01 June 2013

Torso for Ta-Tas

A couple of months or so ago, a friend talked me into contributing to a community art project sponsored by a cool local indie shop.  The theme is to:

Come join in the "Celebration of Life" - ART is a healing tool, bringing awareness, comfort and hope to all those touched by battles fought and the ones still to come.

The idea is that you pay $10 and get a plastic torso, the kind that are used to display shirts and other top-body clothing.  Then you decorate it and return it to the shop and they will put it into the show.  I do not have art skills, but I figured that I could do something or other.  My friend, who is a photographer, planned to print out a bunch of her photos and decoupage them onto a torso.

Me, I do yarny things.  And I had seen something called the Tango Tunic which seemed perfect for this project, especially in a pink recycled cotton yarn I happened to have around.  I started it and posted when I had the collar done, and it grew fairly steadily.

But I couldn't just leave the torso plain white, or covered in one of my T-shirts.  I had a vision, which due to time I didn't fully accomplish, but I did the key elements.  First, I removed a breast:

This did involve buying a new tool, which is a hotknife.  I have decided that I really like having this in my arsenal, although melting plastic is really stinky.  Yes, I did ventilate the space well.

Then I did my own decoupage, for no other reason than to highlight the surgical site and to make the torso a bit more interesting looking than a solid colour would be.  I added colours, using torn tissue paper and Mod Podge(R), being randomish in placement although I had a design for the colour sequence.  I took photos as it progressed:


I could not leave the hole as a hole, of course.  I had planned to do a backing wall with the plastic I cut off, but it didn't fit when reversed and I didn't have time to reshape it.  When I picked up the torso I had purchased some earrings, and one disappeared before I got home.  So the other became the centerpiece of the filler, strung on silver thread:
I thought of doing more, as a mandala design, but I ran out of time.  I still might do a few rounds quickly before I deliver this.   It's due today, of course!

Here is the dressed torso.  I am adding a note that if someone buys the artwork, s/he can remove the tunic as it is fully wearable.  That is also why I decorated the torso, so if the tunic is being worn it's not just a boring hunk of white plastic.  It's still not very artistic, but it is OK, given my skill level.

These are a couple closeups of the tunic hem and collar:
I have seen a lot of the torsos that were delivered in the early days, by real artists.  So I know how mine does not compare.  But it's for a good cause and that is what really counts, right?
Added later:
When I went to deliver the torso, the organizer complimented it several times, and then realized what is in the cutout area.  She said "it's the earring!"  When I bought the pair and got home, one was missing.  I think I tried to call to see if it was there, but hadn't had time to get back to the shop.  I thought the other had gotten lost in my car.  Meanwhile, they found it at the shop and tried to figure out to whom it belonged, and the artist even checked with people he thought might have bought it.  Nothing!  So I may be getting the earring back as a pendant, unless he can make another to match.
Quite a few friends posted on my Facebook page that they think the piece is actually art.  I am very flattered by that.  It's not just the crocheted tunic, it really is the torso underneath.  I still wish I had time to do something more mandela-ish with that space, but she is what she is.
And yes, I did make sure she transported very safely:
The show opens this coming Thursday evening at MCC on Main.  I cannot be there but I will go the following week to a showing of the Swan Day CT documentary, and I look forward to seeing all the torsos on display!