Artist : Rae Dunn ... clay

I wanted to share the work of one of my favorite local artisans, Rae Dunn. I have always been drawn to her ceramics every time I've come across them. It's that split second thought "Oh, I love this ... oh it's Rae's work, no wonder!"

Her work can be seen all over the bay area and the web these days. Her ceramics have that rare personal touch that is often lost when produced in multiples.

wide rim wafer plate (Merci)
You can tell Rae forms these pieces by hand, which makes me love them more. Every piece is simply made but unique. Her wit that comes through is also lovely. And I'm always a sucker for anything written in french.

Salt Bowls
Like me, Rae is also inspired by the Japanese aesthetic. Specifically wabi-sabi, which speaks of the beauty of imperfection. It really comes through in her work.

Berkeley, California  July 2010
She  also keeps up with a weekly Friday sketch series that is either a little watercolor, or more recently, a sketch on clay as seen above. See more work on Rae's website and blog. She's taking a nice, well deserved vacation this month. Of course she's visiting one of my favorite spots this time of year, New England. I can't wait to see what inspiration she brings back from that trip.

side stitch : flow

2. August 31st, 2010 by machine "Flow"


The side stitch project

Practice, practice, practice! We all need it talk about how we never have time. It's almost become a stitch in my side since I've been thinking about this for months. Well, for the next month, I will be working on a daily sewing project alongside (well, virtually at least) my friend Kitty Kilian, who lives in Utrecht. On top of living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, she is a very talented illustrator who has a style I love. Be sure to check out her blog and website. We'll be posting our daily work here and on the side bar of our blog. It will be interesting to see how we inspire each other and how this project will influence our other work.
Here's my first. And Kitty's below ...
1. August 30, 2010 by hand "Early Autumn"

1. August 30 2010. Arthur Japin, Dutch writer. Alle Nederlandse Mannen Zijn Gewone Mannen / All Dutch Men Are Very Normal Men (Kitty Kilian)

We hope you enjoy!


work table : manipulating fabric

One more week before my daughter is back in school. I've only had an hour or two in the studio every day over this summer if I'm lucky. Of course, at the end I find my rhythm. I've come to discover that experimenting has saved me lots of frustration rather than trying to finish a singular piece. I can finish those once school starts. In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of sketching and gathering ideas on how to interpret concepts into fabric. Here is this weekend's experiment, folding fabric.

On our mini vacation, I was able to read a lot of my new book, The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff. It is an incredible book with lots of detailed instructions on folding and shaping fabric. I will be trying out many of these, especially in a few weeks when I start a soft sculpture class. I thought I'd start out with creating knife pleats this time. I did a little scaled test piece with paper before starting on fabric.

You end up using A LOT of fabric to do this. I know I'll be doing this in linen eventually and linen can be a pain to work with compared to other fabrics. It is really hard to sacrifice any of my linen to make a scrap sample but I knew it will save me headaches in the long run. I started by creasing the reverse seam lines with an iron and sewed the seams to make a permanent crease.

Next, I pinned the front seams down. This is really hard to do with linen as it always wants to bend in the wrong places. My gridded cutting board was a lifesaver here.

Finally, I hold the folded seams in place by sewing down the edges. Once I figured out the measurements, it was actually pretty easy to do this. I already have in mind what I'm going to use this for and I can't wait to start. Until then, I'll just keep experimenting.


Artist : The Silly BooDilly aka Victoria Gertenbach

I have been so eager to share Victoria's work for the past week. It is truly incredible! I discovered her work on Flikr and this piece jumped out at me. I immediately fell in love with it.

Remnant #12, The Silly BooDilly
I was so thrilled it was for sale! I bought it without a second's thought. After some digging around on Victoria's flikr site, I realized just how extremely talented and prolific she is. In terms of technique, I've not seen finer. Honestly, anyone who can finish just one quilt gets an A in my book but Victoria has done many, oh so many. From work quilts, art quilts, remnants and embroidery, you name it. And they are all so beautiful! On top of that, she is the artist who generously included several tutorials on the pojagi technique that I played around with last week. After trying it myself, I can tell you how hard it is to have such refined sewing, even using a machine. She has clearly mastered it!

Pojagi Inspired Panel, detail, The Silly BooDilly
I hope to see more artists using this technique, it's nice to know there is someone else out there trying it. And now on to more of Victoria's work. Some or her quilts ...

