Monday, March 31st, 2008
Legendary Minneapolis architect Ralph Rapson died this weekend at the age of 93.
Ralph was a modernist who participated in the original case study house program in the 1940’s and was dean of the school of architecture at the University of Minnesota for 30 years. He was innovative, funny and extremely prolific, winning a chair design competition this past year and working in his office every day up until the day he died.
A truly inspiring man -I feel honored to have known him.
Thursday, March 27th, 2008
A while ago I designed a hat for a children’s clothing store. This was my first design, and I thought I nailed it. I was really, really excited about it. I planned to use this linen for the exterior, and a bright color (like green!) for the inside. In my mind, the textural linen and simple shape updated a typically “cute” item of children’s clothing and made it more sophisticated. And the bright color for the inside and contrast stitching made it fun and not too serious.
The store owner liked the design but this one was rejected because she felt it just wasn’t marketable. She needed something more traditional in shape with happier colors. In the end we came up with something that we are both happy with, although I’m not as excited about the final design as I was about the first.
This experience of designing clothing for a client has been really interesting. In architecture there is always a client, but this is the first time I have designed clothing for someone else. I think the part I didn’t consider was the retail aspect -what will sell to the general public. It was really fun to have constraints imposed by someone else though. It’s always good to have parameters to work within.
Now I want to make one of these up -just because it will be really fun to make.
Sunday, March 23rd, 2008
simple spring scarf, UNIFORM Studio, spring 2008
The more care, attention, and effort applied
to that which is less, the more it shall be perceived
as more than it really is.
John Maeda, The laws of simplicity
This is one of those projects that I thought would be easier and quicker than it really was. Similar to this bag it was much more complex to make it look simple. The extremely loose weave of the fabric was tricky to serge, especially at the corners. I still haven’t perfected it –more care, attention and effort is needed.
I do like the fabric though, which is a linen/cotton blend and transparent. And the colors are making me happy. It was a fun diversion from production sewing and preparing the curriculum for my architecture studio, which starts tomorrow* -yikes.
*the school is trying out a new intensive graduate studio which begins after spring break. The students finished all of their other courses before the break, and then have only design studio for the 7 weeks after.
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
girls ridge dress, UNIFORM Studio, 2008
Another one that didn’t make it. Having put it aside for awhile, I do like it a little better now though. The main thing that isn’t working here is that the fabric is too heavy. It’s a cotton chambray, and while I love the color and the visual texture, it’s just too stiff. I think the fabric might work for a women’s dress, where there is more fabric to add weight. With the girls version, it doesn’t drape -it just sort of hangs there.
Oh, and the sleeve length isn’t right either.
girls ridge dress – detail, UNIFORM Studio, 2008
I think I have found my US girls model though. Oh my goodness.
update: If you can’t view the above photo, here is another one.
Sunday, March 16th, 2008
One more searchlight artist from the ACC retail show. I know I said I was done but this one is too good to not show. You can see more of her work here.
This past week I’ve been spending a lot of time:
This article in the New Yorker about Isabel Toledo (only the abstract is online, the full article is in the March 10th issue).
This article in the New York Times Magazine about Rick Owens.
The book Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes, from the Walker Art Center’s current exhibition.
Going through the archives at:
HI + LOW
the flickr photos of Eames Demetrios (director of the Eames Office).
I’m finally feeling better. Hope you had a good weekend!
Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
cup dress (iteration #1), UNIFORM Studio, 2008
I thought it might be interesting to show you some of the things that didn’t make it into my collection for the ACC show.
The idea for this little girls dress has been in my sketchbook for awhile. I had intended to include it in my latest kids collection, but it just didn’t work out. I’m not giving up on it, but it’s not right yet. My intention was that the body of the dress have more volume and feel more vessel-like, as in the sketch and cup above. The cup, by the way, can be found here. The dark grey linen might also have something to do with why it’s not working for me. I had always thought of this as being nearly white, again to emphasize the volume. I’m not sure why I made it in dark grey.
For ease of construction I made made the folds in the front and back piece first and then sewed the dress together. I think I need to sew up the dress and then make the folds. But…this will mean trying to determine how much extra length to account for (hard to do as the folds are random) and it will also cause problems at the bodice. So. It’s taking a little rest right now.
Some of you might also remember this bag, which was inspired by the cup as well.
Thank you for listening to me ramble on yesterday. I’ve been sick with an awful cold, which means too much time to sit around and reflect on philosophical things:) And 3 posts in 3 days? You know I must be sick….
Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
suspension (one) -1998
weaved; wo ven or wove; weav ing; noun
to form by combining various elements or details into a connected whole: to weave a tale; to weave a plan.
to direct or move along in a winding or zigzag course; move from side to side, esp. to avoid obstructions: to weave one’s way through.
The process of weaving makes a great analogy to so many things -work, life, making things. When I was in architecture school many professors used it as a way of talking about design and many students used weaving as a concept in their work. In my head I have always thought about this analogy as having two paths: one where the warp of the loom is known and planned out and then woven accordingly and one that is more like the second definition above -the warp is there but it’s hidden and the weave unfolds unexpectedly.
By nature I am not a planner and I think my process, and life in general, has followed the second definition above. I think this makes for some beautiful moments and unexpected surprises in the overall fabric. It also makes for some areas that are not structurally stable and some others that are woven too tight.
I naturally gravitate towards things that are simple, minimal and ordered and yet in my process I find it hard to narrow down my focus. I am interested in so many forms of design, art, and media and they are all so closely related that it’s difficult for me to not want to try them all. You might remember the button making….I know I am not alone in this. But -I also want to have the narrow focus that allows for precision and the building of skill through experience.
