Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Art and Craft of the Homecoming Mum!

The ART and craft of the Homecoming Mum

Homecoming ART Mum by Alton DuLaney September 2015
 There is a tradition that happens in Texas in the fall that people take very seriously. Once school gets back into session, and calendars start making autumnal threats, the anticipation starts building for the big homecoming game. But it's not just the game of football that is played competitively, girls show their school spirit and team pride by festooning themselves with the extravagant creations known as the Homecoming Mum.

Originally the tradition started out as a corsage given to any girl in the Homecoming Court by her date, which was usually no more than a live Chrysanthemum embellished with a few ribbons. But overtime it has adopted the Texas motto of "Bigger is Better", and girls across campus and across ages compete to see  who has the biggest and most beautiful mum. And these things get very expensive, as any trip to a craft store will attest, with girls and their mothers putting together a signature concoction. After recently viewing the phenomenon myself at flower shops and crafting stores, I decided that I, too, would try my hand at this Texas hobby.

Homecoming Mum supplies photographed by Alton DuLaney September 2015
The first thing to do is get your supplies together. Materials you might want include silk mums in several sizes and colors, spools of ribbon, colorful paper, decorative objects, and of course your scissors, tape, staples, and glue. I use a long arm stapler as this allows a great reach when stapling ribbon.

Homecoming Mum, getting started, photographed by Alton DuLaney September 2015
To get started, use a cardboard disc, or mum backer card to begin attaching first rows of loops and ribbons. I chose a patriotic pallet of red, white, and blue. But whatever your colors, I suggest laying things out to get a good look at placement and material allocation.
ART Mum How-to by Alton DuLaney September 2015
Next add your message ribbon, of whichever ribbon you want to be most visible. I visited my lcocal floral shop (Thank you Sweetie Pies in Splendora, Texas!!) and had this ribbon printed, but you can also find a lot of readily available printed ribbon online.

Braided Ribbon for Homecoming Mums photographed by Alton DuLaney September 2015
Specialty ribbon is a big hit and adds texture and dimension. I braided the above ribbons after watching some how-to videos on YouTube. The big trend in Homecoming Mums right now is ribbon variety, including the popular honeycomb ribbon , which is available in a variety of colors.

As you continue to add different cuts of ribbon and decoration, glue each strand to back of disc to add to the thickness of the Mum.
Rear view of Mum with paper fan folds by Alton DuLaney September 2014
As you can see from above, I added many layers of ribbon and even some paper fan folds for added pizzazz!
The Homecoming Mum flower by Alton DuLaney September 2015
For the actual mum, I combine two silk flowers, with tube ribbon, battery operated lights, and  feather butterflies  .

Homecoming Mum detail by Alton DuLaney September 2015
  A detail of some of the additions: feather balls, glitter stars, curled paper ribbon, the whole shebang! I even added bells and whistles !

ART Homecoming Mum by Alton DuLaney September 2015
 The final results is a festive flower that looks as if a wrapped gift exploded, with ribbons and adornments hangs in thick layers.
Homecoming Mum Garter by Alton DuLaney September 2105
 And just so you don't think that this crafty tradition is for the girls only, their dates are also roped into the pageantry with a smaller version worn as a garter.

 But remember, although this does get very competitive, it is supposed to be fun. So have fun, be crafty, and good luck!

For more creative ideas and crafty how-tos check out my affiliated  Paper Arts class on

Happy Crafting and Art Making!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Texas Design Now

Texas Deign Now Opening at CAM photo by Alton DuLaney August 2015

On a recent balmy Friday night, that familiar art itch surfaced that needed to be scratched. So with my artsy friend Ruby Surls in tow, we packed up the convertible and headed to the arts district of Houston, Texas to get our fix. Of our many conversations during the significant drive into town, we bemoaned the fact that Houston lacked a certain amount of style readily found in other large cities, particularly within the art community. Where was the fashion, the quirkiness, the eccentricity for which artists and art patrons are known? After a few lackluster openings, we found our answer in the Texas Design Now exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum.

Not only was the design on display worth seeing, but the crowd was a see-and-be-seen must. Men in skirts, couples in matching outfits, over-sized lucite jewelry, hand-painted garments, statement-piece accessories, and tattoos and piercings adorned the crowd.

Denis Nance shirt wall at CAM photo by Alton DuLaney August 2015

Many of the designers and their collections were noteworthy: Garza Marfa's thick leather home furnishings combined rustic materials with a modern design, Finel's geometric handbags appeared as if they were carved from stone, Rhinestone Rob's encrusted accessories became objets de arte, a ball gown with enormous train looked ready for any pageant or  parade, Denis Nance's wall of shirts could have graced any 5th avenue window display, and Michael Wilson's beautifully carved wooden furniture left the viewer wondering if one should sit on them or simply admire them.

Michael Wilson carved table at CAM photo by Alton DuLaney August 2015

But perhaps my favorite collection, so tiny it might be missed, was Johnny Dang's  Diamond Grillz. These teeth caps fabricated from gold, diamonds and gemstones, added new meaning to the term ghetto-fabulous. With a long list of celebrity clients, these Grillz were truly captivating works of pop art, and seemed just at home in a museum as they would in a rap video. 
Johnny Dang's Diamond Grillz at CAM photo by Alton DuLaney August 2015

An evening and a museum full of style and fashion, the exhibit Texas Design Now at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston is a terrific overview of Texas designers from all across the great state of Texas. 

For more info check out the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston.