Thursday, February 28th, 2008
cast glass doilies by Elizabeth Ware Perkins
This ones for you Lisa.
By far my favorite pieces at the ACC show were these cast glass doilies by Elizabeth Ware Perkins. Elizabeth was part of the Searchlight artist program in the retail portion of the show. After dinner with Gwen and Emily on Thursday, Cynthia and I went back to the convention center to take a look at the Searchlight retail gallery and coming upon Elizabeth’s installation my heart skipped a beat.
As an installation on the wall they had a beautiful depth from the subtle colors and cast shadows. Up close they had a wonderful texture -like sugared candy. I still can’t get over the fact that these are made of glass. The doilies are replicas of ones made by her great-grandmother and great-aunt. You can read more about Elizabeth and the inspiration for her art here.
It was fun poking around the empty convention center at midnight. We got to see all of the retail vendors set up without fighting through huge crowds. The searchlight galleries were made up of new and emerging artists and are the ACC’s way of trying to get some new life and energy into the show that was started in 1966. They were set up like real galleries -white walls, spot lighting and cube like pedestals and they really looked like an art exhibit. In contrast the rest of the show is made up of 10′ x 10′ cubes of curtain draped tent poles.
There is also a big contrast in the type of art and craft being shown in the searchlight area vs. the rest of the show. I think the typical ACC art is very high quality, refined fine art and craft and reminiscent of what you might see in Architectural Digest. One of the younger exhibitors mentioned to me that it is really just a different generation and while she has an extreme amount of respect for what these people do, it’s nice to see some new, more modern and edgy work being shown. I think the ACC is in a transitional period. It will be a slow process but I think programs like Searchlight and the New Wave Craft area which was new this year will really start to effect the show in a positive way and be beneficial for both the new exhibitors and the seasoned veterans as well.
Sprinkled among the traditional exhibitors there were some things that really stood out. One of my favorite booths at the show was Shu Juan Lu, who makes amazingly sculptural clothing out of black felted wool. Her booth was curtained in a black backdrop and contained translucent white mannequins wearing the voluminous pieces. It was stunning.
Thank you all so much for your nice comments about my new webite. It’s a work in progress and I hope to have the women’s collection up soon. Next post I will show you the beautiful work from my fellow Searchlight artists in the wholesale gallery.
Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
North Charles Steet, Baltimore, Maryland
Where do I begin? First of all thank you all so much for the words of encouragement on my trip to Baltimore last week. When I finally made it to my hotel last Monday night I checked my email and all of your messages helped calm the butterflies racing around in my stomach.
It was an amazing experience and I really love the city of Baltimore, at least what little I got to see of it. The streets have that wonderful eastern city scale -the proportion of street width to building height feels just right. There are beautiful old rowhouse type buildings and an interesting geography of hills. My favorite thing about the city was the fact that while there are good restaurants and nice shops sprinkled among the streets, it isn’t precious or overdone. It’s still very working class. You will see a new restaurant next to a plain looking copy shop that looks like it’s been there forever.
The American Craft Council show was interesting and it was wonderful to be a part of the Searchlight Artist program. Soon I will write some more about the experience and also post some pictures of the beautiful work by other artists that were participating. Right now I still feel like I’m settling back in to normal life. All the intense preparation leading up to the show sort of wiped me out.
By far the best part of my trip were all of the amazing people I got to see again or meet for the first time:
My friends Paul and Karen who now live far away and have a new baby who I got to hold!
Chase DeForest, who I used to work with in Minneapolis, was a Searchlight artist in the retail portion of the show. I will post some images of her wonderfully wacky furniture soon.
The artist in the space next to me was the extremely talented Tanya Aguiñiga. I didn’t recognize her name but on seeing her work I realized I had seen it before. She has been around the design blogs (design sponge, etc.) and you can see a little video of her here. Tanya is so fun and interesting and energetic -meeting her really made the show for me. I felt like we had known each other forever. And it turns out that she and Chase went to RISD together. It really is a small world.
And then there were blog friends. Emily showed up at my space on the first day (she scored a pass from a friend) and she is just as warm and happy as you would think from reading her writing. Then my last night in Baltimore she and Gwen and I got together with Cynthia (another Minneapolis Searchlight artist) for a wonderful dinner at Helmand. And Gwen is just as interesting and funny as I knew she would be. It was a perfect way to end my stay, although time was way too short.
So now I’m back and playing the catch up game. I have been working on putting up my new collections online. In the process I decided I needed to redesign my whole website (um, why did I think that would be a good idea?). The kids collection is up and the women’s will be up in a day or two.
