Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Interview with Sophia

I had the pleasure of attending the wonderful weekend contra dance at Table Rock State Park earlier this month. It was a great weekend for reconnecting with old friends and making new friends. I met Sophia who was attending the weekend with her mother and sister. Sophia is 11 years old and I learned about her from her mom during another weekend dance. She has just recently started her own blog called Cat Eyes and Kitten Heels. She is very articulate and very focused. We enjoyed the exchange because we are both into making our own clothes. I have to say I don't know as much as Sophia about different fashion designers although I do often look at fashion magazines for inspiration I don't always remember their names. Either way we both had a love for sewing and designing. I found myself revisiting my childhood and remembering the enthusiasm and excitement that I embraced art with during that time. It was really really wonderful to get in touch with that energy by spending time with Sophia and her sister Esther. It's amazing to me to imagine being so young with such lofty goals at 11 and considering my age and where I am. If anything I hope to encourage Sophia and any young person to follow their hearts into whatever will give them happiness and joy. I'm grateful I found my way no matter what my age.

Here is the interview:
How long have you been into fashion?

I have been into fashion since I was 2. When I look back at photos of me in childhood I was always stylishly dressed and wearing accessories and carrying a purse. I have always been attracted to pretty jewelry and was careful to look closer at someone's earrings.

What is your favorite quote?

I don't do fashion, I am fashion -Coco Chanel

Why is this your favorite quote?

Because it's true about me. I was born to be fashion and it's not just something I saw in a window and decided to get into it. It just kind of happened.

What do you do in fashion?

I design stuff at my house, I sew to dress myself. I like making clothes, and I care about my appearance.

Do you use patterns?

I make my own patterns. Using a pattern that someone else made is kind of like a cheat. So I want all of it to be handmade.

Have you learned how to make patterns?

Yeah, my mom gave me some pattern paper and I look on pinterest.

Do you use a dress form?

I don't have one but I want one some day!!

Who is your favorite designer?

I alternate, for one month I like one designer and then I find another one. I like Kate Spade, I like how her stuff is colorful because I am a colorful person. I like bright colors.

I also like Tory Burch because she has a lot of pattern in her designs.
What is your favorite color?
Teal and turquoise are my favorite colors and blues.
What's your style?
I practically like everything especially if it's my favorite color. I like things in the fashion world not the teenage world. Because in the teenage world everything is the same and just what is in trend. Designers do what they want to do and each have their own style. They design something and make a line.
What do you want to do?
I want to design clothes and if I need to I might hire people to make more of my designs. I don't want to sell my clothes in another store. I want to sell them in my store. I also want to make wedding dresses and they will be one of a kind and I will custom make them. I want to follow a theme for the persons wedding and be inspired by that. I was inspired by Vera Wangs wedding dresses. Gucchi, Prada, Louis Vitton design mostly purses and I like them but I want to be mostly focused on just clothing not accessories or purses.
Do you have a sketchbook?
I have a lightboard and I put a figure on it with some tracing paper over top to draw Croquis ( ME: I had to look this up .. all my life an artist and somehow I never learned the French word for sketch, proof that you can learn something new every day) I've been to a professional camp where I learned about this. I want to learn to sketch a quick one. Croquis is a quick sketch.
What is your process?
This might sound a bit crazy but sometimes when I am looking at someones clothes I think I see something on their outfit. It looks like something that I like. Then when I get a closer look and find that it wasn't what I thought, I use what I thought it was as my inspiration. I can't sit down and just design something from the top of my head, I have to wait till the juices flow and I get the idea. I never know when it will come up. Sometimes I can be in class and as soon as I can I try to get it down on paper. If you give me some colors and textures I can find a way to circle around it.
Why do you want to do this?
When I was younger I wanted to be a singer or an actress but I really just wanted to be famous. I found out that being famous was stressful so I got back into fashion and I knew that's what I wanted to do!
Sophia was a delight to interview and hang out with. I also got a personally drawn portrait of my self from her beautiful sister Esther. I will treasure it. If you get a chance check out Sophia's blog and leave her a note. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Letting go and hanging on.

