Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Art of Fascinators
Wearable Art

Guest Artist: Flora Fascinata

This blogspot has a number of posts that highlight the artwork of invited artists. For you convenience I have listed them below:

Jennifer Libby Fay
Lesley Turner
Shirley McKernan

Flora Fascinata is a pseudonym of a “creative”, who loves flowers; she also loves her day job of teaching. To be sustainable in the demanding profession like teaching, Flora believes you have to keep doing what drew you to the profession in the first place. For her, this is being a “creative”. Her outlet is fabrics and materials made into beautiful headpieces.

Below is only a vignette of her work. Visit her blogspot - Flora Fascinata’s Frippery - for more of her artwork and musings.

In Australia the 2014 Spring horse racing season begins on 22nd of September through to the 25th of November. The featured race in the Spring Carnival is the Melbourne Cup, which began in 1861 in front of 4000 people, with a horse called Archer winning the race. It was a two mile event, but was shortened in 1972 to 3200 metres. Fascinators are the order of the day. There are few who can create such interesting millinery as Flora. I know you will be enthralled by her wearable art. Some may even be lucky enough to wear a "Flora" at this year's Spring Carnival!

The Art of Fascinators - Flora Fascinata
When The Hat Box (Brisbane Arcade, Queen Street Mall) invited me to exhibit in the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival (2013) I knew exactly what I wanted to do. A colleague had given me a bunch of the palest pink peonies and those flowers were my pivotal point. The headpiece took me about two months to complete. It is hollow and each petal is dyed, stiffened, heat treated and attached. Keeping the piece lightweight was critical. Another challenge was perfecting the fit when worn. It had to balance securely, with the minimum of support.

Title of Headpiece: Pink Peony for Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival (2013).
Materials: White satin, tulle, foam, fabric stiffener, paint on a satin band.
Size: 35 cm (high) x 30 cm (wide) x 18 cm (deep).

I love making things and in the past have spent many years dressmaking and designing while teaching secondary Home Economics (including Textiles and Foods studies). I cannot resist lace, sequins, tulle, mesh, thermoplastics, silks and satins that meet my aesthetic. Fashioning headwear has proved the perfect way to satisfy this creative desire.

Title of Headpiece: Tulle, Organza and Lace Flower.
Materials: Organza (various tones), lace, tulle, foam, fabric stiffener, thread, satin band.
Size: 20 cm (high) x 20 cm (wide) x 10 cm (deep).

I am not formally trained in millinery, and in the future would like to attend some workshops with Master Milliners. It is on my list to do this year or next. I do not call myself a milliner or an artist. Sadly, I am writing this just one year after the sudden death of Paris Kyne; I dearly would have loved to attend his workshops in Melbourne and was lucky to meet him in Brisbane last year. Paris' outrageous creativity has left me even more inspired. I also look for inspiration from design label Alexander McQueen, and Master Milliners - Richard Nylon and Stephen Jones. I adore their outrageousness and sense of adventure.

Flora meets Paris Kyne at the Hatters Milliners Convention Grand Final Dinner (July 2013).

My response to a making a headpiece is usually producing a flower or sculpting lace. I often show my students bits and pieces of my work, and recently one exasperated sixteen year-old said to me: “Do you only make flowers, can’t you make something different?” Well, frankly, I do make a lot of flowers - and I like it.

Title: Assorted Corsages
Materials: Various fabrics, paint, synthetic and natural dye, fasteners.
Size: varied, approximately 12 cm (wide).

Fashioning frippery and engineering it to sit successfully on the tonsure is not simple. The making of the adornment is one aspect, the blocked base is another. Sometimes a headpiece can take me a couple of weeks to resolve. I have also used surprising materials such as bamboo husks, palm fronds and a bird’s nest.

Title: Palm Frond and Vintage Lace Fleur.
Materials: Lace fabric, vegetable matter, guinea fowl feather trim, paint, natural dye, satin covered band. Size: varied, approximately 60 cm (tall).

The piece including the bird's nest was part of a Show at the Pine River Shire Gallery entitled - Bloomin’ Marvellous - in 2010. I sold the piece and would truly have loved to meet that kindred spirit who bought it. Another favourite was using a piece of hand-woven safflower stamen dyed pure silk that I bought from Korean National Treasure Artist - Ok-Ja Choi. I met Ok-Ja and her fellow Korean National Treasure Artists when they came to Brisbane in 2011 to the Bleeding Heart Gallery in Brisbane City.

Title of Headpiece: Fairy Queen Crown.
Materials: Tulle, lurex, nest, plant material, cardboard packaging, paint, varnish.
Size: 25 cm (high) x 25 cm (wide) x 15 cm (deep).

I love Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was beyond excited when one day through Youtube I found the snippets of the 1930s film version. This headpiece is the result of my infatuation.

Title of Headpiece: Bamboo Flora.
Materials: Bamboo husks, veiling, feathers, glue, paint and glitter.
Size: 30 cm (high) x 30 cm (wide) x 15 cm (deep).

A few years ago we planted out our backyard with bamboo. While I love it, it does take a lot of maintenance, as those rhizomes can get out of control. I made this eco-inspired piece after I spent a hard morning gardening. I used it in a photo shoot modelled by my friend’s daughter. It really is just a fun piece.

Bamboo Flora and model (2013).

Title of Headpiece: National Treasure: Silk Peony.
Materials: Hand-woven silk by National Treasure Artist: Ok-Ja Choi, safflower stamen dye, satin covered band, thread.
Size: 25 cm (wide) x 10 cm (deep) x 25 cm (high).

I kept this piece of pale pink silk stored carefully in my studio for about a year. I was too scared to cut into it and I could not resolve what to do with it! I also wanted to use every skerrick of this hand-woven and hand-dyed treasure. In the end, I stiffened and sculpted and draped the fabric over plastic to form this lovely shape. I was happy with the result.

Title of headpiece: Thermoplastic Rose Red.
Materials: Vinyl fabric, foam, glue, spray paint, varnish, satin covered band.
Size: 35 cm (high) x 35 cm (wide) x 20 cm (deep).

Most of my work is worn at Race meetings. I had not been to the Races for a number of years. This year I went to the Stradbroke Cup Day at Eagle Farm races. When I found out the dress code was red, black and white. I knew I had to make something out of red vinyl.

Title of headpiece: Red Camellia. Materials: Velveteen, foam, thread, satin covered band.
Size: 30 cm (high) x 30 cm (wide) x 15 cm (deep).
Who does not love napped fabrics? I cannot resist velveteen. When I saw this particular red shade I knew it would make a beautiful flower. A camellia was it. It was a successful outcome.

Flora Fascinata is a trained teacher with a B.Ed.(Secondary) Home Economics, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Flora works in the textile medium with a focus on dyeing fabrics and sculpting flowers for headpieces and corsages. She has exhibited once in a group exhibition in Brisbane (Pine River Shire Art Gallery) and has taught numerous workshops and loves her day job teaching Home Economics in public education. Flora is married to Mr Fascinata, who whole-heartedly supports her frippery.

Her work is available through The Hat Box in the Brisbane Arcade, Queen Street Mall, Brisbane City.
For further information don’t hesitate to email: Flora


Kizzy Von Doll said...

She creates such beautiful pieces, love them all :)) x

Svenja said...

Great to see your work and learn more about you!