Bright & Busy – Personal Style Evolution & Art Inspiration

I’ve been working on a lot of commission work lately, so the other night I took some time to work on updating my own denim jacket. A close friend sewed me a new patch and I had a couple vintage patches I’ve been sitting on for a few years (yikes!) that really needed a new home. I love that jacket. I bought it for maybe $10 at Avalon Exchange in Oakland (Pittsburgh, PA) in maybe 2004. Memory is fuzzy about the nitty gritty (pointless) details, but I remember picking it up and seeing the moon and star buttons like it was yesterday. I have such distinct memories of combing the racks of that store. I was in an intense Morrissey phase at the time (some things never change, just evolve a bit), so I was on an obsessive mission to find the perfect denim jacket.

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Mega babe inspiration.

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My own patch in the middle I’m pretty proud of. Still so much space to explore and fill on this thing.

I’ve always been more inspired by quirky and outcast men’s fashions than super girly style. Not to say I look at a beautiful feminine aesthetic and cringe, it just isn’t my go-to ensemble. The days I go super femme, I am not being completely honest with myself. I am open to experimentation, but I feel most comfortable in jackets, t-shirts, jeans, and flannel.

Another one of my clothing inspirations is Ryan Adams. Something about him feels like home. I cannot explain it, but he speaks to me on many levels. I’m pretty sure his influence on my life is painfully overplayed. I have the tattoos to prove it. Sorry, guys (no, I’m definitely not).

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Ry at Newport Folk Festival, 2014, repping Terminator and the Canadian tuxedo.

Speaking of Ryan Adams, he shares a birthday with the late, great Gram Parsons. I’m sitting here sipping a glass of Riesling listening to The Guilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers. Let’s talk about Mr. Parsons and the Nudie Suit and a style I’m in the mood of not only emulating, but creating and adapting to my own art style, as well.

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Gram in the Nudie Cohn original design.

These bright and bold designs have me so inspired, people. I’ve always had this style subconsciously on my radar, but, lately, I am particularly drawn to the vivid beauty. I’m not saying I want to start sewing polyester suits, but I am saying I want to start upcycling some thrifted and vintage pieces with lucid designs that scream: “I’M ALIVE, MOTHERFUCKER!” I’ve also just heard of Manuel Cuervas. I’m woefully behind, man.

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Manuel Cuevas suits

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Jack White in Manuel Cuevas garb.

When I was a kid, there were two things I always said I wanted to be when I grew up: a cartoonist and a fashion designer. Why not combine the two?

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The Consumption!

I thought it might be cool to start perhaps a weekly / bi- weekly / monthly?? (dunno, still sussing this out) blog post about the books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, music I’m obsessing over, etc. (you get the idea).

I have been doing a lot of podcast-listening these days. Perhaps it’s an escapist thing given the current fuckery of the world. Not perhaps. That’s definitely it. Especially given the nature of the media I am consuming on the daily. Aliens. Bigfoot. Skinwalkers. Werewolves. Witchcraft. Mothman. GIMME ALL THE CRYPTO.

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Example: A handsewn Mothman patch I sent to my friend Angela

Current podcasts in heavy rotation:

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I love this misfit podcast. Jessica Chobot and Andrew Bowser highjack a corner of Nerdist studios and talk about weird shit, current events, bodily functions, and Junior Mints. They are at times irreverent and aimless, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s refreshing to hear people sit around and bullshit about subjects that some people take far too seriously. It reminds me of my friends and I in high school and college lounging around and discussing theories and possibilities of the universe.

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Recent obsession

The above, Astonishing Legends, I have been binging for the past week. They just wrapped up a four-part series about the Mothman. They also introduced me to the stories of Skinwalker Ranch. I am really surprised I had never heard of this place and the lore surrounding it, but I am now on a mission to read all the books referenced throughout the episodes about it. Speaking of books, this podcast is really great at sprinkling in really great reading suggestions for all-things-weird-obsessed folks like myself. Do check them out. I am also planning to start donating to their Patreon page which can be found here.

Current books I have lined up are in the same ilk as the above mentioned content (all of which I bought recently at a book sale to benefit the Mt. Wood Cemetery in Wheeling, WV).

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Mt. Wood Cemetery photo from Facebook event page

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Love Stephen King and this is a classic I didn’t have. Finally gonna get to read The Mist!

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Alien abduction. Need I say more?

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My friend Matt spotted this one. This is the real deal, y’all. (see below)

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Just in case…

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Thank god. I’ve always wondered.

Cool. This was fun!

On being well

Before I even launch into it, I’m listening to this Spotify mix called “Lush Vibes” and really blissing out. Check that shit out.

