Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Artistic Exercise

I have been advised that it is a good thing to regularly exercise one's creative bent; that one should just let loose and try out new ideas to explore what can be done with what is on hand.

On hand: Vintage Swiss braid, roughly eighty plus years old, and French veiling, in ivory.

It was hot out, and I could picture a summer bride in a simple short ivory gown standing in a field of ripening grain.
A circlet crown of straw...a "straw hat" elevated to a new level.
Compared to the glitzy silver and diamond tiaras, it is less "bling" and more of a quietly elegant sort of head piece.
I really like how it turned out.

I've often been struck by how beautiful winter brides can be on snowy wedding days.
When my fashion illustration instructor designed her own wedding gown for a December wedding in Minnesota, she used white velvet for a cape and trimmed the hood in white fur.
The image of her in that gown...in falling snow...has never left my mind.
The exercise with what I had on hand:  Crinoline braid, satin ribbon, marabou quill feather and stripped Goose biots.
Inspiration: Winter Wedding.

I finally worked out a solution to the seaming of the crinoline; a solution that added to the overall design in the end.
Curling the biots is always fun; the skinny feathers bloom as the quill is run over the edge of my scissors.

A bit of marabou feather actually does serve to add warmth to one's head.
The crinoline braid veiling reminded me of the way ice looks while the marabou reminds me of fluffy snow.

I made this design twice: once in ivory with a long crinoline (aka horsehair) upper lip length birdcage style veil and once in white with a shorter nose tip length birdcage veil.

Usually I do learn something the first time I make a hat but have no supplies left to recreate the hat with the insights I gained the first time.
The white version was my first try. I really struggled to stitch the feathers on evenly while avoiding catching some design elements with my thread.
The second construct was done with elements created separately then layered together with a few carefully placed stitches.
I also had a long discussion with myself about the biot placement.
When the bride is standing next to her groom I would want to not have a design feature between them, which is what would happen if the biots were place over her right eye.
Yet when she turned to face her groom, the biots would then be seen by those attending the wedding.
Since the majority of the wedding service takes place with the bride facing the groom, I decided to place the biots on her right side so the audience could see the detail.
Leaving the back open and curled up on two sides was a decision made to accommodate any bridal hairstyle.

I liked this design for either an inside wedding or an outside wedding.
The veiling will not blow about during an outside wedding, and the crinoline catches light beautifully with every slight motion of the bride's head. A dusting of snow would make the design simply amazing.

Of course I learned still more things during the second ivory version construction.  I wonder how many times would I have to create this same design before I could make it without learning a bit more about technique and design flow.

I do know that wedding websites are showing mixed veil usage now:  fine netting flowing over french veiling or crinoline and crinoline being used twisted in sculptural forms that are quite complex. Black and white and other color accented veils are also being shown.  Pale pinks, greens and blues are tweaking the customary monochromatic bridal fashions.  Interesting. 

Designing for an autumn wedding is still in my "Exercise" prompt list.  Considering how popular brown has been as a wedding color choice, I think a veil with autumn toned pheasant feathers could be quite interesting.  Or one with rich Autumn hues used in making velvet pods...hmmm...

It really is fun to design stuff in my head and occasionally attempt to actually make them too.


Vicki said...

Oooooh, I like the hat designs! Very nice! I think either would serve a bride well, in the appropriate attire and setting.

Did you feel cooler on a hot day by working on a winter hat?

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Exercise is always good...and you have found a most creative way to exercise and stay cool at the same time. Oh...and come up with some cool designs!

Lovella ♥ said...

I agree that now and then some artistic exercise is good for us. When I worked on the aprons, I felt so invigorated ...and as I worked and saw what my minds eye saw earlier, it was quite satisfying.
This week, I've been working out little coats in my mind.. .knowing there will be no pattern to match and wondering if I dare.
The second little piece is my favorite.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Your creations are so elegant and beautiful Jill. Really gorgeous.

PS: I am going to do my best to go up to the Pasadena Museum of History tomorrow to see the hats...I'll let you know!

Julie said...

You delight me with your creativity ..and when you are designing for brides .. aww.. you have my attention!
I love your designs.. except I don't see the 'exercise' in them .. just the 'professional' .... You really should have your own shop!

I have always enjoyed creating designs because so often the design creates itself...whether it was wedding dresses or crafts or draperies !

kate said...

Good to see you designing millinery again! Yay for Fall weather and inspiration.

Think about re-uniting with some of us old HHNers in NYC for the Stephen Jones exhibit in late October.

K Q;-)

Kathie said...

Very creative!! The girls in Dorothy's bridal party all wore fascinators (inspired by Kate Middleton of course) - they actually were called "Dorothy" fascinators :)

Armando y Montez said...

Hey Lady, I love the way both turned out! I'm Quasimoto when it comes to using horsehair. Like button hit! Inset thumbs up image here.