Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Layering Inspiration

One of the things I have learned from taking classes and workshops in mixed media and altered art is the importance of layering. Layering not only gives richness and texture, but also makes people look deeper into your pieces to see what little details they can find. The layering has become second nature to me, what I struggle with sometimes is the inspiration. Not necessarily the lack of inspiration, but the overwhelming amount of it. I get inspired by so many things, sometimes it's hard to sit back and pick one. So I didn't! The pieces I am working on now are not only layered technically, but they are layered in their inspiration too. The first piece of inspiration was from the Cherry Creek Arts festival in Colorado. There was an artist there that did "dress paintings" and she had these small pieces that were a mix of collage and embroidery. I just fell in love with how she used an old sewing pattern as the background, and that was my first layer!

The second inspiration was the show Project Runway. I used to make some of my own clothes in high school and have always thought about "what if?" I had gone that direction in my life. So clothing design was the next layer. The next layer was my love of classic books. There is not shortage of classics to be inspired from. So here it is my first piece, Shakespeare;

I wanted to incorporate some classic pictures to make sure the dress said, "Shakespeare". I used a combination of hand stitching and machine stitching and even some basic embroidery. I also snuck in some of me into the collage parts. You can see a tiny fragment of computer chip board right under the sleeve. The piece compliments of my dog Juno who tore apart our remote control. I am a bit of a technology geek, so that was another little layer I added. created the dress on top of some cross stitch fabric and put it into an embroidery ring to work on. I was originally just going to glue the cut out dress down, but instead raised it up to be dimensional using wine bottle corks.

I loved this little piece of map I found at French General. This amazing shop is only open on Mondays and I work Mondays, so it is very rare I get to go on a treasure hunt there! 

I also loved the way the pattern tissue give such an aged rustic look. I used a modge podge that has a little gold shimmer in it. I used foam stamps to stamp Shakespeare on the canvas. The collage parts came form everywhere. Beads, vintage buttons, a broken zipper, trim pieces, and just plain old colored papers.

I have it hanging in my hallway. Soon to be joined by two friends; Alice's dress/Lewis Carroll, and Hepburns black dress from Breakfast at Tiffanys/Truman Capote. I will post those when I am done. I would love your feedback, please leave comments or ideas of costume/literature combinations I could do.



  1. This is great. It has the weight of a real Elizabethan gown to it, somehow. I especially like the chipboard swirl in there, but then I'm partial to swirls.

  2. So why aren't you selling this? It's awesome!

  3. I am actually hoping to submit them to somerset for publication. Then maybe I will feel worthy of selling them

  4. OH WOW!!!! Absolutely gorgeous work here! I am all about Alice these days... of course the new movie coming out and Kim's event in March. I've been making all kinds of goodies for the event too! I hope to see you in the spring!

    Going back now to look at more of your beautiful posts. I just love your blog!