I took this photo some years ago. One morning I woke up and  looked out of my kitchen window and saw this incredible light streaming through the trees and the plants they were just glistening. I quickly grabbed my camera and ran outside. I wanted to capture these moments. 

On father's day I phoned home to wish my father a Happy Father's Day. He sounded a bit frazzled. I know that my mother has not been well and her age is finally slowing her to the point where her days are filled with only the bare necessities of life. I ask how things are. And so the news is difficult always to hear. She is sleeping. My heart begins to feel this pang. I tell my dad I love him and we say our goodbyes. And like the light ... the tears stream through my consciousness. My mother is slipping away to another place and I feel time going quickly. It's funny how life seems to have a pace about it that changes aren't always so noticeable and then suddenly it seems to be going so quickly. Already nothing will be the same. My mother is suffering from Alzheimers and it is like saying goodbye before they go .. only you know it and they don't really. Its undescribeable confusion intermingled with glimpses of true happiness or peace at seeing someone you love. IT's a loss .. I feel grief before it feels I should feel it. It's death before death. Goodbye before the end. Strange words it seems ....Feels like standing on the edge of a big hole which is deep and dark and scarey.  It's all a lot to manage in my head and still try to make a living being a creative person. 

I guess the work is a welcome distraction from reality. I am barely hanging on. Trying to hope above hope that I will sell some work so I can keep doing what I love. Trying to resolve my own fears so I can get it out there. Grateful to have a mountain of ideas and time to execute them. In my ideal world I can trade art or clothes or jewelry that I make for everything that I need. Everyone everywhere loves all that I create. Not sure how to get from here to there. 

Now for some showing and telling .. after discovering I realized how much I loved stitching. I really find that I love to do the running stitch and am totally addicted to the texture that it creates on cloth. I love the boro cloths and even the whole idea of them and that they are mended japanese kimono's that the peasants wore. In repairing them and passing them on from one generation to the other, the cloths became infused with memory of past generations. The fact that they did this and gave such meaning to their cloths .. kimonos or blankets really resonates with me. They had a belief of not wasting any cloth and used everything they had. It seems like we have become such a disposable society any more and I like the idea of hand made even hand me down. Hand stitching is especially appealing. So partly to make something that is not like everyone else .. to have an air of my flavor, to feel my artsy self .. to fit me in a way that makes me comfortable. I started to make my own clothes. I feel good in my clothes. I put my self .. my sense of design into everything I make. I feel good when I can add hand stitching to my pieces and sometimes they are hard to part with. I often alter the fabric with dye or design either with extracting dye or adding .. with deconstructing a garment and putting it back together in a way that fits me better. No two pieces are alike. They may appear similar but they are all different. I hate to throw out even a scrap. You can imagine how my studio looks !!! ha .. I make jewelry with the scraps. I am convinced that I can make something beautiful out of anything .. lol .. it reminds me of playing dress up .. it feels like pretend .. what if i do this? I wonder what it will feel like to wear this? Thats a big part of why I do it. It's fun!! 

I was talking to a dear friend that has several of my pieces and she told me that she was comfortable in my clothes. I have to say that many times I make clothes that make me feel good .. this is such a wonderful feeling to give another woman a feeling of comfort .. and good sense of individuality. And I cannot escape the wonderful feeling of knowing that I did infuse my good will into each piece. I remember a while back a fellow stitcher Arlee Barr sent me a book that she had two of and in the pages of the book she stashed some of her fabric and piece of stitched fabric .. it was an anatomical heart. I was so so so excited to get it. And I was deeply moved to have it. There was something very profound to just have the knowledge that she had touched it and made all the stitches on it. I can't explain why it is but I was aware of how I felt about that. And then there is my wedding dress. I designed it and my mother sewed it and hand sewed 2000 seed pearls onto it. I am not married any more. Friends have suggested I part with the dress. I just can't. I can't let go of my mothers stitching and love that I know was infused into that dress. I DID take it out of the box that it was in for over 30 years. It's now hanging in my closet. I WIll do something with it. Not sure what yet but I will. well this is turning into a rather long post .. so I'll just share one of the pieces I did with stitching and old doilies and a shirt. I even made a rose with leaves from some eco dyed silk. Thanks for stopping over. I feel better now that I put it ALL out there haha .. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Reconnecting with Nature and new work

