Monday, December 22nd, 2008
Thank you all so much for telling me about your favorite posts. They were so fun to read! I’m glad you all like to hear about process, because that is my favorite thing to think, talk and write about. I was worried that people might find hearing about process sort of boring after awhile.
The random number generator picked number 28, which is Jen. If you haven’t seen her photoblog Americana go take a look. Such beautiful photos of everyday things.
As I was reading through the comments I started thinking about my favorite post I’ve written and it is definitely the one titled “some texture“, about how I made zipper pulls for the ZIP coats, inspired by my son’s texture samples in clay.
The reason this is my favorite is because I love when my life and work become completely integrated. I love what I do, and don’t really consider it work so when the two overlap it feels like everything has come together in just the right way.
And this leads to the perfect little story about process to end the year.
Origami and paper folding are very big at our house. My older son is constantly making little animals and geometric shapes and tons and tons of paper airplanes. One day this fall I was playing with some ribbed knit material I had and he sat at the table folding away. And I realized that the ribs in the material really lent themselves to folding, and so I started playing around and eventually came up with the cocoon poncho.
It wasn’t what I had intended to use the material for and the shape of the poncho was completely unexpected. But I really liked the outcome. This is something I tell my students all the time -look for the unexpected things that are even better than what you intended.
In the last few days my son has been making some folded paper wreaths. As he sat at the table folding one day he suddenly said “hey mom, you know what’s really neat about making things? When what you’re making doesn’t turn out like the picture in your head. It’s usually better. And something unexpected.”
In hopes that you all discover something better and unexpected in the coming year. Wishing you peace. xo
Friday, December 19th, 2008
The Silvercocoon winter party last night was super fun. I got to see some old friends, meet some lovely new people and do a bit of holiday shopping.
Tia and I traded at the party and I got one of her beautiful hive necklaces. It’s light grey and I think it’s perfect for me. I also got to see their modern tannenbaum up close and it is wonderful. I’ve been admiring the large one for some time, but after seeing the tabletop version I’ve decided that that’s the one I’m saving my pennies for. I think it would be perfect on the cabinet in our dining room/studio.
One old friend I saw mentioned that she reads my journal and was surprised that I have a blog. She said it didn’t seem like my personality to put stuff out there for everyone to read. I have to admit, it really isn’t like me. I started my journal as a way of keeping track of my thoughts about process, and it’s been an incredible motivation to keep working out ideas. I didn’t expect many people to read it, and even now after 2 years I sometimes forget there are people out there reading what I write. Meeting so many interesting people with similar interests who are doing amazing things has been a bonus of having my journal, and has also turned out to be the best part.
Talking to my friend got me to wondering what people find interesting to read. So to satisfy that curiosity and to thank you all for for your encouragement and nice comments and emails this year, I’d like to ask you to tell me a post that was especially interesting to you. In return I’ll pick a random comment and send that person a gossamer scarf. I dyed a batch for the sale in a new greenish/grey color that I’m really liking right now. Just leave a comment before Monday morning and I’ll choose a winner then.
Have a great weekend.
Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
Even though I love winter, I’m starting to think about spring garments. Right now I’m very interested in working with dyes to see how simple fabrics change with different dying techniques, colors and overdying. This is a continuation of what I was working on in the mere COLLECTION.
This sweater I’m working on is made of a very lightweight and stretchy knit, which is a blend of cotton, acrylic and a touch of wool -the wool fibers are long and sparse, so they poke out a bit and give it a very soft, slightly fuzzy texture. I dyed the fabric and the wool fibers came out darker, giving it a slightly heathered look.
Other things I’m working on right now:
- grading, recommendation letters, and more grading. sigh.
- handmade holiday gifts. I want to make one of these, one of these and some of these. And a few other secret things. A bit ambitious I know given the late date.
- making items for the Silvercocoon Sale + Winter Party. I have some items from the mere COLLECTION and I might have a few other things as well, maybe even one or two of these spring sweaters. We’ll see.
- trying not to eat all of the cookies my husband has been cranking out.
Looking ahead to next year:
- This spring I will launch U N, which will be my sustainable clothing line. Eventually I want to use all sustainable or offcut fabrics and work solely as U N.
- I am considering moving my shop to Big Cartel. It would be less expensive for me and I like the appearance and layout much better. I do feel a connection to Etsy though, so I’d love to hear opinions from those of you who have made the switch as well as those of you who shop both places.
- I am thinking of teaching a sewing class/workshop. I have access to a space here in Minneapolis that would be perfect. The first project I’m thinking of is the skirt from Stitch magazine, but if people are interested I might develop a few patterns solely for using in class. I haven’t worked out the details yet, but if you’re local and at all interested, please email to let me know.
Thank you again to everyone who stops by here to comment, takes the time to email or purchased something from my shop this year. I don’t always have the time to respond but I so appreciate all of you.
Monday, December 15th, 2008
On Thursday I’ll be participating in a Holiday Sale and winter party hosted by Silvercocoon. It’s the second annual party and as last year I was out of town I’m especially excited to be a part of it this year.
Midwest Home wrote a story on last years party and it looks like it was super fun. If you’re in town on Thursday please stop by. I’ll be selling some items from the mere COLLECTION, and there will be other wonderful goods from Silvercocoon Handmade, Karin Jacobson, feYerworks, Banbury Cross, Berry Holz, and more.
Silvercocoon Sale + Winter Party
Thursday, December 18th
Please email me or Tia (info at silvercocoon dot com) if you are interested and we’ll send you the address and directions.
Stop by to browse the holiday goods and have some refreshments by the fire. Hope to see you there!
Also – I will be closing my shop today for the year. It will reopen after the New Year with a special sale on some fall items. Watch this space for details.