Work Quilt #3 detail, The Silly BooDilly
I had a hard time choosing which are my favorites. Her sewing is professional and the designs are very modern. I have no idea how many hours must go into these but I'm guessing a lot. Two more ...

Work Quilt on a wall, The Silly BooDilly
I love how her surroundings obviously inspire the colors and patterns in her work and she shows it here.
Drive, The Silly BooDilly
This Modern Art Quilt was "inspired by yellow taxis cabs, school buses, roads and road signs." Such a simple yet sophisticated interpretation. Be sure to see her flikr page for more details of these quilts as well as links back to her blog discussing her thoughts on them.

On top of being incredibly talented, Victoria is also generous and sweet. After I ordered Remnant #12, we had a wonderful back and forth conversation about our work and when the piece arrived, she had included a beautiful little package of remnant fabrics and tapes for me to play around with in my own work.

They are all so beautiful and Japanese (you know how much I love anything Japanese)! Thank you so much, Victoria! I know you will be inspiring me for many years to come! Be sure to read The Silly BooDilly blog as well as Victoria's inspiration blog Worn and Weathered, her Etsy site and her Flikr page.


Inspiration : The Gardener

I've just returned from a wonderful five day escape to Healdsburg in the Sonoma wine country. My favorite store in the Bay Area would have to be The Gardener in Berkeley.

They also have a larger store in Healdsburg nestled in the Dry Creek Valley. Every time I've been near, the store was closed or the timing was off. But this weekend I finally made it and was not disappointed even though the fog was still lingering that morning.

 If I could have a large backyard in a sunnier spot, it would look just like this! Well, perhaps I wouldn't go so overboard with all the ball sculptures, but a few would do.

If you can't tell, I like these ...

If I had a covered porch, these would be my chairs. I wouldn't mind the grill as well. If, if, if ...

The chairs come in all colors (and tiny sizes for the little ones) and if you ask me, are a steal at $165.00.

Even with the fog, I was happy with all the sunflowers blooming.

I love the forced vanishing point created with the pots and planting. Truly an inspiring place if you garden at all. Unfortuntely, they don't offer online shopping but next time you're in Berkeley, be sure to pop in.


Weekly roundup

Here are a few things happening around and about San Francisco this weekend. There's a lot going on in the next few weeks. Lots of food festivals (yum!) and outdoor events (perhaps someone thinks the sun will finally come out?). Anyway, have fun! We're off to Healdsburg to see the sun for a few days.


Enjoying a Quiet Sunday Afternoon, Justin van Hoy

The Belljar has an opening tonight showing the work of Justin van Hoy from 6-9 pm. The show runs through September 8th.

Eric Scollon

Only two days left to see Eric Scollon's The Urge at Ping Pong Gallery. What I like about the work is it fits in that is it art or craft category. Through Saturday, August 14th.


vavaveve : Marian Dahlberg
American Craft Council Show opens this weekend at Fort Mason and goes through Sunday. There should be some nice finds there.


SFOutsideLands is this weekend, the 14th and 15th in Golden Gate Park. It looks fantastic and I will hate to miss it. They'll even have a winelands area, sigh. Although, I suppose I'll be surrounded by vineyards so I won't miss it too much! The food and music lineup looks incredible.

Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sebastopol is this weekend. I've been wanting to do this for many years and this weekend we might just make it. The first crop of Gravensteins are showing up at local stores.

Mr. Moon in Healdsburg by Jim Hildreth
Have a great weekend. We plan to bike some of those farm trails!


work table : pojagi?

Another brief but productive day in the studio today. This time I explored making pojagi, or bojagi, a traditional Korean square patchwork design used for gift wrapping as well as for buddhist rites. I had planned on doing this piece and oddly enough, I stumbled on an amazingly talented artist's blog that perfectly explains the process (so that's how you fold the seams!). Her work is incredible and I can't wait to share it with you later this week. Until then, here is today's work table ...

Here's a typical start to a new piece, sketches that always look architectural and lots of referencing back and forth to books. I'm working on two new ideas here and had a hard time which one to experiment with first. The book shown is The Art of Manipulating Fabric. An excellent reference for anyone working with fiber.

I've been accumulating translucent cloth for several years and used it in my Open series. I thought I'd see how it fits into my Idiom series. This piece using pojagi will be called Holy cow and uses the golden section for a layout. It's sometimes referred to as The Divine Proportion so obviously this seemed appropriate for this work.

