Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello Crewel World...

I quite desparately wanted to look normal when meeting the relatives in Perth, and hunted high and low to find summer tops that covered the heavy ink on my upper arms. I found a couple of cotton/linen tops in a chain store and wore one for a day or so, then started to customise.  More than once I asked myself what I was thinking when I cropped it to just above the hip bone - I think it was a reaction to all the longer lines around. I have a long body, short legs and a pear shape, and tend to get weighed down by mid hip lengths. 

The embroidery started with cross stitch on all the hems and then carried on to flowers.  As I worked I remembered the jeans I did back in 1991 (images of sitting at The Tapas Bar in Johnson Street embroidering them while I was still wearing them).  The jeans went to my friend Ariad, who took them to Queesland.  Ten years later I bumped into writer and emerging arts advocate Sally Breen at a regional arts conference in Albury -  she noticed my Alexander McQueen rip-off suit covered in liquid paper insults and subsequently commissioned ten cross stitch pieces for a show called "Celebrity" with the ARC collective on the Gold Coast.  Many drinks and half a manuscript later Sal and I joined up the dots... she'd bought my embroidered Levis from Ariad way back in the days of West End grunge.

The blouse was embroidered in time for Christmas morning, and decorated with a little red leather wren brooch from The Den in Fremantle.  It was still too short, but I wore a knit dress underneath and was almost content.  Yesterday I found a broad tan leather belt and things got a whole lot more interesting.  I am half-way through sewing the cut-off piece of linen into a tie that will pull the blouse flat across the belly, gather it prettily at the back and finish in a broad bow. I am, as usual, time travelling.  And regretting all the floor length full skirts I've piffed in  earlier attempts at normalising my wardrobe.

I have a commission for the next blouse.  Guess the Elizabethan bed spread and four poster curtain project will have to wait.


  1. I love your embroidery Char. And I remember the flower power jeans well. I swapped them with Sally for a jacket, which I later sold and found again on a road side near Cooktown hanging out the door of a travellers car.
    I said to the travelers 'that is my jacket' and after looking at me oddly the girl traced it back to where she bought it...and so the circularity continues.

  2. Thanks Ariad. Funny power in some garments ay.
    Now I'm remembering Justin's bad bad cowboy boots - the ones that had once belonged to the Australian Marlboro Man. They got Justin locked up on a regular basis, so he gave them to me. I'd go out in them and rarely come back...until my father got hold of them and put them on a bonfire. And that was that. Until the next magic garment came along.