Thank you for all of your support, nice comments and emails this year!
Thursday, December 11th, 2008
We’ve started grading the students final work of the semester in the design studio I’m teaching, and my favorite part is always going through their sketchbooks. We ask them to keep a record of their process from the beginning to the end of the studio and it’s amazing to see their progress. We ask them to photograph everything they make and stick a copy of the photo into the book. Then they can draw over it, sketch next to it, and add notes and other images as they progress.
The magical part for the students is seeing how what they are working on in the end relates to where they started. It always comes full circle.
Generally this is how I work, but as I was going through their books I realized that I hadn’t been working that way for several months. As I get busier I tend to skip the recording part. I think it’s essential to make this a regular part of my process so that I’m not just recording but also seeing new connections in the things I make and moving forward with new ideas.
I took these photos of my sketchbook months ago for the article I wrote for Stitch magazine, and now looking at them again, I realized I was working with the mottled dye technique I’ve been using lately over a year ago. I guess ideas do keep circling back.
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
My holiday gift giving book list just keeps getting bigger. I just realized I’ll never be done, so I’m going to post it now, since the time to buy gifts is just getting shorter and shorter. This is finals week for the classes I teach, and I never get any shopping done before that, but I know quite a few people are almost done by now:)
So here is my quite random and incomplete gift giving book guide:
I’ll start with kids books because for me those are the best ones to browse. I could have done a separate list of just kids books. The New York Times puts out a fantastic list every year of the best illustrated children’s books, which you can view as a slideshow. What a wonderful resource.
The Black Book of Colors is my favorite from the list this year. The book conveys the experience of seeing through touch, and has raised black line drawings on black paper along with written and braille text. Along with being subtly beautiful to a sighted person, I think enabling young children to imagine a world without sight is an invaluable lesson.
My Friends, by Taro Gomi. This is my favorite of his books and our copy is quite dogeared. The story is simple and sweet and the illustrations are just amazing. This is my standard gift for new babies.
In our house, Sparkle and Spin has been a favorite for a long time. Originally written in 1957 by Ann Rand, it was illustrated by her husband, the graphic designer Paul Rand. The words are fun to say and the drawings are graphically beautiful in true Rand style.
The Kid Who Named Pluto, by Marc McCutcheon. Amazing true stories about incredible kids.
The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, by Eric Berlin. A story about a boy who loves puzzles who sets out to solve a mystery involving more and more puzzles. The book is fun in that there are numerous puzzles for the reader to solve as well.
Sing, Nightengale, Sing, by Daniel Goyone, Francoise De Guibert, and Chiaki Miyamoto. 51 birds are illustrated and described and there is an accompanying cd with a recording of each of the birds singing. The best thing about the book is that there is a wonderful piano accompaniment that plays along with the birds and it is done in such a way that it seems as if the bird and piano are in duet.
Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song. Can you tell we like birds in our house?
Right now, this is my favorite book pick for adults:
The Laws of Simplicity, by John Maeda. I know I’ve mentioned this book here before, but it’s worth repeating. It’s easy to understand and is applicable to everyone.
Art, Design and Photography
The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa. A beautiful book with not only stunning images of the artists famous wire sculpture, but also images of her drawings and paintings and many thoughtful essays on her and her work.
Designing Design by Kenya Hara. The design work and philosophy of this talented Japanese designer who is on the board of MUJI.
Structure and Surface. Published by MOMA to go along with a Japanese textile exhibit, this book showcases exquisite textiles made by unique methods of fabrication and manipulation.
Still. Oceanscapes by Debra Bloomfield. Photographs of ocean and sky that I could get lost in. And I love the name of the book:)
Birds of America, By Lorrie Moore. Short stories by one of my favorite writers.
No One Belongs Here More Than You, By Miranda July. Another short story collection. I read this in one sitting, holding my breath.
The house on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros. Stories of a girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Visit her website here.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. Pollan follows 4 different food chains from source to table and discusses the eating choices we face in modern America. I ffound the history and research in this book fascinating, if not scary at times.
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison. This is the cookbook in our house.
By the way, my favorite bookstore is William Stout Architectural Books. One of the things I miss most about San Francisco. And they are having a sale right now!
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
UNIFORM Studio Children’s HOLIDAY COLLECTION 2008
Soft and cozy wools, cottons and french terry knits for children and babies. Perfect for layering and dressing up or down.
In the shop now.
Monday, December 8th, 2008
wool t-shirt, UNIFORM Studio Children’s HOLIDAY COLLECTION
The Children’s HOLIDAY COLLECTION will be available in my shop tomorrow, Tuesday, December 9th, at 2pm CST.
The collection includes these mottled wool t-shirts, wool ties and sweater vests for boys, and skirts and sweaters for girls. There will also be a few things for babies.
Thanks for taking a look!
(and the book list is coming soon….really)
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
This bag was originally intended to be a part of the mere HOLIDAY COLLECTION. I really liked the mottled color but decided it was too floppy (it’s made of a dense woven wool -it would work better if it were wool felt I think) so I put it aside. That was at the end of the summer. The other day I remembered it and went to dig it out….I finally found it today under a pile of random stuff. I seem to have reject piles everywhere with things I have forgotten about.
Anyway -on the subject of forgetting, I actually forgot to post the winner of the skirt from Stitch Magazine. The random number generator came up with #70, which turns out to be Caroline. Congratulations! Please send me your address and I’ll send you the skirt.
Thanks everyone for your comments on the skirt!
Next Tuesday, December 9th, I’ll have a very small children’s HOLIDAY COLLECTION available in my shop. I’ll be posting some pictures later in the week.
I’ll also be back soon with a big long list of my favorite books for gift giving.
Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving.