“40 Shades of Green”

I took part in an exciting exhibit where 6 other students and I got scholarships to create wearable art using leather. It was sponsored by the Kuhlman Foundation and was part of a 10-month long journey into the experimentation with leather.

The name for the project came to me while I was looking for song lyrics and poetry that used the word “green”. I came across a Johnny Cash song called “40 Shades of Green” about his trip to Ireland in 1959. Because of the current popularity of the book “50 Shades of Grey” and our use of leather, I felt it was a perfect tongue-in-cheek title for my piece.

See the journey from beginning to end on my Kuhlman Experimentation Journal.

Below is my final look for the 9th Annual Barbara Kuhlman Foundation Fiber Arts Exhibit. The pieces will be on display in the Jill Stuart Gallery until October 24, 2014.

To learn more about the fabrication of my piece, see the information below the gallery.


The first real spark of inspiration for this piece was a hanging basket; the kind you see with the brown coconut fiber liner. The thought of that basket made me think of the pothos vine plant my mom used to grow around the house. Those plants informed my color palette of neon green, lime green, metallic green, and neon yellow.

Everything was cut by hand. The circuit pattern surface design of the lime green top was hand drawn using a Dremel tool. The veins in the leaves were made using a soldering iron. I molded the bodice by boiling using a technique cuir bouilli. I used battery powered green LED lighting to light the inner shelf of the skirt. Spanish moss was used to inside the shelf of the skirt. All of the leather was either sewn, laced, or affixed using a glue gun.

This was my working sketch but the look evolved as I started assembling the piece.


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