Monday, October 12, 2009


Auditions were held on September 29 and 30 from 7-8pm in the lighting studio of the Shaffer Art building at Syracuse University.

Finding the right performers for the show is crucial for the development of my project. I wanted to make captivating posters to attract the right people to come out for auditions. I used photos of my past work to help visually explain my thesis topic. On September 22 I put up a total of 60 posters on both main and south campus, the Warehouse, the Schine Student Center, Crouse, Schaffer, Syracuse Stage, HBC, the Hall of Languages… you name it, I put a poster there. In addition to advertising with posters, I was given the opportunity to present my project to Syracuse’s drama students at their weekly class meeting (lab) held on Wednesday. I was able to pass around a signup sheet and had about 30 students who expressed interest in the show.

Gallery 'XL Projects' Confirms for April 2010 Opening

XL Projects opened during the spring of 2009 and is Syracuse University’s newest art exhibition space. Andrew Havenhand is on the board of XL Projects and coordinates the exhibition calendar. Olivia suggested that I submit a proposal to have Metanoia open at the gallery. I first contacted Andrew in June to inquire about space availability. After emailing throughout the summer, we finally met at XL Projects on September 3. I showed him my proposal booklet and pitched the project to him. He was very excited.

At the end of September I got confirmation from Andrew that Metanoia will have it’s opening at XL Projects in April (exact date still being determined). Metanoia will be the first fashion/performance show at XL Projects. It’s a great space and its central location in Armory Square is perfect for the opening show.

Material Studies 4 - Dye test samples

Materials inspire me and in the middle of September I hit a roadblock because I had no fabric to work with. I figured it was about time I made a trip to the garment district in New York City. It was my first time shopping for fabric in New York and it was a little overwhelming. I knew I needed fabric, but didn’t know what color or kind. My fist day roaming the streets of the garment district was a flop; I got samples but didn’t buy anything. On the second day I came up with a plan, I was going to buy all white fabrics and do dye tests when I returned to Syracuse. This turned out to be a great idea. I’ve dyed fabrics in the past but never got this involved.

Olivia Robinson, my mentor for the project, suggested I keep a notebook during my dye tests. I kept a record of the weight of dye powders, salt, soda ash, water and weight of goods used for each dye bath. This way I could slightly vary my dye baths without repeating any colors. I purchased a total of 12 white fabrics, 10 cellulosic fiber woven (silk, linen, cotton) fabrics and 2 protein fiber (wool) basket/novelty weaves. For 9 dye baths I used fiber reactive dyes for the cellulose fabrics. I was amazed how each swatch took differently to the dye. It was inspirational to achieve so many different colors with just one dye bath. This was a great exercise for me and I’m leaning towards dying my final fabrics so I can control the colors I have to use. I plan to continue experimenting with more samples.

Material Studies 3 - Shredded silk encased in glass

I’ve always wanted to experiment with fabric encased in glass. I’ve had a friend for 6 years who blows glass in Ithaca, NY at Buttermilk Studios, an independently owned glass blowing studio. For two days my friend Alix and I played with the concept of permanently sealing finely cut up silks into Pyrex glass tubes. After a few trials with rounded shapes and ‘donut’ shapes, we discovered the best method for sealing in the silk was using ¼ inch diameter tubes. I think the finished samples we ended up with look great and I’d like to keep experimenting with this idea.

Material Studies 2 - Developing new folds

After completing the folding sample with silk, I challenged myself to create 50 folds to experiment with new ways that my folded forms could open and close. Here are 15 of the folds. I’m still working on this.

Material Studies 1 - Creating Fabric & Transforming Folds

A technique that I’ve used for years is creating my own fabric using finely cut pieces of silk fabrics sewn with water soluble stabilizers. In this experiment I used squares of my handmade fabric to create interesting folds that when opened reveal the hidden silk squares.

Back to the drawing board

After 8 months away from Syracuse, I was a little apprehensive to return. So much had happened during my time off and I wasn’t sure how I was going to adjust to being back in school. Many of my friends had graduated while I was away and I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to jump right in to my project.

I knew that I needed to create a great work space for myself to be as productive and happy as I was during my time off. Luckily, I was returning to an apartment that I had been living in for two years and it was easy to transform my old room into a studio space. I now have four cork boards on my walls, each serving as an inspiration board for individual costume ideas I have. I make sure to change them every two weeks as my concepts progress.

Compiling Concepts

In November 2008, I proposed the idea of having my own show to the fashion department. By the end of my fall 2008 semester it was approved and became a reality. Leaving Syracuse that December was so exciting for me – I was taking the spring 2009 semester off to begin work on my thesis and travel. From December 16 until June 6 I traveled around the country visiting family and friends, working for a band on their national tour, and enjoying the end of spring in Philadelphia. From June 6 until August 22 I lived full time in Philadelphia, interning for the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the costume and textiles department.

Even though I was busy traveling and working during my 8 months off, I was continuously developing concepts for my show. My experiences during those months directly influenced my brainstorming and designing process. As May came to an end I compiled all the work I had done into a proposal booklet. I wanted this booklet to serve as a communication tool for me to use with my professors and fellow students who I wanted to involved in my project. Having a booklet to present my ideas was the best way to display the months I spent collecting ideas and designs. I used this booklet to speak with my mentor, Olivia Robinson, Dean of VPA Anne Clark, gallery Coordinator Andrew Havenhand, my fashion professor Jeff Mayer, my production manager Tim Westbrook, and many of my peers. This booklet was a helpful tool for me in working out my ideas and pitching my project.

Click link to download PDF of proposal booklet.