I am so happy to have warmer weather and have spent so many of the days in the last week outside painting and enjoying the nature around me. I realize how infused I am by getting to see the beauty of all creatures. I feel so blessed to witness their presence. I am awed by their beauty. It makes me happy to be outside. Recently I was outside making some leaf prints on fabric and discovered some inhabitors of the leaf I was going to print. It was so small that I could hardly make out that they were spiders. What I found quite fascinating was the fact that they appeared to be similar spiders yet each had a different color which you can faintly make out and this photo doesn't do the metallic quality of their bodies any justice. So one was silver and the other was gold .. beautiful!!!

 Then the next delight I have discovered was a nest  over a front window. It's sheltered from the sun and from rain so it was a good spot. I would watch it and finally could see that there was something in their .. finally it seemed they got so big they could hardly fit in the nest. Sometimes I would sit outside and watch the mother who at first would stay perched on the eggs and then when they finally hatched they grew so fast. She would faithfully bring them food and finally they would start flapping their wings as the mother sat on a branch nearby calling to them. One morning I came out to find the nest empty and searched around hoping to see them somewhere in the nearby branches. The pictures I have are some grainy and some good but they speak for themselves .. i wonder to see and a total cute awwww factor. Hope you enjoy the photos. you can click on them to see them bigger.

 And finally to the work .. I have found that I can't settle on doing just one form of making so after a bit of sewing I will paint for a while and then go back to sewing or stitching. It can depend on the weather or my mood. Lately I've been in the mood to paint.
The circles are something I'm exploring. I found this great panal it's about 2ft. x 4 ft. and I decided to experiment. And the one below is also an experiment of painting large. It's been fun and exciting!!!
Thanks for stopping over.
Come again!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day and Making

Today is Mother's day. I am a mother of three wonderful people. Each one special in their own way. I am grandmother of six wonderful children, each of them filled with life and hope and blessedness. And I am also daughter to my mom. As time goes on and my life changes and grows I realize how much goodness my mother has given me. My mom has always been a maker. I used to sit with my mother while she sat at the sewing machine. I never seemed to have an interest in sewing then. When I reflect on the whole process of her sewing I remember things and realize how much I have been influenced. Sometimes I think it takes years to see what was always there. I kind of think of it like an artist who paints and steps back to see how it's progressing. It's the distance from the work that gives you perspective. When my mother was a new mother, I suspect she was frugal with money and so she sewed a lot of clothes. I don't remember her sewing so much for my brother but she sewed entire wardrobes for my sister and myself. As I grew older I can recall going with my mom to the fabric shop and sitting for hours looking at patterns. I LOVED doing that and I suspect my maker self started brewing all my love for images. That and seeing all the latest fabrics gave me a love of texture and fiber that still gives me such joy today. Perhaps it's the memories mixed together of being with my mom and spending time doing something she clearly loved doing.

My mother has been a fabric lover and I am a fabric lover. And always being a tad rebellious in nature, ( i laugh writing that and am sure my mother can attest to it ) I like to kind of break the rules or do it different. That's what I've been doing with my art and making over the past several years. Experimenting and playing with fabric and drawing and painting and printing. All the forms of making and creating that give me happiness and joy. Today I did something I've been trying to do for a good while. So I think it's appropriate to announce it here today on Mother's day and as a tribute to my mother who is a fabulous seamstress. I have opened a shop on Etsy with clothes that I have made my self. my shop I hope you'll let me know what you think and spread the word. I will add more to it as I get them photographed and listed. But back to my mom.

