Friday, April 23, 2010

under cover

These reusable moleskin notebook covers are new in the etsy store. They are made from handprinted linen, some remnants from the past, some newly printed scrap pieces. They are lined with vintage cotton, and the notebook inserts can easily be replaced once they are filled up with sketches, ideas, or happy scribbles. Some of the books have already been snatched up, but there are a few left here.

I will take some time off, to make a last college visit with my oldest son, before the May 1 deadline. Stressful, but good times ahead.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

knitted beauties

I love to trade with other artists. Recently dear Elena of Tickled Pink Knits and I exchanged treasures, and this is what I received – a super soft alpaca scarf in a beautiful bluish green shade, and a generously sized shawl in a deep brown, wool/alpaca blend. I know that the chilly season is coming to an end, but I will carefully stow these beauties away, layered with some lavender sachets, until the first crisp fall evenings return. Can't wait to wrap myself up. Thank you Elena!

Monday, April 12, 2010


We have returned from a few delightful days in Toronto. Despite cold, rainy weather we had a blast in this vibrant city. We spent one afternoon at ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) lingering over dinosaur bones, art deco furniture, Wedgwood ceramics, and African Canadian quilts. We also visited the newly renovated Art Gallery of Ontario, enjoying the King Tut exhibit, the contemporary art collection, and the exquisite ship models.

One of the highlights of the trip was my visit to Bookhou, Arounna Khounnoraj and John Booth's beautiful store and studio on Dundas Street. We had a wonderful time sipping hot tea, chatting about linen, dyes, business, and art. Thank you for your hospitality, inspiration, and friendship!

Lots of our time was spent walking around the Toronto neighborhoods. We lunched at St. Lawrence market, braved the winds along the waterfront, and some of us ventured up in the CN tower. I also visited the Textile Museum of Canada, a small gem and a must visit for anyone with a love for fabric and fiber.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

experimentation x 2

Two amazing women and their books have brought me on a joyful creative journey lately. I already gushed over India Flint, and her inspiring book Eco Colour, but have now followed lightly in her footsteps by experimenting with dyeing my linen fabrics using nothing but plants and natural materials. So far I am thrilled, mainly because many of the hues I have achieved are ones that I have unsuccessfully tried to produce for a long time using synthetic dyes. It is very hard to get pale shades of color from procion mx dyes. The soft greens here, created from boiling carrot tops in an iron pot are just perfect.

So is the grayish lavender color from the black bean water left over from our latest chili batch, and the rusty warm tones achieved from seeped onion skins, and the pale acid yellow made from chamomile tea bags...

I even tried India's famous eco printing technique, where you bundle your plants in tight fabric layers and put them in a steam bath to coax out the colors. I used geranium leaves, and although the result is nowhere near perfect, the impressions and imprints are intriguing.

I also recently purchased Natalie Chanin's book Alabama Studio Style. Her beautiful designs, technical skills, and innovative business methods, have inspired me for years. I love the new soft stencils she use, and decided to try the diluted ink spray bottle method included in her book. Well the result was quite disastrous – the ink bled everywhere, soaking through the felt stencil, making big blobs and splattering the fabric beyond the stencil. But once dried, I realized there was something appealing about this distressed mess. I added flower clusters, printed using rhododendron leaves, that echoes the blotches, but prettier. For some reason I just love the result. Next I will layer it, and add stitching, still using the same shapes.

The most wonderful side effect of these experiments, is that they taught me to cherish imperfection. I am by nature a perfectionist, wanting everything to be uniform, smooth, unblemished, aligned, and beautiful. These natural dyes come out mottled, uneven, and the stenciling is obviously quite ugly on its own. But somehow I have come to terms with how it all happens. The beauty is in the process, not necessarily in the end result.

I will take some time off for travels this week, but will return soon, with new reports, impressions, and imagery.

I just have to make an addendum to this post. Yesterday afternoon I found out from dear Claire at Shakerag, that I got a spot in India Flint's class this summer, after months on the waiting list. And guess who is the guest lecturer the week I am there – Ms. Natalie Chanin. I am so lucky!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin