Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bags of delight

The fabrics for this bag came together by picking fabrics that would work challengingly alongside each other. The small evening bag is both crazy and simple at the same time.  It is very individual, but only individual enough to excite those who want to be different but not too different.
Email me if you are interested in purchasing or ordering.
And the name of this bag ought to be Challenge, but also Bags of Delight as that is how I felt when I discovered that I had mastered the creation of a central pocket with zip.
No fussy, flamboyant button, just a clean line magnetic snap.

The simplicity of the neat wristband in no way foreshadows what lies inside:
Zipperedly-safe back-pocket,  two voluminous open pockets, one central flat pocket and numerous slot concertina pockets for cheque cards or paper money.
What an amazing bag... I was thrilled that this bag came together so well, not a millimetre of fabric to get tucked in or hidden.
This is  a gem that I am sure I will work with in the future to make it even more my own - not a bad result for my mid-term bag.
And now I am off for my swim.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Latest - A bag for November or is it for Xmas

Quiet but not idle.  
Wendy and I have dedicated too many hours (or was it???, time will tell) to a grant proposal.  Writing a PhD thesis has nothing on that!

Here is my latest bag.. still not quite finished...  needs the nuclei adding to the cells. Don't worry your head about it, all will become clear later.
No time to edit the photo so it looks a bit strange with the diagonal woodgrain.  Hope it isn't too off-putting.  Try clicking the image to enlarge.

Original Bag by KJ from a series called Evolution.
 It has two pocket dividers, one is zippered.

I now feel like I am getting somewhere with this bag-making idea.
To express your interest in this (dare I say?) designer item please comment below.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Yes it has been a TOUCH challenging (bag news, see below)

 Mua Mua dolls: Giving crocheters  of amigurumi everywhere a boost to their self esteem.. these guys can sell for upwards of $100.... Check out amigurumi on the web to see a surge in interest.
and if I could speak Italian I could give you more background to the history of Mua Mua...  suffice it to use the words celebrity, status, fashion, humorous design,$$$  and success in the same sentence....
Coordinating shop front cladding of a store near to the shop window illustrated above... do we see a trend... be on your guard, our choices in colour combinations that we think  are our own ideas... can often be subliminally controlled by 'The Industry.'

As for the latest bag... it (>60 pieces) is all in one piece and I am just pacing myself with hand-stiching the bar tacks to hold the side pleats and interior panels in place.  Sewing through so many layers is not kind to one's finger ends.  But it will be done. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

This doodle was made for that bag

Copic markers on cloth + graphite pencil.
Yes yes, I'm thinking virus - Oct 2014... +  having just finished The Plague.
I'm spraying with workable fixative (which does lighten the Copics a little, sadly.... and I'm considering Scotchguard... but that stuff... Hmmm, not done my research yet, so I will just add a link.  Enough said?

Monday, October 20, 2014

This bag - was made for doodles

This bag had better be worth it.... 63 pieces cut out and ready to go this morning!
Ignore the waste... I just love working with a wooden floor.  Thank you Sally.
Yes it is all in white... fabrics from my store.  Keeping the cost of this training session to a minimum.
So old sheeting well slept on! and offcuts from the linen sail-cloth type of blinds, IKEA fabric, hung in Annacrest.  Nice stuff actually.
Now the question - do I make this bag up as is, or attack the exterior fabrics with doodling media before stitching....hmmmm.....
I think I should take this to another level. What do you say?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ridiculously happy bag

I am very pleased to have made this one...
It wasn't easy to get those curves to match... amazing that they did!
The fabrics were nice in themselves, but I would like to stitch on that purple mandala... to blend it with the outer fabric.... soon soon.....
Next up a soft handbag.... and the one I really do want to make... 

Recent holiday for Canadian Thanksgiving was fun... but we had to WOW... wait on weather for almost a day!  Good times for sketching you would think ... but unfortunately my mental state got more and more agitated as I foresaw a run for the ferry.  Hence the busy result below.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Kitchen Art

Now some folks like the reverse side of their machine or hand embroidery more than the right side. It is sometimes good to give in to the unpredicted.  I just love the reverse side of work created using Copic markers (which I have been known to refer to as Coptic markers!).
 In this image I moved the pieces about to created a canvas that looks as if it might have been created as one unit.
These have been placed randomly - much more satisfying to me.

