The Making of Light into the Darkness

I have been working on the theme of Silver Linings over the past few years
and Light into the Darkness was a shift to wearable art and is the final piece in this series.
I wanted the model to be smothered in a dark cloud, her view of the world obscured, not to be able to see beyond the overwhelming darkness.
I came across an image of an enormous pony tail tree in full bloom, the strength of the trunk supporting the bloom inspired the shape of the garment.  The trunk or body of the garment became the silver lining, those little seeds of hope and colour connecting and building a strong foundation of resilience. 
The cloud is made from tulle that I dyed black and grey.
Some of the edges have been machine stitched with silver lines and some with a black lace like edging.
I wanted the effect of an upside down tutu and after feeling very frustrated with my results,  I rang the WA Ballet and spoke to a lovely lady in the wardrobe department who very generously gave me lots of tips and ideas to create the desired effect.
I ended up making four separate layered pieces for around the models’ neck and a headpiece.
The model’s body is covered with colourful circles connected together with machine stitching.
There are about 1200 circles. Each circle is a sandwich of denim jeans as a backing, transfer printed satin (see below), silks
and a top layer of dark grey fabric that has been printed silver with a stamp. The sandwich is machine stitched together and then I cut away the top layers to reveal the colourful silks and satins underneath.
Each piece was then hand cut from the sheets.
The circles are connected to each other by free machine embroidery. I stitched on a plastic like material called Solvy to connect all the circles. When I finish stitching, I wash away the solvy in warm water and as long as all the stitching is attached to the circles the whole work stays together…If not, it’s a big knotty mess!
I made a few panels of circles and then trialed them on my dress form. My initial idea was to blend the circles black to silver. 
Very quickly I abandoned the silver, and continued to make dark panels trialing for shape and quantity.
When I was happy with the arrangement, I stitched all of the panels together. The whole garment then needed to be washed again. This was a rather scary moment!!!
The shoes where a Buy Nothing gift and were bright orange. I spray painted them black then made a stencil by stitching another piece of solvy and then sprayed silver over a stencil. 
Light into the Darkness image by Tony Tropiano at Wearable Art Mandurah Showcase 2018

6 thoughts on “The Making of Light into the Darkness

  1. You have again created a beautiful and thought provoking garment. Gorgeous! With the usual level of vision,dedication, skill, thousands of pieces and (probably) uncountable hours of work. I am constantly inspired by your work. Anne

  2. Thanks Louise, I often wonder how the wearable art designers go from idea to creation and this post explained the process well. Such a lot of thought and energy went into this piece. It’s beautiful.

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