I know i've mentioned it before but I think it's worth mentioning again. My mother sewed so many beautiful garments for me growing up. We traveled overseas for six years from 1964 until 1970 and it seems that every time we flew stateside my mother had sewn new clothes for our trips. I hope to find some photos of those garments. She sewed my confirmation dress from a new white fabric that I picked out. My prom dress and my graduation dress. She sewed 2000 seed pearls to my wedding dress that I designed and she sewed back in 1977, maternity clothes when I was pregnant and she sewed a beautiful christening gown that each of my babies wore on their baptism. She sewed a gorgeous bassinet cover when my I found out that I was having a girl and she was laid in a most beautiful bed to sleep in. I know that there are countless other garments that she has made for me and for my family. As I step back and reflect on all that you have created for me Mom I am so amazed to realize how many things you have created and made just for me. I am happy to tell you these things today while you are still here to read them. Happy Mother's Day Mom ..

.. if your a mom I hope you have a fabulous mother's day and if you have a mom .. i hope you get to say hello or have a wonderful memory of what she's done best for you today .. and even the most important thing and that is gave you life. Thanks Mom .. I'm happy to be alive today!!! I love you always and forever!!

I've added some more photos of the same images from my shop. Thanks for stopping over and leave me a comment or two

My garments are made from reclaimed fabrics that I have altered with reverse dying and printing as well as hand stitching and artwork in some cases. All my garments are machine washable and made to fit various sizes. My hope is that you will find them fun to wear and they are one of a kind and artsy. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring and Life and Loss

 On the 18th of March I lost one of my very best friends. It was a very long hard day. I am doing my best to remember all the goodness she brought me. Her name was Misty. I loved her much more than I realized. She was very smart and always had great love and compassion. She played with her toys with great joy and I was always amazed at how carefully she played with her squeak toys never tearing them up or injuring them. They would last for years and years.  She stayed near me always by my feet. No matter where I was she wanted to be there. She was happiest sitting on the front porch as in the photo of her older. I miss her so much it hurts to even type this. I find it hard to imagine that it has been nearly a month. I look for her. I try to just let myself have my grief. She is buried in front yard so I talk to her sometimes. Mostly I still just cry at the thought of her. I do still have another dog Molly and I know that she has also been grieving. She has helped me tremendously and I have had to transition from loss to acceptance so that Molly will not be as sad as I am. Seems silly to say that but I have noticed this makes a big difference in how she is when I am less grieved. Amazing animals and how they teach us to love with our whole heart. She was 14 but I always told her that she never really showed her age. The photo below was taken last summer.

So .. finally spring has taken hold here and there is new growth. Rain has caused an eruption of life. I am enjoying seeing the buds and the flowers and blooming of leaves. I am grateful for the warmer weather and glad to turn off the heat. I don't like the cold. So I am hopeful to keep coming back and posting. Here are some photos that I've enjoyed of spring. I love love love the fuzzy leaves.

 I really love these leaves. They look like hairy leaves but the hairs are soft. They grow big as big as 12 -15 inches wide. They are amazing. You can click on any of the photos to seem them larger.

 I am still working on being artist creator believing that I can sustain my life doing what I most love. I seem to always enjoy the times when I sit down and stitch. I find the repetition of straight stitches to be very soothing and I never seem to run out of things to create with this process. Below are some photos of a few things I have made. One is a necklace and the other is a bracelet. The bracelet doesn't seem to show up as pretty as it is in person.

 Then there is always a pot of rust or walnuts brewing in the yard. I find that I am still very much addicted to rust and walnut and anything fiber. I may just have to explore this area much much more. And there I am in a bucket of walnuts with fabric bathing in the rich browness of them. I like the slow ways more and more.

 These last two photos are what I consider composted fabric. I have left some of my fabrics outside and there is something really appealing to seeing what happens to fabric as it breaks down. Sometimes it makes me go back to my original intent of starting this blog with photo of broken glass. There is some measure of beauty in things that age naturally .. as naturally as they can when they are left to the elements even when they are man made fabrics or materials a variety of materials. I find that worthy of exploring. Hope you've enjoyed the ride along with me today. Thanks for stopping over.