Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
So good to know I’m not alone in my making obsession. Thank you. Maybe we should start an extreme making blog….and support group.
And speaking of obsessions, my love of yellow continues. After seeing these awhile ago I got it into my head that I should make some pillows. So I grew some flax, and spun it into linen and then wove it on a loom into this heavy linen cloth. Ok, so I actually bought the fabric from IKEA. Lame, I know. But then I did dye it myself. Really. And I’m really happy with the color.
And then I made these pillows, which will be available in my shop this coming Sunday, April 1st. There will be a few other things as well, including one or two ZIP coats.
Back in January Patrica asked if she could interview me for her site, Crafty Synergy. If you don’t already know, Crafty Synergy is a collection of interviews Patricia has conducted with inspiring women who have creative businesses. Patricia is a talented graphic designer and creates beautiful handmade things which you can see in her online store. Thanks Patricia -it was a lot of fun.
And I’ll leave you with the work of Jodi Green. Amazing portfolio. This made me gasp. And these -wow.
Monday, March 26th, 2007
handmade walnut buttons
I was organizing my tools recently and came across these buttons I made several years ago. It was one of those times where I had something specific in my head and couldn’t find it anywhere. I wanted a dark wood button, with an oval shape. Not just any oval, but a long, narrow one. And something else. Something just a bit off, to make it interesting but not too much so that it was overly designed. Maybe a little chunky and asymmetrical.
Of course I couldn’t find something this specific. So I thought, “well I’ll just make them. I know how to work with wood. It will be fun.” And it was. It was also very tedious and labor intensive working with those tiny pieces. And by the time it came to drill the holes I was done with button making and ready to move on.
Do you do this? Have a need to make everything? I guess it’s a matter of control and being able to get exactly what you want or see in your head. Maybe it simply that I like making things. It’s also crazy. I have made my own textured fabric by sewing gathers, pleats and tucks into flat fabric -for hours. I dye my own yarn and fabric regularly to get the color and depth that I want. I guess all of this is still within the realm of normal. But…on top of all that, buttons? And right now I’m thinking of making zipper pulls! I have been contemplating making shoes, as I can’t find any that are exactly right. I would like to learn how to blow glass and cast porcelain (maybe for zipper pulls?). Oh, and throwing pottery on a wheel -to make the perfect coffee cups I just can’t find anywhere. I could go on and on.
Somehow though, I have the feeling I’m not alone…..
Monday, March 19th, 2007
Recently I was answering some questions for an interview about UNIFORM Studio and one of the questions, which is a pretty standard one for creative people I think, was “what influences you”? I think the big answer, again for most creative people, is the world around us. Looking around, everything can be influential. Daily routines, what we see out of the window when we wake up, the particular nuances of the place we live in.
So what is the specific answer, for me? I think the detailed specifics of what is influential to me are always changing. There are the constants of texture and material and their relationship to form, but at any given time there is something more specific that is particulary engaging to me.
Right now that specific thing is something intangible, that I’ve come to call atmosphere. We generally think of atmosphere as the earths protective layer, but I especially like these other definitions:
a surrounding or pervading mood, environment, or influence
a distinctive but intangible quality surrounding a person or thing
I am really interested in the temporal nature of what I see as my atmosphere and I’ve started to record it in pictures that I’ve put into categories of density, layer, color and reflection. You can see the beginnings of the set here.
You can see the interview (if you’re interested) here.
And of course some of my greatest influences come through the work of others. I recently was introduced to the amazing work of a weaver from Chicago, Alexandra Graves. I think my heart literally stopped for a second when I went to her website. There isn’t alot of information about her on her website, but the images are entirely captivating. The site is in flash, so I can’t link directly to the image, but look around until you find this one: Separation: skin beneath parted hair.
Saturday, March 10th, 2007
I met a local fashion designer once, who told me his strategy for shopping for fabric was to have everything planned out before he went, so he knew exactly what he was looking for. He felt that his designs shouldn’t be influenced by a particular fabric he might see.
In terms of my own process, I couldn’t disagree with this more. I love material and texture, and often I’ll see a fabric that instantly evokes a particular design, shape or form.
That was the case about a year ago, when I came across a huge bin of these large colorful zippers at my local fabric warehouse. The colors were fantastic, and I loved the industrial feeling of the large metal teeth. I felt they wanted to be showcased in a simple, industrial style. At the time I used them in a few sleeveless tunic dresses but I always thought they would be perfect in a spring trench coat.
ZIP trench, UNIFORM Studio, Spring 2007
This coat has a simple line and is given a bit of shape from some exposed darts. It is lined with a light cotton fabric that has an organic, spring like print. I like the contrast of the industrial exterior and the more delicate interior. And I’m still a little obsessed with the idea of the inside and outside contrasting and meeting right at the edge, influenced by the Coupe line from Heath Ceramics.
I think we got into the upper 40’s today, and the foot and a half of snow we received last weekend is turning into BIG puddles. Spring is on it’s way.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
My process is always very up and down. In the making of one piece I go up and down, forward and back many times. Here’s an example:
I’ve been experimenting with some more resist dye techniques. I remember seeing somewhere once a Japanese technique where fabric was rolled around an object, tied with string, and then dyed. I’ve been wanting to try this ever since I saw it. I couldn’t remember where I did see it, and being the just jump in and try it sort of person that I am, I grabbed a wine bottle and some rubber bands and gave it a go.
I wanted a minimal pattern with just a few lines, similar in feel to these fabrics here. (Thank you Alison for introducing me to these). When I pulled off the rubber bands initially (see photo on right above), I was really excited. The lines were distinct and pretty crisp. Although the fabric was a light tan color to begin with, and I used a black dye (to get grey), the lines showed up as a light blue/grey, which I really like.
But. You knew there was a but coming, didn’t you? As I unrolled the fabric, the lines became less distinct. They started to bleed into each other and by the end of the piece they were just one thick line. I guess the dye didn’t penetrate the fabric enough between the rubber bands.
As I looked at it more though I actually started to like the idea of the lines slowing bleeding together from top to bottom. So I threw it into the wash -but when I pulled it out of the dryer I noticed that there were lighter round marks at the bottom next to the lines. The bottle must have been sitting on the fabric at the bottom of the dye pot. Can you see them? ugh.
So back to the beginning. I learned a lot, it was fun and I know what I’ll do differently next time. And I think I’ll use the fabric to test out a new dress pattern I recently drafted.
Oh -and my new dye bucket? It leaked.
Saturday, March 3rd, 2007
I want to thank everyone for all of the wonderful comments on my new children’s spring collection. I have had such a great time putting this all together and I really appreciate all of the advice and support. ThankYouThankYouThankYou!
My shop has been updated. All winter items are on sale -15% – 50% off. I’ve got a few spring items in there as well.
And if you haven’t been over to take a look at the Scissorstitch shop, go on over now. There are some really beautiful things perfect for mother’s day, which isn’t that far off.