Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Green Gables

 All photographs are self portraits taken by myself using a tripod.
Styling:  Esther Boller

I remember the first time that I felt homesick for Indiana after moving to school in Savannah.  It was about half way trough fall quarter and I was helping a friend with a photo shoot.  We drove past the marshes just outside of the city, and it was my first time out of the downtown area.  As I looked out over the marshes I realized, "It's - So - Open."  There was so much space for my eyes to breathe.

Growing up in Indiana I was always surrounded by flat corn and soy bean fields, so my eyes grew up with the privilege to look out for miles at a time.  In that moment in the marshes, there was so much space again, and I didn't even realize how much I had been craving that till I had it again. 

Well the other day, I walked the Chelsea High line (my favorite place to walk in NYC so far) and I was soaking up every chance I got to see out past 100 feet.    I'm very happy that I found a place for my eyes to "breathe" in NYC.   I figure that no matter where I move, as long as I'm able to get a place to look out, I'll be ok.   

Hat:  H&m, tank top: forever 21, Skirt: muslin tulle skirt I found in the throw-away bins at school.  Belt:  Goodwill.  
Photos taken last summer while on a camping trip in Michigan with my family.  More photos from that trip are on the way.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Good Morning Moon

All photographs are self portraits taken by myself using a tripod.
Styling and set design:  Esther Boller

The Great Gatsby will always be one of my favorite books.  Fitzgerald's books are so clearly written and there's such a high level of beauty in his words.  I've always been inspired by characters in books/movies, and as I've written before, Gatsby is an inspiration I always go back to.  There's something so whimsical and soft about the of the clothing in that era.  It feels more theatrical and special and I swoon over it all.   I've slowly been collecting pieces here and there that nod back to that era, though I can't afford the real deal.

While this dress isn't a true 1920s piece, it's a vintage Guess dress that I scored at Goodwill on 50% off day.  That was a triumphant thrift day.  I made my headband to complete my look which was very simple.  I just cut out a piece of applique from a beaded dress that I also bought at goodwill.  I always buy beaded items when I can to cut up for the beads. It's a lot cheaper and better quality of beads than buying from craft stores (always wait for the 50% off days though).  Once my shape was cut, I then ironed a piece of heavy fusible interfacing onto the back.  This makes the applique super firm.  Then I stitched a piece of ribbon onto the back and magic - we're in the 20s.  

Headband:  DIY,  Dress:  Vintage Guess,  Shoes:  JC Penny,  Necklace:  H&M sale.  
Stay magical.  


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stars and Feeling Small

"I want Mom.  When is she going to be back?" my younger brother asks, his voice cracking with emotion.

"I don't know buddy - but everything is going to be ok."

I feel so bad that I can't give him what he's wanting - his mom.  I sing him a song till after awhile he falls asleep.

I was 12-years-old, and it was late at night.  I had just finished tucking my younger brother Daivd in bed.  Both of my parents were gone over at the hospital taking care of my older brother, and I was alone with David.  It had been like that for the past couple of days.  I walk out of his room and with all the lights still on, I stop in place - the house is so empty.  In that moment I realize there's no one to sing me to sleep and tell me that everything is going to be ok.

I put my snow clothes on and go outside. It's cold and a foot of white is covering the ground.  I make an angel in the snow and look up at the stars that glimmer so clearly in the country sky.  I was overwhelmed with how small I felt compared to them.  I thought with all of these stars and the universe so big, there has to be at least one person out there who feels just as alone as I do.  I imagine someone else looking up at the stars from some other place, in that same moment, and thinking the same thing. And somehow, we were connected and I was no longer alone.  That thought gave me the comfort that I needed to make me feel like I was a part of something larger.

I was thinking about that night of star gazing the other evening, as I was watching the philharmonic play a free concert on the Great Lawn in Central Park.  I looked up from the grass and past the dark silhouette of tree tops to see a sky that was so blank and so strange looking without stars.

There's a similar feeling of small-ness, and feeling like you're a part of something bigger in the city.  Maybe that's because the buildings are so much taller, and there are crowds of people walking at all hours going somewhere to do something. When I see all of the people around me and the building so large, I get the same feeling that I use to get while star gazing.  The business and the grandness makes me feel like I'm a part of something bigger here.  Even though I'm a very small part of it, we're all small parts making up something bigger.

I've been in NYC for a summer internship for almost 3 weeks now.  Each day I feel more at home.  I'll be updating more often again over the next summer months!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Life on Two Wheels

All photographs are self-portraits taken by myself using a tri-pod.   

Ahhh it's biking weather again, finally!  I remember the first time that I was allowed to bike on the open road by myself without my parents.  As a kid that was the ultimate dream - open road and total freedom!  My favorite place to bike back then was a fairly secluded road that was surrounded by soybean/corn fields on each side.  It would stretch for about a mile and was always the smoothest road around.  It's a little hard to find a road that open in Savannah, but I have my favorite spots here too!  One of them is further away from downtown and during the weekday it's pretty quiet from traffic.  There are palm trees that line the street, and it's where I like to go when I need to clear my head from school projects.

