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.

March 31, 2008

photo friday: blue belle

Beauty Queen of Downtown LA

this week's photo friday challenge: emotions

found her in downtown LA
garment district

today i will
stay mute
so that
she can
do the talking

March 23, 2008

photo friday: i found a rabbit

Triple Bunny for Easter

this week's photo friday challenge: found objects

i pick a lot
i mean
pick things up
things like this

(started to sound like a poem)

from among many "finds"
i chose my purple bunny
with a missing ear

my tribute to the holiday
some of you are celebrating
just about now

(happy easter to you)

this rabbit was "discovered" on a beach
not too far from tokyo called

the place has
fun beach-town vibe with god-awful water
but findings are oft. quite interesting

(abrupt) end of the
beach debris poem

(((rabbity grin)))

March 20, 2008

wingdress progress: touching-up on swatches

been a while since i last posted on
my "wing dress" project

previously, i
painted on 2 small swatches with fabric dye,
then sent them off for steam-setting

they returned and
as you see on the below stripy photo,
i am ready for the next task
which is---
washing off the excess dye and
touching up with pigment ink that is,
if needed

1. this is how i sent them off
paper between 2 swatches
then folded with another layer of paper.....
then into a plastic bag

call me miss precaution but
at this stage, these pieces are very

2. soft tooth brush
of the brand dentists recommend but
that ain't an essential factor

3. a bottle of chemical to keep the dye away from
where it shouldn't be
ie. unpainted area of the fabric

4. a notebook filled with
knows and hows i collected over
7yr period

5. vats originally for photo developing
from 1982-perrrfect for this purpose
some call me a pack-rat, well, look...

(told you i may use it for "something" one day)

6. i certainly am a "pick-rat"
a beach rock in a shape of
a person's profile

below: the next step

i started with the paler swatch
gently place it in solution
of water and #3 chemical

luckily, they both
had almost no excess dye
if there're any, such excess dye would
leave the fabric and dissolve into solution

gently move it about and
soak for 10 minutes

10 minutes later
see, the solution still clear
good sign

then comes the toothbrush

that's cutting board propped inside
a vat, and
running shower water at low pressure

geeently brush the dyed surface
so as to remove the above-mentioned excess

like a sun-baking couple on the beach...

in fact, when drying these,
avoid the direct sunlight and most importantly,

dry flat!

now's the fun time

touching up with pigment-type fabric paint
(mixed black and blue)

i decided to darken a bit, partially
just to see if the paint would change the fabric's texture

pigment may make the material coarse
but is easy to treat

i circled the area i worked on although
it is hard to tell from these pics....

the particular paint i used takes 3 days to dry
then to iron set and soak in
"fix" chemical solution

after that, no more painting/ dyeing
"fix" is the final...

while waiting for the paint to dry,
somehow my plan expanded
from one dress into
4 outfits...

another long post
thanks for reading


March 18, 2008

photo friday: forever now


this week's photo friday challenge is: the good life

occasionally i take videos of just some
motion of things and such, holding my breath
for about a minute or so

why hold breath?
because usually my tripod is not with me

(hence the human tripod!)

under such circumstances i seldom failed to be
soooo amazed at just how long a minute feels like
makes me wonder
what's the matter with my
usual "where did the time go" stuff...

it's good when
a minute feels like forever...

March 14, 2008

power lines: above or under???

i heard it through the blogsphere vine
about power lines in u.k., that
they are buried and outtasight

it got me thinking
and thinking
of many disorganized thoughts
re. power lines!

since i never seem to arrive at
no conclusive wisdom
i opted for...


of the 3 places i've lived so far
all of them have them above ground

pic.#1 tokyo
shot in shinbashi, the place where
suit-clad gents get drunk, get down
sometimes down on the ground

but lines are looking almost poetic
against late summer sunset

pic. #2 california
this is,
sun valley
in los angeles county

can't remember how it was in city area but
i do recall peeing on phone poles
(my dog, not me)
so they must be there, above ground

are they above ground in mid town los angeles?

pic.#3 north east japan
the below pics were taken in the place called
a bit further north from my current residence

on a back street lined with a bit seedy-lookin bars
during the day

you know how those places look under daylight

i think this is the most anarchic display of
power installation i have ever seen

chaos and disorder
functional disorder, i guess

and plastic flowers caught on them

how is it in your town,
above or under?

additional note on march 18, '08:
check out ms. bluerose's power line post (where you can view lines at her end) here!

