I’m now feeing quite free. It was very hard at first. But really I’m just back to where I have always been: reaching out from home to share to the world.
I’ve put projects on hold that didn’t allow me to participate locally. But I started this journey by making what I love and to just make then find a reason to wear them. Photoshoot in our back yard? Sure.
The problem is when I’m in one genre I’m unconsciously being judged by how much I do in other genres so my work is less appreciated. My peers regularly tell me to use a technique I do know about, and have known for decades. When I deviate and share that? It’s for other disabled people who also can’t use the standard technique. Abled people might find it useful too, but I’m giving an option and explaining why.
My hands are constantly giving feedback to my brain. It’s pain, of a few flavours, there is fizzing neural stuff, there is neuropathy, the sensation of air on my hands is fuzzy, I get pain and tingles when any part of my hand touches an edge or say my nails.
I need feedback of these tools to override the noise and lack of noise.
I’ve been experimenting how to do this for 20 years. So if I’ve got an adaptation, it’s been well tested.
I don’t share this because I’m angry, or to point fingers, but to hopefully just make a little change- pause before telling someone how to use a traditional technique and ask what you are missing or assuming. I’ve also absorbed some incredible traditional techniques from cultures that are not my own and they help me in my journey which is to ask why a technique became traditional and what the properties/advantages and disadvantages they offer.
And to be honest I’m not sure anyone does what I do, though not lately due to stress and health. Who knows how to make a suit of armour out of wet formed leather? And make yard tall SFX pieces? And uses 16thC pattern manuals as they were used, and 19thC dressmaking books as they were (hint both use very different fit and construction order, and very different intensities of effort- less precision in skirts for instance)? And sculpts at a small and large scale? And so on?
To help me with what feels so overwhelming in terms of projects I’m also making a 1/4 doll to drape on, especially for those that I really want to make but, you know, use >20m of fabric.
The very first will be Maleficent and Freya. Maleficent might actually be on my tiny artists mannequin as the original looks like it was about 40m. Wing testing though should be at 1/4 to avoid tiny errors becoming massive errors.
Freya will be first as a calico piece then paper to create the repeats. I have some otherwise perfect shot organza but it’s hot pink and blue (I think) so is lurking with my Bubble Gown inspired frock as an under layer.
This has to be made at 1/4 scale due to the sheer weight. I might wind up really mixing up these different solutions that have been around since the 1620s. Shoot. I want to make one of these so badly. To use the Leloir pattern and the information about how it was restored.
But as we don’t have extant items for them, I need to look to extant garments where we do: Robes de cour.
And then Robes de Style.
But then there is the Clover gown series, and all those fantastic movie costumes.
And all those incredible tulle gowns by Molly Goddard
As to my doll/form I’m using existing doll making patterns as a guide, because none really do what I need. But I have been inspired by particular artists so I need to sort that info for sharing.
She’ll be ball jointed with wooden beads, I just worked out what sizes I need so I’ve also just ordered beads big enough.
And I’ve been in my studio twice this week in a positive frame of mind so that’s been good.
Really good actually.
There is so much sadness that my Boo is no longer with me, as he kept me company. But I can’t stop doing what I love, but more than that I can’t stop doing what we loved doing together. I might have to bring some reminder of him with me when I go.