I've been making top hats like, well, a Mad Hatter! Weddings, graduation gifts and theatrical productions have created an opportunity for me to perfect my process so each one is more fun to create than the last.
I'm hoping to start going to some trade-shows to gain more exposure for these one-of-a-kind, handmade treasures. Stop by my etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/TranzendentalArts) if you'd like to order one for yourself, or pass the word along to local theatres, brides-to-be, etc.
These are made to order, so whatever your heart's desire, I can make it happen!
...but I've got it perfected! Elegant and unique, my Mad Hatter Toppers are made to order with as much (or as little) flair as your personality demands.
These hats have "hit the streets" from L.A. to London, which has me thinking they are pretty edgy fashion-wise!
Whether you want a classic Fred Astaire look, a more modern Steampunk bent, a bold Fantasy design or a dash of Alice's eccentric friend from Wonderland - I can create a Topper to suit your tastes.
I'm hoping to work with some theatre companies to create hats for plays and concerts, so spread the word to your local community theatres...
Materials can range from velvet to cotton knit and I especially enjoy making these Fantasy designs with a double layer of contrasting color with a cut-out on the sides of the hat and the reverse applique' on the top.
Embellishments can range from simple to flashy hatbands or add some hatpins, gears and springs - or even feathers to complete the look you desire.
I hope you'll shop around and convo me with ideas and special orders for yourself or a spectacular gift!
If Top Hats "aren't your speed" shop around in my other sections;
There are few discarded fashion items that pull at your conscience quite like an out-dated leather jacket. It seems like such a waste, but... really - who'd want to be seen in that butterfly-winged, quilted, studded jacket from 1983? It's amazing how well these style-dinosaurs hold up over the decades, turning up at thrift shops and garage sales everywhere you look!
As it turns out, all those extra zippers and pockets come in handy when carefully worked into an absolutely one-of-a-kind bag. VintageChase creates dozens of these clever beauties using leather alone or combined with other recycled textiles.
Not always recognizable to the unsuspecting eye - recycled/reclaimed materials can catch you off guard. LeilanniLand takes the sleeves from 90s fashion jackets and puts them right back where they started in fabulous, fashion forward designs. You might think you have never seen these striking leather sleeves before, but think again... Clever re-working results in, "voila", brand new styling! Paired up with some of her edgy leggings or one of OmneeHart'sskirts this jacket certainly makes a gutsy statement!
This is really only the tip of the iceburg - searching on etsy or Seed&Sew under "recycled leather" will give you options to ponder all day long...
And it's not just small, owner-operated, online artists who are taking the recycled leather bull by the horns. U.S. and International companies are jumping onboard as well.
Sustainable shoe company, Colico, is based in NYC and has a web boutique that features their eco-friendly shoes in as many styles as you can imagine. Taking it a step further, the women at Colico carefully select their materials from many renewable sources including;: reclaimed leather, certified sustainable forestry wood, vegetable dyes and glues and recycled parts.
Purses, bags, journals, belts, jackets, cuffs, hotpads, headbands and more - there's no need to toss out perfectly good leather with all these options available. Check out the slide show below to see more 21st century artists and what they do with your old vintage leather "trash".
Gift giving can be time consuming and overwhelming - so lots of folks are shopping online to save time and their sanity! It's now just as easy to find handmade, original gifts as it is to shop retail!
For around the house or gift giving, there's always a greener option than buying new and an artsier alternative to mass production.
Got a recent high school grad in your life? Consider giving them a set of repurposed glass bottle tumblers for the new apartment or a recycled denim area rug for the dorm room.
Salt and Pepper Shakers Made From Old Table Legs from Kentucky Green
Wedding gifts can become treasured heirlooms if they start off being something super special and unique like this pair of salt & pepper shakers made from repurposed table legs. They look great and already come with a great "back story". Quilts are another awesome tradition and a great wedding gift. If you can't make one yourself you can still give one to the newlyweds and rest assured they'll treasure it for years to come!
