Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sketching with needle and thread

Hello friends. (Lyric here.) I have a little confession. As much as I usually love such things, "trashed, ruin, and decay" aren't something I'm really feeling during this month of bright reds and twinkling lights. There isn't anything wrong with the theme at all. It's a fantastic theme. For my life right now -  it's just a timing thing. I've been struggling to even want to try to create something with the theme. 

decay: photo by Lyric Kinard
It's only sketching it right now that's holding me up. I want to sketch the poinsettia sitting on my desk now, not the dead stuff outside. On the other hand, put a camera in my hand and what you'll find on the card is tons of pictures of rust, cracked masonry, withered flowers. Decaying things always have the most interesting textures, patterns, and colors to my eye. I love nothing more than peeling paint and fungi growing out of rotting wood. 

antique: photo by Lyric Kinard

Then it hit me. There isn't any rule that says I can't turn this theme around to suit my own purposes. We're artists right? We interpret! How about upcycling something that was going to be trashed? I'm working on a project right now inspired by Melanie Testa's Rockstar Boro project. Boro is a japanese patchwork tradition. Old clothes, old cloth, patched together with shashiko stitching.
I have a stack of linen shirts that are too big for me now that were going to go back to Goodwill where they came from. I cut them all flat and pieced them together into a skirt, some seams inside, some outside with reference to Boro's raw edge applique. Just like the composition process as you look at a blank paper, decisions needed to be made about where to place lines and what kind of textures to use. Yes it's a skirt, but really - it's a canvas.
I also have a bin of old linens and lace scraps - other people's cast-offs. Some of them are exquisite hand made pieces that I can only imagine creating. Many of them are deteriorating, no longer useful in their original form. I've dyed them and now a few choice pieces will add color and shape to my wearable "canvas." It's not different than making a sketch or any other work of art. It's all about composition.  if I use a contrasting color it might become a focal point. It's very important in wearable art to consider the placement of a focal point or any attention grabbing element. There are places you don't want people to stare when they are looking at your body right?
Boro beginnings by Lyric Kinard

And to reference Melanie, the inspiration for this project, I've stitched a little bird inspired by some of her artwork. Literally - sketching with needle and thread.


  1. That sounds like a lovely project. I keep meaning to do something like this as I've also been following Melanie's Boro project and I read about Rice Freeman-Zachery's altered clothing and story pieces. Maybe over the Christmas holidays I'll get the chance to play a little.

  2. great post Lyric. and I adore the stitched bird!

  3. I sew and it never crossed my mind to think of the "trashed,ruined and decay" in a fabric sense even though I've 'upcycled' old sheets into shopping bags and I have an old pair of jeans cut out to make into a purse type shoulder bag. Thanks for the new angle on this :). Love different interpretations of art.

  4. Great post and great project! I love old things, and this is a great way to use old clothing. I love the bird too. :)

  5. Lyric! Great job. I love that you are rocking the Boro Project! This has come to mean thinking outside set parameters to me, and you are really doing this!


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