Monday, September 27, 2010

On Transformation & Aging (really, it's not what you think!)...

Everything new is old again. One of my favorite backwards sayings. Believe it or not, I'm actually an old fashioned kind of girl. I like to take things slow... take my time... savor the moment. Not all this rush-rush-rush we have today. So I like to surround myself with things that remind me of a simpler time. Antiques, collectibles and, well... junk. The older-looking the better I like it. But I can't always find what I'm looking for. Either the items are out of my price range, smell a little funky, or just too rare to obtain.

And that's when the fun starts! I get to take something new and make it look old and dirty and dusty and unkempt and disheveled and like it's been kept in Grandma's attic (or perhaps basement) for decades! Such is the case with my most recent acquisition... a dress form.

Before and After
I searched high and low for an antique dress form to use as a model for my jewelry making. But, alas, there were none that met my criteria. So I gave in and ordered a new version, with the intention of transforming it into something vintage. And that, I did. Over the course of a few days, I dyed it with tea, aged it with espresso and spritzed it with a watery mix of Van Dyke Brown acrylic paint... letting it drip dry in the sun (although I think I scared the mailman once or twice when I left it in the alleyway!). I sanded it, stamped on it, and went back over it way too many times! I even took an old page from a math book and added it to the neck (I thought it looked like a measurement chart. And of course I had to distress that as well.

Sometimes it's just the simplest of details...
 Look at those beautiful, decades-old looking discolorations...

 Every diva needs a pair of wings...

Sticking my neck out...
Why 42? Because I'm 42!
All-in-all this was one of my favorite projects to do. I love aging things just right because it's impossible! Huh? That's right, these techniques are so unpredictable that you never know how they'll turn out, and you are just going to have to course correct. Kind of like life...

Photos: All photos by Michelle Bernard, with the exception of: Original Dress Form picture courtesy of


  1. HOW FUN! This is so wonderful, Michelle, and I think I'm really in love with her wings the most, although I really love all of her. Nice job!
    Peace & Love,

  2. You are absolutely the most creative person I know. Until I met you, I thought I was! Fabu job on the manequin. Inspiring!
    xo's Vicki

  3. Love the idea, a great distressed job and I love your blog and makes



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michelle renee bernard