These pieces might be called Zentangles, but I am a zentagle denier... and by that I mean that doodling has been around since someone dipped their finger in the sand and twiddled it about.  Noone needed to give it a holistic name before and I don't think it needs one now.  However, I did see a nice little book in Michaels today that was all about doodling development ... I mean zentangling.  But seriously do we need a book to teach us this.... I find that picking up a phone in one hand and a pencil in the other does the trick if doodler's block should threaten.

Stampeding Stitches - EAC conference, May.

It's online and active. Do you want to do more with your sewing machine than stitch shirts, skirts, trousers and blouses?  Do you know how to use your machine to stitch for quilting? Even if you don't, do you want to learn to do far more with your machine.?... Then join Arlee Barr and me at the Embroiderer's Association of Canada Conference for an outrageously audacious 4 day workshop.

Arlee and I are teaching at the Embroiderer's Association of Canada Conference in May 2015, in Calgary. The EAC website has a link to the seminar.  During the first two days of the workshop I will encourage you to Abuse a Sewing Machine to create a library of design ideas, shapes and amazing 3D textures (you only need a simple machine to do this but more complicated machines can do it too... machines can be made available if you are travelling in, or can't carry in your industrial workhorse... For the remaining two days Arlee Barr's continues to develop the designs with her fantastically illuminating hand-work. Why they don't show Arlee's samples I just do not know....  I have attached one below for completeness.  I will stick around and help you take your machining to infinity and beyond!

Register now to avoid disappointment!!!!  Numbers are restricted.
Click on the image  or go here to see details - and  follow the links or go  here to register.... thanks.

Photo above is copyright: Arlee Barr
Do not reproduce or re-blog without permission

I do wish they had called the event : Stampeding Stitchers... - Far more humour in that.... but they didn't.  Perhaps it is crossing a line to joke about a/The Stampede in Calgary.  any Calgarians out there want to rein me in over that... ?(forgive the puns, I just galloped away with it on the spur of the moment).

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mad-der hatters' raspberry tea party

If you were at Yoshiko's workshop or are fortunate to own the third in the series of DVD's from Slow Fibre Studio... you will know about Raspberry Mousse.
And so it was.....
One of my dearest friends in Alberta and I met for a day of dyeing and pigment extraction.
and making raspberry mousse and tea.
I am quite sure I will treasure those selfie moments.
Lyn was more interested in dyes, I am more interested in the mousse side of things.
If you are confused, I had better say the raspberries have little to do with anything - except the colour.
And the extract is madder pigment.


Or am I just getting quicker.
Need more magnetic snaps, bit bored with the one and only type sold at F-land.
 I will not be put off by pattern matching.
I feel the itch to make a bag in my own way...
As I described it recently... like people make dolls, some make porcelain, others felt or peg.  Others use mixing spoons or make amorphous shapes that can be cuddled in a Rudolph Steiner type of attitude.  And I expect I would make a mixed media alien creature - doll.
If we follow this philosophy through with bags... what would a bag I design look like I wonder.
Mustn't jump the gun here.... keep stitching bags according to Amy.
But just to quell my rebellious side: Maybe an hour on the web to if anything exists past bag-making 101.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Another day - another bag

One for Al... request... "black and red, more black than red"... It is too close to call.
A nice little number 7" x 7" x  12"... the handle appears massive in this photo.. It is just  a wristband really. I put the way it appears in the photo down to perspective.
This is actually a very cute bag.
I still haven't mastered all the angles and edges left between zip, exterior and lining... Though I am not sure how much 'flatness' one can actually achieve.  If you have advice for me on that, please message me.
 And "No, the pleats were not supposed to be all the same size" - see the instructions for yourself if you don't believe me!  And I am glad they aren't - far more interesting this way.  
And please note how one can change a really dreadful fabric into something quite interesting just by creasing it up.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Baby steps in tailoring

I had a lovely hour or two in Fabricland today.
They have a big sale of 50% off Everything it seems.
The surprising thing was the atmosphere in the store, I was in the Southland store, not the Fisher Road one.  And the difference was amazing.  The shoppers weren't frantic, the cutters were calm helpful and chatty,  and the checkout ladies, efficient and friendly even having time to look briefly at the book I had.

