Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Future Tellings of Life and Clothing

We made it out to the movies this weekend and saw "Her." I will spare you from leaving a full cinematic review, however, what mainly caught my attention during the slow-moving plot was the manner in which the characters dressed in this near-future storyline. The characters--both men and women--seemed to have adopted a somewhat blurred line of feminine and masculine. Androgenic, almost. Everyone sported high-waisted bottoms. Most of the women didn't wear any makeup. And no matter what...everyone wore button-down tops that were buttoned all the way up.
It was a very conservative fashion trend for a story set in the future. The contrast had me intrigued. Personally, I've noticed that each year that passes, less and less is left to the imagination with fashion. Was Spike Jonze simply appealing to the younger audience by incorporating the hot fashion trends of recycled 1980s fashion? Or, was he trying to seep in a little irony with the overall tone of the futuristic movie? Perhaps, was he trying to convey that in the age of technology, we have become so closed off to others, and a way of symbolizing this was by closing off the shirt collar, a physical pathway to the heart?
Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but I very much appreciate the cinematic symbolism that our writers and producers convey in each movie. I began reminiscing about past movies that had futuristic plots. What were they conveying with fashion in tandem with the message of the story?

Clockwork Orange, 1971
Does the full-on white assembly and black bowler hat symbolize and/or accentuate the overall plotline of good and evil, and the ability to make the moral choice between the two?

Blade Runner, 1982
The cinematography is very neo-noir and the fashion is a blend of steampunk and cyberpunk--combining past, present and future styles. Would you say that each character is dressed in a manner that visually communicates the effect that technology plays on the environment and society as a whole? Does it elude to who is human and who is an artificially engineered replicant?

Matrix, 1999
Fighters in a war between humans and machines, do the characters dressed in black blur the lines between the humans the the all-powerful machine they created?

What have you watched lately where fashion seemed to have a profound influence on the plot?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Desert Snow Globe Cheapskate Tutorial

With the unusually low temperatures across most of the U.S., it was not so fun stepping outside for too long. Yet, I found myself craving snow even though it's a rare site here in central Texas. What better way to achieve the satisfaction of a snowy winter day than in the comfort of your warm home? I decided to compensate for our lackluster winters by creating a snow globe. This is not just any old snow globe, folks. It's a combination of the native plants of Texas (think: succulents/ cacti) and wishful thinking (powdery snow.) Easy to make, quick to enjoy, and no need to go anywhere! How's that for instant gratification?
This snow globe (like most everything else I make) consists of re-purposed and upcycled materials. You guessed it. This qualifies as an official Art and Facts Cheapskate Tip!!!

I did not purchase anything for this project, including the snow. You can create your unique treasure by utilizing items you are storing away. Start digging! Here are the materials I used: 
  • Plastic succulent greenery decor
  • Salsa jar - salsa consumed, label removed and cleaned
  • Jewelry bead that doesn't have a home
  • Epoxy
  • White feathers
The horticulture specimen of your choice will require a sturdy base so that it will remain upright. I used a cubed silver bead as my base. Shove the wired stem into the bead hole and glue. Then, glue the bead to the lid of the jar and let it fully dry.

Now, we can make it snow. I didn't want to make the type of snow globe with water and glycerin this time. I wanted some serious powder. Fluff. Airiness. I was too lazy to go to the craft store and buy the fake snow. What to use...what to use? Eureka!.........Feathers!!! Feathers would make terrific snow!
I used white feathers for a more realistic look, but I started to imagine the use of brightly colored feathers for cool ironic and artistic look. Maybe for the next snow globe project...

Snip the feathers into tiny shredded pieces.  Continue clipping until you are happy with the height of the snow laying at the bottom.

Screw on the lid and adore your newly bottled winter wonderland!