Once I had my inspiration for my Art Bra, I began toying with the ideas for how I could incorporate my porcelain work into my piece. I really wanted a fun way for that to shine through. Panels? No, those might not line up right and the fit might be bulky, not to mention heavy. What about...beads? I essentially make beads as part of my jewelry practice already...what if I came up with a shape that I don't already use? SCALES! To go with the scales on the shirt of the statue. They could line the cups, maybe go up the straps, possibly hang down below... YES! I made a sketch (see prior post) and then got into the studio to start building beads and buttons.
I wanted a variety of sizes, so I could layer them. I also knew I wanted some different textures, so that I could build depth in the piece and not have it just become boring to the eye. I used an old fabric stamp from Delhi. In it's former life, this stamp helped decorate ceremonial saris. It has different strips of designs, which allowed me to have floral and geometric designs for the scales. I don't think any of the scales are actually identical, what with placement and cutting them out by hand. So, each one is uniquely fabulous and adds its own beauty to the finished design: like people in community.
There was a need for different finishes, too: some needed to be shiny and some matte. I wanted them to be gold, but I knew that was going to be a LOT of gold lustre and sealant, which did not feel like a responsible choice. I went with gold paint. It ended up having the added bonus of developing it's own patina as I worked with the piece, adding even more texture and depth. I did my best Smaug impressions right after painting them, though, because: GOLD!
Check out the post "Try New Things, Help Your Community!" for pictures of the sketch and inspiration, the post "Build a Bra!" for pictures of the building of the bra, and the final post "Bringing it All Together" to see the decorating.