seeking & creating : researching & discovering : applying & practicing

sustainability in design = changing mindsets + deeds

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crazy Christmas Crafting

Seeing Papier d'Amour's old book-page paper wreath in Real Living Magazine has sparked off a wreath making craze especially since the whole world seems to be gearing up for Christmas madness!

I didn't even bother with Googling (though you will find lotsa eye-candy!) for DIY guides or instructions, but went for it instinctively, like the gutsy, impulsive craft-o-maniac I am. But if you like, this shows a how-to...

Basically, you need a circular doughnut-shaped base, strong glue, or strong double-sided or sticky tape, or perhaps stapler/staples, whatever it takes to make the paper attach to the circular base and not come off when the finished product is hung.

I do not have a glue gun (would be interesting to yank one out of my behind or out of my hip holster every time I needed one though!) so it was a pain to find enough super glue to make the rather large wreath I ended up with. (It measures around 60 or 70 cm across in diameter, yet another uncalculated result.) Having masking tape and a large stapler/staples on hand helped A LOT.

I ended up spending around $40 on the whole thing; half of the money went into getting the glue alone. The rest I spent on the tinsel ribbons and a small amount of pretty overpriced matte and metallic wrapping tissues and wrapping paper; also a roll of cellophane which I thought to use to wrap around the whole thing as dirt/weather protection eventually, but maybe not...

It was a good thing that I had ready and free access to heaps and heaps of discarded packing cardboard! And of course my own personal stash of cords, ribbons and trims to use when needed.

You need lots of loose paper pages, which can be twisted into loose or tight cylinders, cones, fans, ribbon shapes, loops, gathered and shredded, cut into cool shapes, made into 3D stars, whatever rocks your boat...but processing the pages can be tedious and repetitive...think of it as a calming therapy. I gathered the pages roughly after folding once diagonally, so no nice coiled cone formations in my wreath...

All I had on hand was an old issue of Marie Claire magazine (with Kristen Stewart on the cover, fancy that) and I knew that glossy magazine pages will have no colour consistency, unlike old book pages, so I was seriously considering getting a can of red or green sparkley spray paint to create a more consistent colour.

What I tried to do was make sure dark and light coloured pages were spread evenly about and mixed well with brightly coloured pages...though come to think of it, perhaps having a gradient of light-to-dark colours might be cool. Hard to achieve though! To create an even fullness, you need to spread the bunches around at intervals and slowly fill in gaps.

So the crazily textured result...

I keep wondering whether it looks too junky. Certainly looks rather insane!

And a couple more...

 From cardboard boxes used to package organic vegetables, and the inner tube of a roll of wrapping paper...

This one was for Sprout, an awesome health food shop and cafe next to where I work...

And a little over one issue of Grazia magazine from/for Tedesco III turns into...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Inspirational Design/Construction


made by SOFTlab:

Watching this fascinating animation of a Paul Poiret dress construction, one cannot help but recall: this designer is arguably one of the primary 20th Century "liberators" of women's bodies from the confines of the corset/girdle.

(And perhaps a thorn among the roses, considering Vionnet, Lanvin and Chanel...which bring to mind the question: how many male designers really know how to dress women without enforcing various unattainable ideals upon them? Then again, does not fashion itself create and propagate unattainable ideals?)

He had his heyday 100 years ago, yet the shapes and designs of his garments are utterly modern, relevant, and present. Don't you also see endless DVF copies in this wrap dress design? True timelessness, in this fashion, seems to be an endless permutation/exploration of simple methods or formulae; once pioneered, reproduced forever.

Poiret_White-Dress from SOFTlab on Vimeo.

It might be a simple formula: design and construction from simplistic geometric shapes, while simultaneously utilising drape and fabrication to allow the body to enjoy comfort and movement, creating a garment that communicates its own beauty while on the body.


Of course, we cannot stay forever in this stagnant spot of endlessly reproducing what previous pioneers have created. Looking at Holly McQuillan's zero-waste work, we can see true innovation and creativity spurring on greater and more sustainable design development, higher efficiency/productivity, and possibly an altered fashion aesthetic.

For what is creativity without deeper discovery?

What is extraordinary is how artistically beautiful the patterns within the pattern lay are, and how poetic it is that this transforms from a 2D art-piece into a 3D wearable art-piece.
This 21st Century pioneer deserves more awards for her work!