Here is my work from the past week ++
One has to be able to acknowledge ones deficiencies.  So I set myself a challenge for this year, to learn to stitch more proficiently.  And to facilitate this I am learning how to stitch bags.  I wanted to use only fabrics from my stash.  Unfortunately, I have lots of bits and not 5/8 ++ yardages.  Hence the trip to the Big F. today.  Though smll bags I will continue to use my stash for small bags.

Another reason for stitching bags... maybe they can eventually be a canvas for free-style embroidery and mixed media... who knows.
This is simplest bag so far... the first in the book(but I agree with the reviewer who said it should have been intermediate - good job I am a go-for-it-gal), with pleats and interesting pockets inside, and I added a phone pocket yeh! 
A large ceramic button was used rather than the cloth-covered one Amy B.  suggests.  Fabrics are 1980s Laura Ashley (I think) and Nigerian damask.  

The book (see link above) has patterns arranged from simple (top image in this post) - to complex.
The next one is going to be black and red for Al.  - her choice, with heavily pleated main panels... Such fun.
 'Origami Bag' - top
Cheque book wallet : closed - bottom (from curtain fabrics).
  'Origami Bag' - top
Cheque book wallet : open, showing pockets and pen holder - bottom
 Reversible shopper - with large pockets inside and out and strengthened=folded handle
Happy stitching.

Monday, September 22, 2014

One of the three marvellous workshops held in Calgary this August/September.

As usual when I am administrator for workshops I get very little time to take photos but fortunately for me my buddy Arlee Barr has shown what a great journalist and artist she is. It is great fun to read sic a positive reflection on the workshop and hear how Arlee was inspired and intends to move with this. I too will be following up with this pigment and dye extraction.

"This is a NO PIN zone. All images and written work by arlee barr, unless noted otherwise. Please do not "borrow" material without express permission. Content copyrighted 2004-2014 arlee barr"


On attending the workshop by 
Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada 
Organic Dyes and Pigments -   Calgary Augusts 2014.

Our local SDA “chapter” was fortunate enough to be able to bring Yoshiko in for two workshops this August end. I participated in the first one, a two day intensive Natural Dyes and Pigments class.

the best teacher
Above, Yoshiko talked about how complex — or SO simple– cloth can become with natural dyes, with so many different application processes and defined tested knowledge used. In other words, there really is no need to re-invent the wheel with the traditional methods. (Experimenting with lesser known possibly indigenous materials is a bit different and more experimental, but the basic PROCESSING workings are the same.)
And OMG i am totally enthralled and smitten by her teaching methods, her persona and her knowledge and sharing. I’ve had few such engaging teachers in my life, but she
 takes gets the cake! Clear explanations and actual SCIENCE, i just fell in love with her and her style :)
first day no messAbove, the first arrivals, and a very very clean and quiet room :)
And then it was abuzzz and awhirl!
the action startsYoshiko is a dynamo, though calm and focused. Soon there were dyepots bubbling, ingredients being measured and added, and a lot of curious and excited faces peering through the steam.

madder lake pot and madder dye pot
Above, two madder pots, one a lake extract, the other a dyebath. Below, Yoshiko pours the extract for lake making.
the first madder extract bath
With the classic natural dyes, we learned about madder, weld, indigo, and osage orange, first using them as dyes, then concentrating them into lakes for painting with. The indigo vats were a 123 organic and one with henna.
indigo stomp 2Above, the Indigo Stomp :) Squishing the cloth pieces between newspapers made sure that a lot of moisture was pulled out, then we all madly flapped and flailed to get the blue happening!
I hadn’t got much better results with the madder in the workshop than i got at home, so decided to overdye in indigo:
arlee indigo over exhausted madder doughnut technique C
arlee indigo over madderAlas, the photo above is wet, so i knew it would dry lighter, and BUT more “alas”, my silk hadn’t been washed properly so most of it washed out!!!!!!!!!
I was absolutely thrilled though at what an indigo dip did for an ecoprint! Yoshiko was appalled that i would sacrifice such a beautiful piece, so i tore only a small section off, suddenly realizing that if it didn’t work, i would regret it:
indigo overdyed ecoprintI wouldn’t have!!!! The chemical reaction between the indigo and the previously deposited leaf pigments made magic magic! Of course since we had talked about the colour of an indigo vat, i asked if it would be squeakingly impossibly possible to rev up a vat of my own that had frozen through two Calgary winters, but that still had a clear green liquer evident. It might!!!! I’m still looking for my chemicals long packed up since it was fresh, but i know they are in the house somewhere!
Below, Mahira’s delicate lovely shibori from the henna pot–we noted that it gave a greener blue than the 123 organic type.
mahiras delicate shibori
Then Yoshiko made real magic! She told us about Maya Blue, a mystery ingredient in South American frescoes that wasn’t properly analyzed until the 50’s. Containing sepiolite clay and a type of indigo (Indigofera suffruticosa), heat is applied to a mixture of the two, resulting in the most gorgeous aqua colour! 
yoshiko making maya blue
making maya blue
Because this is a pigment, it must be “carried” using a binder–we used egg and made a tempera mix for painting on paper.
maya blue in egg tempera
I tried my small dish on silk,and stones (!) and then threw in a skein of thread.
thread maya blue 1Being a pigment, it is of course not that durable on fibre, but i still ended up with a lovely pale blue. I’d show a photo of it, but it’s lost somewhere in the stoodio!  Plenty of indigo threads to work with though once i get them untwangled:
indigo threads

