Weekly roundup

Here's a list of a few things that happened in my little world this week.

Just a reminder to all those creative people out there ... this weekend is San Francisco's turn for Renegade Craft Fair! Some of my favorite work will be there including Rae Dunn's amazing clay pieces and Inklore's beautiful linens. Be sure to check it out at Fort Mason.

Fine art:
Claire Brewster is a London based paper artist who I just met at my Pikaland Bootcamp. I love her work, so delicate and beautiful. She was just featured on Australia's Inside Out magazine's blog. In my opinion, it's the best lifestyle magazine on the planet. Check out her interview here and her website here. Way to go, Claire! I'm sure I'll be talking more about Claire's work soon but here's a little temptation ...

Sam of Inklore wrote about my artwork on her lifestyle blog, Good Measure. We definitely share similar aesthetic tastes. She also has a love for linen as you can see here. Thanks, Sam!


The Japanese aesthetic

One of the biggest inspirations in my artwork is the Japanese design aesthetic. My husband and I visited Japan in 2001 for my brother-in-law's wedding in Tokyo and spent two weeks in Tokyo and traveling around the country. Visiting Kyoto in October pretty much sold me on the culture, the food and the beauty among other things. Ever since, I've been drawn to the same things the Japanese covet: beautiful fabrics, simplicity, nature, food. Here are some books I flip through frequently when I need inspiration in my work and life. Maybe one day I'll be able to read them rather than look at the pictures!

A few years ago I discovered the ├ędition PAUMES books and never looked back. I'm now such a regular at the local Kinokuniya bookstore they politely suggested I should buy a membership. It's a weakness, I admit.

The books feature the gardens, homes and studios of creative people around the world. They just published the first book on San Francisco artisans too San Francisco Kitchens. Lisa Congdon of local gallery/shop Rare Device is featured on the cover.

Featured in Ateliers de Filles 2, this is the studio of French jewelry and doll designer, Servane Gaxotte. Seeing the repetition and creative freedom she has gets me thinking about how I would use this in my work.

I discovered Come Home! on my last visit to Kinokuniya. Uh oh ...

Another studio photo but this time in Japan. Just the graphic layout of these books shows up in my work. Back to the studio, new idea ...


work table

Continuing work on my On the Farm idiom series. This is the pile of stuff I'm digging through for Seed money.

Experimenting with various fabrics and money for this one.

Perhaps there will be more color, unless I chicken out and go back to my neutrals.


The process of making ... part II

I finished "Water under the bridge" last night. This one ended up quite differently than I imagined. I’m still not sure what I think of it. I usually have to look at pieces for a week or so before deciding if I like them and what I’ve learned from them. This one I know I’ve learned one thing for sure: I’m venturing into a new phase of my Idiom series. A tad more whimsical and loose, using idioms from the farm or garden as opposed to directional idioms I'd worked on in the past. We’ll see where the next piece, “Seed money” goes …

For now, here’s a look at the second half of the process of making “Water”.

I pin up the piece to see how it's coming together. I realized it was becoming to bottom heavy so I thought I'd add some white scrim under the orange silk to balance it. Plus, the white scrim could convey 'cloud' as well.
I decide to use french knots to sew on the orange silk using a blue grey embroidery thread as contrast. Then I made a mistake. The silk pieces was too large and now it was once again unbalanced, but now too top heavy.
Begin cutting! I wasn't sure how this would turn out but it definitely brought the balance back. The piece was still missing something though ...
Over to the remnant board for ideas. Hmmm, what's that curly dangling woven twine that kind of looks like 'water' flowing? I've had that lying around my studio for at least a year wondering where it would be used.
I decided to leave the twine piece hanging for now. I used orange thread to reflect the orange above.

Finished! For now at least ...


SWEET SPOTS ... inspired by Good Measure blog

I've just discovered a new blog which I want to share. Good Measure is a lifestyle blog written by the artist behind Inklore. Inklore's block print items are so beautiful and simple. Her blog this week talked about 'sweet spots'. Spots around your home that inspire you and bring you joy. Here are some of mine:

The top of my studio bookcase where I keep all my small tools, thread and string for my pieces. This is one of the first places I go when I start a new piece. The wood box holds scrap fabrics.


The sewing and drawing area of my table. I have an amazing view to the garden and my work wall from here. This is where I do all of my hand embroidery and detail work on my pieces.

My inspiration area of my work wall. Every sewn remnant and other leftoever bits of discarded parts of pieces end up here, ready to be reused for the next piece.


The process of making ... part I

Making my work in the Idiom series can be a tedious process that involves lots of patience and forethought. I suppose I like it this way, perhaps because I did so poorly in math growing up, I enjoy a little daily punishment with all the measuring. The rule with sewing is "measure twice, cut once". You never go wrong with that advice. The piece I'm working on currently is called "Water under the bridge".

It's an obvious layout when you hear it, at least to me. The idea came right into my head. I always do a quick sketch to help visualize it. I'll add measurements later but my basic dimensions for this series are 12x16 inches.

After I have a general idea of how I want it to lay out, I dig through my remnant bin for mock up fabrics until I find what interests me.

I found an beautiful twine 'ribbon' at a discount fabric store for a steal. High end Satin Moon Fabrics in San Francisco sells it for twice as much. It reminds me of a plan view of a bridge. I also love using my ecru linen and well, the color for water, is obvious.

I cut out the fabric based on the sketch and lay it out, adding another side view of a bridge but in steel bailing wire with a little bit of orange in the 'sky' to represent sunset or sun. The embroidery thread will come into the water later as abstract 'reflection'. Most of my pieces are very abstract, so this is a more literal take on the idiom than usual.

Once I've laid out the design, I begin sewing and assembling the linen base.


Almost done with the base ...

Part II will continue shortly. All the details added on top of the linen are what take the most time but there's something about the sewing that I love. It's always a surprise to see how it turns out, no matter how much I've visualized it in my head.


process ...

This is the beginning of a diary to share the creative process, inspirations and stories around my art making as well as others work. I hope you enjoy the process as much as I do. Thanks for viewing!


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