Making of a silk dress with a wing painted on it.
With dye in color blue black.
Realistic feathers placed unrealistically.
A long story told as is.
By artist/escapist Yuko Nagai, currently Miss Sore Thumb in a rural Japanese town
who rambles about random stuff as well.
Read on.
Thank you.

February 27, 2008

portrait of who the h*ll-2

season's greetings from webmaster:
plum blossom-spring's just around the corner

then comes the guessing game

something i did a while back from
a photo on computer screen

can you tell who this is (supposed to be)?

hint: she's an actress and is no longer living

additionally, on march 4th, '08
(big) hint2 :
she was photographed being carried out of court room, charged heavily for a rather small offence. the photo became very well-known.
the drawing was from one of the photos of her another (short) stay in jail.
(i am trying to locate the original photo in webspace)

February 25, 2008

photo friday: doing strange things in the name of art...

In the Name of Art

this week's photo friday challenge is: art

shot at the "geisai" art fest back in march 2006
tokyo, japan

he was from one of the participating performance art teams
all in white with a tall head set he had to remove to use a restroom
aimed my camera at him while he was putting it back on

he sat pretty for me

February 24, 2008

wing dress update: making of the dye swatch #1

on today's post
i am going to show (off) the
painting process for a dye swatch

dye swatches are test pieces
before moving on to paint on
the real thing.....
(eg. clothing to be made)


the outcome may look pretty different from
how it looks while painting
even the "feel" of dye absorption
varies with each color

can't tell from looking how dark it will come out
until the whole procedure's over
put too much dye on it and
it'll end up looking like an overexposed photograph

but need not be freaked
so what, if it gets a little screwy
that's what the swatches are for

where i left off the last time
design's traced with a blue pen with
fade-with-moist ink
fabric is stretch silk satin, using the wrong side to paint

outline with regular painting brush
using just a few hairs at its point

outline all done

switch to a flat-tipped, traditional brush
and test on few feathers

then give the whole thing a general shading treatment

still a bit more..

see how the application is uneven and
the look blotchy

smooth it out a bit with the above flat brush
use it almost dry

now that the shading is even enough
i decided to add some clean edge to each feathers

will look more feathery that way, trust me

using the pointy brush,

....and after

circled is the area i worked on

now it looks like this

hmmmm, a bit more punchy, perhaps

spicing it up with the flat
hold it almost vertically to
push dye particles into grain

done, i said

the procedure to follow-steam setting-
may shrink the fabric
since it is the first time using this particular roll (of fabric)
i marked the measurement, will compare when all is done

one issue:
tracing with a felt-tipped pen
may not be a great idea for this design

although the pen ink will fade when wet enough
outlining with lightly-dipped, fine-tipped brush
doesn't do the trick hence confusing double lines

i decided to try something different for
the swatch #2

done for today!

phew, long post.....
thanks for reading

(((a smile of gratitude)))

February 21, 2008

photo friday: tried, tired but true

this week's photo friday theme: infinity

tried and tired as it may be
i could not resist assciating "infinity"
with ocean, yet again

this one, shot in april 2002
in a place called atami, japan
half-way deserted hot spring leisure land of the mid century

with a single-use, underwater camera
it gives some warp in the view
especially when used out of water

February 20, 2008

wing dress update: preparing the fabric for dye swatches...

happy full moon, everybody

what i am posting today is the procedure
one must go through
before moving forward to actually
painting on the fabric using fabric dye

fabrics, usually, are treated
with some kind of starch
to make them look the way they look
when displayed at the store

and that substance may/ would prevent from
having dye sink into fabric grain

cast of characters

several chemicals to help releasing the starch from
fabric grain evenly

that's one big pot, you may say
no, i ain't gonna boil your kitty do not worry

(please be noted: this is an animal friendly blog)

the fabric is
stretch silk satin in ivory white
purchased in down town los angeles garment district
can't find any (stretch silk) in tokyo

-if you happen to know where (in japan), please do let me know-

heat water to appx. 60c (about 140f)
dissolve 2 chemicals
and dip fabric slowly

and poke it around with that
long wooden thing once in a while

leave it like that for about 2hrs then
rinse off the chem with
plenty of water

my apology to the environment
i'll make it up for that someplace else

traditionally, the kind of ink used to trace designs is
from a plant called asiatic dayflower
color of the ink is blue, but will fade in time or when moistened

the one i use is synthetic tho

before cutting the fabric i must somehow
straighten the fabric grain

i usually just align it to a ruler and
steam iron (at not too high heat)

one of my wing drawings....

see the square, marked in the middle?
that's from when i made a pencil drawing

fabric cut and
in process of tracing the pattern

traced and
ready for action

next, i will be painting in the feathers
using dye in blue black

when worn, i'm sure
crows will befriend me

post photo friday post: this was what that was

they were setting up plastic tabels
for a fireworks festival planned that evening
tama river-side in chofu, tokyo, japan
august 2005

those were the reserved seats, but
i was able to view it from my window
just fine
as you see below

February 15, 2008

photo friday: what is that, really???

this week's photo friday challenge has been: "what is that?"

of course i am not telling (((smirk)))

(well, what do you think?)

i'm just gonna leave you guessing and
go lay my chocolaty head down
sweet dreams....

February 8, 2008

wing dress update: preparing for dye swatches

wing dress project, inching forward

today, i post the progression of
pencil drawings for fabric dye swatch preparation!

meaning, that,
before i start messing with fabrics
i make pencil drawing samples to
give myself a little idea on how to proceed

because, you see,
once on the fabric,
you can't really ponder
swift move will ensure you the
nice, clean finish

i can ponder all i want in
every other dept. of my life
(and i would, too)
not while on a fabric dyeing mission

so this is where i left off the last time

warm up with some general shading....

and let it get darker....

and darker.....

....til i kinda feel "done"

another one, also kinda done

what do i mean by "kinda done"?

well, it feels like i need to spice up
something amiss, i say

so i opted for
slightly notching up by
darkenning wider area
hard to see, i know but
it's there, the difference

in a practical sense, with these drawings
i didn't have to go this detailed
but i did, just so i'd feel a bit more encouraged
and motivated
to endure a still long process ahead

next step: painting on fabric swatches

February 7, 2008

photo friday: misty morning railroad

this week's photo friday challenge is: misty

taken sometime in early '80s
my take on gordon lightfoot-ish wandering hobo sentiment
or maybe not
20 plus years later now, the place, of course,
don't look like that any longer

February 5, 2008

sending birthday wishes to literary heaven

first of all

i posted a portrait of an actor on my last post
and guess what?

ms. jan guessed it right!!!

yes it's donald sutherland
i am so delighted-thankyu jan!
she turns out to be an excellent artist
you can view her work at her site

next subject

feb. 5th marks the birthday of....

above: jean genet, william burroughs, allen ginsberg at
democratic convention, chicago 1968
photograph by jill krementz

bill burroughs would have turned 94 today

as i wandered about in webspace
i stumbled onto this very fun thing

"cut up engine v2.0"
enter whatever you wish to
and walla!!
digital age, stress free cut up
in a matter of seconds

to commemorate the birth of
i've thrown the url of this blog into the cut-up machine
what you see below is the jewel of my
"walla" experiment, ha ha ha.....

"art process
in mind
at the conception of the

not bad, eh?

February 3, 2008

a portrait of who the 'ell?

drawn from a picture of an actor
about 12yrs ago

oh how time flies

i ain't tellin who the dude is
but you can guess right and
blow me away

tomorrow we are expecting the
first snow of the winter

February 1, 2008