Thursday, March 14, 2013

Disaster to Opportunity

Another jacket is finished...
One of my goals for each creation is build in a small surprise, something you may not see at first glance.  This one has a couple of surprises, one planned and one unplanned.
Here is the front:
And the back:
If my design is working the way I think it does, you'll notice the diagonal stripes immediately.  But what you may not notice immediately, unless you are a Music Lover, is the fabric inset to create the stripes is all music related prints.  And it is not a fluke that there are 5 lines in each of the groups of added stitching, as there are in a staff of music.  These are the planned surprises.

There is also a surprise inside that was not planned.  When I'd nearly finished it - I just needed to stitch the hem lining to the jacket lining - I had an accident with it and ripped a good-sized hole in the lining near the hem.  Needless to say it was a heart-stopping moment.  Just replacing the lining was not a feasible option, the seams were all trimmed, graded and understitched - very difficult to redo neatly.

Happily with a little creativity and a helpful suggestion from Sonja, I was able to not only fix the problem but add a new design element.  For that surprise you'll have to see the jacket up close and personal!  My show at the Loading Dock Gallery is coming up in June.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Making the Most of a Yard of Fabric

In past musings I have often mentioned using fabrics created by my friend Judy Robertson of Just Imagination fabrics.  We vended together at the Quilt Surface/Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio for several years.  Each year I bought a few yards of her fabrics to add to my stash.  While I've never been afraid to cut them, I am very careful where I use them. (I've heard that some are unwilling to cut them- they are just that beautiful.)  Except for our kimono project, I've used Judy's fabrics primarily for accent.  But lately one of her "stripes" had been calling my name for a jacket project.

The patterning in this fabric is so striking that I knew it had to be the central element of the jacket, not just an accent.  I had two yards in the same colors (Judy dyes each yard individually), but I really didn't want to "blow my wad" in just one project.  My dilemma was how to get a striking jacket from just one yard of fabric so I could save the other yard for another project.  Happily my fabric stash came to the rescue.  I found several pieces of fabric in complementing colors, some of which had woven patterns that also seemed to echo the dyed patterns in Judy's fabric.

So here's the result.

I've called this one Added Imagination in honor of Judy and her beautiful fabric.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sari Ribbon Finish

I knew I'd gotten behind on my blog posts, but I didn't realize just how far behind until I looked at my last one.  Since that post I've finished both pieces that I referred to in it, finished another jacket and free lace scarf, and am well underway on another jacket.  I guess I have some writing to do over the next few days.

February was the month for the joint show with my daughter, Sonja Lee-Austin, at the public library in Topsfield, Massachusetts.  Our theme was Wabi Sabi ~ Marks of Time, Use, & Weather.  It's a Japanese philosophy or way of life that encourages us to find beauty in things that are humble, time-worn, natural, and so on.  It's hard to put into a few words, but much has been written about it.  And we're finding that many other artists have been inspired by the concept.

Early on I knew that I wanted to do at least one piece for our show that incorporated the recycled sari ribbon that we've recently starting carrying in our shop.  It is wonderfully colorful--made from torn strips of Indian sari fabrics chosen at random and held together by a bit of back-and-forth machine stitching.  It took me a long time to decide just how I would use it, but the idea did not go away.  Here are the two pieces that resulted from staring at the hank of ribbon for several months.

First is the jacket I call "Tattered Jewels."  Squares and triangles of fabric created from the sari ribbon were reverse appliqued into the front back and sleeves.  It is finished with collar and cuffs of a beautiful hand-dyed cotton sateen from my friend Judy Robertson.  For the final touch I use some great hand-made triangular polymer clay buttons I found at the Quilt and Fiber Art Museum in Cedarburg, Wisconsin in January.  (It's a delightful museum if you're in the area.)

Here's the jacket from the back:
After finishing the jacket, I still had leftover bits of the sari ribbon fabric I'd created.  Needless to say I couldn't let them go to waste.  These all went into a piece I called "Sari Ribbon Dance."  I laid out the scraps on a background fabric and then went to town with embroider stitches and beading.

I know there are more sari ribbon projects in my future, but I don't know just what they'll be yet.