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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wacky Wednesday #20: Marge Simpson

What do broken sunglasses and Marge Simpson have in common? (Everything, clearly. Where do I even begin?)

If you’ve read my blog before you know that I almost always have a back story to my costumes. Today is no exception. Allow me to explain how broken sunglasses led to a Marge Simpson costume. If you’re like me, and you haven’t watched The Simpsons many times, it’s likely that you at least recognize the characters. The Simpson family is everywhere. You may be wondering why I am dressed as a character from a show I haven’t watched much. Excellent question. This is how my brain works:

Several months ago I decided that the broken sunglasses I’d been keeping for years would make a cool dress. I planned to make a dress from fabric printed with sunglasses, to which I would attach my broken sunglasses. But by the time the online seller got back to me about not having the fabric anymore, my idea had morphed.

The new idea was to make a hat from broken sunglasses parts. (This is obvious, of course. It’s the most natural reaction, upon breaking sunglasses, to say, “These clearly should become supplies for a hat.”)

Then the sunglasses hat idea morphed yet again. Instead of a hat, the sunglasses would become a giant blue beehive hairdo, like Marge Simpson’s.

When I first began typing notes for this post (months ago when my sunglasses hairdo was to be a dress), this post started with the confession of a secret. Here’s what I wrote:

I have bags of broken sunglasses in my art studio.

I have at least 24 pairs, maybe more (it’s hard to know since some of them are broken into pieces).

Some of them have been sitting there for more than a decade, waiting for a purpose.

(Now before you call 1-800-HOARDER to stage an intervention, I can explain.)

We artists sometimes keep things that other people might throw away. Part of it is that I don’t want to throw tons of stuff away. The landfills are plenty full, I think. But most of it is that many everyday objects talk to me.

(Please, wait. Don’t call for a straightjacket yet. I can explain.)

These objects whisper their secrets to me, things like, “You know, I could have a second life someday. I could come back as wonderful art supplies. Don’t throw me out. I have potential…”

So that’s why I have broken sunglasses in my studio. I’m not a hoarder. I’m a planner. And the good news is that this week these broken sunglasses have been given a new life.

Want to know what this costume cost to bring to life? I already had chicken wire (for the hair’s structure), paint, necklace materials, felt, hot glue sticks, thread and shoes.

Total cost: $2 for a skirt (thrifted), which I turned into the dress. This is the skirt before my scissors got near it:
For anyone who is interested in how to make your own Marge beehive, I’m sure there are various ways, but here’s how I did mine. I made a tube using chicken wire. I cut and bent the top of the tube inward so that the top would be closed, and rounded. This is how it looked at that point:
Then I covered the chicken wire with foam, which I reused from an insulated package. You can attach the foam with hot glue or needle and thread. I used both. Then I hot glued blue fabric to my beehive. Here’s the view of the inside of the beehive:
After this, I hot glued sunglasses to the hive and painted everything Marge blue. Voila!
A word about sunglasses. I tend to buy very inexpensive sunglasses. Partly this is because I’m frugal. And partly it’s because I seem to break them constantly. So why spend more than $10 on a pair? Usually less. Now, one might pose this question: is it possible that the sunglasses break easily because they are cheaply made? To which I might reply: yes, possibly. Do I buy cheap glasses because I know they’ll break? Or do they break because they’re cheap, which leads me to buy cheap ones the next time (because they’ll break)?  We have a chicken and an egg and there’s no way to sort this out. So I’ll take it as a sign that I’m supposed to buy the cheap ones. I can’t tell you how often the arms of my sunglasses have broken. Lenses, too. And this is maddening because with my big head and asymmetrical nose, I can’t just wear any old pair of sunglasses. I need to try on 20 pairs before choosing one.

Some of the 24+ pairs I have were ones I found. People tend to leave broken sunglasses on the steps to buildings. (Litterbugs.) Which I interpret as a sign that I should gather them for future art projects. Remember: it’s not hoarding. It’s planning. Plus, it’s not even my fault that I gather weird objects. It’s a gender thing. It’s imprinted into my double X chromosomes. Men are hunters and we women are gatherers. And so I gather.

I think that everyday objects can be used in unusual ways and can become art, not just broken stuff. The movement of turning used materials into wearable art is called trashion. There are limits to how much one should collect, of course. I really don’t want to become a hoarder, and I don’t think I’m anywhere near that. I can throw things out. I recycle a lot of things. I donate to the thrift store monthly. Of course, I collect found objects every single week, so the influx of new (old) stuff weighed against the outbound old stuff means that the volume of stuff I own is not decreasing. However, it’s not increasing, either. So clearly, I do not have a problem. I am not a hoarder. I’m a collector

And isn’t there a song that justifies my collecting? It’s a famous song written by John Lennon (or, by some accounts, John Lennon and Paul McCartney). I believe it goes like this: “All we are saying…is give trash a chance…”



  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Mara! See, it goes to show: if you keep random stuff for 10 years, eventually you can turn it into a costume!

  2. Awesome! Very cool.

    1. Thanks, Roxie. So glad you liked it. I've ditched the costume, though, as it's WAY too hot to wear anything extra on my head!

  3. Totally awesome - can't wait to share on FB


    1. Thank you, Amy. So sweet of you. Hope it brings laughs to everyone today....

  4. You are so clever and creative and pretty as can be in anything u make!

  5. Thanks, Donna. So glad you liked it...

  6. So wonderful! I've never seen anyone even attempt, much less pull off, a Marge Simpson costume, complete with strapless dress, telltale necklace, & blue BEEHIVE!!!
    I was wondering how you made that--You're a master with the chicken wire, Sar! (thinking of your fabulous pineapple costume from a few years back...) And... Encorporating found objects, which happen to also sometimes be found propped on people's hair--so perfect!

    1. Thanks, L! Chicken wire really is fab. It's so versatile and really helps to create a shape. Not sure if chickens like it, but I sure do...

  7. I admire the way your brain works! The end product is amazing, as usual. :-)

  8. Thanks, Adri. My brain surprises me sometimes, but the unexpected twists and turns do make it an adventure...