Local teenager's style is Gothic

October 29, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

It's easy to feel out of place when walking into Janette Shields' bedroom. She's not your average 15-year-old sophomore.

There's a computer, a friendly green bird that sits on top of his cage, stuffed animals, a full suit of armor in the corner, and walls that are painted as a stone castle mural.

"My mom helped me do the painting. We looked it up online so we could make the stones to look realistic. But I do all of my sewing, the designs and patterns," she says.

Janette has been creative since she was too small to remember. Her room is a reflection of who she is.

Her bed is draped with white mosquito-type netting, then closed off with black velvet curtains. The bedspread is a thick, silky material in a warm maroon color. She designed and made them all.


The wall opposite her bed is covered with a view from a castle room, complete with the ocean and mountains in the distance.

The other three walls are painted as stones, one equipped with a fireplace and a hearth that has a large gold cross, two crystal goblets, and a couple of unique bottles, one filled with bright red colored liquid. A very old looking set of black metal keys on a large ring hangs from the hearth.

Standing by the fireplace, Janette takes one garment after another out of her closet, all rich in texture, color and design. Most are Gothic styles; long gowns with full draping sleeves.

She wears a mesh and net shirt of black and red that does not look homemade, but neither do any of the rest of her designs.

She likes the colors

Janette has the Gothic appearance that many of today's teens have embraced. Her hair is streaked with a deep, dark red, she wears a silver heart with a sword through it around her neck, and sometimes dresses up and role plays with her friends as vampires, elves or fairies.

Gothic, by the way, does not have to refer to the bisque white faces of girls painted with dark black make-up and adorned with multiple piercings.

"Actually, the reason I like the Gothic style is because of the colors. There's a lot of red, purple, and gold," she says.

She adds that her interests are more Renaisaance-like than Gothic. "Maybe even Medieval," she says while looking around her room.

Janette prefers using her creative energies over playing sports or other activities.

"I'd rather spend my time making things instead of tossing a ball back and forth, I guess. It's just a part of who I am."

She feels like she's different, and doesn't really like being in "the crowd." She doesn't speak up much at school, and most of her classmates weren't aware that she sews until she wore a pair of pants she designed and made.

"Some commented on them, said they were cool and asked me where I got them. But I really don't talk about it to everyone."

Janette also makes stuffed animals and puppets of all kinds. She gives most of them to her mother to take to work for the kids. Her mom is employed by Lexington Avenue Baptist Church Preschool.

Janette comes from long line of talented seamstresses. She isn't sure, though, why designing patterns has always come so easily to her, starting at a very young age.

"I'm drawn to fabrics and colors. I like silky fabrics. Just how it all looks and feels. I don't really think about it that much."

She wants to design costumes

Janette does think about her future. She plans to attend a design school after she graduates and would like to continue with her talents as a profession, on movie sets designing costumes.

Her mom, Becky Shields, says Janette was born creative.

"I really do. I think it's in her DNA. She's been like this since she was tiny."

Janette also has a unique way with animals. A baby duck she raised "slept with her, took showers with her, comes to her when she calls, unbelievable," her mom says. Janette says her father wouldn't allow her to get a dog, so she made sure to get other pets.

"She's breeding Siamese fighting fish, so we have about 10 of those," her mom says, counting in her head. "And five ducks, a bird, two guinea pigs, gerbils, five cats and a chicken."

Janette's confidence and her comfort with her artistic strengths may be attributed to her home life. Her mom is open to letting Janette express her creative desires, and has no issues with her red hair color or the Gothic clothes.

"For my next project, I want to learn to play the guitar. And the drums. Me and my friend Stacey want to start a band. And I'd like to make a prom dress. Out of duct tape."

How in the world?

"Well, my brother, Justin, used to always say he was going to tape me to the wall with duct tape. So I just thought I'd make a dress out of it. Red, white, and black."

There should be no doubts at all that she will.

Janette is a sophomore at Danville High School and makes straight A's.

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