Destiny and I are DELIGHTED to announce that this is our 100th POST! To mark that amazing occasion, we thought we’d talk about how we collaborated on a particular design. For me, running my ideas past Destiny, and vice versa, is one of the best things about doing Sassy Feet! Her artist’s eye and her 27-year-old’s in-your-face sense of style work surprisingly well with my inborn sassy attitude and out-of-the box thinking, which has survived 60 years of life trying to get me to obey the rules. (Not gonna happen, except for speed limits.)
Destiny and I have a booth at the upcoming fashion show of my wonderful wearable-art group, nicknamed PenWAG (if you’re curious, click the link), so we have both been making altered shoes, purses and t-shirts. I have a stash of slightly used (or new) purses I’ve gotten from thrift stores, and I chose this one to work on, as it had a nice flattish surface for embellishing. I knew the odd spattering (of paint?) on the front wouldn’t matter, as I was going to paint over it.
I had some particular embellishments in mind — my favorites, as a matter of fact: some oversize mesh roses, a vintage watch face or two (I bought a lot of these a couple of years ago), some sample pieces of chain mail, and little wooden gears I’d found on etsy that I’d embossed to look like rusty metal.
I painted the purse with Lumiere in Halo Pink Gold, then pressed the embellishments on with earthquake putty to see how they’d look. My wife, who’s also an artist, suggested stacking other, smaller embellishments on top, which I did. The result was… unsatisfying. The design didn’t quite work, though I didn’t know why. Here’s a photo of the purse at this point.
It was time to ask Destiny for help!
Steampunk is one of my most favorite styles. I love the contrast when furturistic sci-fi meets Victorian industry. Plus the sense of fantasy the style has: airships, ray guns, wings, cogs and gears. It really speaks to me. When Margot showed me her design plan, I was intstantly excited at the idea of watch faces, metal mesh roses, and interlocking gears. But a couple things struck me as out of place.
As much as I love Halo Pink Gold, I knew it wasn’t quite right for this. Much too clean, pristine and bright. I suggested that maybe Margot wanted to “tarnish” the paint job. Maybe a black rub, or some brown dappled splatters. My eyes wanted the surface to look more like the color and texture of the gears.
The next thing I wanted to tweak just a bit was Margot’s placement of the gears. I think I am allergic to symmetry (in most cases). I liked the idea of something hanging down off one strap, but I thought it would cover too many of the embellishments, positioned as they were, so I rearranged the pieces underneath the opposite strap. In my mind I had a picture of an interesting layout where the gears looked like they were actually interlocked and turning at some point.
Margot had brought a few scraps of chain mail with her, so I placed them up near the dangling ribbon, because, well, what design couldn’t use a little chain mail? We took photos of our changes so Margot could reference them later. It’s a good idea to do this when designing because you always think you will remember what you did. But, you won’t. I promise you.
The trick was to not rub the paint on too thick — we wanted the rosy gold background color to still show through. I kept a paint rag and clear water handy to immediately “erase” places where I’d gotten the paint too black. I also decided to paint the handles of the purse black. Here’s the result.
Much more vintage looking! I then decided to ignore Destiny’s suggestion of spattering some brown paint over the rubbed-on black.
At this point, things were looking pretty good, and I pinned the chain mail in place. Hmm. It wasn’t quite right. Time to ask Destiny’s opinion again. I took this photo and emailed it to her.
I thought the gears looked so cool on top of the tarnished golden paint job, but I could see what Margot meant about it needing “something else.” My eyes were immediately drawn to the bright red roses, which were a great color contrast, but not a great texture contrast. I suggested maybe using a little StazOn ink to add a light vintage touch to them as well.
I loved the pop of color so much, I thought it needed some red on the dangling embellishments, too. I wasn’t sure what to use, but maybe tinting the lighter piece of chain mail with StazOn would work or finding a lush piece of red ribbon. I knew Margot would figure it out!
I wasn’t so sure about messing with those nice big one-of-a-kind mesh roses, which I’d found on etsy, but I do have StazOn remover (they call it “All-Purpose Cleaner“), so I figured, what the heck. It looked good!The same thing happened when I dabbed a cotton ball on to the stamp pad of StazOn‘s Black Cherry and pressed it onto the lighter-toned chain mail. Nice! That girl, I thought to myself, knows what she’s doing!!