The Look of Carman Miranda

Carman Miranda

words by Rochelle

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in my bathroom at 9 in the morning, with neighbor and fabulous chalk artist, Joan Finn. She twisted my arm (not very hard though) to help recreate the look of the imfamous Carman Miranda, in preparation for her next art project, in which I would be her model. It took us about 15 minutes, safety pinning fake fruit and flowers to a turban wrapped around my head. Once the fruit turban was complete, I dressed my eyebrows with black eyeliner and topped off my lips with bright red lipstick. Then we headed outside for a photo shoot where I battled the sun in my eyes, and got a kick out of Joan’s shrill laugh during fun and inspirational conversation.

me, in one of our silly shots

After the photo shoot, Joan informed me she was going to photoshop her choice image by adding in more fruit and perhaps other accessories. So really, at this point, I have no idea what the final product is going to look like, but I do know that it’s going to end up as a large scale chalk art piece.

Because viewing live chalk art performance is random, everyone needs to know that Joan’s latest project is due to occur very close to Kansas City this upcoming weekend at the 2012 Liberty Arts Squared Festival, located in the historic downtown of Liberty, MO. (Parking and admission is free.) The dates and hours of this event are FRIDAY NIGHT- JUNE 1st from 5 pm- 10 pm, and SATURDAY- JUNE 2nd from 9 am- 4 pm.

Joan Finn will just so happen to be at the festival throughout the day on Saturday, June 2nd, creating a chalk art performance piece.  You can view some of Joan’s work from past festivals and events at Not only should you stop by to see her talent in action, but you should also engage in conversation with her- say something that will make her laugh. Joan’s laughter is full of life, not too much different from what she puts into her art. Highly memorable.

Exit to the Museum Shop

“a little update”- words by Rochelle

As soon as I get off this addictive and zombifying computer, I’m heading down to my studio to start making paper flowers, from recycled magazines and catalogs…..

Paper flowers- made from recycled magazines and catalogs

… well as mixed-media handmade cards for the Kemper Museum shop.  

Besides my cards and paper flowers, the Kemper Museum shop showcases loads of other fabulous and reasonable priced handmade artisan wares. Plus, if you head over to the museum Friday evening, May 18th, you can witness the opening of the Lois Dodd exhibition. You might even see me there.

“Apple Tree and Shed”- Lois Dodd, Catching the Light- Exhibition opening Friday evening, May 18, 2012.

Play Time!

“what I’ve been up to”- words by Rochelle

So, the Kansas City Art Institute is out for summer! I am through with my first year of full-time school…and I couldn’t be more grateful for the free time I have right now to catch up on things around my humble home.  But don’t let me get distracted here with all my spring cleaning and gardening commentary, because none of that is what I am here to share with you.

One of the workshops I was in this past semester at the KC Art Institute was called “Vestio: Put It On”. Out of many assignments, one was to create a costume that represented how we think people, or want people to perceive us. The costume could be conceptual or literal, but overall, it had to be completely handmade, wig and all.

I created what I call “Fire Mouth Mama”: representational of me as a mother, a woman who speaks her mind,  as well as someone who is respectable, yet unique- different, even weird; all the while considering that I am also a retired Hair Stylist.  Those were my key words when I started anyway……

I made my wig first. The mouth shape on top was inspired by a hairstyle that I saw on a fashion model (below):

the inspiring hair do

As you see from my “work in progress” wig, I decided to use yellows and reds that define a fiery hot headed woman. Although I’m proud of my wig, as it is the second one I’ve ever made in my lifetime (rather than just assembling a crazy up-do hairstyle on a live person), it wasn’t a complete success.  At least I know what I did wrong, so when I go at wig making again, it will only get better.

wig in progress

After I completed my hair, I made the costume: a pair of drop crotch leggings with geometric patterns, a coordinating tank top, and the “wearing a square” pullover I made from the pattern in Pattern Magic 2 by Tomoko Nakamichi. The contrast of texture and pattern: brocade fabric versus athletic fabric, mingled with lycra fabric, which I chose for my costume, was important and intentional- an element portraying my moodiness, randomness, eclectic taste, or even my indecisiveness.

For the finishing touches, I sewed real hair on the sleeves of my pullover and created a hair boa that wrapped around my neck. Amidst all the hair, on my sleeves and within the boa, I attached plastic babies- which unfortunately you can barely see (or not see at all) in the photos below.

a closeup

Fire Mouth Mama

Oh yeah, as I look again at the photo, I realize that I forgot to relay I made boot covers for my ankle boots. During my final critique, I was recommended to do something about my shoes before our class was to put on a one time only, public performance. Boot covers were my solution, and so, the day after critique and boot cover making, I was ready to perform in the crazy weird, student re-written rendition of the Emperor’s New Clothes that we titled “Measants, A Silent Musical….eeah Only the Virgins”.  It was truly a silent musical. If I can get the video recording of our performance from my instructor, I will definitely post it.

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