When I began making purses in 2002, I scavenged fabric from my father's automotive upholstery stash. Woven wool, star-print nylon, plaids and printed vinyls were all represented from his 50 years in the business. I collected car emblems from swap meets and trolled auction sites for the same. I put the two elements together and Ballistic Sweater Girl Designs was born.
These things brought me back to afternoons sitting in my dad's shop on top of his huge work table watching him sew up seat covers. I recall flipping through the Detroit fabric sample books and being amazed at all the colors and textures. The smells of dusty old cars that have 10,000 days of secrets to tell.
In the past few years, my clients have shared with me stories of their first cars and their special memorie : high school drag racing, first dates, and make-out sessions in the back seat of a '74 Camaro. This spurred my interest into the history of these cars. I began to do more research for each bag. Then, my father would show me the original factory seaming like two-tone channel-pleated and diamond tufting. I searched original ads and extracted the feeling of the era for each design. Honestly, I became a little obsessed.
The idea of these historically authentic creations has been brewing for some time, and Detroit's recent decline urges me to do more in honor of the automotive industry as a whole. An industry that for over 60 years was the backbone of Midwest's middle class. Automobile transportation governed our cities, vacation travel and roadways. Despite it's current reputation, Detroit produced an integral piece of what defined us as a country and on a more personal level, what defined us as individuals. Who hasn't been in on a light-hearted debate over which is better, Chevy or Ford? What ideals create a Dodge family? What color and style do you dream about? (You know you do.) There seriously is a visceral connection with drivers and their cars and their memories.
Detroit Recall is a series of works beginning with my earliest available materials from the 1940s and 1950s and continuing on until the 1980s. I want to create wearable artifacts and art pieces crafted from factory original materials and parts specific to that model year. Each object will be hand-designed by me. I look forward to presenting you with a few new surprises, as well. The Detroit Recall series will launch during a special exhibition to be announced in the Summer of 2014.
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