool how-to on for bricolaging a power-generating shoe modification!

Health and Safety

Many of us who make a career out of costume production develop a repetitive stress injury (RSI) at some point. Vigilance and care of your muscles and joints is the key to maintaining a long, successful career without damaging your body beyond repair. I'm big on learning about a range of ways to minimize or avoid RSIs, from technological advances in ergonomics (simple example: spring-action scissors, compression gloves) to physical therapy exercises. On that tip, i was thrilled to run across's "Yoga for Crafters" series. So far they've got targeted posts aimed at jewelers, stitchers (they say "seamstresses," but in my industry, i've worked with my fair share of male stitchers, too), & interloopers ("knitters & crocheters", but i think the post applies to all yarn artists, including tatters, nalebinders, macrameurs--wow, i just got really pedantic, there, sorry).

Blogs of Note is a great wearable-art/couture/technology blog exploring the intersection of science, technology, fashion, and attire. I set up a LiveJournal feed for it at [ profile] fashioningtech, if you're an LJ blogger and want to follow it on your flist. Some of these links above (parasol, shoes) are swiped from there.

Fashion Creation Without Fabric Waste Creation is a patterning-centric blog written by Australian PhD candidate Timo Rissanen, whose passion is garment design utilizing patterns with zero fabric waste (with occasional birdwatching). He's got some great open-source info on his own pattern creations, such as this no-waste hoodie pattern and these no-waste codpieced leggings. I love this concept, not only for its ecological implications, but also because it holds the same appeal as creative writing within a rigid structure, like writing poetry in sonnets, villanelles, pantoums, etc. but in a clothing design paradigm. I also made him a feed on LJ, at [ profile] 0wastefashion.

On a similar note, if you want a fascinating pattern-theory read (and really, who doesn't?), check out the Julian and Sophie School of Pattern Cutting site, which is the result of a residency at the Royal College of Art. It's mindbending, the way they completely freaktastically puree everything you know about pattern-drafting into these crazily draped garments. One caveat: the photographs of the garments produced are really poor and unilluminating. You can tell from the text that they probably produce visually-intriguing garments, but it's probably something that's going to require practical experimentation to visualize it from a "page to stage" perspective.

Aight, that's me, then. I'm going to wind this up so i can go run around in this lovely autumn sunshine a bit. Have a great weekend, folks!
labricoleuse: (paraplooey)
So, recall that the course i teach this semester is Decorative Arts--our first topic is gloves and glove-based structures.

FYI, past posts of note:

The students are starting to make their first straightforward pair of gloves, and by a stroke of luck and coincidence, there's a great article in this month's Threads magazine about glovemaking, with an excellent set of step-by-step photographs for making a pair of outseamed gloves.

(Outseaming is when you sew the gloves together with the seam allowances on the outside, as opposed to inseaming (SA's on the inside) or pique seaming (SA's overlapping to lie flat).)

Their website has some free augmentative materials--a stitch gallery and a gloves gallery--and scale patterns in three sizes as downloadable PDFs!

It's not a comprehensive article--there's not a lot of discussion about pattern manipulation for fit, nor coverage of the other types of seaming--but it's GREAT for seeing actual images of each step of glove construction, which is (IMO) a completely counterintuitive spatially-bizarre thing to wrap your head around.

In the same issue, there's also a cool article on recovering an umbrella frame with a new canopy. Again, not as comprehensive as, say, my parasol textbook--the article offers one method for creating the canopy pattern, as opposed to the three i discuss--but again, great photos and instructions.

Point being, it's a good issue for crafts artisans to pick up this month! (Or, anyone into gloves/parasols, really.)
labricoleuse: (shoes!)
This fall, the graduate course i teach is called "Decorative Arts," which basically indicates that it covers crafts-related topics which don't neatly fall into the other three course topics of Millinery/Wigs, Masks/Armor, and Dyeing/Surface Design. We start out with gloves, then progress to shoes. We cover jewelry, then parasols, and lastly discuss body padding and other projects in a unit called "reshaping the actor."

And, the students also do a hypothetical project in which they propose and solve a crafts-related engineering project (usually something involving macropuppetry, like a four-person elephant, but sometimes something like "inflatable Lysistrata phalluses" or "the growing bird tail in Seussical"). For this project, once their general concept is proposed and accepted, i give them a venue size and budget range, and they do all the research and development--materials sourcing, drafting construction plans, creating a half-scale model or a miniature mechanism, and labor projections. Basically, they get to the point where they'd start making the real deal, but due to time and budget restraints, we don't actually build them.

One of the things i totally love about the cycle of teaching these courses is, it allows me to regularly revisit specific crafts-related topics on a biennial basis, even if it's something that hasn't come up in a stage context in the interim. Before i began teaching, my work was tied to the programming of the company for which i worked (i.e., if we weren't doing any shows with masks in them, i wasn't making them). Each time a course topic comes around, i have the opportunity to comb the library stacks for related books. It keeps me on my game, as it were.

