Sown in fields of stars
I typically do not wear jewelry of any sort, but when Alexis Devine of Squirrel vs. Coyote mentioned on her Instagram that she wanted to do some custom literary bodices, I jumped at the chance. Alexis is one of my very favorite people to follow on IG, as her gorgeous couture pieces (and models) are ridiculously photogenic, and her captions are refreshingly real and relatable. And, as more than subtly hinted in previous posts (e.g., here), the band YOB has become a hugely important part of my life, and so I’ve been ruminating on how I could get some type of art on my body that represents that importance. A full-sleeve tattoo loosely inspired by some of their lyrics and artwork is hopefully in the works in the next couple of years, but something wearable is the next best thing.
Alexis was an absolute dream to work with (with her doing all the work, of course). I first provided her with a very rough idea and (quite horrid) sketch of what I had in mind. I was imagining all of the lyrics being included, with very long stamped metal pieces in the shape of a mandala, playing on the Buddhist imagery prevalent in YOB’s lyrics and album covers. While this seemed like a good idea in my head, my sketch ended up looking wayyyy too Iron Man (see below). But, being the artist she is, what Alexis did with that idea was so so much better. Instead of arranging the metal pieces in the shape of a mandala (which wouldn’t have worked functionally), Alexis tried something new to her and made the piece seen at the top, a lightweight, laser-burnt wood piece inspired by the Metatron’s cube imagery. As it so happens, this image is actually part of the art in the album the lyrics come from, Our Raw Heart, and is perhaps my favorite part of the whole piece, especially as the metal pieces drape beautifully below it, echoing the bottom angle. We also decided to go with a compressed version of the lyrics to keep within my budget, the lyrics being from the first song on the album, “Ablaze“, a gorgeous piece that is an excellent introduction to the band’s sound and ethos. In fact, “Ablaze” was the song that first introduced me to this band, so it was an obvious choice for me. I had also requested toning down the metal content (somewhat ironically, given that YOB is a metal band…), so Alexis tried another new to her thing, using nylon cording (instead of chains or leather cords) for the neck and waist parts (which both clasp in the back).
What resulted is what you see in the top and bottom photos. For it’s inaugural spin, I paired it with a complexgeometries dress (top photo) that I have had for years but have never worn, because it’s much too white and has some weird volume/shape stuff happening in the back. This was a perfect pair, the bodice toning down the bright white and tying down some of that volume with the waist cord. And after wearing the bodice for a full work day, I then went home and threw it over an old but beloved black Ovate dress (not pictured). Perfection. And while this piece has made me appreciate shiny things, I can’t wait for the bronze to start tarnishing and gaining its own gorgeous patina.
Thank you so ever much, Alexis, both for your artistic expertise and for stepping out of your comfort zone to merge my ideas with yours. I will treasure this piece forever.
YOB is love.
Title quote: “Ablaze”, from Our Raw Heart