And I’ll be back soon with some more about other wonderful people I met and pictures from the show.
Monday, February 18th, 2008
So tomorrow I’m off on a big adventure. I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited and relieved that it’s finally time to go. I’m still not sure if the American Craft Council is really a good fit for me or not – time will tell. It will be (and has already been) a great learning experience though and I am so honored to be part of their Searchlight Artist program. I’m sure I will meet many interesting people and see some amazing work.
I think I’m most excited about seeing some old friends and their new baby, and meeting some virtual friends for the first time. I’m also happy that some friends from Minneapolis will also be exhibiting at the show. Cynthia Levine will be showing her porcelain work in the Searchlight section and Tia from Silvercocoon Handmade will be showing her jewelry at the retail show over the weekend.
I had every intention of posting a link to the lookbooks for my new collections, but it’s late and I can’t remember how to link to a PDF. So here’s another little peek -hopefully you aren’t too annoyed by these glimpses by now.
I’ll be back late next week with stories to tell, photos from the show and hopefully links to the lookbooks.
Have a good week.
Saturday, February 16th, 2008
UNIFORM Studio, one button dress : 2008 children’s collection
For me, a design really resonates when there is a good balance between detail and the overall whole. One of my favorite architects, David Adjaye, handles this balance extremely well. His projects are experientially beautiful overall and they contain some wonderful details, but there isn’t an overall fussiness from detailing every single inch of space (a trait many architects are guilty of, in my opinion). In fact, sometimes the projects appear like they might be rather rough up close. There is always one detail though, usually pertaining to natural or electric light, that makes the project stand out and moves it from being too starkly minimalist or banal, to something that is ephemeral and engaging.
So what does that have to do with clothing design? Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about children’s clothing design and the balance between what parents would like their children to wear and what they might naturally want or pick out for themselves. I wrote about it a little in this post last year. Lately I’ve been seeing more and more beautifully minimalist children’s clothing. Clothing that is made out of lovely natural materials with exquisitely minimal detail -things that I would love to wear myself, like this dress about some things recently posted about.
I don’t have a daughter but if I did I wonder if she would choose this dress for herself. Is it up to us to point out the wonderful soft cotton and interesting t-strap at the back? Does she choose this dress and then pair it with her red cowboy boots and purple tights to make it her own?
In my own process I struggle between what I want to design and see children wearing and the issue of wanting them to actually choose what I design to wear for themselves. It seems like it’s a very fine line, and one that requires that balance between detail and the whole.
On a slightly related note I’ve been enjoying reading retail recovery, a fashion blog that contains a thought provoking question relating to fashion and fashion shopping in each post.
And more detail: Alison has published a book called “d is for detail”, containing some of her wonderful photographs of small details she sees in the world around her.
Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
UNIFORM Studio, 2008 Children’s Collection, lookbook cover
Since I was nominated for a “you make my day” blog award (thank you elegant musings, grijs, silvercocoon, bookhou, plush-a-holic, simply olive, michelle giacobello -hope I didn’t miss anyone) I’ve been thinking over who I would like to pass it on to. Each of the blogs I read make my day on different occasions for different reasons.
There is one person though, who consistantly makes my day. He blogs very seldom -he actually doesn’t have his own blog but occasionally makes a guest appearance on his mom’s blog. He does show up regularly in her posts though, and I get to follow what he is up to. Calvin Soule is one amazing kid. He is warm, compassionate, funny, and unendingly creative. He sews! And he is seven. Here he is rocking a vest I made. This is one of my favorite photos of anyone wearing something I created.
The image above is the cover to my new kids collection lookbook. I was thinking about Calvin when I was putting this together -I could have used his art direction to give it a little kick. A pink t-shirt and a model catching some air is just what it needs.
Thanks for making my day Calvin -and don’t worry about giving out your own award. You’ve got way more important things to be doing. Have you finished that family sized canoe yet?
Thursday, February 7th, 2008
UNIFORM Studio fold neck blouse : l a n d collection 2008
I just wanted to stop in here to quickly thank those of you who have given me a “you make my day” blog award. I am so honored and happy that I can inpire you. I will be back soon with more proper thanks and my own award.
Right now here is another piece from my new collection. I’m almost ready for the ACC show. I’m putting together a lookbook, which has been extremely fun and also time consuming to do. I’m excited to show you all soon. Things have been busy for me with work, school, and life in general but hopefully they will slow down a little after the show. I’m looking forward to being able to post more.
I’ll have to save the links I promised for another post but I did want to tell you that I hope to update my shop some time in March. Send me an email if you’d like to be added to my mailing list.