Blazer:  Red Clover Boutique 
Watch:  JORD - I love these guys! Their craftsmanship, packaging, and customer service is spot on.
Shoes:  LeBunny Bleu

School starts again this coming Monday and I'm so excited for this quarter!  I'm taking a Knitwear Design class with my favorite professor which I'm really looking forward to learning under her again.  I just came back from a week long internship with the incredibly fun and talented team over at Handmade Charlotte!  I interned with them over Christmas break as well, and it's was such a fantastic time!  I'll share some of my work that I did with them hopefully soon.  Below is an instagram photo that I took as I was driving back to Savannah.
Happy Friday!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Mid Starry Night

All photographs are self portraits taken by myself using a tripod and self timer.
Clothing design + styling:  Esther Boller

From my past few previous posts, you've probably noticed that I have a thing for the Shakespeare play, A MidSummer Nights Dream.  It's pure magic!  I watched it for the first time this past summer and became completely enchanted by the story.   Although, I mostly fell in love with the whimsical and gorgeous costumes and set design.  I went on a Midsummer Night's kick and watched every movie variation that I could find.  I saw the 1935s film which is by far one of my favorite versions.  I've included a few screen shots below that are just too beautiful not to share.  

That film was the inspiration for this photo shoot.  This entire shoot was about recreating a bit of the magic that I felt while watching this movie.  I made everything that I'm wearing.  The beaded blouse is made from an old beaded skirt that I bought at Goodwill on 50% off day.  I cut a wrap design from it then hand sewed the pieces together and finished off the edges by hand sewing silk bias tape. 

The headband is also made from the same Goodwill skirt that was used to make the bodice.  I cut around the floral beaded design and then ironed on a heavy interfacing to make it stable and stiff.  I later glued the pieces together to a piece of ribbon.  In an upcoming post I'll be sharing a tutorial showing how to make the headband that I wore in this shoot.  This one is pretty over the top, but I'll show a more wearable variation.  

Making this skirt was a lot of fun!  I made it over the summer as a fun side project that I could pick up and hand sew whenever I had down time from working.  Each petal was hand cut to the shape of a flower petal.  Once shaped, I took a lighter around the edges to melt the sides so that it wouldn't fray.  This was before I found out about laser cutting (which I talked about in my previous post).  Then, one by one, I hand stitched each petal to the skirt making a petal gradient.  

It's currently the last week of finals, and I'm very excited to share what I'm making!   The final is one look that includes a jacket, trousers, and a knit top.  Below is a preview photo of my jacket that I posted on instagram.
I also still have a lot of projects from the summer to share with you (I have over 64 GB worth of unedited photos from the summer still - Oops.)  I'm hoping to catch up and share more of the summer projects over spring break next week.

Thanks for keeping up with my work!  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Dress

Dress:  Esther Boller
Photography + Styling:  Esther Boller
Model:  Brittani

The design inspiration for this dress comes from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a story that’s inspired many artists in the past - from directors to illustrators and writers. Mostly inspired by the 1935 black and white film’s adaptation of the play, I began to think about the era of the 1930s as well.  I took design elements of that era, including art deco seam detailing, and combined them with the soft, romantic, textural elements that were influenced by nature. 

The garment was constructed using the process of draping; using 30 different pattern pieces.   Each piece was individually draped on a mannequin and then transferred onto paper and later corrected.  Below are photos of the initial design lines and later at the half-pinned muslin stage.  This is when only have of the pattern is cut out and pinned to the mannequin to double check shape and alignment before cutting out a full pattern.
The seams were finished using the french seam technique so that the seams wouldn't unravel later.  The raw edges were finished by hand sewing strips of chiffon that were cut on bias and later folded and pressed.

The embellished elements were designed and made by laser cutting silk chiffon.  Which guys - lazer cutting is the BOMB!    At first when I was developing my initial concept I was hand cutting and burning each edge with a lighter so it wouldn't fray.  When I showed it to my professor she laughed, calling it a "handmade, filthy piece of trash" and told me that I should lazer cut them instead.   The light bulb went off, and I will never go back to hand cutting again

The little frayed puffs are hand cut circles of  polyester organza which I then rubbed in my hands to create a frayed effect.  They were later hand stitched onto the style lines of the seams. 

Through this project I learned so many new techniques, and I can't speak more highly of my professor, Sachi.  Sachi is the most dedicated professor I have ever met.  I respect her so much for her skill and knowledge and was so grateful for the amount of time that she poured into our class.  I'm hoping to take as many classes with her as possible!   Below is a photo of my class on the final day of critique. 
I've just started my final project for this quarter this week.  I can't wait to share that project with you next!  Till then, happy sewing!

P.S.  This dress is also for sale in my Etsy Shop!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Process

Last quarter I took Apparel 1 (draping), and I designed my final project around the inspiration of A Midsummer Night's Dream and the era of the 1920s.  I thought that I'd share with you a bit of the design process that went into making it.  I'll share more of the draping and sewing process in the next post when I show the final garment.   
Below is the initial croquis.  I drew over 40 different design variations and picked the one that I liked best.  Below is the one I chose.
Along with the final look, the class was told to pick four other looks to go with the one design to create a five-piece mini capsule collection.  Below is the five look lineup that I chose.
Flats were drawn after the muslin stage.
During the time of making the garment we had to keep a process book.  Here are a couple different texture pages from it. 

Below is a page of a process book that I keep my photography ideas in. The whole time I was envisioning a shoot with white paper butterflies so I sketched it out.
Sneak peek of the final shoot:
I'll be posting the final dress later this week!  I’m very excited to finally share it with you!