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Onward with the word vomit — I’ve been super swamped with sewing projects lately. A lot of commissions. Not complaining, believe me…it feels good to be pursued for my talents. But, damn, I have no time. Working 40 hours a week (and we’ve been BUSY), juggling household duties, my son back in school, etc. etc. has made it fairly challenging to squeeze in time in a day for the thing I actually enjoy doing. On top of that, I have gotten back into exercising regularly. Not that I hadn’t before, but I’m serious with it in that I am back to challenging myself, topping goals, getting higher reps, running faster and longer. I signed up for a Savage Race (I mean, shit, it’s not until next summer, but whatever) and I have this intense and renewed desire to just kick all the ass. Be the healthiest me. Feel super comfortable with how I look, yes, but also super confident with how well my body performs. And, of course, the ever present (but true) cliche of setting a good example for my kid.

With this renewed vigor for healthy living, I’ve been perusing instagram accounts and reading other people’s stories…because it’s just what you do. You look for someone that’s on a similar journey and you get inspired. It keeps you focused and motivated. I’ve noticed a lot of people into this beachbody thing. While I’m not solely in the business of weight loss, I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a part of the equation. I do see a lot of different types of girls, not just your typical “fitness model Barbie” basic chicks into this stuff. I see a lot of them do coaching and I’ve been researching it. Of course I’ve been intrigued. I’ve considered jumping on the bandwagon, but adding more to my plate right now seems fool hardy. Also, do I really want to push stuff on people? Not particularly. I am everyone’s counselor in my life though it seems and for that it intrigues me further. Basically, I haven’t ruled it out, but I still think it’s wise to focus my time mostly on keeping my head above water and getting this sewing thing on course.

I am aware I say it all the time, but I know I can’t do this full time corporate grind forever. I’m motivated and I’ll find my niche elsewhere eventually, I’m sure. Until then, I’ll just continue to vibe and live as fully as possible.

Listening with open eyes

A couple of days ago I spotted a lonely paintbrush on the ground. I was compelled to take a picture of it.

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Was it discarded on purpose? Maybe the guy painting the building facade across the street threw it at a passing car being driven by his archenemy. Maybe it was in someone’s back pocket and slipped out quietly to make a life all its own (I’m reminded of the Blur video “Coffee & TV”).

It was really the randomness of it that made me stop and take the photo. Or was it random? Is anything really random? I think that less so the deeper I dive into myself and my connection to my environment and the world and universe. Interconnectedness.

Later in the day my husband informed me he had finished painting the front porch. The same grey color that was on this outcast, little brush.

On the surface, I don’t think that it really means much. But it doesn’t make it any less fantastic about how, when tuned into the present moment, you can make a connection between just about anything. Therein lies the meaning, probably. What makes life worth showing up to every day. Wander. Wonder. The world is constantly speaking to us.

I’ve drawn some stuff lately that I plan to sew, too.

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I’ve carried many a torch in my life.

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One of my son’s ideas. Misspelling not intentional, obviously will be amended later.

A consistently encouraging friend of mine has been pushing me to apply for the arts festival again next year. I think I will listen and work towards that. That’s right. I’m going to listen. Less expectations, more openness. I’ve been letting it seep in my skin this year as much as I can.

 

 

Cats n’at

Ya know, I used to like Courage the Cowardly Dog…until my kid started watching it on Netflix. I’ve seen the episode where some apparition keeps saying “Return the slab!” about 4 million times. It’s on right now. Like, seriously, someone stab my ear canals, please.

Got a lot done around the house today. My front porch looks immaculate. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but it does look pretty nice for the time being. Scrubbed some more on the back deck. Cicadas were dive bombing me the entire time. Once those fuckers have started mating, the males are particularly aggressive. Look, I am not a tree, and I am not your mate. I think you guys are cool. You don’t scare me, but back the shit off. Get away from my face.

I’ve started work on a new patch. A while back I made a patch called “Meow-issey” of Morrissey as a cat.

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I told myself I was going to start a series of musicians as cats. Because, why not? My newest venture is a Robert Smith cat patch. Will probably add a felt backing to it once it’s complete.

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I’ve had the striped fabric forever. But, recently my kid and I experimented with some tie dye, so I added the purple to mix it up a bit. I am pleased with myself for 1) delving a little deeper into full stitching…not just making outlines like I did when I first started embroidery. It’s cool to see how I’ve progressed; and 2) that I am sewing this new patch on a colored fabric instead of white or light colored. When I was just focused on the outline, it was kind of hard to do it on anything but a white background. Growth and stuff, man. I’m getting better.