Friday, March 12, 2010
Ceremonial Bachelorette Party Headdress!!!
While I wasn't permitted to attend this talented friend's festive bachelorette party (girls only!), I jumped at the chance to craft the crown that would be placed on her head during her "abduction" and subsequent rituals and ceremonies performed throughout the evening to honor the bride-to-be!
I tend to be bad about documenting projects from start to finish; many of the details of making things seem so mundane to me that I can't bring myself to stop what I'm doing to photograph them, and before I know it I have a completed craft project and no photos of the creative process (which is pretty much what happened with this one)! I realize this is a problem, and I'm really going to work on this in the future!
For this project I decided pretty quickly that the crown was really going to be more of a headdress, and from there, I began to visualize the various elements that make up a headdress and how I could personalize those elements for the bride-to-be. In keeping with the original request for a crown, I started by cutting a foundation strap of silver leather to resemble a crown that terminated on either end in long, thin strips that would be used to tie the headdress on:
Once I had that foundation figured out, I decided on a dark turquoise leather strip (aqua/turquoise was a dominant color in the wedding) that would serve as the backdrop for a strip of beadwork I was envisioning that would feature the bride and groom's initials. I cut the scalloped upper edge of the strip (with some difficulty) using pinking shears. Although I've been doing quite a bit of lazy stitch beadwork lately, the turquoise leather wasn't well suited for that technique (the surface of the leather is very dense, not "pillowy" and easily pierced like the deerskin I had been beading directly onto previously), so I set up my little bead loom, and proceeded to bead a decorative strip (while listening to the entire new Joanna Newsom album for free on NPR!). This is the pattern I came up with beforehand that I worked from while I was beading:
Once finished, I tied off the ends of the beadwork strip, and whipstitched through the outermost warp thread on the top and bottom edge of the bead strip and into the turquoise leather. Now that the beadwork was attached to the turquoise strip, I wanted to attach that to the silver crown foundation; this I accomplished by punching pairs of evenly spaced holes through both layers of leather with an awl, then poking strips of imitation sinew up through through the holes from the back of the headdress. Each strip of sinew passes through both layers of leather and a vintage mirrored turquoise glass bead on the front of the headdress, then back down through the second hole where it is secured by a knot in back, so while the row of 15 glass beads across the lower edge of the headdress appears decorative (it is pretty!) it is also structural, serving to hold everything together! I wanted to resort to using glue as little as possible; on this particular project, I felt like the process of stitching different materials together was representative of the union of my two friends, so I stitched alot, and wished for their happiness with each stitch!
I had a grand time plundering my craft bins for materials to use on this project! On either side of the beadwork strip hang two tin-cone and horsehair (a reference to Horsefingers, the bride-to-be's brilliant short film trilogy) drops that pass through a decorative abalone disk... again, these items are all affixed with the imitation sinew... no glue (yet!). The turquoise bells were then stitched on.
Now it was time to affix the feathers, and that is where the glue came into play. First I glued the little arrangement of colored feathers onto the inner surface of the silver leather crown with flexible craft glue and let that dry. Then I glued the long strip of white feathers (they are sold on a ribbon strip by the yard at M&J Trimming in Manhattan) onto the interior surface of the silver leather crown and let that dry. Finally, I glued a strip of wide cotton twill tape over the entire interior portion of the headdress to cover up any knots or feather bits that might poke out and feel uncomfortable against the head.
This was a really fun and meaningful project for me that culminated in the attendance of a super-duper fun and meaningful wedding! Thank You, Congratulations, and Best Wishes to you Both, Kirsten and Bill!!!
And Thank You for joining me, Kind Reader!!! I hope you will join me again soon-ish for the fun and scary next installment in my "The Natural History Museum Inspired This!" series!
Following are a few images of headdresses in the collection of The National Museum of the American Indian that served as inspiration: