Friday, July 31st, 2009
dipped horizon skirt, UN Fall 2009
Where has the summer gone? How can tomorrow be August 1st? I feel like I am flying in a million directions right now. I had promised to show you images of my favorite place in Seattle on Monday, and here it is Friday already. Well those images will have to wait for next Monday I guess.
I have been really busy getting my fall collection ready, and with it the launch of UN, my new sustainable clothing line. I am so excited by the new fabrics I’ve been working with, and some new colors and techniques as well. Everything seems to be falling into place and will be available in early September. Soon I will show you a few more things, and talk about the evolution of the process which centers around the name of the collection. For now I have just a glimpse of one of the pieces above.
On Monday I will update my shop with a few more summer items, still on sale, and some more scarves. There will also be some scarves from small batches of experimental colors that I want to get rid of. These are colors that won’t be repeated and will be offered at a special price.
Also -Don’t miss the summer social sale starting today!
Hope you all have a great weekend.
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
prints by Rachel Saldana
Things weren’t going well this morning. About noon, I realized I had sewn together an entire very labor intensive dress and made a huge, unrepairable mistake. Those are the kinds of things that make me want to quit working for the day. When things are going well, I can work forever. When they’re not I become unmotivated to do anything. Changing the task doesn’t help.
But then the mail came and there were two packages. One full of new organic fabric samples. The other had these beautiful prints. And as I sat at the table and looked at them, feeling the fabrics, I realized how well they all went together. They made me feel calm and happy and inspired again.
Sometimes that’s all it takes.
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
I guess you could say food is on my mind lately. Living in Minnesota, where for a good portion of the year our local fresh food options are quite limited, summer is really all about food. (I’ve read that people typically tend to gain weight in winter -for me it’s the opposite:) And design is always on my mind, so I got to thinking about how the design of food, the way it is marketed, packaged and presented, effects our food choices.
A few weeks ago we had dinner at a friends house. When it was time for dessert (lavendar soda floats -yum!) she pulled out the new Haagen Daz five ice cream. “Have you seen this?” she asked me. I had not, but I had to laugh. With minimal, beautifully designed packaging, and claiming only 5 ingredients, if I had seen it in the store I would have bought it too. I laughed (somewhat ironically) not only because we live in a time where it is difficult to be able to find ice cream that only has 5 ingredients (and that is a whole other topic) but also because for both of us architects, the whole minimal idea (both product and package) had something to do with the appeal.
I am not ashamed to admit that I am attracted to things that look good and are well designed, in all aspects of my life. Maybe that’s partly why I’m a vegetarian -vegetables have their own beautiful natural packaging:) I often choose wine by the label and while I don’t buy a lot of packaged foods, when I do I gravitate to the ones with a well designed package, and for me that tends to be something clean and minimal. Of course the actual quality and ingredients are most important, but when faced with a choice between two similar products, the one with the most beautiful package usually wins:)
This weekend at my local farmer’s market, I chose to purchase my raspberries from the vendor who presented them in the beautiful wood box over the vendor who had them in the standard cardboard. Because how could I resist that box? And I love that the market has a nicely designed logo too. Actually the way the layout of the market is designed, in a U shape with specialty events (music, crafts, food preparations, etc.) happening in the center is a huge draw to me too. It is an orderly configuration that is easy to navigate and visually pleasing.
I gravitate towards beautiful and well designed cookbooks and cooking magazines as well. Locally we have the publication Edible Twin Cities, (I think this is available in other city versions too) which is both a great resource for information about local co-ops, farmers markets, restaurants, etc. and also a nicely designed magazine. And I was very happy last year when Vegetarian Times did a complete redesign of their magazine, making it more clean and modern and less crunchy granola.
Speaking of food, here are two recipes I’ve been making over and over lately, since zuchini and corn are available now at the market (and both recipes are quite simple and beautiful):
And one last thing -Sunday night I went to a screening of the movie FRESH and it was amazing. Even though some of the scenes were hard to look at, I left with this overwhelmingly positive feeling that things are changing for the better in terms of access to good quality local food for everyone. If you have a chance, go see it.
Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Just a reminder that I’ll be updating my shop tomorrow, Friday 7.17, around 8am. In addition to the layers tops, scarves and a new wrap dress, there are a few pieces leftover from the land collection that I want to clear out.
I’d forgotten about the fluid neck dress and I think I might make a new version of that for this fall.
A few fun summer links:
this joy + ride has a new summer coffee offering up. And if you hurry, you can purchase a lb. of coffee along with a beautiful postcard set from Shari and Sheri.
Make your own pallet chair. These look like they would be the perfect patio chairs, and our neighbor has a pallet sitting on the curb right now….
Snowpeak lets you go camping in style. I’d take anything from this site, especially the titanium coffee press. To use with my this joy + ride coffee:)
If I had to pick a band I always listen to in the summer it would be the Pixies, especially this song, which makes me want to get up and jump around the yard. Listen to it loud.
Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
Since I’ve been doing some watercolor painting recently, I thought it might be time for another painting/drawing lesson for my younger son, who just turned five 2 weeks ago. You might remember the last lesson, where I had him paint on a large canvas with acrylic and large brushes. As I mentioned in my post about watercolor I have been inspired by Geninne’s paintings lately and so for this next lesson I wanted to try something more representational or figurative and to use watercolor. Neither of my two sons draw this way much. They both draw a fair amount, but it is usually quite abstract -lots of lines, geometric shapes, and almost always numbers (they are both obsessed with numbers).
This is completely fine with me -I really love the drawings they do. But I think part of the reason they don’t draw in a representational way is that they get frustrated with not being able to make the drawing look like the thing they are trying to draw. I can see the beauty in a childlike stick figure drawing and encourage them to keep going but to them it’s just discouraging and so they don’t try.
