A well established Sydney Art Director needed some cushions for a television commercial to help dress a scene set in Mexico.
He handed me a Mexican blanket with some very simple instructions and dimensions.
“Two cushions, this high and this wide, each with a fish. Each cushion is to be fringed all around with some natural coloured fringing, and you can fasten them any way you like, zip, buttons, what ever, and we need them for an 8am shoot tomorrow morning”
“Certainly!’ I said, “No problem.”
After all, how difficult can it be to find natural coloured fringing in a town like Sydney at such short notice?
There was some white fringing on the blanket, i could dye it, but there was only enough for two sides, and it wasn’t thick enough to have the cushion look complete and balanced.
That’s it, I’ll have to go find some, and quickly!
To Bondi Junction!
At the fabric store I found the cushion fillers, the right coloured thread, but as for natural coloured fringing there was nothing.
The Upholstery store, nothing again! Oh.oh.
All the while the clock keeps ticking the seconds away.
What should I to do?
On a hunch, I power walked to the nearest second hand store and after 5 minutes I found some natural coloured cotton dinner place mats, and along two edges, they were rimmed with exactly the type of fringing i was after. I took out my measuring tape, and what do you know, with a bit of cutting and pasting, I would have EXACTLY the right amount of natural fringing required to edge the two cushions! Who could believe it?
I grabbed the goods, and headed back to headquarters.
Once all the required materials had been acquired, here’s the first decision to be made:
“which two fish do I choose?”
The scene was to be uplifting, so I picked the fish with the brightest colours, and then i picked the fish that was swimming in the other direction. Decision made.
Cut, cut, cut, sew, sew, sew…
I boiled some black tea, cut the bleached fringed ends off the blanket and soaked them for long enough to reach the required ‘natural’ hue.
Then I ironed them to dry them off a bit and added them in to bulk out the fringing from the place mats. Then I added two wooden buttons to the back. You wouldn’t see them, but i figured someone may get to enjoy them after the shoot.
And “Ualla!” Two whole and complete cushions with Mexican cushion covers, handed in on time, smartly buttoned and lovingly fringed.
And do you think anyone even knows the effort I went to? Of course not! All they know is “Here is the cushion I asked for, I knew it would be easy to find some fringing!”
I mean, who’s got time to hear about how I creatively came up with a solution when the obvious sources fell short?
No body even knows!
But now, you do.