Boogie Flight Suit in "Deconstructing Bowie" Exhibit

Boogie Flight Suit 1 jerseymurmurs

Thrilled that my “Boogie Flight Suit” is part of the “Deconstructing Bowie: Freedom in Eccentricity” exhibit at Philadelphia’s National Liberty Museum that celebrates David Bowie’s “timeless power to challenge cultural norms and inspire others to share their unique creative voice.” (Vexed that omicron means I can’t see it in person yet.)

David Bowie showed me that you can reinvent yourself. And, in fact, as we age, a key to surviving and thriving is to be able to reinvent ourselves – as many times as necessary. One way that I reinvent is by making my own clothes. There is something so satisfying and liberating about selecting a flat piece of fabric and cutting and sewing it to make it fit the body – it’s part art and part science. And when you’re finished constructing, what you have is something unique and different. A garment that even a year ago you might never have considered wearing. Who wants to play the same role all the time? (Bowie didn’t.)

Consider the Flight Suit (also known as a “boiler-suit”) a garment that Bowie explored. It is gender neutral. It is not a sexualized garment. It is functional and allows freedom of movement. It can be rendered in many different types of fabrics – denim, linen, silk. It is purposeful. It is customizable – a collar can be turned up; sleeves can be long or short; it can be belted or not. It can go punk, funk, or high-fashion. A perfect garment for re-invention.

I used the Blanca Flight Suit sewing pattern by Closet Core Patterns and a linen fabric from Stylemaker Fabrics of “dancing, changing waves” for my let-the-children-Boogie Flight Suit.

Boogie Flight Suit NLM jerseymurmurs

The Boogie Flight Suit -- behind and to the right of this crazy cool keyboard -- and lots of other interesting David Bowie-influenced artwork is on view in the "Deconstructing Bowie" exhibit at the National Liberty Museum at 321 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia from January 7, 2022 until April 3, 2022.

Folk Art Frankie Dolls

Frankie Doll 1 jerseymurmurs

For many years my mother made what she called “soft sculpture” dolls. The bodies were cut from muslin using a pattern she had purchased over 40 years ago (“Gingersnap Friends” by DreamSpinners; see the last photo, below). She embroidered the faces, added yarn hair and other details, and sewed clothes for them — often using recycled fabrics. She made these unique and personal dolls for family and friends (mine, made when I moved into an apartment with no roommates, is shown below; she dubbed the winking doll “NTR” — the No Trouble Roommate). Recently my brother asked her to make dolls for his granddaughters, but because of her illness it was too much for her. I took it over and — due to time constraints — attempted to simplify their construction. I figured if I used colorful, printed fabric then the dolls were already “dressed”, saving me some work. Once I found the vibrant colors and patterns of Bright Eyes fabric by @annamariahorner I decided they didn’t need hair or faces either. And they really came alive when I added embroidery details to their knees, elbows, and heads.
My mother was delighted with the colorful dolls and she helped me stuff them (when we were finished, she said “I mean how can a kid look at that and not smile?”). I told her that hers were “Fine Art” and mine were “Folk Art”! Her mother fondly called her “Frankie” so we christened our soft sculptures “Frankie Dolls”.

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School of Fine Arts Tea Party, 1896


Now that's the way to drink tea.

[Detail from a photo of art students at the St Paul School of Fine Arts' summer classes, Mendota, Minn. Pictured in some or all of the collection are: Minnie K. Bailey, Zella Newcomb Bohm, Helen Brack, Ella Nabersbery Byard, Maud K. Clum, Verna Ayer Okerberg, Antoinette DeForest Parsons and Edith Kendrick Sanders.  (From the collection of the Smithsonian; see the full image here: St. Paul School of Fine Arts, Russian Tea Party, 1896)]