Project Runway Episode 12: The Finale Collection

November 12, 2011 at 9:41 pm (Project Runway)

One designer, twelve challenges. This is the Studio 109A Challenge.

That is how I started this series of posts about the Project Runway Studio 109A Challenge back on August 10th, about one week after Project Runway Season 9 started. It’s three months later, and this post marks the end of Project Runway Studio 109A and the completion of my last challenge.

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 12 challenged the designers to create a mini collection that emphasized their overall fashion vision. The designers were taken to Governors Island in New York,where they drew inspiration from the beautiful sculptures, extraordinary views and landscapes.

Since I have never visited Governors Island, I decided to draw my inspiration from The North Carolina Museum of Art Park, which is home to over a dozen sculptures, wooded trails, and scenic paths.

Gyre, 1999, by Thomas Sayre

Crossroads, 2005, by Martha Jackson Jarvis

The Conversationalist, 1997 by Chakaia Booker

After spending a beautiful fall North Carolina afternoon walking the trails with my family, I came upon The Conversationalist  by Chakaia Booker made of interlacing repurposed tires. As an artist who has made a career of using repurposed objects in my work, I knew that this was the starting point for my final challenge.

I started with a black synthetic knit fabric. I was drawn to the texture of the fabric, with its woven silver metallic threads, which reminded me of how the the sculpture looked from a distance. I picked up a spool of imitation leather trim, a dark gray cotton for the lining, a lot of interfacing and fusible fleece.

The end result is an elegant evening bag, which even my Tim Gunn wannabe husband said was a nod to The Conversationalist sculpture. I would describe this bag as elegant with an edge, which I think definitely represents me as a designer.

Finale Purse - Project Runway Episode 12

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Armed with inspiration from all of the Project Runway Studio 109A challenges, new techniques, and a boost of confidence from selling my first bag, I am off to create a collection of handbags and accessories to show during a solo exhibition entitled Arm Candy, which will open at Artspace in Downtown Raleigh next May.

I will continue to blog about the collection, my work, and what makes me tick. And with that, I pronounce myself the winner of Project Runway Studio 109A and say my final auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Back to School and Blogging for The National Postal Museum

November 11, 2011 at 2:42 am (Artist Musings)

I think it’s really important to give back, especially as an artist. Today’s elementary, middle, and high school students become tomorrow’s art collectors. This week I had the opportunity to blog about my experience teaching fourth grade art on The Smithsonian National Postal Museum blog. Below is a copy of the post. The original post can be found at the Pushing the Envelope Blog. This is the third time I have had the opportunity to be a visiting artist in the schools. I was proud to be a Visiting Artist in The Dade County Public School System in Miami for two consecutive years as part of my participation in The Coconut Grove Arts Festival. I spent a day each at Southwest Middle School and Pincrest Elementary School (the elementary school I attended).

Fourth Graders at Partnership Elementary School Love the National Postal Museum’s Curriculum

By: Guest Blogger Lauren Van Hemert, Parent Volunteer Teaching Art

I am a parent volunteer teaching art to 57 fourth graders at Partnership Elementary in Raleigh, NC. Like many schools, we don’t have a large art budget or even an art teacher, just a team of enthusiastic parent volunteers who coordinate art projects on a bi-monthly basis.

I am always on the lookout for free resources I can bring into the classroom. Since the fourth graders love using technology, online games, activities and slide shows are a big hit.

So, I was thrilled to find The National Postal Museum’s Design It! Giving Voice to America curriculum for upper elementary school students. Since we only have art twice a month, I was not able to divide the curriculum into four lessons, but used the online resources to create a 60 minute lesson plan, at the end of which the students designed their own North Carolina state commemorative stamps.

Bulletinboard

The Postal Museum’s curriculum and online resources not only reinforced the elements of art the students have been learning since the beginning of the year, but also tied into the Wake County’s Fourth Grade Social Studies curriculum, a bonus not only for teachers, but also for home school parents as well.

Christiana

P1010410

P1010405

At the end of the lesson, one student suggested I call The National Postal Museum to say that this was a ‘fun and great’ class. The students were so enthusiastic about the lesson that one of the fourth grade teachers even asked me to provide her with a link to The National Postal Museum’s Activity Zone so that the kids could complete some of the online activities during their free time.

