Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
I know I said that I would update my shop last week with more scarves and a few clothing items, but some other things got in the way. So, the update will happen next week, Tuesday, November 3rd.
There will be gossamer and mottled scarves and if you sent me a message about the gathering coat and dress, there will be one of each of these as well, possibly two. Oh, and some marfa print items too.
I start teaching my new class today and on top of that I have a noon presentation and my studio class in the afternoon. 9 hours of talking! yikes.
Hope you all have a good wednesday.
Monday, October 26th, 2009
Thank you for all of your thoughts about fashion in my last post. It was interesting to read about other peoples fashion influences growing up. I thought I would focus on fashion this week here since it’s on my mind lately.
One unfortunate occuring theme in my wardrobe are pieces that I acquire that I love but seem to never wear because I can’t figure out how to wear them. When purchasing them I am focusing on the individual piece, rather than what it will work with. The necklace above is a good example. I actually traded some clothing for this when I was a Searchlight artist at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore in 2008. And I have never worn it! It was made by Agelio Batle of epoxy and leather and I really like how the “clasp” is the main design.
I ran across it recently and decided I needed to incorporate it into my wardrobe. I decided to turn to Polyvore for help. Now when Polyvore first came out I was intrigued. It looked fun, like playing with paper dolls. Awhile ago I checked back in and was a little shocked to see how commercial it has become. It seems to be all about selling products, and it is SO easy to create an amazing outfit in mere seconds and then click to buy. Very dangerous for me.
but….I started thinking about how it is a great assembling tool and so I decided to try to use it as a way of organizing things that I already own into an outfit. You can search by item and also color, which is brilliant. I thought the necklace would look good with a chunky cardigan I have, so I looked for a similar one and started there. Then I looked through the shirt section, not sure what I would want to wear under the necklace. After browsing I decided that a basic but slim cut t-shirt would work well. Then I looked at some skirts and saw a denim pencil skirt. That made me think of the dipped horizon skirt I made. Then I went to the boot section. I have many pairs of tall boots that would work with this outfit, but I have admired the Golden Goose brand boots for a long time. They are priced into the stratosphere, so I knew I wouldn’t even be temped to purchase them, so for fun I added them to the mix.
And there it is. It took a little time to put the image together since I added some of my own pieces, but you wouldn’t even have to make a final image. And it was super fun to do.
I’m interested to hear if any of you have experimented with Polyvore, and what you think about it.
Also: what would you wear this necklace with?
I really like the fashion posts that Stephanie and Maria have been doing over at 3191. Last week Stephanie talked about making items your own, by changing buttons, dyeing, etc. Such great ideas.
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
I realized I don’t talk about fashion much here. That’s strange, because I do think about it. And I’m curious about what others think about it. How important is fashion to you?
A little of my fashion history:
- When I was very little, my mom made most of my clothes. She knit and sewed and I was thrilled to have interesting, unique items.
- When I was in elementary school I became obese, and only wanted to wear loose, shapeless things. I tended to wear a handful of items over and over. There was something about not having to figure out what to wear that was comforting.
- Towards the end of middle school I began to shed some weight and suddenly clothing became really interesting. I knew how to knit and sew (from my mom) and making things I could wear became really fun. My dad loved fashion (still does) and liked taking me shopping, searching out unique places and items that were different than the usual mall stuff. We would also go to art galleries and museums, and in my head I think I started to think of fashion and art as related.
- In college (architecture school) I was all about wearing plain blackish clothes and blending into the background. Too busy discussing design and being cerebral to care about fashion:)
- In grad school I went through a period where I thought fashion was frivolous. I wanted to save the world through design and thought fashion was not important, socially conscious work.
And now? Well, now I’ve come to realize how clothing can simply make you feel good. If you feel good in what you are wearing you are a happier person and a better friend/employee/spouse/partner/parent/person. It can make you feel confident. I think the best fashion is something that you don’t have to think too much about. You can put something on and feel yourself and yet special.
Personally I think I am at a collecting and layering stage. I like finding unique and interesting items that work with what I already have. Putting items together for an outfit is an enjoyable passtime for me at the moment, and I especially like texture and layers. I guess I’ve come full circle.
And those are two of my favorite fashion magazines up there – MetroPop and surface. Have I mentioned I have a bit of a magazine problem? um, yeah.
So, how do you think about fashion? Do you look at fashion mags? Which ones are your favorites?
