Monday, December 29, 2008

When is a Skirt Not a Skirt?

…when it’s become a handbag, or a top, or a brooch! Most of us at one time have used a needle and thread to revamp an item of clothing but usually the item we begin with such as a dress, although altered, remains in its original form that is, a dress. Those with the ability to visualise something completely different though are an inspiration to the rest of us.

Although some designers have been working in this way for many years - the French firm Maison Martin Margiela has been reworking garments for over twenty years - completely changing the nature of a garment has often been viewed as avant-garde. But with the current emphasis on protecting the environment, together with the worldwide economic downturn, the reuse of an existing item makes sense. And to completely change the form of an item cannot help but expand our fashion and creative experience.

Slowly more and more designers are taking up the challenge to think outside the square – or the skirt, as the case may be. Here, Clementines Closet has turned a long wool sweater dress together with a knit cropped top into a simple high waisted winter dress.

And there’s no need to limit yourself to your own wardrobe. Redesigning can be undertaken with items from the opposite sexs’ wardrobes too. Auh2odesigns has turned a blue and white plaid mens shirt turned into a high waisted skirt.
Sometimes, particularly after dark, we want to make a bold statement. This gorgeous cape from Kris1911 was once a coat.
Lori Marsha has designed a handbag using a variety of preloved elements. ‘The leather is recycled from a skirt, the striped panels are salvaged from a vintage saltillo, the celluloid and Bakelite buttons from my private collection and the lining fabric is designed by Alexander Henry. The handles are cut from English saddle leather which I stamped with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, echoing the image in the lining’ she writes.
If you’re after something a little more kitsch, Australian designer, Zingaling, has turned a tourist tea towel into a passport bag.
Let’s not forget the ubiquitous denim jeans that come and go from our closets as the fashions, and our sizes, change. This fabric brooch from DJ Bebe is hand stitched from rescued fabrics, including turquoise denim from shortened jeans.
Over forty pairs of jeans went into this dress designed by Gary Harvey.

Redesigned clothing is becoming more popular with high profile clients. US designer Libertine recuts and reassembles preloved clothing and then screen prints each piece with nineteenth century images. Items from the label’s collections have been worn by Karl Lagerfeld, Mick Jagger, Michael Stipe, Dave Navarro, Brad Pitt, Liv Tyler and Gwyneth Paltrow.

And, if you're thinking that this is all a little too 'out there' check out this 1930s ‘futuristic fashion predictions’ video!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Card

>Visit the animator's Etsy Shop to see some of her beautiful photography.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Joyful Zines

A zine (an abbreviation of the word fanzine, or magazine; pronounced [ziːn], "zeen") is most commonly a small circulation, non-commercial publication of original or appropriated texts and images. A popular definition includes that circulation must be 5,000 or less, although in practice the significant majority are produced in editions of less than 100, and profit is not the primary intent of publication. (

A Melbourne based Etsy seller Joy from ZinesByJoy started making zines a few years ago as part of a university masters project called "BOTHER". Joy explains:

It was an anti-terror mongering campaign in response to John Howard's terror-mongering of Australians. Events like Brendon Nelson suggesting immigrants have values like us, prompted me to write a few verses on true Australian values like beer drinking and barbeques. When the peace activist Scott Parkin was deported I wrote a few verses on who we really should be scared of.

not necessarily a bomb. Joy explores the notion that not every empty receptacle harbours a terrorist device. Usually, what you see is what you get. Thus, a little poem evolves, and with it, a little zine.

In addition to writing, Joy is a accomplished painter and photographer. These days her zines incorporate more image based publications that draw on her photographs.

graffindalas of melbourne. Joy features a number of kaleidoscopic mandalas produced from photographs of graffiti that she has photographed. An accordian book with 24 double page spreads the produced mandala is on the left and the original photograph on the right.

Each zine is completely handcrafted and therefore an original little artwork. Joy makes either ten or twelve copies of each zine. If she does re-release a zine it is adapted so that it is quite different to the original run.

Peace Please. This listing is for two little zine objects. One is a peace poem and a lamentation of Hiroshima origami folded into a dove. The other is a converted matchbox titled ‘road map to peace’. Inside is a maniacal answer to Middle Eastern peace, and a match. Attached, is a glow-in-the-dark angel.

Some of Joy’s artwork can be viewed at ‘I consider myself a ‘serious’ artist, exhibiting almost every year..... but zine making allows me quick and humorous way get stuff ‘out there’ and it allows the public a cheap way of sharing the things I enjoy doing’ says Joy.

Joy sells at zine fairs, the odd local shop, Polyester Bookshop in Brunswick and Sticky - a shop that sells zines exclusively. Sticky is also allied to the
Platform Artists Group to which she belongs.

When she is not creating, Joy, a self confessed ‘middled aged hippie’ avoids housework, helps with the grandchildren and drinks red wine with my artist friends and tea with the others.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You Must Be An Artist If .......

I came across a list of ‘You must be an artist if….…’ on and have adapted it. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

You must be an artist if:

  1. You’re often late because you suddenly know exactly what that detail of your latest painting/sewing/writing/jewelry piece needed and just had to fix it while it was fresh in your mind.

  2. You stay awake late at night thinking about your latest project.

  3. You explain your bad housekeeping by saying, "it's a work-in-progress..."

  4. The only piece of new furniture you have in your home is an easel/sewing machine/kiln.

  5. You have no health insurance.

  6. You do judge a book by its cover.

  7. You watch the latest kids' digital animation movies and drool over the effects as much as the story.

  8. You buy art supplies instead of food.

  9. You create more than you talk.
  10. You're in love ... with your studio.

Johnny Depp in his satin little boy blue outfit was freakin a few people i've replaced it with Depp as General E Lee, it's better although not looking as good as he would if he'd been dressed as Adam! Pic also from

Vale Dorothy Porter

The poet Dorothy Porter passed away this week and will be greatly missed by friends, family and the literary community. David Malouf remembers 'She had such a vitality and a grasp of life. She had enormous energy and she was a really feisty person. And I think you see that in the way she made her poetry work, in very spare tight verse. And she not only found a readership for her verse novels, she found a very large readership. It's just very sad, and I think there'll be a lot of people out there who admire her, and are fond of her and will miss her very much'.

An Treasury created in honor of Dorothy.