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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

1000 Waistcoats later..................

Going to write this blog about once a week.   Last week wrote about my first commission.  This week spring forward 25 years, nearly 1000 waistcoats later to present day.   Its overwhelming to think the first waistcoat could lead to nearly a thousand unique waistcoats.  On reflection it seems like a mammoth waistcoat breeding programme.   One lead to another, lead to meeting another person, lead to a change in style, lead to change in direction, lead to another boundary, to a new fabric, a new technique, lead to tears but most of all lead to personal fulfilment and happiness.

Glancing through my unorganised galleries of work

I can recall the creation of each garment, and definitely have favourites. Waistcoat 71 is one of them.   Since 1991 denim has been one of my favourite fabrics after a chance experiment with a pair of old jeans.  More about that in a future blog.

Waistcoat 71 was born in about 1997 when Gordon and I were renovating a Mervyn Seal 1960's style house S'Argamassa (renamed "Sailing Free") on the Marine Drive area of Torquay.   It was a wonderful place to have a studio, despite all the noise of the re-build.

The abstract design of five leaves on a stem was sort of inspired by this house,  I found a chestnut leaf in the garden, of which I created an abstract version.     The embroidery is courtesy of my beloved Bernina 701 sewing machine (circa 1960's) purchased from the Exeter Sewing Machine Company.

Like all my work, the machine stitching is random,  not planned and not marked onto the fabric in advance.  The love hearts can be seen in a number of my garments of that time, a quirky abstract heart, different on each garment applied, with a flume of embroidery cascading until it felt "right" to stop the machine.

The black denim  colour randomly discharged with bleach to create the animal hide effect.   The hand painted designs were applied where the fabric distress is paler for maximum impact.   The leaves have been machine embroidered using satin stitch.  Then turquoise stitching sewn between the leaves.  The garment as one front pocket.   In total there are eight leaf stems and eight hearts.   Strange as I normally work in threes or sixes.

At that time created many garments with "Chestnut Leaf"  theme.  This and another wacky blue denim is still in my collection (waistcoat 47).

Next blog will be about my beloved Bernina 730 Record and Husqvarna Lily sewing machines.  They are both brilliant to use, but both have pros and cons for certain types of work.

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