My one brother is lucky enough to have five older sisters. We don't usually buy each other birthday presents but we make an exception for ages with zeros. Four of us have leapt the latest zero hurdle and all the other siblings have chipped in to buy us a beautiful necklace from a contemporary jewellery shop.
The last time we were organising this, my brother must have started to get worried. He let us know that when his turn came he didn't want a necklace. He wanted a Nudie Suit.
Well that is an excellent idea and he would look mighty fine in one. The problem is getting hold of one. The few that aren't already owned by Chris Isaak go at auction for more than the average annual NZ wage. So I decided that for a joke I'd whip up a wee miniature Nudie suit to be going on with until a real one came into his life.
Then I heard that The NewDowse gallery in Lower Hutt wanted members of the public to make party guests for a doll called Huttette's 21st birthday party. Huttette is the youngest member of late textile artist Malcolm Harrison's "The Family". I'd first seen and loved that exhibition when studying fashion and textiles in Wellington decades earlier. I'm not a doll person but I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and I made Mr Grifta, pictured above.
So back into the stash I went. For his suit I used that old blue fabric.
Mr Grifta was originally supposed to be the sort of guest you dread having at your party. He's Huttette's naughty friend who she has loads of fun with but hasn't introduced to anyone. He tends to go too far. I'd intended that he'd have fake sick all down his front, nasty stains down his suit legs and that he'd be displayed in the gallery lying in the recovery position. But somehow after sewing on all those beads and sequins, I just couldn't deface him. According to my partner that means "He isn't art. He is just a doll".
His bio was: "Huttette met Mr Grifta on a bus. He made her laugh. She lent him $20. She calls him "The Nine Stone Cowboy". He calls her ATM."
Mr Grifta now lives at my brother's house, probably in the sandpit. I hope a real Nudie Suit turns up soon because I couldn't face making him a life-sized one.