Many of our students may not ever have the opportunity to visit a Smithsonian Museum. My goal this year is to bring our nation’s great museums, like The Smithsonian, to them, a kind of virtual field trip made possible through the use of free, educational lessons, materials, and resources like that of The National Postal Museum.

As for me, a mother of two, I can’t wait to visit the museum the next time I am in Washington, D.C.

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Project Runway Episode 11: This Is For The Birds

November 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm (Project Runway)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a  quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“The Raven”, Edgar Allen Poe

There have been a couple of times this season when I thought the Project Runway people were a bunch of cuckoos (The Stilts Challenge). So it should have come as no surprise that one of the challenges quite literally was for the birds.

“We begin with our fourth Advertorial Challenge (but who’s counting!). This one is different. For starters, it’s L’Oréal. Second, there are birds waiting for the designers back at Parsons as their next challenge is announced: they must create a high-fashion runway look inspired by a cockatoo, a parrot, a raven and (if you look closely …) an owl!” [Former Project Runway Contestant Nick Verreos’ Blog]

I was drawn to the raven and unlike many of the challenges before, I knew exactly what I was going to design before the episode was over.

Many months ago at a high end fabric store in Miami, Rex Fabrics, I found a black embroidered polyester fabric, which I fell in love with. Since then, I have found comparable fabrics at a fraction of the cost at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC and even Joann’s Fabrics.

What I love about this fabric is its wavy texture, which gives the cloth an almost feather-like appearance (hence, the raven).

Fabric in hand, I set out to create an oversized clutch. I have played with the wristlet and evening bag clutch shape and size, but this time wanted to make something even larger.  The end result is a rectangular bag measuring 17 ” x 9 ” with a chainmail strap and white satin lining.

I have to say I love this bag and realized this past Friday night during the First Friday Gallery Walk in Downtown Raleigh how far my sewing and design skills have come from the first challenge.

For the Birds Purse -- Project Runway Episode 11

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So, one challenge to go. Until the next post (which I am hoping will be towards the end of this week), auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway Episode 10: Sew 70’s

November 4, 2011 at 2:38 am (Project Runway)

And now back to our regularly scheduled program… Between being out of town for my brother’s weddidng and working on the “What Women Want” challenge, I got a little off track. Like many of the Project Runway contestants, I think at this point in the Studio 109A Challenge, I also lost my drive, but I am back on track and determined to finish out the season.

So, Episode 10 found our designers creating a modern look inspired by 70’s fashion. When I think of the 70s, I think of browns, earth tones, and prints.

“The ‘browning of the seventies’ was really a reaction to the psychedelic color  palette of the late sixties.  We’d had enough of The Magical Mystery Tour; now it was time for some marijuana infused color schemes of brown, light brown, dark  brown, red-brown, or orange-brown…. and maybe just a little bit more brown. Accent it with some Harvest Yellow, Avocado Green or more brown, and you’re in  business!” [retrospace.blogspot.com]

On trend, my inspiration came from a paisley corduroy print I found at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store. Christian Dior had his paisley 70’s ties, Guy Laroche his 70’s paisley skirt suit, and Yves Saint Laurent his 70’s paisley peasant blouse. Fast forward to Fashion Week’s 2011 Spring Collections and paisley was prominent.

Vivienne West Spring 2011 Runway Look

“As everyone is aware, the 70s has been the prominent trend on the runway this season.  Synonymous with the psychedelic 70s is the print of paisley.  To modernize the style, designers have been bringing new colors into the print and adding bits of color blocking.” [Cleveland Free Press, May 15, 2011]

Corduroy paisley print in hand, I created a crossbody bag, which is on trend for Fall 2011. I love incorporating hardware on a purse, so I added the twist lock and grommets (from which the strap is attached) to give the paisley print a modern spin.

“Here’s one fashion trend that’s high on style and function. Cross-body purses are cute and stylish, and they’re also the Bluetooth of bags (they keep your hands free).” [Speaking Chic Blog]

Personally speaking, having two kids and needing to keep my hands free, the crossbody bag is my day-to-day bag of choice.

Project Runway Episode 10: Sew 70's Bag

Of course this bag and all of the other bags will be on display this Friday night during the Gallery Walk in Artspace Studio 109A in Downtown Raleigh’s City Market. Also on display at Artspace is the “What Women Want” inspired 25th Anniversary Commemorative Bag and all of the other silent auction gala works of art.

So, two more challenges to go. Until next week, auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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