One more September thing…Stockton!

One more September thing…Stockton!

The Haute Couture Societé invited me to show and teach at the end of September. I drove the back way through the Delta region. Stockton was an important part of the shipping industry back in the old days. There is a revival happening around the port.

The Hauties, as they call themselves, were warm and welcoming. Liz Kusama had arranged the Saturday class and lecture, filling the hall with stitchers and fabric artists. I love these tight knit groups that commit to showing their work each month and supporting one another. And I have learned that a two day workshop is best, for really covering the information and letting the attendees have a chance to absorb it.

Sunday, we planted ourselves at the local yacht club, with nice light and a faucet outdoors. There was room to spread out. Of course, there was the Solvy portion of the class. Maybe people have done Solvy before, but I find it brings immediate satisfaction and results to be observed and discussed. Using my scraps brings new inspiration to the process, mixing it up for some different effects. We also did a lot of bucket dyeing and printed up a storm.

What I love is showing up to a hall with my bags of scraps and screens and not knowing what will happen. And by then end of the weekend there has been some good exchanges and maybe changes due to the process of seeing with new eyes. There is bonding and creativity triggered and flowing. I take great satisfaction from these interactions and also new ideas from my”students”.

September Madness…

September Madness…

Is it really November already? My September was a mad house. I had to recover in October.

First on the agenda was a lecture / workshop for Penwag (Peninsula Wearable Art Group), on September 10th. I worked on a new slide show for the trunk show portion of the day. There’s a learning curve showing up and not really having an idea of the layout and facilities. I do feel comfortable talking about my history illustrated with the photos. Followed by dressing the real time models in my pieces and letting them walk around for all to see details and textures.

A quick lunch and then over to the classroom. There were 23-ish women in the class, and they were a bit spread out for my tastes. It being a 3 hour class it was more challenging to create a cohesive space where we can bond and get deep, as a result it felt pretty diffused. However, that said there was a lot of play time silk screening and printing with the linos. I think satisfaction was had in that department! I did try to attend to everyone and give thoughts on their process.

The following weekend I took a class from a German woman- Pia Best and her daughter Marie, who translated. Pia is an dyer who’s speciality is using botanicals. Her process includes starting with indigo dyeing, laying out the leaves and branches then rolling the cloth, mainly a rayon/spandex, around the rusty pipe and then binding it in ace bandage and steaming for 5 hours, hourly dousing with vinegar. Quite a process, that yielded magical results. It felt like an alchemical experience dating back from the middle ages. And probably was!

What I love about indigo dyeing is how centered you need to be in order to not add oxygen to the vat. Takes concentration…Then the musty indescribable smell of the rusty pipe, vinegar and eucalyptus or other botanicals. Whew! I have some nice samples to explore with and an idea that in fact I could maintain an indigo pot if I wanted to. Plus do some more steaming with leaves. Maybe on the weekend so that my neighbors would not be alarmed at the smell…

Museum of Fine Art Houston: Yayoi Kusama

Museum of Fine Art Houston: Yayoi Kusama

I went to Houston on my way to a wedding in Austin this summer. Two dear friends from different parts of my life had just moved there and didn’t know each other yet. One, Pam Barry, my jeweler designer friend, had suggested we go see an installation by Yayoi Kusama at the museum.

I wasn’t familiar with her work and so didn’t have any preconception, leaving myself open to the surprise of these two different installations.

Both are rooms covered in mirrors and dark except for the lit elements that make up the piece. The first was made up of undulating cones covered with polka dots, lit from the inside with changing colored lights. There is music playing and you can move about between the forms. Because of the infinite quality of the mirrors there is the sense of being smack dab in the middle of an Alice in Wonderland environment; quite fun and magical.

The second room allows only two to three people. The room has a slightly elevated pier surrounded by water where you can stand; again mirrors cover all other surfaces. Soft glass tubes of light suspended from wires start to illuminate as if it were dawn in the heavens. You are immersed in the firmament and just as you grasp the experience, it is over, leaving you wanting more, a primal longing to be one with and in the universe.

