Monday, February 12, 2007

Put your head on my shoulder

Another clever person may have discovered how to do this also, but I've been making pillows out of shirts lately. Actually, a lot of what I sew is made from repurposed thrifted clothing. But I figured out that if I make the back of the pillow out of a button-down, I don't have to put in a zipper. And this has lead me in other directions creatively. Now sometimes the shirt is on the front and is the focal point of the work, with extra decorative stitching added to emphasize design elements of the poor shirts no one wants to wear anymore.
This is one of my favorites. I call it "Fire and Water" because of the water-oriented wildlife and the tribal flames on the back. Note also the preppy vibe to the Canada geese (a linen dish towel) and trout (a short-sleeved men's button-down. What sort of Grandpa fisherman is cute/dorky enough to wear that?!) versus the rad early-adolescent-of-the-early-'00s (how do we say that?). Just the kind of contrast I like to have fun playin' around with. I want some art center to have an exhibition with Fire and Water as the theme so I can enter it. Let me know if you hear of any.

If there is a shirt used for the front and the back of the same piece, I'm calling them Alter-Ego Pillows(tm) and, again, having fun with that ol' contrast and pairing two shirts with incongruous personalities.

Here are a couple that started with western type shirts with pearl snaps and embroidery. They get alternately nerdy or preppy on the back. See the post on Our First Press for a different view of these two.

Okay, speaking of adolescence, can we go back to the 1970's now, or at least to Wayne's World?
I got these two excellent Levi's plaid shirts at a local church basement thrift shop. I had already acquired this mint-condition drapery fabric, the color and era of which coordinate beautifully.
These would satisfy someones nostalgia so well, and would be great in a basement/garage hang-out room/music space. Again, refer to Wayne's World or my friend Kitt Cox's garage. Of course, they would be great anywhere you want to prop yourself up on them.

Can you believe these orange flowers? These pillows are 16" square, so those flowers are pretty big. It was a dress. I got it at my local seasonal church rummage sale. Who wore that? is what I want to know.

That's all for the pillow post for now. I may add more later. I have some higher end pillows with the kittens and koi fabric from Japan appliqued on the front. I should get photos of those up.

Availability: Revolution has several pillows of different types for sale and I will be bringing them to upcoming craft-fair-type venues starting in May. Actually, they are available directly from me now, so be in touch if you are at all interested. I'm going to have an exhibit at the Blake Memorial Library in East Corinth starting March 20 and featuring pillows so please stop by to see them in all their three dimensional colorfullness. More on that event another post.

Where do they go? + WRJ uptalk

Where you can find (and purchase!) Mountain Ash Design products:

295 Main St. PO Box 1228
Norwich, Vermont 05055
phone: 802-649-8111

26 North Main St.
White River Junction, VT
phone: 802-295-6487

Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild
430 Railroad St.
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
phone: 802-748-0158

179 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060
phone: 413-586-4509

The thing about making an unusual product like art potholders is that it isn't obvious what type of store they belong in. As a result, HotHolders have been placed in four very different shops around New England. The very latest is P!nch in Northampton, Massachusetts: "Art for your home. Art for your body. Artful gifts for all." The lovely Jena Sujat met with me last week and very generously shared her wisdom as a seasoned buyer while she perused my travel case of HotHolders. Now you can pick from her fave picks: kittens, western, vintage florals, Tranquility, Los Ninos and more. My camera was not cooperating so I couldn't take any pix of all the wonderful things displayed, but she has a very nice website that will give you an good idea:

Revolution is a remarkable vision of a store and events venue (they even have a manifesto) reopening in White River Junction after a few months of being closed to become even more visionary and responsive to local shoppers in the Northeast. "Once a funky thrift store. Now a radical shopping experience." Kim and Ann have put together a gorgeous and very intriguing collection of apparel and housewares, many made from repurposed materials or by local artists. I love going shopping there! They are carrying pillows by Mountain Ash Design as well as HotHolders. The pillows, of course, are also made from vintage and recycled fabrics, with a sprinkling of new designer fabrics stitched in here and there. You can see them in the center of the picture above taken at the Gala ReOpening last month - quite the hoppin' party it was. I am working on an entire post about pillows so stay tuned.

About White River Junction; as the name implies, it was once a railroad hub on the White River. It has been experiencing a revival the last several years. Artists and alternative businesses have taken over the old Tip Top bread factory, the Main Street Museum is like none you've ever seen before, and a school for cartoonists opened downtown a few years ago WRJ was heralded by the travel section of the Boston Globe as "the East Village of the Upper Valley" or something like that. Though that is a wonderful compliment, WRJers have a sense of unique identity, as well as modesty and humor. The (un?)official slogan of the arts and alterna-community is "White River's not so bad." You can get it on a t-shirt. Anyway, the Revolution Grand ReOpening Gala is this Sunday February 18th and you are invited: Be there and eat sushi or be square.

ZuZu's is a great gift shop in Norwich. Eileen carries "Everything Bright," so there are floral and geometric print HotHolders in proximity to MariMekko. (wow.) You can also get 4-Way-Entry Bags(tm) and coaster sets by Mountain Ash Design there. ZuZu's is located in a many-roomed historic house in the center of town, right next to the post office so it's very convenient. Plus when I first met Eileen she immediately told me she loved my (white) hair. It's quite premature. I mean, I'm still in my 30's (um, barely) and it really is practically white. Anyway, instantly had to love her and know she is a genuinely cool and good person. The last photo in the post is of one of her well appointed rooms.

Hey, here's some old school prestige for the MAD resume: HotHolders were recently juried into the Northeast Kingdom Artisan's Guild (NEKAG). Hooray! Vermont is known for a long standing tradition of high quality craft production and there are several lovely craft galleries around the state to promote local fine crafts. I have been somewhat familiar with these shops since I moved to Vermont 14 years ago as my partner was selling his hand made paper products through these venues at the time. NEKAG is one of the most friendly and diverse galleries with members still having the opportunity to work shifts at the shop on Railroad Street in St. Johnsbury and otherwise being encouraged to get involved in other aspects of the organization. They don't have a website and I haven't been up there for a photo, but if you are ever in St. J find them and enjoy perusing the shop.