My wood collection really started with my love for pencil shavings. As a weirdo in the 21st century who has no interest in technology and all those stuff, I still use wooden pencils and the old pencil sharpeners. I create piles and piles of pencil shavings every day, and I’m just fascinated by them. These amazing fellows have every elements I love for fashion: scallop edge, natural brownish color, wooden texture, neat folds on the surface, and free shapes. I’m even fond of its crispiness and fragility. Pencil shavings=unique beauty.
So there was this one day in 2011, as soon as I finished sharpening my pencils and was ready to sketch out some new dresses in my dorm, I came up with this idea of actually creating a dress out of pencil shavings. I started my project by listing a series of words that I would use to describe wood. Some of them were natural, wild, free, wet, etc. I ended up deciding to create a luxurious maxi dress and I named it “The Forest Queen”.
The idea of this dress is to demonstrate a sense of authority, elegance, and wildness in a feminal way. Maxi dress always gives an impression of confidence and nobility, and one-shoulder adds on some sense of sexiness and liveliness. One of the highlights of the design is the growth ring pattern in the middle of the dress. This pattern later appears frequently in this collection. And the colors, yellow, orange, and brown, also become the color base of my work later.
To express the idea of “forest” in a more direct and interesting way, I decided to add a set of antlers, or an “antler crown” if you prefer to call it this way, to the “queen”. By the way, reindeer is one of my favorite animals.
The most challenging part of the project was not about designing the dress on paper, but actually constructing it by hands. I started the process by making the paper base of the dress. After that, I colored the dress and labeled the place where I wanted to add pencil shavings on. Then the annoying part came. It was almost impossible for me to control the pencil sharpener so that it always gave out the best pencil shavings. I tried really hard to adjust the strength of my hands, and tried to figure out the most appropriate way to rotate the sharpener, but failed. I got piles of broken or tiny pencil shavings of low quality. Sometimes, I even destroyed some perfect shavings by myself accidentally. They fell down from my desk, stuck in some edges on the floor or were trampled on by people. They were simply so delicate that I must treat them like babies. Once I got a satisfying piece of shaving, I immediately picked it up cautiously and place it in a glass jar. In this way, I collected enough pieces so that I could make the dress. The whole process took me about 40 min, and I run out of two pencils.
The gluing process was even more patience-demanding. The method that I used was to put some glue on the paper dress first, and then pressed the shaving pieces carefully on top of it. Needless to say that I broke many pieces by pressing them too hard. This was actually the few moment that I felt a little exhausted and frustrated about creating artwork. But anyway.
I used another one hour working on the pencil shavings. Tired to the max, I finished the rest of the project very quickly, and that included cutting out the background of the dress and making some decorations by tissue paper. When I’m finally done with it, I examined it closely for a while and I told myself I liked it.
So this dress is the actual beginning point of my wood collection. I became obsessed with the wood theme and idea of natural elegance and wildness after that.
I would like to summarize some highlights of this dress below:
1. Sources: I just can’t find a better source to illustrate the idea of “wood” than something that is actually made out of wood. Interestingly enough, everything I use in this dress, including paper, pencil shavings and tissue paper, are all related to wood. Nice choice!
2. Color: The combination of yellow-orange-brown later becomes my favorite set of color. Such a warm, natural and passion personalities that it demonstrates.
3. The technique of fading effect.To mix yellow-orange-brown in the best way, I chose to color the center of each growth ring yellow, the middle part orange and the outer part brown. To fade away the edge of each layer of the color, I used color pencils in a very light way. I used similar techniques in the collection very frequently later.
Hope you like my dress!