There are a couple of "general overview" books i've not mentioned in this blog before which i'm going to be using as potential project references for students, Fashion Accessories since 1500 by Geoffrey Warren, and the eponymous Fashion Accessories: The Complete 20th Century Sourcebook by John Peacock. Warren's book, published in 1987, is very similar to the hand-illustrated The Mode in... historical references produced by R. Turner Wilcox. (We use her book, The Mode in Footwear, as another class resource this semester.) He divides it into chapters by century beginning with the 16th, each one a general sort of collage of detailed drawings of shoes, gloves, hats, handbags, canes, and so forth, interspersed with little blurbs of text. It's not thorough or comprehensive, but it's a decent enough resource for a very broad overview. Peacock's volume, published in 2000, is much the same, except its drawings are rendered in color, and its blurbs are less detailed--Peacock's text would feature a drawing with a caption that said simply "Lace jabot," while Warren's might say something like, "collarette of lace, net, and silk ribbon."

I mentioned a few glove books in this prior post, but another resource i picked up for potential project images is Valerie Cummings' Gloves, part of the costume accessories series edited by Dr Aileen Ribeiro. These are slim volumes (under 100 pages usually) on specific fashion accessories, discussing history, trends, applicable vocabulary terms, and full of both color and B&W photographs of several examples both period and modern.

Another great book in that series is Jeremy Farrell's Umbrellas and Parasols. Since the course is about making these things, i require my students to buy my parasol construction text, but it doesn't have a lot of historical research images on which to base their projects, so Farrell's text is a good supplement.

I led an independent study in footwear alteration and construction some years back, and at that time posted an extensive list of shoe book reviews. I've got three more to add this time around, as well.

If you have perused a lot of shoe books, you do wind up seeing the same historical examples depicted in them, volume to volume. Lucy Pratt and Linda Woolley's Shoes does contain a fair number of color photos, but many of the shoes are familiar from the Shoe a Day calendar and Mary Trasko's Heavenly Soles. Unlike the calendar and Trasko's book (which is essentially a coffeetable flip-book), it's got a lot of well-researched text augmenting the images, historical info and trend analysis of previous eras and construction commentary.

Joy of joys, am i glad to have found Norma Shephard's In Step with Fashion: 200 Years of Shoe Styles! This book is to shoes what Susan Langley's Vintage Hats and Bonnets is to hats--not only is it full of nicely color-photographed period and vintage shoes (and not ones you've seen in five other books on the topic), but the footwear photos are augmented by period advertisements, daguerreotype portraits with prominently featured footwear, images and info on related topics like hosiery, socks, and even shoeboxes! This book only just came out in 2008, so it's fairly new.

Stepping Out: Three Centuries of Shoes is a full size glossy 95-page exhibit catalogue that was published to accompany the exhibit of the same name at Australia's Powerhouse Museum. Much like the Shephard book, it also contains reproductions of period advertisements, photos, and paintings related to the shoes (which are also shown in full color photos), and is peppered with great historical information. This is another 2008 publication as well. Guess it was a good year for shoe books!

To peruse some past projects for this class and read book reviews from previous posts on related topics, you can check out the "class: decorative arts" tag in the sidebar. And, i've got a full class of six students (with a potential overenrollment of a seventh, depending on paperwork coming through for her) so there will be lots of cool projects to look forward to this time around! I'm wondering whether anyone will rise to the pattern-matching challenge of [ profile] handyhatter's parasol... :D
labricoleuse: (macropuppets!)
I think i've mentioned the creative draping portion of our students' graduate thesis, but i haven't featured photographs and a description before. This year, i'm hoping to showcase some of our graduates' work, to give an overview of exactly what the projects entail. MFA 2009 Amanda Phillips presented hers yesterday and i was able to take my own photos, so i'll start with her!

Essentially, the students propose a project to our program director in their 3rd year of study; the nature of the project can be fluidly defined, depending on a student's particular area of focus. For example, in a previous class, a graduate who was interested in a career as a crafts artisan chose a design for a stiltwalker costumed as a flamingo, so she could make stilts, an animal headdress, and address some structural challenges like the "bird tail" support; another graduate chose an Erte ballet design, to incorporate historical research and practical dancewear considerations.

Amanda's focus was in draping, and she has typically been drawn to unusual creative structural challenges and couture-style design elements in her project choices throughout her study. She came to the program with a diverse background ranging from theme-park walkaround maintenance and children's theatre to professional opera and ballet. While in graduate school, she spent her summers working at Tricorne in NYC on shows such as Wicked, Young Frankenstein, and The Little Mermaid.