Because we had also made “lakes”, more concentrated extracts from the dye baths, we each got a tiny amount of each to paint with:
my work tablebAbove are silk and linen with ferrous sulphate and gallnut.
I also used the indigo and the Maya Blue on silks and cotton:
painting with maya blue and indigo lakes
At first i was thinking “i’ll never paint fabrics”, but given my love of fine detail now and my continuing use of asemic writing, well, never say never. The technique may show up after all.
Our organizer and facilitator, the redoubtable, inimitable powerhouse Karin surreptitiously collected small pieces of work from all of us on the second day and disappeared during lunch to stitch them all into a long scroll, which she fastened to a wonderful old spool. It was presented to Yoshiko as a thank you from all of us:
the thank you scroll book
And that dress Yoshiko was wearing? That was an inspiration as well :) Naturally dyed and discharged by a friend of hers, it was gorgeous:
yoshikos dress
Due to the short time, and the number of participants, we had to content ourselves with small pieces, most being 10-15″, with some slightly larger, but that’s okay–i intend to use mine down the road somewhere as “components” in future work. Hopefully i learned enough to make up the larger backgrounds needed to base them on! Fifteen excited artists jostling for position around small dye pots could have been accidents in the making :)
I had gathered up linen, silks (twill, charmeuse and habotai) and cotton, but no wool, except for some wool yarn. (I’ve never worked with wool, and due to the short advance notice we got for supplies, was unable to source any.) 
A bit of needling in linen on silk over cotton– i had wanted to do more stitching first and then dye, but added threads too so i can later! I stitched this feverishly the day and night before, then realized i can do during and after class as well. Turns out i was so involved with possibilities and sampling that i totally forgot about this! But i DID get threads in…except for the wool yarn.

And nope, i won’t be sharing methods–not because i am keeping close to the chest what was done, but because the “recipes” we used are classic and easily available everywhere on REPUTABLE sites. (Don’t fall for those stoopid “kitchen scrap” dyeing sites–very few have truthful facts, or sound advice on how to or how things work.)

my work table
listenNow i really must get to doing things!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sepiolite Clay

Maya blue, so dramatic a preparation.  That like the frothing madder preparation shown in Yoshiko and Michel's DVD and workshop had us all wowing.
There are, in fact two relatively local sources of sepiolite, one in Florida and the other in Nevada.
It is also known as salt clay or sea mud (it isn't a deep sea ooze), it is a clay.. a silicate (hence the warnings on the MSDS sheet), though not a fibre and it hydrates in sea water... which makes it great for using in the off shore rigs rather than bentonite that is the usual drilling mud.
Thanks to Mat for sharing his knowledge.

So my initial fears about it closing up my lungs may have been exaggerated.... I will continue to investigate.

Go here for geochem of sepiolite

Boring post, don't read, it's just a To Do list.

It seemed like I had been working on the visiting artists' project (Yoshiko and Lisa) for months. Indeed it was 18 months.
Now I need to get back into my own work, which on a reduced studio could be tricky... and I will fight against buying  doubles of equipment and so on.  It has taken me most of this week to simply get all the stuff back to people who left items with me intentionally or unintentionally and return unused items to Canadian Tire (yes that's tire not tyre) etc.

