Friday, November 19, 2010

Defending my Fabric Stash

There seem to be two camps in the textile art world - those who believe that they're being "good" when they refrain from adding to their stash of threads and fabrics and those who unabashedly collect whatever moves them.  I am definitely in the latter camp.  For me, limiting my stash directly translates to limiting my creativity.  So often, the process of going through my stash to collect fabrics for a new project takes my idea in a new direction or brings it to a new level.
Case in point, the vest I'm going to make for Peter Zimmerman to wear at the Winter Lights III reception on December 3.  When I started considering this, I had in mind a hand-dyed, discharged and printed fabric from Mary Walters paired with something pretty neutral - and masculine - maybe black.  When actually pulled out the black fabric I had in mind it seemed deadly dull to me, even when I tried to imagine it with the piecework I planned.  So I kept digging through my fabric bins.  I came up with this combination which I found much more inspiring.

Mary's fabric is in the center and I'm seeing it featured front and center, but in a relatively small amount.  The heavily textured fabric on the left will be the main fabric and the "michi kanji" fabric on the right will be the lining.  With this selection, I'm excited to get going. I want to do something on the main body of the vest to echo the design in the center fabric.  I just need to figure out what.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mindless Stitching Isn't so Mindless After All

I'm working on a "Free Lace" scarf today - doing the machine-stitched grid that holds it all together.  This is the stage that, before doing one, I thought would be totally boring.  I had been afraid that I would not enjoy making these scarves because the machine sewing would be such a chore...more famous last words.  I am finding that this sewing time is actually creative time.  While doing this rote sewing I can let my mind float on to the next project.

It's looking like my next project is going to be a man's jacket or vest.  I've been asked several times if I ever make jackets for men, but project hasn't yet risen to the top of my list.  As of yesterday I have a reason to put it there.  Here's the story.

I am participating with six other artists and artisans in the Winter Lights III exhibit at The Loading Dock Gallery here at Western Avenue Studios.  Yesterday we decided that all of us will wear my jackets during the reception on Friday night December 3rd.  As you've probably guessed, one of the artisans is male, but we don't want to leave him out.  Right now I'm thinking about a boxy Japanese-type vest.  I've got a rust-colored fabric from Mary Walters that I'd like to feature, but I need to figure out if I have coordinating fabrics that won't make it look too feminine.  Hmmm, maybe black???  Which of my "usual" embellishment techniques can I use to add interest but keep it masculine - or at least unisex???  This is what I've been day-dreaming about as I stitch.

If you're in the area, I invite you to come to the show opening to see my latest jackets and the work of the other six artists:
The reception happens from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday December 3.  There'll be good food, good friends, live modeling of my jackets and great holiday shopping.  Hope to see you then.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Thrill of Seeing Others Wear Your Work

This past Saturday night was the Art of Fine Fashion show at A Quilter's Gathering in Nashua, New Hampshire.  I had three jackets in the show and it was such a joy to see them on real people - not a mannequin or dress form.  Unfortunately, my camera batteries were lower than I had realized so I only got a few pictures.

Here's the best one.  I took this one of Nancy in my Sebago Days jacket before the show.  She walked out into the hallway while she was waiting for it to start and I nabbed her for a picture. 
The pictures I took during the show definitely leave something to be desired.  I am not a people/action photographer!!