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.

April 27, 2008

progression of the previous project, "dragon dress"

as i have been working
ever soooo grudgingly
messing with pattern making for
my current "wing dress" project,

i decided to share with you
the history of my previous passion,
the dragon dress

idea conceived sometime in '98
and completed for now in fall '06

first piece
made sometime between

began to practice on drawing scales
using snake photos and a vacuum cleaner hose

i did draw on wool knit material
scales only, using fabric marker (pigment ink)

nice for the first try but
one major issue:
the ink doesn't stay
so after each wash, i must


design was more abstruct than the later ones

the second try

same marker on different (more absorbent) material
polyurethane and something else mixture

as much details as the fabric markers would allow
however, to my moderate dismay, there's
still some noticeable fading post wash

this is when i decided to
take advantage of living in japan
and learn the art of fabric dyeing
using acid dye that requires steam setting

the craft of fabric dyeing turned out to be
much finer deal than i expected

the first piece, re-production of the above piece
was worked on from sometime in 2001 til
november 2003

during this period, i was in drought as well
ideas dead, but wished to move forward anyways
hence the endless muddling

this is how the piece #3 is stored now
in a box, double-bagged

that's not casper, by the way
nor klan of you-kno-what

the reason for such a high-strung wrapping is this:
too much excess dye just sitting on surface
ready to fly away and land on stuff

below: way too many whiskers
that's the result of totally going brain-bound
gone way off stream

i'm not saying it's bad
it's life i get droughty at times
i am just saying, it didn't work very well, pushing

see how evenly painted in, dark?
i had just one piece steam-set from these ones
it turned out totally dark, details all gone
and i could not wash off the excess

that means even after fixing the dye,
it would keep on bleeding

below, you see partial flaking of dye
(where it looks kind of whiter and powdery)
that's the sign of definite excess

i was advised by a very kind and knowledgeable man
from dye material store in tokyo (thank yu!) that,
i probably need to paint faster,
apply less and move swiftly

that meant, to me,
to grasp overall shapes and movements of the subject
on spot, or more like, to be
out of drought and in such movement

of course that sort of thing would take time
during this period i've even taken up surfing
as an attempt to learn to
"move with it"

fast forward to spetember 2005

below, a test drawing, using the fabric marker

and a piece using acid dye
on 100% cotton knit
completed in october 2005

got the movement alright but
still applying too much dye
wanting all to "stick"

still bleeding after "fixing"

in 2006, i did 2 pieces for a first group show in tokyo

finally succeeded in making them stay
both on silk/ polyurethane mixture

(very low in poly, otherwise dye won't..dye)

technical success achieved

but yet another piece to complete in my mind
this one was done in summer of 2006

on cotton (knit) 100%

compare to the oct. '05 piece
same material
the difference is that i finally did as i was taught
in terms of dye application

(there's a limit to the amount of dye fabric grain can hold)

a bit embarrassing to admit....

but the result made me feel good
and done, as well

now i must go back to the
pattern making....

thanks for your visit

April 16, 2008

photo friday: nyctereutes procyonoides

the pic is of a coon dog resting in a very restful place

for photo friday's challenge of the week : fragile

since i have a fragile ego, i could've
taken a photo of that and

thrill you

to no end but in the end
opted for the coon

my wisest decision of '08

(((sage smiles)))

April 11, 2008

photo friday: "far from home"


this week's photo friday challenge: far from home

in trying to convey the feeling of such state,
somehow i ended up stretching out the image vertically

in fact, my photo friday photos have been
getting longer and longer...

(hope you got a big enough monitor
cos...i don't)

one day soon, i will be
scanning a live eel

til then

April 6, 2008

"ghosts and a cross" (2008)

i have been absent,
setting aside my beloved "wing dress" project
been getting my shops and sites together and, and....

been working on this!

my "nin film festival" submission, and
my first ever try at film editing
using quicktime pro 7
-to erase the original sound of the video
and (vintage) imovie 4
to do the rest of the work

the original footage had very underwater noise
i don't think it was erased completely though...

(i tried)

gadgets used

1. made-to-fit-all water housing
functional and was helpful in a limited way
mind you,
this was NOT the one caused the fatal water leak

2. skinny-legged tripod
camera swaying's due to these spider legs

3. kodak dx7440
suffered unrecoverable malfunction immediately after the shoot
due to unfortunate exposure to (chlorine) water

4. pink what?
flexi-wire to tie the camera to the pod

the water leak that killed the camera happened when
i was filming in pool with the camera in plastic bags
before the arrival of the item #1 in the above pic

it's documented in here

one thing about the cross:

i didn't employ it in any way religion-ish
rather, the image employed me and
i was obliged to record it
in a rather abstruct manner

in other more honest words,
i did not mean to promote
what the beaten-path association would suggest
but intended to borrow that a bit


thanks for viewing