FROM KAREN HUNTER....
It seems my artistic streak is getting stretched more and more each year. This year I am adding fabric and beads to suits and hats for Steve and also plan to make part of my blog 'Thoughts From Huntersville' into a hard cover book called 'Diary Of A Tour & More'.
My latest sewing venture started with a black beaded Kofi style hat I made for Steve when he toured Germany with Mitch Ryder back in 2005. I have now made and beaded three hats for him and I am just about to start a blue one for our good friend Jason Becker.
When Steve was told he could not wear anything black on a 3D video shoot with the original Alice Cooper Group in 2010 we knew we would all have to get creative.
Rock musicians always wear black right? Well not this time, it seems black does not show up on 3D images.
Steve had a red suit he had purchased years ago, a zoot suit with wide pants and a flowing easy style so we decided it would be perfect for the filming and what fun it would be to ‘trick it up’….. says Steve.
I admit I was reluctant to attempt the appliqué effect on the jacket of the suit but Steve was convinced it would work so eventually I had a go and was very happy with the result.
I had some old bits of fabric in my workroom, well that is an under statement really, I have many plastic bins full of fabric. Like a squirrel collects nuts I collect fabric and findings.
Steve was photographed by Ross Halfin in the red suit suit during the 3D filming and we used that shot as the basis of his new website. www.stevehunter.com
Fast forward to this year and we are gearing up for the release of Steve’s new album ‘The Manhattan Blues Project’. This is definitely the bluesiest album he has ever done, his love of the blues shines through on every track but in his unique way. He is very proud of his 'rock' work over the last 40 years but has always regarded himself as a blues guitarist and hopes his fans will be happy with this change of emphasis.
With that in mind he wants a cool, Django Reinhardt crossed with Stevie Ray Vaughan look for this record so we found some more suits and away I went with beads, fabric and even crystals!
I love it that each project is so different, each suit is a new canvas and will spark a new idea for ‘tricking up’, a combination of its color and it’s style. Also, each suit or hat is a fairly short lived exercise, usually a couple of weeks at most which is perfect for my poor attention span.
I now have a template for the most commonly used jacket collars but if that does not work I simply unroll a bit more black felt, lay that on the collar and cut out a pattern till I think it will work.
Each template is at least ¾ of an inch bigger than the collar or the pocket so that I can fold it under as I hand sew the fabric to the jacket. The hand sewing is my favorite bit, I find that and beading very relaxing and therapeutic. Doing these things makes me sit in one place for a while so that is always a good thing.
I have gathered quite an array of beads and findings now but like some women with shoes, I can never have enough.
Steve wore two of the newly ‘tricked up’ suits to the NAMM convention in Anaheim last week and he got more complements than he can remember getting for anything he has ever worn.
Hence ‘Tricked Up Clothing’ is born; I will work on a suit jacket or a hat for anyone who is looking for something completely unique. I will listen for what they like in colors and how flamboyant they would like to be. But my motivation has to be whatever sparks my own imagination. Of course the more work the higher the price tag. But being individual is a rare and precious thing these days.
A 'tricked up' hat would start at around $300 and a jacket at $800 depending on the amount work, fabric, beads or crystals involved. As a guide, the beading and work on the Khaki colored suit Steve has would be about $1000. This does not include the jacket itself, that will belong to the person who wants to change it up a gear and make it something very special indeed.