Ponte Vecchio, solid white oak bench by StilNovoDesign
An elegant white oak bench finely crafted from wine barrels as a gift to celebrate a house-warming has fabulous potential for becoming a treasured family piece.
In our fast-paced world with our busy lifestyles there just isn't enough time to make hand-crafted gifts ourselves for all those special occasions. But they can still be part of your gift giving style and another great way to support the economy and ease up on the environment.
Most of us equate recycling with plastic, paper, cardboard, metal and glass. It's important that these materials be reused whenever possible to help curb society's insatiable need for product packaging. But what about nature's "waste"?
For one thing, there is already inherant beauty in most of what nature disposes of. Driftwood, rock fragments, fossils, nutshells (natures idea of "product packaging") and the like.
Artists with an "earthy eye" can highlight that beauty with color and composition to create fabulous recycled art for your home and garden. From sparkling garden signs and yarn embellished driftwood plaques to colorful fish and more.
Cherri of Cher's Passion dabs bits of color and light into the surface of a piece of driftwood with colored glass, combining the brilliance of the sun and the dry, mottled surface of the wood to create Rain, a naturally "lighted" garden sign.
Some of the loveliest natural recycled art to be found makes use of color and composition to work with natural materials, bringing out intricate detail. These pieces make fascinating objects to ponder as the elements "refer" to each other and wake up the mind to patterns and relationships bewtween the worlds of nature and humankind.
In Sunrise at Sea by ReLove, tiny nails adhere straight lines of blue and yellow to a piece of wood, bending the distinction between lines and curves in something like an optical illusion.
Equally intriguing is the concept of working against a natural object to make use of form and shape. Pointing out relationships between the medium and the subject in a more subliminal fashion.
With Catch Me If You Can, Janet of Into the Trees masks the identity of her base material with a brightly colored, animated fish to focus on the form and movement of an elegantly shaped dried palm frond.
People have been collecting pretty rocks and driftwood for centuries to enhance their gardens, sitting areas and drives. Nature loving artists add a bit of "this and that" to enhance the beauty and keep us closer to Mother Nature.
These artists show that there is beauty in anything we might mindlessly throw away, if only we're willing to look just a little bit closer...
Many labels have surfaced to describe Americans' attitudes and practices pertaining to waste and our environment. The term "throw away society" is one of those labels that refers to trends in consumerism that have resulted in an over tenfold increase in "product waste" between 1900 and 2000 (from 92 to 1,242 pounds per person per year).
This steady and continuing increase in wasteful behavior is encouraged and fueled by business and manufacturing models that focus on limited or planned obsolescence, vertical integration and other profiteering practices. Sometimes masked by development restraint or mistaken for progress, these practices continue to succeed. Diverting attention from the damage they cause by appealing to the individual desire to be successful and "live well". Outrageous profits can be realized by tempting consumers to replace useful items with "newer", "better" versions while they are still viable and functioning.
“Product waste” also includes the ever-increasing disposal of viable packaging materials, most of which are not readily decomposable, and which now comprise 32% of all municipal solid waste. Product packaging is currently the easiest and most widely recycled type of waste; although cost benefit arguments over income loss and social costs vs. benefits and savings continue to be fought.
Another 30+% of total solid waste is shipping packaging - that makes 2/3 of all solid waste attributable to packaging!
It is possible for us all to grow out of the "throw away" mindset and head into a bright, new future of dynamic, creative recycling, reuse and repurposing of these goods that will be our legacy if we choose to participate.
Quirky, original designs made from rescued, up-cycled materials to give you a good feeling and a great look.
I am a theatre design specialist with experience in costume, set and lighting design as well as directing. I have been recycling materials to realize my designs since the beginning and I feel that new materials should be used very sparingly.
Sometimes the materials I use retain their original form, but often they are integrated and not readily recognizable. I enjoy the challenge and spend a great deal of time dissembling items to make use of as many elements as possible in my process.