I swooped up some beautiful leather I found on sale recently and plan to integrate it into the pojagi some how, some way. Do you know how hard it is to sew leather? I have no idea how it will be sewn into the pojagi at the moment but I do know the leather has to be the centerpiece of the work. We'll see what comes after that ...


Artist : Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou at home

One thing always on my mind is how to classify my work, is it art or craft or something in between? I’m always on the lookout for artists who work in this genre to see how they hover between the two. Starting this week, I will share some of their work with you. I hope they inspire you as much as they have me. Enjoy!

This week I’m sharing the work of one of my favorite artists, Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou at home. I first discovered Arounna’s letterpress and textile designs on her website. She and her husband, John, have a shop in Toronto selling his wood pieces (which are stunning as well), her wares as well as other talented designers.

Her fabric designs are simple and beautiful. The calendar on the right is one of Arounna's newest designs.

A few weeks after I discovered Arounna's inspiring blog, she shared some of her fine art pieces she was making for an upcoming show. I was immediately smitten with them.

Attachment Series: anenome keys
Attachment Series: cloudlike
Attachment Series: cloud with a red lining, detail.

Now, I regularly return to her blog hoping that she will share some more of these gems. In the meantime, she keeps us inspired with her designs and she regularly shares some of her favorite artists. We both have similar tastes: Eva Hesse, Kiki Smith, Anni Albers among others.

Keep up the amazing artwork, Arounna. I’ll keep coming back. Bookhou at home’s shop and blog.


Recent work : Idiom

I thought I'd share some of my recent finished work since progress has been slow in the studio due to my little one's summer vacation. Every time I step in the studio she begs me to work on a dress I'm sewing for her. Only four more weeks until school starts!

Up and Out
What goes down usually comes up

Down and Out
Starting next week, I'll be sharing some amazing work by artists who've been inspiring me lately. Have a great weekend!


Weekly roundup

It looks like all the hoopla has died down after Renegade SF but there are still a few little gems happening in the next few weeks around the Bay Area that you won't want to miss!

There will be a Tokyo Playmountain display at the Heath Ceramics Ferry building location that is only up until this Sunday.

I suspect items will sell out quickly so get there while you can! Here's more info on Playmountain. I discovered it a few months ago and once again, it makes me want to move to Tokyo.

This is big news, THE HEATHS home and studio collection is for sale at THE MODERN i in San Anselmo. Items owned by Edith and Brian Heath will be for sale including furniture and artwork. It will be amazing I'm sure! Proceeds benefit the Brian and Edith Heath Foundation in support of the ceramic arts. August 19 to September 5 - Thursdays-Sundays 1-6pm.

American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco from August 13 - 15th. Featuring the work of various fiber and fine craft artists.

Artwork by Juline Beier
Filzfelt is having an online 30% off sale on their pillows and laptop pockets. Filzfelt is one of the few retailers I've found to offer extra thick 100% wool felt by the yard. The colors they offer are incredible.

They show one of the pillows here, sitting on top of my Room and Board sofa. Are they trying to tempt me?!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Hopefully the sun will come out for a few hours in San Francisco!



work table : stocking up

I happened to be in Marin yesterday and finally had the time to stop by Dharma Trading Company. Oh my! So many beautiful, wonderful yarns and fabrics to keep my studio fully stocked for months. Here are a few gems I couldn't resist. Who knows where they'll turn up in my work.

I found more leather strap but this time in rose. I have used this in place of steel wire on some of my pieces but in brown. This color has amazing possibilities.

More amazing rose tones. This one is Dusty Rose by Twinkle Hand Knits in Soft Chunky. I love how these yarns knit up quickly and how beautifully they felt.

And I started right away knitting with this green for my latest work in progress, Seed Money. Once it's finished I'll felt it and sew it onto the piece.

Here's a little detail of Seed Money so you can have some idea of how the green will work with the rest of the colors. Happy creating!


Inspiration : where land meets the sea

I've always needed to live near water. A three hour drive is my maximum distance. Luckily, we've ended up minutes from the most stunning coastline. Every now and then I need to escape the city for a few moments for some space and inspiration. Within a twenty minute drive from San Francisco you can find this:

I love the colors in this scene: beautiful warm beach sand contrasting with all the greys with just a hit of blue from the fog burning off in the morning.

And who couldn't say they don't find this scene awe inspiring? I feel very lucky today.


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