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Wearable Art, Part I -- Inspiration and Themes
By Kathleen Brown, Of My Hands

As excerpted from The Finishing Touch, By Kathleen Brown


Like everyone these days, I wear several hats: wife, mom, daughter, sister, volunteer, teacher, musician, cook, recycler, writer, quilter, designer, and so on . . .  And with each side of my personality, I discover that I relate to my world with that side's perspective.

As a wife, my romantic side enjoys an afternoon hike in the mountains with my best friend, my husband, There, we soak up the fresh air and stimulating scents, delight in the colors nature has to offer, and are amazed at the unity of seemingly opposite natural creations -- for example: fire and water, trees growing out   of rocks, swans floating on steaming rivers in the middle of winter ...

As a mother, my nurturing side loves the feel of closeness and softness that I've experienced with our babies nursing, the feeling of freedom with each new development our children grow into and eventually through. What a bittersweet moments we all hold on to ....

As a quilter and designer, another artist's work might stimulate me to think of the possibilities beyond and in addition to what s/he has shown me. There are good friends I respect and draw great inspiration from when I'm "blocked" in a creative process. Several books fall into this category as well. They just seem to get my juices flowing again during dry spells...

Your fabrics and embellishment pieces will speak to you   -- listen. Sometimes a certain fabric longs to be next to another and other times will fight to get away from a fabric. You know what you like -- suit yourself.

The colors within a sunset might spark a color combination I would not have thought of without its stimulation. A worn tablecloth that someone has thrown into the local dumpster might inspire me to work with lace, salvaging what is left from a seemingly worthless piece of Grandma's junk. A piece of music might move me to come up with embellishments to try to emulate what I hear -- to give sight to sound.

One could get really heady and philosophical here. The bottom line is that what is required of us, is to be open to the limitless possibilities our individual worlds offer to each one of us.


themes.jpg (18331 bytes)I obviously love fabrics and embellishing, and can get quite carried away with either or both. If I can come up with a theme, be it a color family or topic, I find that   theme will suggest types of embellishing that I would not have otherwise considered. For example, the carousel theme of one vest had me creating horse tails and reins out of trims and broken jewelry pieces. There's even a brass ring to grab as the carousel passes that point on its rounds. The up and down motion of the carrousel suggested how I used ribbons on this vest.                                         

Other themes:

Grab the Brass Ring! Counted X-Stitch for your favorite teacher
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Down on the Farm

Tea Time

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