“My feeling is that the concept of creativeness and the concept of the healthy, self-actualizing, fully human person seem to be coming closer and closer together, and may perhaps turn out to be the same thing.”~ Abraham Maslow
My handmade textiles are created as patchwork collages. Skitzo Scrap is my special take on crazy quilting. I achieve vibrant hues through a process of hand painting and dying yards of blank silk chiffon and velvet. The dyed silks are dried; then steamed to set the colors. The vivid colors are my own creations achieved from mixing silk dyes. The next step in the process involves deconstructing the whole fabrics while incorporating remnants of antique textiles and lace, as well as imported silks. I developed a unique way of stitching each Skitzo Scrap into vaporous yet enduring one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art. Part of the magic of my Skitzo Scarves is the way each one comes into being. They are completely of a piece.
My relationship with color and texture is intuitive and improvised. I've always been an avid flea marketer. My favorites: 26th Street Flea market (before it closed), Elephants Trunk, Woodstock, High Falls, Stormville and Brimfield. I was a regular at the Manhattan Vintage Clothing and Antique Textile Show. That's where I would score antique bullion lace. Oh, I was fibre crazed.
In the early 2000s I began selling my Skitzo Scrap , art wear scarves, bags and reclaimed denim Skitzo Skirtz at crafts shows and in galleries throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley and New York City. My art wear was featured at the historic, Pen & Brush Club in NYC, as part of the "Crafts as Fine Art Exhibition," and received an Honorable Mention award. I often partnered with a jewelry designer friend for trunk show parties on the Upper East Side. During those years, I also hit the pavement selling my Skitzo Scarves wholesale to art wear boutiques like Liberty House located on Manhattan's Upper West Side. In 2004, when we bought a house in Beacon, I sold my art wear from our studio.
That was quite an artistic incarnation. Believe it or not, most of my customers were middle aged women. When I first began making the skirts and scarves I did not have a particular customer in mind. I was just compelled to make art that could be worn in the streets. My customers found me. Those women were quite something. They had such confidence and vitality. A certain kind of woman not only collects art, she wears it.
Hand pieced silk patchwork wedding corset by Shelita Birchett Benash.
I had a very talented corsetiere in Philadelphia make my handmade fabric into this beautiful traditionally boned corset.
Salvaged silk, velvet, antique lace, hand dyed silk chiffon, hand pieced.
Hand dyed and painted silk chiffon scarf by Shelita Birchett Benash
by Shelita Birchett Benash