Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's officially SUMMER!

Summertime... the word alone fills my head with sights, smells and tastes from summers gone by. Sunshine days, bright green grass, happy colorful clothing, bare feet, suntan lotion, a freshly mowed lawn, watermelon, and corn on the cob dripping with butter. What's not to love?

I was thinking about summer today while on the train back from NYC and remembered this day in Colorado. We were there for my step-son, Brian's wedding which took place at a ranch in a field with acres of dandelions in full bloom. They had wonderful long stems so I picked a bunch of them and made dandelion crowns for granddaughters Britney and Emily, pictured here. They both looked so sweet with their crowns! A lovely summertime memory.

It was a hot start to summer today in NYC! My textile class met at the Ratti Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They maintain archives of countless textiles both in actual fabric samples and a digital archive. It has been so interesting for me to learn about the resources available to designers - first the color forecasting, then this textile archive, and on to the Style Council on Thursday (not sure what they do, guess I'll find out on Thursday!).

I also had my Construction Techniques class today and we continued draping our muslin on the dress form. Next we will use the muslin to make slopers (the foundation pattern for everything). It is an interesting class and I am learning a lot but I'm glad this isn't the way I learned how to sew! It is pretty tedious when compared to sewing a garment from a commercial pattern. The fun stuff comes soon, I know!

After my class at the Ratti Library was finished I stayed at the museum and visited the "American Woman' exhibit at the Met. The exhibit included fabulous garments from the late 1800's through the 1940's. It was a beautiful exhibit and one can get close enough to the garments to really appreciate the details of the fine embroidery and bead work. The exibit is worth a trip to the city - if you are a textile/garment/fashion person, you must go!

Viewing vintage textiles, draping a muslin, and visiting a historical exhibit of garments gives me new appreciation for the clothes in my closet. While they are hardly haute couture (or fashion, for that matter), they are the result of thousands of years of the evoloution of textiles and garments. Thankfully, we have evolved to dressing more comfortably than in 1890 when women were squeezed into corsets and drowned in layer upon layer of fabric. A great look but who in the heck has the kind of time it took to get dressed back then?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thinking about color...

My Parson's textile class had a field trip today to The Color Association of the United States in NYC (www.colorassociation.com). My instructor is on the Men's Committee and arranged for us to have an "inside look" at what they do. It was interesting to learn how they go about forecasting color and we were given last year's forecast including sets of fabric swatches of the colors (usually distributed to Members only). Who knew that a whole committee of people have already decided what color sweaters we will buy in 2012?

After that, we went to Mood, the amazing fabric store in the Fashion District. We spent some time talking about textiles and selecting fabrics for mood boards. I stayed after class and collected swatches for my class project. I have a lot of editing to do and will probably add and subtract several times before my final decisions are made. Here's what I've got so far... a nice variety of textures and fabric types - now to figure out what I would make out of what fabric!

My "inspiration" comes from some photos I took at Squam Lake while on my nature hike. I noticed the patterns of the cracks in the rocks and the spring green moss growing in them. Inspiration can come from anywhere! Something so seemingly small has sparked a series of ideas that I will apply to my projects for my Parson's classes and for some art quilts I've got on my mind.

Some of the photos I took are shown on this post. I've seen cracked mossy rocks before but have never looked at them in quite the way I am now.

Next week the same class will visit the textile archives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Style Council. I'm looking forward to both trips and to continuing to make decisions about my class projects.

Today was fun (well, my feet aren't too sure about that...) and I remain excited about the classes. I have zero idea of what I am going to do with what I am learning, I am just enjoying the process!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Simply wonderful Squam

This charming cabin was home while I was at the Squam Art Workshops. The camps, known as Rockywold-Deephaven Camps, are in Holderness, NH. The camp is such a peaceful place with shaded paths, dirt roads, abudant wildlife and wildflowers. Truly a perfect setting for a restorative creative getaway!

I was greeted with a very warm welcome and ushered into the cabin to receive my workshop schedule and goodies. It was all very organized and everyone was so friendly. After two young men helped haul all my "stuff" into my second floor room, I organized my room and headed out for a walk.

The setting reminded me of Hidden Pond, the Adirondack campground I spent a lot of time at when I was a kid. My father, however, would not consider this place to be a camp as in his mind that involves tents, sleeping bags and cooking over open flames. It is definitely luxury camping at Rockywold! The cabins are rustic but very clean and the food is terrific - fresh, abundant and varied.

From my vantage point at Rockywold Camp, Squam Lake appears nearly untouched - the natural landscape interrupted only by rustic cabins tucked along the shoreline, nestled among the hemlock boughs. There are small docks near each cabin for easy access to the lake. I was not brave enough to dive into the crisp spring water but those who were said it was a refreshing gift.

I took three classes at Squam but have yet to take photos of my work so I'll save details on them for a later post. For now, I'll say that the classes were fun, organized and inspiring.

I did catch up with my California friend, Jenny Doh. Jenny was the keynote speaker at the opening gathering and gave a heartfelt talk about "Art Saves Lives" and how creative expression brings peace during lifes most difficult moments. You can learn more about Jenny's philosopy at http://www.crescendoh.com/. Jenny is an amazing woman, talented, smart, insightful, and funny. Her friendship is truly a gift that I cherish. We had a couple of hiking adventures as we searched for a classroom (and followed others through the edges of a swamp) and as we trekked to Charlotte's cabin as the sun was going down.

This photo of Jenny and I reminds me of something else I loved about Squam - nobody bothered with makeup or fussy hair. I'm usually pretty fussy about my hair - I can't believe I'm posting a picture with my "Squam-do"! It was nice to ignore that part of my morning routine for a little while though!

During my free time on Saturday I went for a nature hike with my camera and took over a hundred photos that I will use for a nature inspired series of work. Doing so reminded me of how grateful I am for digital cameras which allow us to click away and collect hundreds of images in search of the "perfect" one. It certainly beats spending a fortune developing film.
I arrived home on Sunday evening after driving through some pretty terrifying rain. It is fun to go on a trip but there is nothing like the comforts of home and returning to the loving arms of my sweet husband. The trip was wonderful and my mind is now full of fresh ideas, new skills and renewed creative energy.

I'm off on a new adventure on Tuesday when I start my classes at The New School at Parson's in New York City. My classes are Construction Techniques I (garment construction) and a Textiles course. I have been wanting to take classes at Parson's for a long time and am excited about the classes. I'm going to blog about them so keep checking back.

I just realized how funny it is that I'm going from one extreme to another - from the dirt roads and deep woods of Squam Lake to the hustle and bustle of New York City. It's all a terrific adventure!