Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vintage Victory!

The vintage hat I coveted most at auction is mine, all mine! and what a beauty it is. I can see Audrey Hepburn wearing this one in the Ascot Race scene of 'My Fair Lady'. Ah, victory is sweet! I cannot wait to see see, feel and try on this hat for it is truly a fabulous creation.

As you can tell, I love vintage. The reason being it is art, plain and simple. The lines of a 20's dress, the shape and angle of a 40's hat speak of a time when clothing and the accompanying accessories were created as an art form. Unlike the cookie-cutter culture we have today where everything is the same and nothing is made for visual delight. Give me the artful fashions of the by-gone days where milliners and clothiers treated their work as high art.

Restocking Vintage

Since I decided to sort through my vintage hat and clothing collection and bring some of it to the local vintage consignment store I've had the itch to buy more vintage. I suppose that letting go of some of my treasures made me want to acquire new ones. So I find myself spending hours on auction sites perusing the vintage offerings. In the past 14 hours I've bid on, and won, a few delectable hats and a few stunning dresses. I am also waiting for several more auctions to end, hoping all the while that the hat I covet most ends up being mine.

I've often said that we need to release the old in order for the new to come into our lives and I find this to be especially true with clothing. It seems like every time I clean out my closets and drawers they end up being rather full again in no time. Am I a clothes horse? No, not really. I just love delectable, touchable, unique articles of clothing and the accessories that go along with them. Also, I love seeking out a bargain and enjoy the pursuit of fine vintage for affordable prices. Perhaps I'm a bit of a treasure hunter. One who lives for seeking out the treasures of the past. Why not? There could be worse things I could be doing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Productive Bed Rest

I've been on bed rest for the past couple of days, which we all know can be pretty boring. However, over the years I've managed to make bed rest productive. Countless times I've taken a pile of supplies to sort through or a box of art supplies and my bed tray into my room and created art, while still following doctor's orders. This time is no different.

I've been spending my time sorting through art supplies, doing the BIG PURGE once again. It was only a few months ago that I went through everything in my studio and amassed a pile of books, supplies, ephemera, etc that I felt I no longer needed. This time I was still able to come up with a few boxes of stuff I want to pass along. This constant purging leads to a much neater studio and also helps me to let go of that pack rat mentality that most artists have. For whatever reason, we amass stuff that we think we will later use in our art. And, yes, sometimes we do use these "must save" items, but I suspect that the majority of the time the things never get used. Perhaps it is because artists tend to be cyclic. What we love one day we may not the next. Therefore, what we once had to save for future use becomes less appealing to us over time. Our art evolves and grows so the items we hold on to loose their meaning.

I've also managed to paint two pairs of leather shoes while resting in bed. Both were purchased at the thrift store, cost me less than $3 a pair and are now far cooler and more unique when I brought them into the house a few weeks ago. One pair, a short styled paddock boot, I'm keeping. The other, a boxy looking heeled shoe, is off to Unique Boutik, a local consignment shop that deals in vintage and unusual items. Just last week this same store took my painted leather purse and a whole bunch of vintage hats, jewelry and clothing for their store. The prospect of making a few extra dollars on my vintage items is great, but even more thrilling was the fact that the owner wanted my painted purse and asked me to bring in more items like it! Proof that my new endeavor of painting or altering items for sale has potential. Also, proof that I need create a stockpile of such items, all unique and one of a kind of course, and get my Etsy shop set up.

And now I am off to bed where I'll create something new, while watching endless episodes of the West Wing on DVD and have a very snuggly kitty for company. Productive bed rest at it's finest....


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Change is good, but....

For a long time now I've been looking for a smaller table to use in my studio. Although I love the 6' table I have in there now the space I have available is really too small for it. The table takes up so much room I don't have any room for storage, which is definitely an issue. Today someone was offering an old wooden desk on our local free-cycle group and I jumped at the chance to get it. The dimensions are perfect, the desk has drawers to store some smaller items in and it will allow me a bit more space to add some shelves or a storage unit.

However, getting the desk into the studio is a major ordeal. You can't just pick up the desk, carry it upstairs and put it into place. In order to even get it in the studio a major overhaul is needed. I have a large bookcase filled with my art books and some supplies. Of course, the bookcase location prevents the studio door from opening all the way so it now needs to be completely unloaded and moved. If that weren't enough, I needed to clean off my old table and cart the things out of the room so the table can be dragged away from the wall, folded down and removed from the room.

If that weren't enough, all the items I have stored in clear plastic bins have to be moved and I have to find a new home for them because they won't fit beneath the desk. This is where the storage shelves come into play. We recently removed a shelving unit that has colored plastic bins from my son's room and put storage cubicles in their place. These will now be mine to use in the studio for the bins that formerly lived under my table.

However, before I can move the shelving unit and bins into the studio I have to first get the bookcase out, move all the supplies, bins and assorted things that I just have to have (like the large sheet of black plastic that I keep next to the studio table for those times I'm working on the floor painting fabric), remove the old table, my chair, my small rolling storage unit, my large toolbox full of polymer clay tools, the large moose thigh bone I keep in the studio (don't ask...), my phone that I never use because I don't want to answer it when I'm working and the pile of clothing I'm altering.

In the midst of all this shuffling about of items I collapsed onto the floor, spilling hot tea all over my bed, the supplies I'd just moved into my bedroom and myself. It seems I have a 101 fever and am actually rather ill.

So, the simple act of getting a free desk for use in my studio has led to a major amount of work, a mess far larger than what I had before and my collapsing on the floor and being ordered to bed. Obviously the ordering to bed part didn't take or I wouldn't be sitting here writing in this blog.
The point of all this? Change is good, but sometimes it leads to a lot of work you hadn't anticipated. However, once the work is done you can enjoy the changes and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Delightful Denim

There is something so comforting about denim. Especially old, well worn denim jeans and jackets. Who doesn't have a favorite pair of jeans that are a bit worn out at the knees or the backside? Yet we can't seem to part with these items. They are comfortable, comforting, and timeless.

Ages ago my mother gave me an old denim jacket that she'd painted a horse on the back of. Although I loved it I felt it needed something more. An updating and reinventing if you will. So I cut, sewed, dyed, bleached and enhanced it to create something new and totally different all the while retaining the work she had done on it. The result is an oh-so comfortable, vibrant piece of wearable art, or altered couture if you prefer. It's still denim and has that comforting feel to it, but it's a very different denim. Richer somehow and with a softer feel to it than it had before.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I've been having a blast altering some of the items I bought at the thrift store. I've 3 projects in the works, a pair of jeans being turned into a skirt, a pair of shoes I'm painting & a top and skirt I'm combining into a dress. I've also finished a few projects. I painted a small leather purse, finished altering a jacket & have finally photographed the skull jeans I created.

I'm really digging all this altering. My head is chock full of ideas and I cannot wait to see them all come to fruition.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thrift Store Treasures

The past few days I've been having a blast prowling through the thrift stores looking for items to alter. I hit pay dirt at three different stores and now have a stockpile of jeans, skirts, shoes and purses to get creative with. I also unearthed some fabulous vintage items. A mouton lamb coat from the 50's, a little black dress from the 60's and a full-length wool coat from the late 50's or early 60's. At one store I managed to pick up 9 pairs of jeans, 11 skirts, 3 pairs of leather shoes and 2 leather purses for the bargain price of $40! The items I bought are all in great shape, are major brand names (not that I give a hoot about brand names, but some do...) and are perfect for digging in and altering in any way I see fit. I may never shop retail again.