March 10, 2008

photo friday: dream pool, burning cross

Burning Cross

this week's photo friday challenge: surreal

the above photo is from my "underwater" series
taken in a swimming pool using a throw-away camera
(in fact, they recycle)
sometime around 2000
took me 5 more yrs to "discover" them

i've taken quite a few rockin picks this way


decided to reveal a tip of the icecberg
here, today
risking potential idea-theft

(...please don't)

cos yu know, never know what tommorrow may bring
in fact, as they say, tommorrow may never come...

March 9, 2008

few things really worth a mention (so read on, baby!)

my attempt at...
what? hallmark-ing my image?

yah pretty much

happy spring to those of you
on northern half of the planet

today i am sort of inarticulate
but there still are
few things worth the mention regardless (wmr hereafter)

the last guessing game i posted
the lady portrayed was

miss francis farmer

original photo that i could not find
was taken during her brief arrest in
antioch, california

thank you all for
taking time to guess...
(it was too obscure, my fault)

on my "photo friday" photo few weeks back

ms. bluerose9062 had guessed it right
belated, but i wanted to mention
she has her blog "metamorphosing" up and running
where you can find unique photos and manipulated images...
you can also view her photos here

(my favorite is this)

my thankyu to all as well...

an artist who doesn't need me to promote his work
but hey, it's hard not to for several reasons

today i don't really care about
my such reasons
i'd just say,
the intent, the quality and
the spirit of experimentation
won my heart



March 4, 2008

wing dress update: struggle with the second dye swatch

another looong post

on my last post, i painted on the first dye swatch
material was silk satin

for the second swatch (i post today)
i use a different fabric
silk knit, a bit like thin tee-shirt material
only has more weight, and is more fluid
hangs nicely on ya

firstly, tracing
i am trying something different from
what i did on the first swatch

trace the drawing onto
light/ thin paper

then pin swatch fabric onto the paper
lit them up from beneath with lightbox

trace the pattern using fabric dye and fine point brush

for the last one i used a marker which created an issue

half way through i admitted,
(it's) hard to see

fabric has some weaving (natural-for-knit) unevenness
and only with lightbox light source, it gets mixed up with the pattern

quite confusing, as you see below
(can yu tell?)

solved that with desk lamp

now i arrived at the starting point
feathers outlined faintly

and below (pencil drawing) is the pre-determined goal

using the flat-tipped brush
started from the upper left corner
just to see the feel of it-never used this material before

then using the same brush,
the general shading

darken the upper-left
one step further

starting to realize this fabric is not
absorbing the dye as the first swatch did

not liking what i see....

re-outline with the fine-tipped brush
on upper-right you see
a tissue paper covering the surface

since the dye's not absorbed too well
meaning its particles just sitting on the surface in some places
i didn't want to move them around by chance
with my right hand while painting

it pays to pay extra caution like that, for if i didn't
fine dye particles may appear in black dots later on
on places i didn't intend them to
it'll be a post-procedure surprise

darkened and sharpened and
still not liking it all that much.....

began to realize
doing more may not be the solution, but.....

tried extensive darken sharpen treatment in a
small (circled) area

must keep in mind, though
that, too much dye will result in
the finish with an "over-developed" look
(too dark, no details)
and hard-to-rinse-off excess dye

1. added "drop shadow"
2. and very clean outlining
3. left this area soft like pencil drawing on purpose

(wanted to try a new thing, though it's not
what i had in mind...the #3 type finish
seems to suit this material much more)

4.made it too dark, ai

i quit!!!
done, i said

next, i will pack these 2 swatches with special care
(of course)

and cross my fingers solemnly as i
send them off for "steam-setting"

thanks for reading!!

March 1, 2008

photo friday: prunus mume (eh?)

Plum 2

this week's photo friday challenge is: fuzzy

it was an easy pick for me this week hence the earlier post

the flower in the pic:
japanese apriccot blossom (prunus mume) is the name
often called by many (me included, as i did on my previous post)
as plum blossom, incorrectly

ume, in japanese
its scent very delicate

now is the season
"bloom despite the cold winds", they say