Bee My Honey
My lovely friend Elissa Hewitt was my model
My other wonderful friend Jennifer Gervais took the photographs
When I saw that the theme this year was Insects, the honey bee came to mind immediately. My father raised bees when I was a child, and I would help him with them. I was afraid of them at first, but soon came to realize that they are gentle and not aggressive unless they are protecting the queen or the hive.
The sound of bees brings to mind the lazy, warm days of summer, lying in a meadow and watching the bees work the flowers.
Creating the design idea, I wanted to give the impression of honey flowing down the body, and to "deconstruct" the bee form into its constituent parts. I'm pleased that I was able to translate my concept into reality!
This was a challenge in several ways! First, finding the right fabric! I ordered several pieces of material online, all wrong, until I finally found the fabric I ended up using. It is a stretch polyester satin. Not ideal, but I was running out of time! The velvet of the bee was a piece from my personal stash that had been sitting there for years, waiting to bee-come!
The pattern was the next issue. I knew I wanted it to be asymmetrical, and that presented its own challenges. I took a basic corset pattern as my template and extended or shortened it as needed. Joining the satin to the velvet was tricky, but I'm pleased with the result. I interfaced both the velvet and the satin with iron-on interfacing for support.
Creating the effect of the honeycomb was part paint and part beading. I used a stencil to get the hexagonal shapes and then went over them with darker and lighter paints, then beads in brown, gold, and clear to highlight. The eye of the bee was brown sequins layered with smaller black sequins, and a combination of golden and clear seed beads. The wing was created from four layers of cellophane in gold and clear iridescent colors. I cut out the shapes, ironed and stitched them, and used the thin plastic rod from a piece of Rigilene to provide support along the top edge. I attached it with beads and sequins. The corset is boned with a combination of flat metal spiral boning and Rigilene plastic boning. I made the boning channels in the coutil lining of the corset because I wanted the outer layer to look as smooth as possible.
Seeing other participants sharing pictures of their progress was really inspiring for me! So many talented people, and such a variety of interpretations of the theme. The sense of support and camaraderie was wonderful too.
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
It was great! Nerveracking, but great! I would give myself much more time, next time. I had meant to enter much earlier in the year, but time got away from me. I think anyone who is interested in entering should go for it! I learned a lot from this experience. I would also say to anyone entering to read the instructions carefully, (as I did not the first go-round) as to avoid mistakes in uploading pictures. I sent the first batch of pics without my name attached! Yikes! Hopefully the second round made it through and will be accepted. Whew!