Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back to books...

Perhaps some of you have been wondering what happened to the "Bookworm 52" project that got me to start my blog... (projects/reviews from 52 books in 52 weeks)...
If you recall, that whole thing started because I was feeling uninspired and directionless in my work. My hope was that by selecting a series of projects & books, and blogging about them, that it would get me moving again. Well, it worked and I'm back to making huge messes in my studio as I work on several projects at once and my brain is once again filled with more ideas than I could complete in ten lifetimes.

I am not, however, going to abandon the "Bookworm 52" idea completely because I think it is still a worthwhile project. I will write about a couple of books a month and do a project from each of them to share with you. I have a huge library of craft/art/quilting books so I know I'll never run out of books to work with!

My newest book is "How To Be An Explorer of The World" by Keri Smith. The subtitle is "Portable Life Museum". The back cover says "At any given moment, no matter where you are, there are hundreds of things around you that are interesting and worth documenting". It is basically a book about making detailed observations of things from every day life - and journaling about them. The book has 59 prompts intended to get you started - one of the pages I like is "anywhere can be a starting place, start where you are". I have a trip coming up and I'm planning to take this book with me and do as many of the prompts as I can while I'm gone. I'm going to record my explorations and will share my journal with you when I'm done. It will be a fun exercise & I'm guessing it will make me a much more observant traveler!

It looks like a fun book and I'm looking forward to following the "explorations". Here's to REALLY paying attention to what is going on around me!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset...

Sunrise, sunset... a beginning and an end...
My last summer class at Parson's is tomorrow. It has been wonderful to learn so much about garment design and construction! I'm sorry it is coming to a close but will return to Parson's in the fall for more classes. I'm hungry to learn more!

For my final project I'm making a little summer dress. It is still in pieces but I'll get it mostly finished tonight. Only one other person is working in "real" fabric, the rest are working in muslin. I just can't get interested in making a dress in muslin! Anyway, I'm loving it so far. I'll post photos of the finished dress next week.

Back to the sunrise... this beautiful sunrise greeted us a couple of weeks ago as our cruise sailed into Bermuda. The light was AMAZING (my camera didn't do it justice). It reminded me of the light in old paintings. And, as if that weren't enough, there was a big fat rainbow! I'm not usually an early bird but I'm glad I was that morning.

One of the things I loved about Bermuda was the striking colors of the flowers against the colors of the homes with their crisp white roofs. It just all looks so joyful!

My sister, Valerie, and I visited a tiny beach with a huge treat - PILES of beach glass! I had read about it on the internet and both of us were excited about finding it. As it turns out, it was easy to find (though out of the way). Our taxi driver seemed amused that we had so much fun collecting broken glass. We each left with two bags of glass and you couldn't even tell we had been there! I haven't sorted through it yet and I don't have specific plans but I do know that I have a terrific stash of beach glass to play with.

The time in Bermuda flew by, vacations seem to run on clocks that run faster than "normal" time, don't they? We sailed towards home, enjoying the ameneties on the ship and made the most of our time together (me, my husband, my Dad, my sister, Valerie, my father-in-law & mother-in-law). It was a great trip!

On our last night of the cruise, I went out on our balcony at the bow of the ship and caught the incredible sunset. I stayed out there for a long time, snapping pictures as the sun sank below the horizon and until the clouds began to glow in the reflected light. It was a lovely end to our trip and a reminder of how tiny we each are as compared to the vast ocean and the glory of nature's gifts. Very humbling, indeed.

There is a point to all my ramblings, as it relates to the creative aspects of my life. I'm always excited by the sunrise of a project - sketching, pulling out materials, drafting, testing, discarding and trying again - ever hopeful that what I envisioned will be achieved. As it comes together, my "rainbow", into something I'm proud of, I feel great about what I've done. The finished project, my sunset, is the end of the journey - yet, I know there is another creative sunrise around the corner. It's an endless lovely ride and I feel so blessed to have my creative gifts.

Wishing you an inspiring sunrise, a beautiful rainbow, and a satisfying sunset that leaves your heart burning for another creative journey!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I love making Mood Boards!

The assignment for my Textiles class was to create a Mood Board that showed our source of inspiration, the spirit of our "collection", the color story, some fabric, trims/buttons, and to include drawings (known as croquis) of our designs.

I already knew my source of inspiration - it was my walk in the woods at Squam. The spring greens of the new leaves, the dove to charcoal grays of boulders, the bright green mosses, and the persimmon-y colored flowers I photographed were my jumping off point.

A trip to the hardware store yielded paint chips in my color scheme and two hours at Mood, the amazing fabric store, was rewarded with a little pile of fabric swatches. I tore photos out of magazines and printed some of my photos from Squam. Black illustration board was my work surface and I used glue stick and ZipDry paper glue as adhesives.

For my fashion illustrations, I found a website that has FREE croquis (line drawings) in a bunch of different styles and poses ( that help my sketches look professional. I printed my selected croquis then placed it under tracing paper and drew my designs over the skeleton of the croquis underneath. After the clothing drawing was done I drew in the head, neck, arms, legs, hair, etc., to finish the drawing. I scanned the tracing paper drawing, printed it, and colored the printed page with Copic markers. I love this method!

It didn't take me long to arrange all the bits into my Mood Board collages. I glued it all down, added the dimensional elements of fabric, buttons and trim, and they were finished. What fun I had!

In class, we each had to do a presentation of our boards and discuss our inspiration, how it was depicted in the fashions, our target customer, etc. We were then critiqued by the instructor and the class. There were eleven of us in the class and it was interesting to see what everyone did and to learn about their thought processes.

So, here you have my mood boards. I am sure I will make more of them in the future. Not necessarily because I want to be a fashion designer (not this week, anyway) but because it was a great exercise and a lot of fun.

As for my garment construction techniques class, we have learned how to "throw" darts and alter the pattern in a myriad of ways. We've gone from draping to drafting patterns. I have always been curious about how to draft a pattern but always thought it involved a lot of complicated math. As it turns out, there is pretty much NO math involved! Woo hoo! My final assignment for that class is to draft a pattern for a bodice and skirt & make them. Guess I'll be busy this afternoon!
I am having a blast learning all this stuff. I can't wait for Parson's fall schedule to come out so I can figure out what I'm taking next!