For her creative draping thesis project, she chose an origami-inspired design from John Galliano's Fall 2007 collection for Dior.

Read more... )
labricoleuse: (history)
I've got a couple of cool resources to pass along today, the first of which is an article on the Knoxville Glove Factory, which has been in business since 1914. These days they make primarily special-purpose PPE gloves (such as leather work gloves, fire-resistant gloves, etc.), and custom commissioned small-batch gloves. The article mostly covers the history and nature of the business, but there's also an embedded video interview with the factory owner which includes a tour of the factory and the various machines they use. The company website is here.

There's been some discussion lately on the DyersLIST about various techniques of dyeing using snow and ice. Dyer and fiber artist Kelly Laraine wrote about her snow-dyeing process over three days: Days #1 & #2, Day #3. Dyer and quilter Sarah Ann Smith was displeased with her results and shows a variety of other techniques as well. Fiber and quilt artist Wil Opio Oguta has a post on ice-dyeing techniques with pictures of the results.

And finally, here's a whole slew of exciting links, courtesy of my friend Matt McKeon, on integrated circuitry in textiles and wearables, including products to design your own garments with electrical components, including conductive sewing thread!

Leah Beuchley is a a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she's focusing on developing computational textiles and soft, flexible, fabric-based computers. (Hello, awesome.) She's the one who made the programmable LED tank top in the first issue of CRAFT Magazine. She has developed a product line called LilyPad Arduino, stitchable components for integrating circuitry into clothing or other textile projects. She's got a tutorial page on her site, and the supplies can be purchased (inexpensively!) through online vendors SparkFun and Aniomagic.
labricoleuse: (shoes!)
Well, poop. I had planned to make available for free download a tutorial i've written on methods and materials for rubberizing shoe and boot soles. However, Filecrunch is undergoing maintenance so i guess i'll be posting about that at a future date. Instead, here are some links and images:

This month's Victoriana Magazine has a cool article on period jewelry, as well as an overview of footwear, complete with lovely photos of antique shoes

There's also a thread on the Carolina Belles' discussion forum on turning modern shoes into cloth button boots in a Victorian style (it continues on subsequent pages).

spats, gaiters, gloves )
labricoleuse: (history)
My students turned in their glove projects today for our first unit in Decorative Arts, and i'd like to share some of the results with you guys!

Read more... )
labricoleuse: (macropuppets!)
Because we are eventually going to be talking about macropuppet mechanisms in Decorative Arts this semester, I've been scoping around online for cool links and images and such to show my students. I came across the work of NC master puppeteer Hobey Ford, who specializes in rod puppets. He's just finished a week-long residency here in the Triangle area, courtesy of the Carrboro Artcenter.

You can view a video of highlights from his show Animalia on the Loyd Artists website. The quality of the video is a bit grainy at times, but the magic of the mechanisms comes through anyhow--i particularly love his caterpillars that cocoon and emerge as butterflies. There are a few of his puppets that look like they are glove-mounted rod puppets, which are of particular interest because we're addressing ergonomic safety with respect to glove-based costume projects (a subject i touched on last year in this post on the Edward Scissorhands gloves. is an excellent resource for all kinds of puppetry information; of particular interest to me is their aggregate of macropuppet posts. I particularly enjoyed reading the step-by-step post about how a bunch of Star Wars fans built a life-size 3-person Jabba the Hutt in some dude's driveway.

They also maintain the Puppet Building Wiki, which is a cool idea in theory and seems to have a fair number of cool, useful articles (like how to make stilts) but the enormous masthead of spammy links at the top of the pages is distracting and irritating.

Puppeteers Unite have such a huge links page that it'll keep me busy for days just paging through all the cool stuff.

PuppetVision has a group on YouTube where they've collected a whole host of over 100 video clips of puppet performances and construction how-tos as well!


Jan. 15th, 2008 01:48 pm
labricoleuse: (shoes!)
Our first unit in my Decorative Arts course this year is glovemaking.

I thought i'd share some images from the class, gloves and patterns and glovemaking tools, and mention some books and links, too.

Read more... )
labricoleuse: (shakespearean alan cumming)
If you haven't heard about Michael Bourne's ballet reimagining of Tim Burton's film Edward Scissorhands...well, i guess you just did. It's running in Charlotte, NC, through Jan 10th, and then goes on to nine more North American cities over the next four months--Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, DC, St. Louis, Brooklyn, Toronto, St. Paul, Denver, & Seattle. (Sorry, if you live in SF or LA, you already missed it.)

In addition to being a fan of Tim Burton's work and the film version of Edward Scissorhands, this production held particular interest for me professionally: a ballet, essentially, all about a work of costume craft artisanship--the very nature of the main character and the entire story depend upon Edward's hands being made from scissor-blades.

First, here are some stills and video from the production for reference: Read more... )

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