Check out what creative new ideas they’re coming up with over at The Alternative Limb Project. While the artisans at The Alternative Limb Project do make traditional prosthetics, designed to look natural and be unobtrusive, they’re also creating a new flavor of prosthetics they call “alternative limbs.” Rather than let prosthetics be artifacts of people’s disabilities, they’re turning them into empowering extensions of the people wearing them. Instead of them being objects of pain or loss, they’re making them into representations of individuality and creativity. As their website says,
An alternative-style limb can help to break down social barriers, delight the eye and provide an unusual talking point.
They’re making works of art that instigate conversations! Curiosity about the artwork is helping people make connections and broach what is sometimes a taboo subject. Suddenly that person is no longer a stranger; they become a flesh and blood person who is defined by more than their missing limb.
Check out these beautiful works of art showcased on their website. I’m only sharing a few of the pictures from their website, so be sure to check out the rest at The Alternative Limb Project.
The Alternative Limb Project, floral leg for Kiera Roch
Viktoria Modesta photographed by and copyright of Jon Enoch
Wooden arm photographed by Delphine Doidy
Crystallized Leg made for Viktoria Modesta playing the Ice Queen at the London 2012 Paralympic Closing ceremony fitted at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sponsored by Swarovski
Recently the Sustainability Stewards, TERRA, and student government at the College of Idaho worked together to bring us the event TOMS Style Your Sole. In case you’re unfamiliar, with TOMS, it’s a shoe company dedicated to sustainable materials, and for each pair of shoes they sell, they give a free pair of shoes to barefoot children in developing countries. So buying a pair of TOMS shoes is not only a way of procuring fashionable, comfortable, eco-friendly shoes, they’re also guaranteeing that you’re helping someone in need.
The idea of the Style Your Sole event is to buy basic, plain white TOMS and then decorate them with your own signature style. When groups or organizations do this, they’re ensuring that many pairs of shoes will be donated. This spring the College of Idaho held a Style Your Sole event. I bought a pair of white TOMS to decorate. I made it my first art project of the summer to decorate them with my interpretation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Now I have a pair of comfortable shoes that convey my love of art to anyone who sees them.
You’ve simply got to check out this blog post on an old macrame book. The included photos are simply fantastic.
Inspired by a lovely Sister’s idea that we should have more sorority t-shirts, and that we could make our own, I decided to try my hand at a t-shirt design of my own. I planned to make a stencil and use spraypaint. Here’s how I did it:
- Begin with a solid color t-shirt. I found a cheap one at Walmart with a nice cut to it, but I know craft stores sell cheap t-shirts in a variety of colors, at about $4 each, for craft purposes.
- Then I got a piece of newspaper, folded in half, and sketched half of a heart* on it with sharpie. I cut it out and unfolded the shape for a symmetrical heart. I double-checked that this heart was small enough to fit on the back of my shirt, and trimmed accordingly.
*I wanted a heart for my design, but a circle or any shape will do. This step is simply to make sure what you design will fit in the space you want it.
- Then I laid this heart pattern onto a large piece of posterboard and traced around it with a pencil. I set the newspaper heart aside after this, for I no longer needed it.
- Sketch your design within the confines of your shape. Do this in pencil so you can erase mistakes. I settled on several skeleton keys within the heart.
- When you’re satisfied with your design, outline it with pen. This makes it more final, as well as easier to see.
- Use a hobby exacto-blade set to cut along your lines. I cut out all of the negative spaces, careful not to cut the keys from the frame. The spaces I cut out will be spraypainted, while the design I don’t cut out will prevent spraypaint from hitting the shirt, and will appear the color of the shirt underneath.
After this point you should move to a well-ventilated area, preferably outside.
- When the design is completely cut out, turn it over and make little tape tubes (for two-sided stickiness) and place them in narrow spots of the design. In my case this was along the keys. This is to make sure they stay down in the spraying process. The more tape you use, the more finished your design looks. The less tape you use, the more spraypaint gets under the stencil edges and blurs your design. The force of the spraypaint air can lift up the stencil, and tape prevents this.
- Then turn the stencil back over and place it where you want it on the shirt. Press down firmly, especially where tape is.
- Cover any exposed areas of the shirt that you don’t want paint on with newspaper or something to protect it. Spraypaint vapors can unintentionally gather on the shirt where you don’t want it, even where you think you didn’t spray.
- When everything’s ready, shake your spraypaint and test it somewhere to the side. This prevents unexpected “spitting” of the paint. When you have an even spray, go ahead and spraypaint your design stencil. Work in quick, short spritzes at a fair distance from the shirt for a light, even coverage. I kept my can 1-2 feet away most of the time.
- Once you’ve deemed the paint thick enough with even coverage, step away and let the paint dry. Overnight is best.
- After a substantial dry time, come back to your shirt and gently remove the stencil.
- Clean up the edges of the stencil with a small brush. A fine paintbrush or a toothbrush works. I worked along the edges of my design and around the keys to brush away traces of spraypaint that made it where I didn’t want it. This fine layer brushed away very easily.
- Viola! The design is complete!
When I was finished with the design on the back I turned the shirt around and repeated the process with a smaller design of a single key. But this time the design was inverted, so the key is white.
I’ve created a spraypaint t-shirt stencil design before and it’s held up very well. The shirt has been through many washings and held up. However that shirt was of a somewhat different cotton material, so I’m not sure how well this design will withstand the test of time. I admit I fear the spraypaint wants to rub off. I’m not sure whether to throw it in the wash and remove the loose paint or just start wearing the shirt for hopes of maximizing it’s life. I’ll just have to find out.
The design sketched out and outlined in pen with a few sections cut out.
The exacto blade hobby set I used to cut out the design.
The stencil cut out and ready to go.
The final spraypainted design on the back of my shirt.
A hand-made clay charm painted to look like an onion makes a fun little gag gift for a farmer friend.
The past week I’ve been having a blast designing jewelry! I’m having so much fun pursuing a sudden wave of inspiration. Each day, if possible, I spend several hours putting together jewelry from beads, vintage jewelry, and clay, among other things. Then at night, before I go to bed I brainstorm new ideas and jot them down in a sketchbook to experiment with later. I’m having a lot of fun, and I’ll be sure to post more pictures when I’ve made more progress. The current tally stands at nine necklaces and two sets of earrings, with more to come.
I'm making a mess spreading my materials everywhere.
- Exploring ideas in a sketchbook.
I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy Teefury shirts, but I had to share a few with you that I think artsy people will really appreciate.
The first design is by Mr_GeekChic and is a mashup between Star Wars AT-AT Walkers and Salvador Dali’s stilt-legged elephants. Notice that the Dear Star resembles the melting clocks.
The second design by jcthomasson is a mashup between A Clockwork Orange and Rene Magritte’s Son of Man.