beckycochrane [userpic]

Windows, No. 6

November 25th, 2009 (02:22 am)

current mood: accomplished

That's a photo I shot in Chelsea when I was in NYC in 2007. It's one of my favorite window photos.

As you might surmise, I haven't been posting or commenting much because I'm sewing. But I AM reading you, so don't try to slip anything by me. I'm like Santa that way. Or a mother. Or a Compound dog when someone's in the kitchen. Or the Talamasca. (Hi, MGH.)

Enough with the similes. Right now, one of my models is posed in front of me wearing a design I just finished and she's SO FREAKING ADORABLE. I'm having a lot of fun with this collection because I'm making myself take on new challenges. I know that some of my readers are not into the doll stuff and the fashion; others of you will see it, evaluate and comment on it, then move on and forget it. For me, however, there has to be a reason to do this beyond just making doll clothes. I have to learn something from it or take something from it that I can use in the future.

To wit:

I begin with raw materials. The doll comes first. Then I choose fabrics after much consideration of color and texture. Once I've settled on those, I begin to create a context that includes structure and story. I create new patterns or modify old ones to cut my design pieces. Then I start putting the pieces together. Very often, this involves a lot of frustration. I make false starts. I do things wrong and have to rip them out and redo them. Sometimes I throw everything away and start fresh. Eventually, I have a look. Then I choose how to accessorize it, enhance it. Sometimes it all requires research. Sometimes I need another pair of eyes for praise, criticism, or input. Sometimes I need help doing something I haven't tried before.

Finally, where there was nothing, there's suddenly something!

For those of you who create in the visual or performing arts, I don't know how much of this is relevant to you. But for those who have asked what my writing process is, go back and read that paragraph.

I always begin with a character. Like each doll I work with, my character becomes my muse. Everything I'm going to develop in terms of plot, setting, point of view, or theme, for example, is structured based on who that character is. Conflicts, career, relationships--these are how I accessorize and enhance my character. And writing has all the same frustrations: starting and restarting, deleting, talking through some snag with someone who understands my writing style. For each new work of fiction, I have to try new things, meet new challenges, to keep the process from feeling stale.

Finally, where there was nothing, there's suddenly something!

It's possible that I've begun to forgive myself for my year of not writing. It's possible that all this sewing and painting and photographing things were ways of refilling my creative well. It's been kind of crazy to have a fully-formed character in my head for several months now, to wake up thinking about her and figuring out more things about her life, to even talk about her and her story to other writers, and STILL not be writing. I guess she's just not posed right in front of me yet, looking SO FREAKING ADORABLE that I can't resist her.

Thanks to everyone who commented and e-mailed about my runway post from Monday. I do need to clear up something. I didn't make a lot of those clothes. They are vintage and new Mattel (or Mattel knock-offs). I'm going to put some thumbnails behind the cut of exactly what I did make. Because I'd never take credit for anyone else's work. Except maybe, you know, Tim's. ;)

1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16.

1. Anna Wintour's swing coat is from my 2008 final collection.
2. Anna Wintour's dress I made for the runway post
3. Tim Gunn's suit coat was made with oversight from Lynne (THANK YOU!)
4. Tori Spelling's dress was made for one of my thrift store rescue dolls
5. Miranda Priestly's dress I made for the runway post
6. Nina Garcia's dress I made for the runway post
7. Grace Coddington's dress and boots I made for the runway post
8. Barbie's coat is from my Edith Head collection
9. Barbie's blouse and skirt are from my Edith Head collection
10. Heidi Klum's dress was modified from a dress I made for a Barbie
11. Heidi Gunn's dress was made for the runway post
12. Barbie's dress is from my Easter frock collection
13. Barbie's dress is from my Easter frock collection
14. Barbie's dress is one I made for my Christina Aguilera doll
15. Blythe Mayfield is wearing a blouse from my Edith Head collection
16. Billie Myers is wearing a shirt from my Edith Head collection

The two Heidis' shoes were gifts to Timothy and me from Mark G. Harris.

The Hump Day Happy post will be up later! Thanks for your patience.


If you own any of the books in the opposite side bar and would like them signed, mail them to:
P.O. Box 924104
Houston, TX 77292
Please include three dollars for return postage. Thank you.

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