Thursday, July 26th, 2007
I am continuing to think about the idea of subtraction and how you can make some things more evident by subtracting others. The fabric explorations I did awhile ago made me think of these leaves I have had forever, stored away in an envelope. As the leaf dries, the fine, internal structure is exposed and you start to focus on the way it is made rather than the outer shape of the leaf itself.
I love how as more of the structure is exposed, light and transparency are the things that are most evident. It’s amazing to me how much it looks like this fabric:
This is a freeway wall I walk by every day on my way home from the bus stop. I think the weathering of the wood, which is highlighting the grain, is just gorgeous. I’m not sure, but I think the wall started out as you see on the bottom, and as it is exposed to the sun it darkens, thus the top is darker as it gets more light. But it could also be that it is slowly being bleached out from sun, snow and salt exposure. The subtracting of pigment makes the grain more evident.
I’ve been wanting to experiment with bleach ever since I saw this image of bleached fabric that Alison made into a wrap. I think the fabric is from Habu. The subtraction of the pigment in the middle of the piece brings out the texture so it appears like a gradation from smooth to rough to smooth again.
One definition of subtraction I found defined it as “a drawing back”. I like how these words emphasize the process of removing, rather than the void that is left. It also suggests an image of the revealing of something else. I am a much more visual, rather than verbal person, so I am often amazed at the way images and words are so intertwined.
Speaking of words and the images they evoke, tonight I am going to hear Eireann read from her new book, “Music for Landing Planes By”. It is truly a beautiful collection and hearing the poems read in her quiet, melodic voice should be amazing.
Saturday, July 21st, 2007
I was thinking today, as I was working in production mode, about how much I like to make things. I really like all phases of a project, from design through completion, but during the making phase there is all this time to think. That’s when I get most of my ideas about new projects, materials and methods to explore. There is something about physically making something with my hands that lets my mind go somewhere else. This isn’t the case if I just sit down and try to dedicate time to design.
I also enjoy the repetitive nature of producing multiples of something. I can slightly adjust each piece based on what I learned from making the previous one, and each one then will be better than the last. I find that during this stage is when I have most of my ideas. A slight adjustment will lead to another idea that is related, but subtly different.
As I was making a bunch of gathered, textural items recently, I started wondering how to simplify the process. How do you add texture by subtracting, rather than adding material?
I started experimenting by removing a thread from a piece of fabric. Above you see how it gathers along the line of the thread as it is pulled. At first it looks like a typical gathered item, but if you look closer you can see how fine the gathered line is -it’s been reduced to just a threads width. Subtle, but beautiful.
Then I removed several threads from the same fabric. I like how the resulting texture is made by subtracting material. Again subtle, and almost 2 dimensional. But not quite. It’s enhanced by the loose weave of the fabric, which allows you to see each thread, and the space around each thread.
I’ve also been looking through the book Structure and Surface, Contemporary Japanese Textiles, which I borrowed from the bookshelf at work. It is amazing. So many beautiful textural explorations -it’s really quite overwhelming.
Hopefully I’ll have time to continue my own subtractive explorations soon, after I get out of production mode.
Friday, July 13th, 2007
Plans for a new studio space seem to be at a standstill and I seem to have expanded out of the temporary one in the dining room and into the living room (much to the dismay of certain other people in the house). Wrestling with 10+ yards of linen on an oval dining room table just wasn’t working. By the end of the night my back was numb from hunching over.
Actually this door resting on sawhorses really isn’t that unattractive -it’s stained a dark ebony, after all. And the boys think it’s kind of fun to have to climb over the couch to get to their bedrooms. At least there is a lot of light and I can stare out the window and dream about filling my new studio with furniture from Marina Bautier. Maybe I’ll just get her sewingworkshop, then I wouldn’t need a new studio at all.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
wide denims – summer into fall collection, 2007
Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by my shop today. Your support, encouragement and kind words are really amazing. I am going to try to do another update in a few weeks, so if you missed out on something you had your eye on, stop back in then.
So lets talk about denim. I love denim-the color, the texture, the softness and weave. And the darker the better. I was so happy when dark denim came back in style, which meant dark jeans were easier to find. I just never warmed up to the pre-faded, washed out ones. And I don’t even want to discuss acid wash. I still remember my first pair of Levi’s. I was in 7th grade and my mom bought them extra big, so there would be “room to grow”. I had to hold onto them going up the stairs in school, or they would have fallen right off. They were the good old kind of Levi’s with the orange tag and size printed on the leather label (which of course had to be crossed out with pen). And they turned your underwear blue -remember those?
Anyway, I’m not going to even attempt to make jeans. There are so many who do it so well. I think Levi Strauss is still the best, although I can’t wear those orange tags anymore. And have you seen the kids jeans at H & M? Little replicas of the coolest dark jeans around. (I’ll just stick my head in the sand and pretend I don’t know why they cost just $12).
narrow denims – summer into fall collection, 2007
These are really denim pants, not jeans. They’re less engineered: a little lighter, the seams aren’t as thick and overall there is less structure. They pull on with an elastic waist (I have found that zippered flys, even with the adjustable elastic, don’t seem to work very well on kids) and have a drawstring to make sure they stay up.
I was afraid they might end up too plain so I played around with the proportion a little. One extra narrow, and one extra wide. And both are extra long so they can grow, or cuff, or let them bunch up at the ankles like the cool kids.
More images of these, along with the entire summer into fall collection, here.
Monday, July 9th, 2007
end of summer sweater + narrow denims – summer into fall collection, 2007
It seems like fashion typically has two seasons -winter and summer. Spring and fall often get a bit short changed. Just when it’s getting really hot here in Minnesota in August, all of the winter sweaters and jackets are out.
For the last few weeks I’ve been working on some clothing that will work now when it’s hot, but also work well into the fall. Lots of light to mid-weight pieces that can be layered. This new collection, summer into fall, will be available in the UNIFORM Studio shop tomorrow, 7.10.07, at noon (CST).
This sweater is a light weight cotton knit that’s super soft and stretchy. It’s hooded and long and lean -perfect to throw over a t-shirt after a day at the beach. The pants are really long and lean as well. They can be cuffed up high and then unrolled when it gets chilly.
gather halter – summer into fall collection, 2007
denim gather jacket + gather halter – summer into fall collection, 2007
There are some summer dresses as well, with short jackets to layer on top, along with lots of other items. Thanks for taking a look!
In other news:
Eireann, whose mother recently had a cerebral aneurysm, is organizing an auction of handmade goods to help cover the mounting associated costs. If you would like to donate an item, or take part in the auction, you can find all the information here. Thankfully she is doing amazingly well, and is expected to have a full recovery.