Rough designs

Published 5:15 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A wizard and the U.S.C. Gamecock, two of Chris Baschon’s T-shirt designs. Baschon uses a mild bleaching technique to bring out a design in previously dyed fabric. (photos by Robin Edgar)

Handcrafted wearable art by local artist Chris Baschon

by Robin Edgar

Local artist Chris Rough Baschon appears to have finally found her creative niche.
Moving to Tryon three years ago, the former art teacher offered private art lessons and taught mandala workshops (see until this past fall, when she took a wearable art design workshop with Christine Mariotti.
Learning how to employ a mild bleaching technique that pulls the color out of previously dyed fabric, bringing out a design in the lighter tones, she made a few samples. The response to her work has been so positive, she decided to devote her artistic and entrepreneurial talents to making wearable art and has been up to her neck – in T-shirts, that is – ever since.
“I am working in the negative and getting positive results,” said Baschon, who named her new business Rough Designs: Uniquely Handcrafted Wearable Art.
Born in Columbia, S.C., Baschon grew up in Spartanburg. She attended Spartanburg public schools, where her high school art teacher, Macarthur Goodwin, encouraged her to continue pursuing her art.
Graduating from the University of South Carolina (U.S.C.) with a bachelor’s degree in art in 1977, she earned a degree in art education 20 years later from Lander University in Greenwood, S.C. She went on to teach art in Greenwood for 13 years and was awarded the South Carolina Middle School Art Teacher of 1998.
“My parents always encouraged my artistic talents, so I enjoy helping others find their creative spirit, too,” said Baschon.
Not new to wearable art design, Baschon started designing art for
T-shirts 33 years ago. To her delight, after making a few designs with the bleaching method, she was inundated with dozens of orders.
Many of her customers came back for more when they realized what a great gift a specialized
T-shirt can be for friends and family. Local Tryon resident Bill Crowell commissioned Baschon to do a giant shrimp to wear when he goes shrimp fishing every October. He liked the way it turned out so much, he had her make a shirt with a shrimp and the South Carolina state flag logo for his nephew, too.
Using the technique that is more or less reverse dying, Baschon applies a bleach solution directly to the T-shirt, avoiding the areas that are to remain dark. As she lightens the design area, she controls the appearance of the image with the amount of product she applies. For an area that is almost white, several “layers” are applied and allowed to dry and she then applies more until the desired value or lightness is achieved.
Drawing some designs freehand, Baschon creates others using transfer paper as a template, creating a range of images of animals and inanimate objects. So far, the artist says her most popular designs are dragons and the U.S.C. Gamecock logo. It appears, however, the possibilities are endless.
“Chris is extremely talented,” said Crowell. “You give her an idea and she creates a masterpiece.”
For more information about Rough Designs: Uniquely Handcrafted Wearable Art, phone 864-337-2845 or email

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