In an effort to hone my skills I have started a series of projects inspired by and created for people I know and love.
The first item in this series was inspired by and created for Alicia. She had recently taken up a hobby of cultivating orchids. And I wanted to create a bright and colorful sweater or jacket that prominently featured orchids. Something that would be suitable for chilly spring mornings or evenings.
I realized right away there was a daunting variety of orchids of every shape and hue, and my first idea was to cover a sweater in an evenly spaced print of every type I could find, so that no orchid was repeated twice. This was my first visualization:
I realized I would have to do some painstaking handwork to make something like this, and also would be mixing the dyes quite a bit more than ever before to get all the variety of hue. I began to think this would be beyond my abilities. I decided I should pick a color theme and limit it to only a few different shades. I think Alicia looks best in either coral or turquoise. I also realized that the orchids had beautiful, abstract patterns in their centers when they were reduced to their outlines and blown up to a large size. For example:
Instead of featuring the full flowers I decided to use oversized segments of the flowers in a more abstracted way. I found a pattern on Burda’s site for a long sweater that I thought would work well for this project, and shopped up two different versions.
I liked the turquoise better. I designed a back for it and then got to work cutting out the pieces and hand-dying them with the orchids. Here’s a piece of the pattern ready to be dyed on my heliodesk:
Here are all the pattern pieces hanging up to dry after the dying:
And here’s the final product:
I’ve asked her to send along a picture of her wearing it. Hopefully I can post that soon.