In the realm of Wearable Art, you will often find the most unusual, non-traditional materials at work to create the unexpected. I approached the challenge of making a garment for the Celebrate Wearable Art, 2015, fashion runway event from the perspective of a sculptor and furniture maker. I looked at the project as a designer would confront any other, the materials must serve the functional requirements and contribute elegance… we ARE talking fashion here.
Looking around my studio for possible resources, I came across the remains of an old staircase I had replaced years prior. The wood was an aged cherry, and I had already forged several pieces of furniture and sculpture from this particular lot. I liked the idea of giving it a new life again as a runway look.
The concept arose as a full floor length dress, as elegant and simple as I could make out of wood. I used the raven’s feather motif to create a varied texture hidden in the black detail of the skirt. Each element of the “up-cycled “ wood skirt was cut to 1/16th of an inch, re-cut into the final shape, and sanded to mimic a feather. They were then treated with a black aniline dye and oiled. Each of the five hundred feathers was hand sewn to a lining so the feathers could move independently. They give the appearance of fluidity on the runway and created a wonderful, subtle sound.
For the bodice, I wanted it to be sculptural, like a necklace, and red to contrast with the black of the skirt. The bloodwood mimics the throat of the raven in a mixture of short curled and long slender feathers all integrated together. The bloodwood’s natural color was rich, offering contrast to the black cherry.
The design was intended to be simple and highlight our model’s beauty in an understated way. As a maker, I enjoyed the challenge! [More about Rick Crangle]