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Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

13 Jul 2018 1:38 PM | Joan Berner

For the last four years, I have participated in the Asheville Community Theater's fund raising fashion show.  Categories are chosen every year and your garment must be made in the media/theme.  The category that I chose and was accepted into this year was HARDWARE.  (yes you can laugh now).  I entered with my husband Keith to help with the metal fabrication and components.  

Other year's projects/themes included:  nature - yards and yards of ecoprinted materials when I had never ecoprinted before, artist inspired - Monet - skirt out of yards and yards of of fishing line crocheted with colored beads to give the impression of color, and paper - taking patterned tissue pattern, cutting it up and then weaving the design into yardage.

There are many similarities within this odd group of projects:

1. I always hit a horrid snag in execution of each of these designs, something I was sure would work but doesn't.

2.  I loose my vision and how to make it work within the category (I am often too narrow in thinking of my options).

3. I panic in trying to figure out the path forward - a little crying and stepping back to take time to explore options.

4.  And finally it comes to me and it works out.  I look at magazines, the internet, image galleries until something just sparks.  

Despite all of the angst involved with this - I love this show.  I am so interested in how other designers see the category.  Personally it causes me to think in very different ways and pushes me to be both creative in the interpretation of the topic and to deliver solutions for working with materials I have never worked with before.  The technical challenges in working with materials that I have never used are often built from what I do know and adapt to these unusual starting materials.  It is amazing how much it has opened my mind to alternative solutions with uncommon tools, equipment and techniques.

This year's project was to be made from items to be purchased in a hardware store.  It starts like any other project - surveying the store to see what is available.  You begin to think what pattern will I use, how will the materials be fastened together, will it be too thick, too heavy, how will I "sew" them together.  We used duct tape , rivets, eyelets, wire jump rings, wire, sheet metal and washers and parts from strainers.  

Photo by Grace Puffer, Model Sarah Johns

Sarah really sold the garment on the runway and did a terrific job.  It won first place in the category and is hanging  in the Bellagio Every Day window in downtown Asheville until the 21st.

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Asheville, NC 28801

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