Monday, February 22, 2010

Making a Mess--My Creative Process

I'm not sure of the prospect of snow tonight is making me punchy, but the atmosphere is changing rapidly and it is a wierd day.

People often ask me what is the process I use to create fashion accessories?  Basically my mind is going all the time putting together fabrics, ideas, techniques.  I think having as many interesting and off beat fabrics is essential.
Then I make a mess, on the floor.  All my materials are in boxes,  they are labeled accordingly, such as "French Chantilly Lace" , "Italian Wool Lace" or "Embroidered Velvets".   I pull out what I think I might like to use.

I have one starting point, it can be an object, a fabric, a photo in a book.  I use the colorway of whatever I pick as my basis for combining fabrics and textures.  Most of the time I have no idea of how anything will come out, I just start cutting randomly, nothing is straight, it is very intuitive.   I then start playing with the pieces and laying them out.  Once I've finalized the design, I sew  and sew and sew until I'm happy.  And then it goes through my finishing process that I described in an earlier blog.

I'll work like this until I am bored, then one day it will make it's way back into the organized boxes when I get the urge to experiment.

Here's a few pics from today:

My family is dismayed at the mess I make, there is not one flat surface in the house that I don't cover.  I think they are relieved when I go up to the gallery in Hamilton. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Gem in Olde City Philadelphia

I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Craig Wallen, owner of Gallery 51 at 51 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia.  Craig is an expert in antique textile art, specializing in 19th century Anatolian woven pieces.   Step into his warmly lit gallery and be enveloped by rich natural color, pattern and texture.  Each piece Craig has chosen is very special, you can feel the weaver's personality in the knot, the choice of color, the pride of workmanship for an textile meant for everyday use.  In the 21st century, these textiles adorn the walls as art.

Craig's taste is exquisite and he is willing to share his wealth of knowledge with those who are truly interested.   If you treat yourself to an hour examining the stunning pieces, you will walk away with a renewed energy from gaining new insights into a nomadic culture.  And if you are an artist, your brain will be imprinted forever and it will translate into your work.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Design Challenge: What Can You Do with a Flat Piece of Fabric?

This challenge is to take any length of fabric and see what shapes, styles, accessories, garments you can make without stitching.  You can pin, cut, fold,  embellish, but no sewing/gluing or permanent fastening.  You can alter the shape into a circle, trapezoid, rectangle, square, etc.  Narrow goods are also in the competition.
The object is to be able to fashion  anything out of a single piece and have it be reusable later into something else.  Think of it as this:  If you only had 1 piece of fabric to take with you on a deserted island, how would you use it? Or if you were going to be in fashion week, what would you have walking down the runway? 

I'll put together a panel of textile mavens to consider the ideas.. Winners!  Prizes! Someone will receive a very very special gift from my personal stash.

Submit your ideas, photos to, or post comments and photos on this blog.
Entries are due March 31, 2010, and Winners will be announced May 1, 2010.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Icicles Get Weirder by the Day

Location:  Chadds Ford PA
Scene:  Transom window  in bedroom, looking out toward courtyard.

I am photographing these daily since the storms.  They are growing and getting more interesting in shape.  Trying to come inside, but are diverted from the glass.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Snow is Over for Now

Even though we got over 55 inches in one week, and the roads are still not cleared, that we lost power and all communications, heat for 36 hours, I still managed to be creative in a 56 degree house.  My studio is southern facing so it did not lose as much heat, when the sun came out it warmed to a workable temperature.

I spent hours playing with fabric.  Could not sew, but did alot of design work.

I'd like to thank Rachel Biel for creating the Textile and Fiber Art List where more and more interesting artists are joining every day.   It's just great to see people from all over the world post their work and share ideas.

My goal for 2010 is to increase my internet communication skills.  I am a neophyte when it comes to technical stuff, I can't even operate an I phone.. But the artists on TAFA have been very generous helping me navigate the web and sharing technical information on how to make it work.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Light Bulb Goes On

What a week, I feel like the learning curve of this tech computer social networking stuff is finally making a neuro
pathway into my boomer brain.  I have just met some of the coolest textile people via the net, and one in person. 
Let me share the sites with you, I am sure you will find inspiration in their work and ideas.
First , there is a new blog, "TAFA, the Textile and Fiber Art List."    Rachel Biel has created this great forum and I encourage you to check it out.  I found out about it from the Fiber Arts and Mixed Media site.

Up in NYC earlier this week, I went to HAYKO Fine Rugs at 857 Lexington Ave near 65th.
What an awesome place, I just loved everything and he has it arranged so that you just want to poke in every nook and cranny.  He teaches rug weaving, his back room looked just like my dye studios with yarns, naturally dyed, hanging off the shelves.   I was selecting rugs for an upcoming show at Porter Studios and Fine Arts Gallery on March 27, Professor Peter Balakian will be giving a talk on "Village and Tribal Rugs."

And finally, I have been getting alot of my kimono fabric from Juliet "Shibori", and we finally made human voice contact this week,  learning that we share so much in common.    How would this possible if we did not have the net?

The snow is so deep, we can't get out, waiting for a plow.   On these days when you are stuck inside, hone your computer social networking skills.  With the economy in the dumps, you are laying the groundwork for the future.