So I decided that this lesson should really be about learning to see. This is something we talk about in the beginning architecture studios I teach. If you slow down and look around you, forcing yourself to look at things in a new way, you will discover things that were always there that you didn’t notice before. It’s the same with drawing. I used to teach a drawing class for beginning architecture students and I always started by having them do an upside down drawing. This is an exercise from “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”, where you project a an upside down figure on the screen for the students to draw. Most people think that drawing figures is hard, but when upside down, the figure looks unfamilar and so they need to look very closely and carefully to draw it. All of the students produce a very good drawing their first time, and being successful so early in the class is a big motivator to them.
I knew if I tried to talk about seeing things in a new way I would loose him and if I gave him an image that was upside down he would just turn it around. And I also knew that what he really wanted to do was paint with watercolors, so again I set some limits to allow him to be successful quickly while sneaking in a little lesson about seeing:
- First I chose a book with simple graphic line illustrations to draw from: The Field Guide to the Birds of North America, which is a favorite of both of my boys.
- He chose a bird and I had him start with pencil on watercolor paper. I told him to follow the outline of the bird with his eyes and to draw slowly, mostly looking at the illustration rather than his pencil and not lifting the pencil from the paper. We put the paper close to the book so that he could see his paper in his peripheral vision. I helped him a lot with this part, sometimes guiding his hand, sometimes putting a dot of pencil to show him where to change direction. I told him to look at where the major parts of the bird were, like the neck and wing, and to add only the major details.
- Then I gave him a fine tip permanent maker and told him to trace his pencil lines. This really made the bird pop and look like a bird, and he started to get excited.
- Next I had him erase all the pencil lines with a soft eraser and he was left with the graphic image.
- Finally I gave him a very small angled watercolor brush to use. Using good tools is important, even with children. The cheap brushes that come with children’s watercolors are too loose and floppy to get any control. With the small, stiffer brush he was able to control the paint better, and the marker lines gave him a place to start and stop. He chose his own colors, and I love that they are completely different from the original, making the painting uniquely his own.
The whole process was quite quick and he was extremely proud of his painting that looked like a bird. Then he immediately made 2 more. As we worked, my older son worked on his own birds, choosing to fill them in with marker rather than paint them, to be more like the originals in the book. As he is older (eight), and he and I have been talking about “seeing” quite a bit lately, he was able to work in a much more detailed way. He decided he wanted to draw each bird in the book, 4 to a page, and add their names underneath.
I’ll see you all back here in about 10 years to show you his completed project:)
Friday, July 10th, 2009
The women over at Echoes are focusing on the phrase summer is…. this summer and they’ve invited me to add something to their collaborative journal today that expresses what summer is to me.
For me summer always invokes images of the farm fields surrounding the small Wisconsin town where I grew up. I was a town girl, and farm life seemed foreign and exciting. We would drive the county roads and I loved the lush patchwork of crops in vibrant golds and greens. In college I discovered the aerial photographs of Alex Maclean and was especially drawn to his field photographs, which not only reminded me of the those fields from my childhood but also let me experience them in a completely new way.
Now I live in a city, and while summer isn’t my favorite season, there are a few things I look forward to in the summer. One of those is the Minnesota State Fair, and one of my favorite things to do there is to go see the seed art (they call it crop art). Amazingly detailed scenes all made out of seeds. Again the seed art makes me think of those fields of my youth but I like seeing the seeds from those fields presented in a new way.
For my contribution I gathered plants and seeds from my yard, to develop a field that evokes for me both the past and the present while trying to maintain a balance between object/field.
Thanks for the invitation girls, I really enjoyed this!
Thursday, July 9th, 2009
layers top, UNIFORM Studio, states of matter COLLECTION
Here is a top from my spring states of matter collection that I didn’t have a chance to photograph previously. It is one of my favorite pieces from the collection, mainly because it is so versatile. It can be worn so many ways and either worn alone or layered over a long sleeve t-shirt, it will span many seasons.
I will have a few of these in my shop next week, both in this heathered grey color and also in white. And I’ll be having a mid-summer sale, so they will be 20% off, along with a few other things leftover from spring. I’ll be sending out an email to my mailing list to let you know when the shop is updated, and I’ll also post something here.
And the discussion on children’s clothing continues. Thank you all for your great comments and observations!
Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Concrete is my favorite building material. It has such a wonderful depth to it’s color -in different light it can be cool or warm, and have any number of hues.
The surface will translate whatever was used to form it so it can be textural or smooth. If you use a shiny smooth plastic as the form liner, it can even be reflective.
It can be cast into any number of forms and shapes, from large walls to individual building blocks.
And it’s a sustainable building material.
A few years ago my friends Dan and Ralph investigated the typical concrete block building system and developed a line of blocks with the intent to renew the existing system: “We examined how we could be using what already exists in a better way, rather than making something brand new.”
The result, in my opinion, is pretty spectacular: 12 Blocks.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows that I’ve always disliked the color purple. Some shades, especially those with a lot of white in them (think purple smartees candy) actually make me feel ill. So I was quite surprised the other day to find myself falling hard for a swatch of purple colored jersey in the batch of samples I received from my sustainable fabric supplier. It didn’t hurt that it is super soft and made of soy and organic cotton. And they call the color plum. Much better than purple.
And just like that, I guess I like purple.
and thank you all so much for your thoughts and comments about children’s clothing. It’s so interesting to read everyone’s slightly different take on the subject. I’m going to continue to try to add my thoughts to the comments section on all posts as well. I like that everyone can see the dialogue.