A fellow artist was working on a manikin for an exhibit, so, of course, I was interested. She wound up calling me for advice on using photos on a dress, so I gave a few ideas. I asked if they have any more manikens and need more artists. I contacted Dan Regan of the Art Reborn: 100 Mannequins project. I drove an hour to pick up my manikin. Also got to see his incredible home /studio and completed manikens all over, inside and out. A real treat.
Use vintage materials was my first thought. I draped a hankie bodice and hankie skirt. Love the bodice. I then tried it with a doily skirt but didn’t like that.
Not sure why I changed direction but decided I wanted to use my badass vest.
I had bought the vest at a Salvation Army for $7. The leather details were trim from an old pocketbook, garage sale of course. The back loop is a garage sale necklace with vintage jet arrows at each corner. Love the vest for a girl with an edge.
Then the whole biker babe idea emerged. I went to the thrift store and immediately found a black tee, pants and a leather skirt – it was meant to be. I cut the skirt to a mini, it was below the knee. I ordered grommets, grommeted, and then came up with the fringe idea. I had leather strips that someone had given me.
I embellished the tee with an image I had cut from another tee years ago. Then I cut the sleeves. The pants fit perfectly but looked too good so I slashed the knees and added zipper detail to the sides.
The lace arm cuffs were taken from shirt sleeves. I used scraps of leather for the leather bracelet with fringes hanging and then wrapped silver chains for the other bracelet. I had an old bandana for her head. Debated if I should find a wig but decided bald was ok. The earrings were mine, loved them but the post was broken so I recycled. Her necklace/dogtags I got at a flea market years ago. Someone was selling baggies full of old &/or broken jewelry for $1. My daughter and I each bought 3 bags. To this day I’m sorry I didn’t buy them all. It was so much fun sorting through it and discovering the treasures. They have been used in many mixed media pieces.
I thought she should hold a motorcycle helmet so I went to Buy Nothing on Facebook and asked if anyone had one. Someone said they just donated it to the Center for Compassion thrift store. Also at this point, I noticed her bare feet and figured she needed motorcycle boots. Off I went to the thrift store in Dover, NY. Great store. I bought the helmet even though I thought it was too big and heavy, it was worth a try. It was too big and heavy. Then I thought I could put it on the base but it was too big, so, no helmet.
Anyway, I looked at boots and liked these fringed booties so I got them. I intended to paint them black but by the time I got home, I decided I liked and needed the color.
Nothing is ever easy, even though it did seem to come together.
When I got the maniken the base spike did not fit the maniken, it was too big. I got 2 other people involved (thank you) and 4 stores. Apparently, the manikin is American and the stand is metric! My landlord wound up grinding it down for me and it worked.
Challenge 2 was to get the shoe on her foot with the spike. That meant drilling a hole in the shoe to go over the spike. That took a bit of doing. I have limited tools so I used what I had. I needed to do about 5 holes through 2” heels! Not something I thought about when I bought the shoes. Then trying to get it over her foot and spike took perseverance (and frustration).
I love the way she came out, maybe just a little too cliché.
She’s off on tour now, hopefully being admired.
She’ll be in New City, NY Oct.8, 9, 10. Don’t have a schedule yet of where she’s going. Paramus mall around the holidays. My art always seems to be an adventure, problem-solving and learning new things.