Forgive this wordy and relatively un-illuminated post... it is a mind map really.

Puppet show. Wendy was brilliant about putting in a proposal to Les Sages Fous in Montreal and we were then invited to participate....  She will come back with lots of ideas, improvements and ways to go... good on you Wendy.
I spent some of yesterday searching out incidental music for the stations... and was introduced to Watermelon Man by Herbie Hancock.  Neat.

SDA - meeting with new Rep. Leslie and Ambassador Arlee next Monday.  Let's get Leslie's show on the road.

Visiting Artists - having initiated the Andrea Graham and then the Beaney/Littlejohn show I must catch up with the new organizers to debrief about admin things...should be interesting.

A new collaboration - I would like to but, I can't write much about that just yet... in progress.

Organic dyes and pigment.  Need to go through the workshop on my own.  I have a 123 Henna indigo vat in my kitchen.  Looks lovely in its glass vessel...Very 'Designer Statement''s nearly in the dark and I am not too worried about U/V.
Yesterday found a source of Calx in Calgary, Science Is.... collecting some tomorrow.  If you want some, let me know.  123 additions needed then I can have a daily play with my filter papers.. can't wait.
Need to go through chemicals I have and order some from Maiwa to get my act going on pigment separation.

I was going to write "And if you know where I can source sepiolite clay in or near Calgary please do tell." but I have just found some stuff on the web which makes me feel like I don't want to create Maya Blue anyway.... I'd rather keep my lungs....see next post.

2D-3D.   I do want to have a sample of the fulled wool gauze and I certainly need to do samples of degumming of silk organza.

Taking on board what Lisa taught about shrinkage of thinly laid out wool... I fully felted... and dramatically shrank down a piece I have been holding on to since working at ACAD the summer before this one..... OK I will show you the outcome... I like the marks on the partially felted piece best and the wool wasn't the superfine merino that most folks prefer... so it is a bit hairier than some might like... but isn't it lovely... Might be interesting for the next project in this listing....

Wedding Certificate Frame.  An opportunity to make this has presented itself.  I need to do samples and send to 'client'.  I have a feeling that degummed organza will make an appearance. Sample sample sample... Need chemicals for this too.

And then there is all the project wrap up.. tax files etc....

Thanks to Wendy

You are a star Wendy Passmore Godfrey for getting our  proposal off the ground and for working on it with me whilst I have been elsewhere in my mind recently.... and then when travelling to the Yukon and me on Saltspring Island thrashing out more details... anyway we were invited to participate in Les Sages Fous Micro-festival.
Dead proud.
Wendy is there now and will return with lots for me to work on I am sure.  It is going to be a blast!

Take a look here

Sunday, August 24, 2014

All quiet but I wasn't sleeping.

Don't forget Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada will speaking at the Stanford Perrot Theatre at ACAD, Calgary THIS Tuesday from 7pm.
Don't miss this opportunity.

Go here to check the details.
Tickets also available at the door.

Please share this information with your creative friends.

 YOSHIKO IWAMOTO WADA is an artist, author, curator, textile researcher and has long been an exponent of traditional and sustainable practices in fashion and textile production. She holds a BFA in Textile Art from Kyoto City Fine Arts University, MFA in Painting from University of Colorado, Boulder, and has studied Japanese silk embroidery, ikat weaving and indigo dyeing. She consults to designers including; Christina Kim of DOSA Inc., Los Angeles and Colleen Atwood for the movie ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’
The lecture will explore the complex strands and diverse approaches being taken by contemporary Japanese designers. With a focus on textiles and clothing, the selected case studies will highlight the extraordinary and innovative designs which seamlessly merge the boundaries between art and design; traditions and focus on textiles and clothing, the selected case studies will highlight their extraordinary and innovative designs which seamlessly merge the boundaries between art and design; traditional and technology; and makers and market.
Case studies include:  Issey Miyake, Tokyo; Jurgen Lehl of Tokyo; sou sou in Kyoto, Christina Kim of dosa inc in L.A., Organic Cotton/ Appachi in India; Arimatsu/Narumi shibori center and Suzuan e.K. in Germany. 

If you get to ACAD a  little early you can look around the fantastic exhibition by Summer Residency participants at Contextural's post-residency show.
Here is their pamphlet. (though a little difficult to read as I only had a pdf... I will replace if you guys send me a jpg. - thanks).