So what if metal is sort of like fabric?
I grew up around sewing and textile crafts. As a girl of that era, I was taught handcrafts like sewing, knitting, crochet, and embroidery. I still have really awful examples of my childhood projects. Somewhere… in a box…
Some 20 years later, I worked in a professional costume shop and produced some very well-made costumes as my sewing improved.
Some 20 years after that, I discovered sheet metal. I fell in love with the shiny, malleable, magnetic sheets of mild steel that made up my very first projects. It was that first piece of 1’ by 2’ sheet metal that I first treated much the same as I had treated the fiber-based material in the costume shop. I carefully traced the pattern pieces onto the steel and cut them out with heavy-duty shears.
Fast-forward a few months when I first met a computer-controlled plasma cutter. It was an intersection of interests — computers plus metal working. WIN! It was only after I finally had a chance to learn how to use this system that I got my idea.
Convert dress patterns to computer files and use the table to cut the pattern pieces out of metal.
That idea has been sitting on the back burner all the years that I spent teaching other people how to make their own computer designs and cut them out on the plasma table. It was only after purchasing a CNC plasma table that could handle cutting the very thin metal sheets that I wanted to use that my dream seemed possible.
It’s time for me to make historically-influenced garment sculptures out of sheet metal using textile construction techniques.
Future newsletters will focus on my thought process, experiments, successes, and failures as I brainstorm metal equivalents to fabric types, test my ideas with prototypes and models, and find out how far I can take my idea.
I hope you will stay with me on this journey. I think it will be fun.