Next, we went downstairs to check out some of the Native American artifacts. I was drawn to the graphics on some of the pottery and also the woven rugs, strong, bold and pleasing. It is no wonder people are still influenced and inspired by this rich tribal sensibility.

Upstairs was a show called High Society: The Portraits of Franz X. Winterhalter. He painted many of the royal courts in the mid 1800s, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Accompanying these lush and detailed paintings were a selection of garments from that period. I was struck by the detailing on several garments which reminded me of some of the touches I saw used on Oscar de la Renta’s clothing. I also love noting the way this painter captured the feeling of the silk and taffeta with strokes that were almost abstract in contrast to his realistic portrayal of the faces.

Style 2016 in Palo Alto/ Mountain View

Style 2016 in Palo Alto/ Mountain View

This year’s Style show went smoothly in spite of the rain. And we were happy about that. Attendance was high, I loved my neighbors. On one side was Slice lab, a couple of guys using a 3-d printer to create jewelry. Fun pieces, some necklaces looking like they were made of tiny bleached bones. And very reasonable prices. I bought one that is ivory colored looking like many rubber bands strung together. Can I just say it’s hard not to buy something from your neighbor?!

On the other side was Old House—Sandra Althouse, making ponchos and dresses from old cashmere sweaters and remnants of knits or velvet. She went on a Paris tour with Marcy Tilton and so we had to send Marcy a picture of us together. I ended up with a graphic black and white dress of unknown fiber content and a wonderful poncho gradating from dark blues to light robins egg blues. She got a terra-cotta scarf! A shout out to her son, Xander, who helped me schlepp my fabulous and very heavy mirror. I couldn’t have done it without him!

The clothes I worked so hard to make were appreciated and purchased by happy women. I am gratified when I have been at my creative edge to have the confirmation that the work is good, will be worn and give pleasure to the wearer and the observer.

And I will say again how wonderful it is to be among my peers, to be energized by what they are making and they by what I am doing. I need, and I think all of us who work in isolation, need a fertile ground to exchange ideas and gossip and love each other up. And eat fine Korean food!! We do need the audience and hopefully we will continue to have one. Thanks to Diane Master for providing the venue!

Playing with the Finger Paints!

Playing with the Finger Paints!

I paint my fabrics flat on thin sheets of formica. I had a special table made that can hold 6 of these sheets to create more storage and let the fabric cure more slowly. When I clean these sheets sometimes there is a denser layer of paint when the fabric I have painted is thin- like organza. Such was the case on this day when I started playing with the goopy dye.

I wiped down the entire table with a scratchy sponge then scraped with a squeegee, and finally wiped clean with a sponge cloth. During the squeegee phase shapes began to appear, creating an oasis or alien planet. I also played around with writing my name thinking how cool it would be to have my signature on a watery base. Are you listening o’ great designer of mine?!

Just having fun on a regular work day!

Mood Fabrics!

Mood Fabrics!

The Haute Couture Societé invited me to show and teach at the end of September. I drove the back way through the Delta region. Stockton was an important part of the shipping industry back in the old days. There is a revival happening around the port.

The Hauties, as they call themselves, were warm and welcoming. Liz Kusama had arranged the Saturday class and lecture, filling the hall with stitchers and fabric artists. I love these tight knit groups that commit to showing their work each month and supporting one another. And I have learned that a two day workshop is best, for really covering the information and letting the attendees have a chance to absorb it.

Sunday, we planted ourselves at the local yacht club, with nice light and a faucet outdoors. There was room to spread out. Of course, there was the Solvy portion of the class. Maybe people have done Solvy before, but I find it brings immediate satisfaction and results to be observed and discussed. Using my scraps brings new inspiration to the process, mixing it up for some different effects. We also did a lot of bucket dyeing and printed up a storm.

What I love is showing up to a hall with my bags of scraps and screens and not knowing what will happen. And by then end of the weekend there has been some good exchanges and maybe changes due to the process of seeing with new eyes. There is bonding and creativity triggered and flowing. I take great satisfaction from these interactions and also new ideas from my”students”.