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Marfa Path print + Dipped Horizon print, 8″ x 10″
Next week I start teaching another class at the University. Currently I’m teaching an architecture design studio that will continue to the end of the semester. This new class is sort of a mini-studio. The U of M offers half semester courses in their Bachelor of Design Arts program that cover a range of topics in architecture. The class I’m offering is focusing on the precedent study process.
Typically students study historic or significant works of architecture in what we call a “precedent” study. Buildings are analyzed, studied and redrawn, looking at how materials were used, how the plan works, how it is organized on the site, etc. Normally the plans, elevations and sections are redrawn to scale.
I plan to have the students study common and/or banal type buildings, like big box retail structures, looking for ways that these buildings can be beautiful if viewed in a different way. They will document them not by drawing, but by working in a more limited way. The main focus will be on printing, such as wood block and linoleum prints, but they can also use masking (taping off and spraying) or other forms of limited or subtractive drawing.
The two prints above are a continuation of the printing and dyeing I’ve been doing lately. I made them as tests and examples to show my class but I also plan to include them in my HANDCRAFT holiday collection. I really like the way the dip dyed paper print turned out. I can see this method working really well in my precedent class.
Here is one of my favorite wood block prints by Donald Judd.
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
Have you seen Where the Wild Things Are? This was one of those times where my expectations fell short of the actual film. It is brilliant. It feels to me like a defining moment in film – like things will be forever changed.
Some do gooder links for today:
Increasingly I’ve been thinking about how I can contribute to my community in a way that will make a difference. I came across this article recently about Michael Swain, an artist who sets up a cart in San Francisco once a month and spends the day mending clothing that people bring him. His gift is not only the mending of the clothes, but more importantly the act of being there, caring and engaging the people who come to him in conversation.
I wish I could have attended The Pioneers of Change festival on Governor’s Island in New York in September, which was organized by Renny Ramakers, one of the founders of Droog. The festival was a celebration of Dutch design, fashion and architecture with leaders in these fields developing programs that were housed in each of the officer’s quarters on the island. Besides a wide range of interesting design programs to engage in, the underlying theme of the festival “encourages a more responsible and sustainable approach to living. The event celebrates the blurring of low- and high-brow, establishing new collaborations, encouraging involvement and valuing handcraft and the local context. Since the economic downfall, the notion of luxury has come under attack. Pioneers of Change does not apply the luxury tag to an ethos of riches as such but to qualities now hard to come by, including space, fresh air, respect, care, silence, slowness and time.”
I especially like how they chose Governor’s Island, a former Military base, as their location. Governor’s Island is undergoing some redevelopment and a festival like this is a way of bringing awareness to wonderful places like this that should and can be reused in new ways.
“Project M is an intensive summer program designed to inspire young graphic designers, writers, photographers and other creative people that their work can have a positive and significant impact on the world.”
Friday, October 16th, 2009
One of my favorite parts of design is the time when I test out ideas full scale, with real materials. I love playing with materials to see what will develop. I have boxes filled with little textural fabric swatches where I’ve tried out various techniques and dye processes. It’s fun to go back through them to see what I’ve forgotten.
The above image is a shot I took during the gleaning photoshoot of a parking lot I was especially enamored of. I’ve been experimenting with denim and wool, trying to recreate the texture.
My reading pile of design inspiration is getting quite tall, and I plan to spend some of my weekend going through it. My new issue of Uppercase magazine arrived yesterday and in this issue there is a nice little article written by Heather Smith Jones about me (pg. 14). You can preview the whole issue here.
I’m also still making my way through the NY Times Style magazine from a few Sundays ago. When I opened it I was surprised to see an article about Yestermorrow Design Build school, a school in Vermont that I attended for a summer when I was in Graduate school. That summer had a big impact on the way I thought and continue to think about sustainability. It was the late 90’s, and the whole “green” revolution had barely begun. For everyone practicing and teaching architecture out there, being eco conscious was just a way of life. Simple solutions for problems like solar gain (large overhangs, trees for shade) were the norm, rather than high tech, new fangled “green” products.
I was a little nervous when I arrived and realized I might not quite fit in to the crunchy granola aesthetic that seemed to be the norm. But everyone was friendly and welcoming (if not a little crazy) and didn’t laugh too much at my first lame attempts to swing a hammer. Making buildings at full scale was an amazing learning experience and something that has shaped my working process ever since.
