Fabric Grabs, Ripping Cuts, Twisting Folds, Discarded Attempts and Swerving Stitches. And Pippi Longstocking.
My son and I toil at our projects side by side, both of us putting off bedtime or going to bathroom until we accomplish the mission of the hour. We take turns exclaiming "look what I made!" and when a shirt is done, he strips off the one he's wearing, and rushes to inhabit the latest masterpiece pridefully. When I work next to him, I take daring creative chances and get excited about the possibilities of a project.
Lukas sometimes helps me place the pieces and watches eagerly as I stitch them pieces together. In appealing to his sense of fun, my own childlike humor comes out. You can see he used fabric marker and sewed his own first shirt, age 5, in the talking toilet below, a character from his favorite book series Captain Underpants.
Today's world of "cheap fashion" in which so much is produced not to last, but only to keep up until the next new style declares itself can be answered with our own resourcefulness, in making things that express our own personalities without needing to buy new things.
People stop us on the street
to ask where the clothing comes from, so I started to make more pieces, and have a couple trunk shows scheduled at local stores this fall.
Kid Style + High Art
The shirts bring together the artistic sensibility I use in collage in my own art practice and the gratification of connecting with the creativity and fun that comes naturally to kids, and who are unabashed in strutting their personality through their clothing.
In collaging clothing, I pick up a tee shirt for its color, pattern, line, and find in it an eyebrow, a shape, a texture - its the excitement of finding a new application for something and feeling like a great inventor. The fact that the clothing cost me no more than the effort of sorting through a donation pile (Thank you to Chloe's Closet, the second hand exchange and retail clothing shop for letting me sort through their donated clothing for scraps!) gives ease to the slicing, dicing, discarding and rearranging of pieces.
I have a lot in common with Pippi Longstocking, and in this case I'm referring to her description of her favorite activity of being a "thing finder," (more on that in a future blog post) ascribing for example, to a discarded tin can the potential for many imagined repurposes. It ties in to her ability to make a place for herself, a family for herself, to learn for herself, to travel, to try different things because there is no one right way.
In creative daring, there's a mix of charging ahead with authority as well as dipping a toe into uncharted waters with the willingness of a wide eyed novice. Pippi sails the open sea, she wears big shoes to grow into (and because she likes to have room to wiggle her toes) and has physical strength beyond imagining. She doesn't see a reason to draw a line between taking responsibility for life's direction and the ultimate priority of living life with as much fun as possible.