Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Water Lilies

Next week is my fashion show at the PA National Quilt Extravaganza, and I can hardly wait! I love creating artsy clothing, and I am always inspired by the classics. A few years ago I had the privilege of seeing a phenomenal Monet exhibit with my daughter Maxi and her friends at the NC Museum of Art, and I was just blown away! The showing included a lot of his work, from the early years with sketches, to his later years when he painted his "Water Lilies" series with failing eyesight. One thing that really struck me was not only the talent of this man, but also the sheer size of his works. I never realized how huge some of these pieces were; it's hard to tell sometimes from a 2" picture in a textbook. I absolutely fell in love with his "Water Lilies" paintings, the soothing and refreshing colors, and impressionistic shapes, I'll never forget the beauty. And so of course I had to include a piece in my fashion show that was inspired by one of these paintings; fortunately, I have a couple of Monet's prints hanging on my wall, so I didn't have to look too far! Here is the piece that inspired my jacket:
Now it happened that I had snow-dyed a pretty celery green linen wrap skirt this past winter with some leftover blue dyes, and it had turned out really nice. I loved the finished colors and textures, but the style wasn't something I'd really wear much. However, as it was a long wrap-skirt, there was quite a bit of fabric to upcycle into something else! I browsed through my patterns and found a simple kimono-style jacket; when you're using fabric with lots of visual interest, you don't need a busy pattern style too. I laid it out and decided I had enough for the short version of the jacket, but not the lapels and cuffs. But- when I laid it next to some wool I'd marbled, the colors of the inks harmonized beautifully with the snow-dyed linen hues in blues. So, I spent an evening doing some marbling, I had just enough wool in a nice soft ivory flannel for the lapels and cuffs; here is what I did:
I used Ultramarine Blue and also a nice seafoam green and lime green, which I mixed.
I love this little area above, don't they look like little tropical fish? Angel fish or something. Anyway, this is the same technique of "Marbling on Wool" that I'll be teaching at the PA National Quilt Extravaganza next week, and also fom the article I wrote about in the June/July 2017 issue of Quilting Arts magazine.
After I marbled the wool and heat-set it, I cut everything out and started sewing. Everything worked pretty well, I had just enough fabric for the body of the jacket with very little left. There was a couple of nice squares left, and I decided to make a pocket out of one of them, as it was such a pretty area - too nice not to use.
And it's nice to have a pocket to throw your keys or lipstick in, right? Plus this piece just begged to be a pocket, I just had to hem it up again. (I had taken out the lower hem to give me an extra inch of fabric.) All in all, I was pretty pleased with how the jacket turned out; it will look great thrown over a pair of black pants and top for a dressy look, or equally good over a pair of jeans. Or even some cream linen pants. And it looks nice with the tote bag I created for the magazine, too.
Above is the simple yet functional pocket I added, such pretty textures!
I also happened to have these accessories on hand that coordinated perfectly: a nuno-felted scarf (I'll be teaching that at SAFF this fall in Asheville), a funky wet-felted greenery cluster, and this flower that was a sample I'd made when developing my #209 "Wooly Flower Basket & Wall Hanging" pattern. The piece needed a little shot of pink to tie in with the original Monet work, and this simple flower filled the bill beautifully, here's the pattern I used:
I'm excited to see my models for the show! This loose-fitting jacket will look great on a variety of figures, and the scarf and pin can be worn either around the neck or we might do a head-wrap thing to enhance someones hair, we'll see! I'm looking forward to opportunities to help all my models have a positive, uplifting experience, and the audience too!

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