Selecting fabrics is one of the best parts of sewing your own clothes. For inspiration for my flight suit fabric, I googled David Bowie wearing jumpsuits — and found an array of shapes in bold prints and colors. I used the Blanca Flight Suit pattern by Closet Core Patterns. I went looking for a colorful print with some red in it as his outfits often had a crimson theme, but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted in the right weight. I liked the swirls and graphic quality of this linen fabric (“Midnight Garden” designed by Jilly P for Dashwood Studio — a UK design house!); it reminds me of Bowie’s iconic “Tokyo Pop” Aladdin Sane bodysuit designed by Kansai Yamamoto. The light blue floral London Calling (!) fabric in the back pocket square is also used as a lining for the front pockets and under-collar. A fancy piece of red fabric was perfect for a contrasting front pocket square (mixing patterns makes colors and shapes pop). A sturdy black and white jacquard leftover from another project for the contrasting tie belt. I would have used a brighter thread color for all the top stitching, but my top-stitching skills are not always the best…
My Flight Suit is on display at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, part of the “Deconstructing Bowie: Freedom in Eccentricity” exhibit and the Fifth Annual Philly Loves Bowie Week, continuing through April 3, 2022. "...David Bowie found personal freedom in his unique forms of cultural expression. Through music, art, and fashion, Bowie disrupted and rebelled against societal expectations and norms, introducing new and more critical ways of thinking about race, sex, and gender. This exhibition celebrates David Bowie’s legacy in the creative freedom he inspired in generations of artists that have followed in his wake, artists who have continued to push boundaries and inspire others to do the same."
“Flight suits are modular tapestries, their surfaces are designed to be decorated, but work just as well left blank.“
“Throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s flight suits were found and worn by speed freaks, by artists, by gender non-conformists, by techno-dreamers, by punks, by travelers, by children who wanted to fly...” [Quotes are from “Flight Suits Take Off” by Maxwell Neely-Cohen] ️
My modular, tapestry-like Flight Suit is on display at the National Liberty Museum at 321 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia until April 3rd 2022, part of the “Deconstructing Bowie” exhibit that celebrates “the timeless power of music and art to challenge cultural expectations and drive both personal and societal change”.
"Armored Freedom, sword raised and cape flying, ... tramples Tyranny and Kingly Power; she is assisted by a fierce eagle carrying arrows and a thunderbolt." [sketch from a detail of the 'The Apotheosis of Washington' — a fresco painted in 1865 by Constantino Brumidi at the top of the Capitol's Rotunda; 180 feet above the Rotunda floor]
Our Ms. Armored Freedom was gazing down as the mob incited by our Kingly President stormed the Capitol...
My Presidential Inauguration-adjacent story: On January 20th, 1985 — the day of Ronald Reagan's 2nd inauguration — I was living just outside Washington DC in Maryland. The daytime temperatures were forecast at 7 degrees F with wind chills at -25. I was driving a little Dodge Omni with metal door handles that pulled up to open the car's doors. Something was already wrong with the front, passenger side front handle — it could only be opened from the inside. The morning of the inauguration I unlocked the driver's side with my key (no keyless entry then!) and the frozen-cold, metal door handle broke right off in my hand! What to do?! No way to open the locked back doors so I couldn't get in through them. How was I going to get to work?! Wait! An escape hatch! The car was a hatchback and the key opened that back trunk door. I unlocked and lifted it, ducked my head, climbed in, hauled myself over into the back seat as gracefully as possible, and was able to stretch to open the driver's side door from the inside so I didn't have to throw myself over into the front seat. Then I opened the side door, got out, calmly smoothed my skirt, got in the front seat, said a prayer of thanks for the hatchback, and was on my way. I always thought of it as "Reagan's revenge" as I didn't like the man's policies and never voted for him. Because of the extreme cold that day in 1985, the inauguration was moved inside — into the Capitol Rotunda — where high above Armored Freedom and her fierce eagle were busy smiting and trampling the Kingly...
Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration and posed in the rotunda with Armored Freedom above:
By my count, today is day 123 of the quarantine. The heat index hit 93 degrees. The rabbits ate all the green bean plants in the garden and there are alarming pools of water that keep forming near the refrigerator. Cases of the coronavirus are increasing daily again and have reached crisis points in many states. Our president has done his best to successfully turn the U.S. into one of his "sh!thole countries". Civil rights and voting rights champion and warrior Congressman John Lewis has died and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had a recurrence of her cancer. One bright spot is the aqua-blue-sky ceiling in my little screened-in side porch.
"If we do not get meaningful legislation out of this Congress, the time will come when we will not confine our marching to Washington. ... We must say, 'Wake up, America, wake up!' For we cannot stop, and we will not be patient." [from Mr. Lewis' 1963 March on Washington speech]
My “Grab ‘Em By The Mid-terms” oven mitt was voted-in to the “Know Your Meme: Stitching Viral Art” exhibition and is on display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles from October 20, 2019 through January 12, 2020. In true “meme” fashion, the artwork selection for the exhibit was driven by the power of the people, curated by the number of online votes.
The exhibition explores the concept of the meme as a poignant method to summarize, understand, and critique important societal issues and current events. All artworks must depict, relate to, or reference a meme through a textile method such as quilting, embroidery, cross- stitching, knitting and crocheting, weaving, basketry, etc.
My Artist's Statement: What better way to “grab ‘em by the mid-terms” than with a hardy, handmade oven mitt! Stitched and sewn in anticipation of the November 2018 mid-term elections. The magenta pink harkens back to the women’s pussy hat marches. A Newsweek story about the January 2018 women’s march called “grab ‘em by the mid-terms” a “mordant” slogan – i.e., biting or stinging. A mitt that is useful in the kitchen and when marching in the street…
Anger and rage are driving my entry for this week’s Spoonflower design challenge: chinoiserie (drawn using the 6B sketching Pencil in the Procreate App)🔹 Inspired by a Chinese tile (circa 1700-1724) from the Rijksmuseum and the unforgettable words of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that were painted outside the doors of the Yale Law School #MeToo #womensreality #ThankYouChristine
What a kick! My pussy-hat-magenta-pink "Girls Just Want to have Fundamental Human Rights" chiffon scarf is in the just-released CMYK issue of Uppercase magazine! The issue is full of the work of many talented people and pulls together so many of my favorite things (the Folly Cove Designers, Josef Albers-inspired weavings, offset lithography, typography, and fabric just to name a few). There's even a story about an innovative new ink derived from car exhaust, that turns pollutants into artistic possibilities (Graviky).
Each page and that eye-catching drawdown cover by Baltimore Print Studios is a delight that leaves me feeling "hi-res"!
This year's Easter rabbit (one of many :->) for the table; cut and stitched from my own felted cloth and new Tile curtains that I designed.
Shop Modern Prayer Flags here.