One very hot summer day back in 2009 - August 29th to be exact - I took a pair of Mel’s jeans and decided to transform them into artsy jeans, for me. With pen in hand, I attempted to bleach, cut, and tear not planning an outcome, but bleach, cut and tear I continued. The bleach pen and other household items were trendy tools, in art, at the time. Bleach pens are far cheaper at the dollar store. While I was there I spied a rubberized mat for the kitchen sink. I purchased it to use as a stencil in art instead. (The dollar store can be an inexpensive “artist’s date”, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, for unique finds, as long as you limit the amount you buy of course.) Curious about the reaction of bleach to fabric I set up outside in the sun, on this glorious day, ready to play at creating some artsy jeans.
Fast forward six years to December 2015 and it was only when I saw the call, “Something Worth Saying”, inside Altered Couture magazine I decided it was time to finalize this project once and for all. That’s the great thing about researching calls or challenges; they can motivate you to reach the finish line and complete a UFO (unfinished object) or a project you started but didn’t quite know how to finish, until you connected with the call for submission.
During the years in between 2009-2015 I wore my jeans a half a dozen times but always felt I needed to do more work on them. I carefully put aside scraps of fabric and embellishments I wanted to audition for my jeans. I knew the right side to be the feminine side representing me, so I used beads, organza ribbon formed into a heart shape and colours I adore. The left side, the masculine, I wanted to represent Mel, so I used his silk ties and the stencil replicating buildings/architecture which is Mel’s background.
My creative practise is a meditation of sorts. I feel conscious at times and then I lost in a meditation at other times. I never force anything or move it faster toward completion. Never. When I have a deadline or something I want to try to submit, I don't create something just for the sake of submitting. When nothing surfaces or sparks my creativity I don’t worry about submitting, and move on to my next idea.
It is as though everything I work on has it’s own time and it always lets me know it too. An idea or concept can take me up to six months to create and complete. I like to have a space for every single project I am working on, but with all the ideas running around in my head plus very limited space this is an ambitious idea I only try to keep pace with moving from one project to another.
Slow is how I go. Ideas and concepts can percolate for many months before experiencing the eureka moment when it finally dawns on me what needs doing next. When I have my projects spread out I glance over them intermittently over days and weeks while working on something else simultaneously. This meditation or slow process often will show me where the certain piece of paper or ephemera or perfect embellishment, unknown to me until that very moment, is hiding.
These jeans are the longest I have ever worked on any one project. The process of their coming to life took the time that was needed to bring them forth. The song lyrics were on them from the start and my hand-writing took me ages to embrace. They remind me of a clown pants for some reason. I can’t believe I am even describing my beloved pants in this way.
My artsy jeans feel so good when I put them on. They are baggy and comfortable and with a pink silk, flowered scarf, wrapped around the twice rolled down waist I dream a dream I once dreamed of a dancing ballerina. I feel so fulfilled firstly that I stuck with the project and changed it over time and that I actually finished them. Why they took me so long to complete I hope to uncover sooner rather than later.