The other thing I am going to do this weekend is of course go see “Where the Wild Things Are” with my sons. It feels like I’ve been waiting forever. I just bought the soundtrack a few days ago, and it’s been on constant repeat.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Craft and handwork have been on my mind lately. Maybe it’s the colder weather and grey skies, making me want to sit inside and knit. Normally a “knit one project at a time” sort of person, I have 3 things on the needles right now:)
Rachel clued me in to the Craft in America series on PBS, and I’m itching to get my hands on the DVDs. They do have a bunch of great videos on their website however, and I’ve been enjoying making my way through the fiber section.
I’ve had a long board leaning on my studio wall for a long time, ready to make a loom like this. Lina Rennell recently made a beautiful rug with fabric scraps using a similar handmade loom.
Right now I’m having fun working on a Holiday Collection, titled HANDCRAFT, which will be available in mid November and will consist of accessories and small items perfect for gifts, all focused on craft.
By the way, the American Craft Council’s conference “Creating a New Craft Culture” starts tomorrow here in Minneapolis. There are some great sounding talks and some local studio tours that should be fun.
Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
marfa print in black
I’ve been enjoying printing on fabric more than I ever thought I would. It’s interesting to me to think about how a print, which is on the surface, can become textural and/or work with a particular shape.
everything bag in marfa print image by Sarah Rubens
When I printed fabric for the everything bag I wanted an overall texture and pre-printed the fabric and then cut it out for the bags. I also wanted to try the print on a dress and decided the funnel neck dress would be a good simple shape to experiment on.
funnel neck dress in marfa print
For the dress I cut out the pieces and then printed them afterwards, considering the shape and line of the dress. I wanted to have less printed area for the dress, but I didn’t want it to stand out as an object on the fabric either. I think this has a nice balance of fabric to print and still remains textural. I also turned the print to emphasize the linearity of the dress.
This Thursday night (10.15.09) there is a jewelry trunkshow at Gallery 360 and Tia from Silvercocoon is the featured designer. Tia has been working with wool felt recently, and has some beautiful new pieces. I will be there with some items from the gleaning collection, along with this marfa print dress. Stop by to say hello if you’re in town. It’s from 6-9 and everything storewide will be 20% off.
funnel neck dress in marfa print + braided jersey belt in black plum
Monday, October 12th, 2009
We woke up to white skies this morning, with everything coated in heavy, wet snow. Even though it’s quite early in the season, I can’t help feeling that flutter in my chest when I see it. I love snow, but the first snowfall of the season is pure magic.
I was trying to pin down what I like about having everything covered in white. I think it’s like a black and white photograph. All the colors are toned down and what stands out is texture, light, shape and space.
The snow helps me see more clearly.
Friday, October 9th, 2009
Thank you for all of your orders from my shop yesterday! And for those of you who didn’t get the scarf you wanted, I’ll be updating again the week of Oct. 19th.
This photo was taken at the Minnesota State Fair at the end of August. I think it’s my favorite photo that I took this summer. When I saw the dramatic sky, and the concrete, and the 4 little birds sitting on the edge I knew it would be the photo of the day for my 365 day photo project.
So it’s been sitting in my computer, with all the other photos, waiting to be named and tagged with a date and uploaded to flickr, where I’ve been documenting this project. But somewhere along the way I fell behind in the cataloging and uploading. Way behind. For awhile I tried to catch up, posting a few photos a day, but what was inspiring to me about the photos in the first place started to get overshadowed by the burden of cataloging the backlog. And in turn it made taking the daily photos not as interesting.
I am not a linear thinker. I know this. It took many years and a graduate school education for me to figure this out. I work best when I can start at a point that is interesting to me and go in a direction and see what happens. This might circle back to where I started, or go off in a different tangent. One of my grad school professors called this a rhizomatic process, after the type of plant that sends out horizontal shoots underground.
I think I failed at this project because I just don’t work well linearly. It was good to try it -I always tell my students to embrace the process we are proposing, and then to find a way to work within that process that is comfortable to them. Learn from it and develop their own way of working along the way.
So I’ll take what I can from this project -learning to see and engage what is around me all the time, being more present in the moment, remembering to capture those moments in an interesting way on camera. Looking back at the body of photographs I did take, I see an overall whole, which makes me think that sub-consciously I’m circling back to the same things again and again. That’s how I work.
I feel really good about letting this go. And I’m excited to start taking photographs again without worrying about dates and cataloging and order.