I was asked to create a custom ski mask for this Juxtapoz shoot back in March. The idea was to have a ski mask blend into a wallpaper background. (They also got guerilla fiber artist Olek to contribute – check out her awesome work here.)
The only problem was they needed the mask for the shoot within ten days. TEN DAYS! At first I thought that was too quick a turnaround, but then I remembered I’m a glutton for punishment. I am the person who finished that Obama sweater in less than a week, after all.
When I got the wallpaper I wasn’t sure it could be done. Matching the color was difficult enough.
And then there was the problem of matching the elaborate pattern. I initially wanted to knit the pattern into the mask, but after a few rows into the swatch I realized that was a terrible, terrible idea.
It then occurred to me that I could knit the whole mask in one color and then embroider the pattern on top. It was a simultaneous “Eureka!” and “Duh!” moment. Why didn’t I think of this before I wasted a day swatching and charting?
So, once the mask was done I traced the wallpaper pattern onto some parchment paper:
I then pinned it to the mask and started embroidering through the paper. Have I mentioned that I’ve never embroidered anything in my life? I had very little idea what the hell I was doing, but at this point I had about 6 hours left before my deadline so I didn’t have much choice. Sink or swim.
Embroidering this sucker took all night. No, seriously: I pulled an all-nighter to get it finished. And the whole time I was stitching I kept thinking “this is a disaster! This looks terrible! It’s never going to look right. I just stayed up all night for nothing!”
I honestly thought that it looked terrible. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation or the tedium of picking away the million little pieces of parchment stuck under the embroidery, but I really truly thought this thing was a failure. As I walked to my bathroom to try it on and compare to the wallpaper background, I was convinced Jon Glaser would take one look at this thing and throw it out.
And then I tried it on:
You can’t tell from my glassy eyes or tired frown, but I was elated. This was a HOLY SHIT IT ACTUALLY WORKS moment.
(Also, check out the insane wallpaper in my bathroom. I can’t take credit, as our landlords installed it before we moved in, but I do love how crazy it is.)
I then drove to a hotel in Hollywood to drop this thing off with the show’s art director before he caught a flight to New York. And then I passed out for 3 hours before I went to work.