Friday, January 23, 2009

Creative Crystals on Wearable Art

Hallelujah, I've finished the jacket. Can't show it to you but can talk about the techniques a bit. Today I hot-glued Swarovski crystals for the first time ever. It brought up some issues--why have I never done this before? First, because I was raised to be frugal, that means clothing has to do double duty. You have to be practical, it has to stand repeated washing, be worn for years, and be suitable for any number of occasions. As I look back at my wardrobe of wearable art, it's mostly made on a foundation of black silk noil or black cotton (I'll show you some time). I like whimsy but never add it to my clothes, in case I want to wear them to an office, and on and on.

Now Meryl Ann asked me if I wanted to make something combining cottons and silk doupioni for her book. You betcha, but I'd never have done it for myself. I owned the silk but it sat in the stash like so many other wonderful pieces. Then she asked me if I'd like to try adding crystals. I said yes and ordered the equipment and the crystals with some trepidation. In the photo you can see the 30ss crystals I selected--they're above the pink BeJeweler. They're pretty big actually, but it was my first order and I was guessing.

The BeJeweler is a tool that you plug in to heat up--it heats the crystal and the glue that's already applied to the flat side. My first mistake was that I didn't wait for it to get hot enough so it wasn't picking up my crystals like in the instructions. So my first crystal fell off--but that's what happens when you're trying something new. I kept at it and pretty soon had the hang of it. Easy.

Now I've managed to glue crystals to my jacket, wondering all the while where I'll have the nerve to wear this. Five crystals into it, I was enjoying the sparkle and bling so much (I love shiny things) that I had to hold myself back from putting a crystal on every dot in the print. I do think I will add more, it's fun to sparkle. Just needed a little push to step outside the box! To order your own, go to Hmm, this is going to work on Margot's shoes too!(see earlier blog)


Meryl Ann Butler said...

Atta girl, you go BLING, baby! Haha!
And go ahead and wear it to the grocery store - SOMEBODY has to be the one to start the fun, it might as well be YOU!
Sheesh, honey, you should see what I've worn to the grocery store before...haha!
I LOVE that ergonomic BeJeweler - because when you are adding industrial strength amounts of bling, your po' hand don't git tired! WHEW!
btw, I put about 1200 rhinestones on my "Jewels of India" (Bernina 2005/2006 Fashion Show) ensemble in under 9 hours (yep-alotta coffee!) - can you imagine how long it would have taken to SEW them on?
Bling, baby, bling!

Margot Silk Forrest said...

30ss crystals? Cool! Those are big! And you've given me the idea of using hot-fix crystals on some fabric-collage shoes... The hot-fix glue doesn't actually work very well on leather or faux leather, so I apply them to fabric, then glue the fabric to the leather -- there's a recycled purse that my my wonderful apprentice, Destiny Carter, did using a rhinestone applique, and we had to come up with this fabric workaround so we could attach the rhinestones. I'll post the link to a photo of it if you want.
Do we have to wait for the book to come out to see your finished jacket?