The process of making architecture is so slow -it takes months or even years to get a building built -that I have always felt a need to make other, smaller things at the same time. It is a more immediate way to question related ideas about detail, color, texture and layering and to that end I have explored painting, furniture and cabinet making, building construction, knitting, garment making, jewelry making, photography, etc. I like both of these scales, the large and the small. And everything in between I guess too.
Right now I am feeling a need to plan a little more so that I can have more focus. I fear that that means having to eliminate some things. I have to keep reminding myself that the thinking, process and ideas are all still there, even if I am not pounding each nail, knitting or sewing each stitch or putting brush to paper.
I have been looking often at this set of photographs documenting a weaving process. The process and finished textiles are extremely precise and beautifully simple. I greatly admire the focused, iterative process and the whole set has been extremely inspiring.
sus pen sion; noun
to hold in a state of indecision
Monday, March 10th, 2008
I finally want to rap up talking about my trip to the American Craft Council show in Baltimore. As I’ve mentioned, I was part of their searchlight artist program in the wholesale division. There were nine of us in all, and each of my fellow artists is extremely talented and exhibited really amazing work. The image above is of my space. I want to apologize for the poor quality of all of the photos. I arrived late on the night before the show started, quickly set up my space and then snapped a few photos, thinking I would take more during the show. And then I didn’t. Please visit each artists website for better images. and you’re probably wondering about the lovely wedding looking table? I was supposed to have a gallery pedestal, but someone swiped it. This is what they gave me instead:)
I’ve already written a little about Tanya -she is primarily a furniture designer and she exhibited some wonderful pieces at the show, including her hand felted found chairs. What is amazing about Tanya though is that she seems able to do anything. Her work at the show included some delicate porcelain neckpieces and beautiful textile scarves as well. And she talked a lot about her activism involving women and children in Mexico. Meeting Tanya was humbling and extremely inspiring.
Anastasia weaves together metal, fiber and monofiliment using an interesting double weave technique to create 3 dimensional jewelry and sculpture. The pieces are incredibly light and delicate looking. The sculptural nature of the jewelry interacts beautifully with the body and the wall pieces create amazing shadows.
Cynthia is a fellow Minneapolitan. I really regret not getting better photographs of cynthia’s pieces. Each piece has such an interesting relationship between solid and void space -something I don’t recall seeing before in ceramics. I also like the contrast of feeling like these are ancient but modern at the same time.
I guess I would describe Miel as an ornamental metal sculptor, although that title really falls short in depicting her complex body of work. The above pieces are from her Trophy series, which she describes here. Work that resonates with me always has a combination of beauty, craftsmanship and a strong underlying idea. Miel’s work has all of these.
I found out at the end of the show that David is a fellow architect who used to live and work in San Francisco (I did too) and that we have a mutual friend at the firm where he used to work. Small world. He now practices architecture and makes elegant ceramics in Portland, Oregon. I love how the texture in the pieces here really defines the volume.
Lauren is a textile designer working in Philadelphia. Her silkscreened fabrics are fresh and modern, but also ornamental and highly detailed. For me there are two readings -from afar the colors and patterns, often within a lot of white space, feel very current and read as a larger pattern. Up close, you see her wonderful linework and intricate details such as drawings of snails, butterfly wings or coral.
Boyd lives in Seattle and is widely known and admired nationally for his glassblowing technique. This was my favorite piece of his at the show-It really shows his attention to detail and craft and the lines cast wonderful shadows on the wall. It really is exquisite.
I recently saw Hisano’s felted neckpieces written about on a design blog and fell in love with her work, so I was really excited to find out that she was going to be one of my fellow searchlight artists. Her work is even better up close and Hisano herself is a very warm, thoughtful and interesting person.
It really was an amazing body of diverse and interesting work. I feel very lucky to have been a part of it and to have met all of these incredible people.
Friday, March 7th, 2008
Thank you so much to everyone who helped me clear out my studio yesterday! I’m busy packing up orders and it feels good to know that these things are going to be used and not just languish away on a rack. And thank you to everyone who stopped by just to look as well. All of your comments and inquiries are really heartwarming. I am going to try really hard to have another update with some new things towards the end of the month.
It is sunny today, which in winter in Minnesota means COLD (it was negative 3 when I left the house this morning). I think it must have heard me say that I was getting tired of winter so it snuck in here to charm me again. Winter light is just so beautiful. I am lucky to have such a light filled house and I especially love the filtered light coming in through the curtains in my dining room/workspace. I am always drawn to things that are layered and blurry.
Some links for the weekend:
Beautiful long exposure photographs (grey and green!) by Michael Wesely.
Light installation paintings by Mary Temple.
And a hazy flickr favorite.
Enjoy your weekend.
Tuesday, March 4th, 2008
It’s not really spring here yet in Minnesota, but I’ve started the annual clear out early. My workspace is a mess (ok all of you people that work with me at my architecture job can stop laughing now) and I need to make some room. This Thursday, March 6th, at 1pm central time I’ll be having a spring cleaning sale in my shop. I will have a ton of stuff from past seasons and trunk shows, some of which hasn’t been for sale on my site before. There is a random assortment of women’s and girl’s clothing in different sizes (just a few things for the boys) and some accessories as well.
Everything will be discounted from the original price. Stop by and take a look.
And thank you so much for your words of encouragement about my new website and collection -it means so much to me.
As I’ve said before, I really like winter. But I think I’m done now. Yesterday it was negative 10 degrees when I got in to work. Today it was only negative 7. Things are looking up!