This [past] fall, Portlanders Allan Wilson (chk!chk!chk!), Lisa Schonberg and Heather Treadway (Secret Drum Band/Explode into Colors) arrived at Joshua Tree, CA in two vehicles packed high with drums, fabric, amps and speakers. They spent a month at artist Andrea Zittel's compound, A-Z West, and created new compositions of field recordings and percussion-focused music. Heather designed performance costumes, and video artist Julie Perini developed a program of video projections. Tara Jane Oneil added her magical sounds. All of their work drew directly from their desert surroundings.
This experience culminated in a short film that highlighted their experience and has great footage of each of the contributors creating musical soundscapes, and in Treadway's case, also creating the costumes for the performances.
The costumes are hooded in the regular Treadway fashion, but as stated by her in the video, they are not as geometric and triangular as her previous pieces. Inspired by the boulders surrounding her the pieces, namely the capes, took on a more organic shape:
I just threw fabric on a dress form and twisted it around, hand tacking as I went, until they came together. A wonderful way to create a garment when you're not pressed for time or need to figure out how to reproduce them factory style. Also, totally inspired by my surroundings and slow morning routine.
For the fabric, Treadway went with all natural white with a 50% cotton and 50% silk content purchased in Portland. She used a variety of dying techniques, including using a special rusted vinegar solution and lemon juice and drying the fabric in the sun. Other pieces were dyed with a combination of red, purple, black, maroon, and brown i-dyes, rusted vinegar, and spray bleach, which she used in a more organic fashion, not really following the directions but working intuitively to see what would happen.
Treadway has started creating a six piece Spring collection based on the colorways of the desert and the feeling of the pieces she created in Joshua Tree. She plans to have a trunk show in March showcasing the small three size run of ready to wear pieces, which MOD will be sure to keep you updated on, I know I can't wait to see it!
Following are some of the pieces she created during this project, photographed by Angela Suchey and Jason Leonard and modeled by Clea Partridge, Jamie Rosenberg, and James Kidd.
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