Monday, June 25, 2007

Kittens and Cowboys

Well hello again. It feels like it's been a while. I've been busy making pillows and getting ready for several upcoming fairs and markets - stay tuned for details and schedule in a future post. I recently bought some nice cowboy-themed fabrics - the colorful smooth "sheeting" in the pillows above and the golden yellow bark cloth in the pillows below. And I am still so inspired by this kitten fabric from Japan. The fruit with the kittens here (apples? peaches?) is from a garden party type dress I got at the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District Semi-Annual Clothing Drop and Swap. The two fabrics I paired them with are from my friend Betty Brown and have been really fun to sew with. Especially the classic Sturbridge Village curtain fabric on the left hand pillow. After seeing my exhibit at the Blake Memorial Library, Betty invited me over to go through her fabric stash and help myself. I love these kinds of invitations. There was a wonderful variety as Betty has been decorating for many many years. I acquired fabrics I just don't see around and have made some wonderful projects with them. In a future post I'll put up pix of the spring green bamboo print aprons and the black/green harlequin print dress I'm going to finish and wear to a wedding in August. And I love how these pillows turned out. Many thanks, Betty!

The yellow-gold fabric in the pillows to the left here is a nice lightweight bark cloth (making it still a heavier fabric than most of the woven cotton I use, but it's lighter than traditional/ vintage bark cloth). It has a nice texture to go with the rich colors. Most of the other fabrics I used on the cowboy pillows came from button-down shirts I got at an excellent thrift store run by the Bridgewater Sustainable Earth Foundation. It's on the third floor of the Mill building in Bridgewater, Vermont. I highly recommend
stopping to browse through the Mill if you are ever going by on Route 4. It is full of a lovely collection of shops including Whisper Hill Soap where I bought some lavender infused laundry powder which has been making my laundry smell heavenly; Umbley's bakery where they make the best croissants and curry chicken pot pies I've ever had (and I have lived in the city and tasted some good ones, you know); bookstore; craft galleries; other interesting establishments to get recycled goods - from the fancy (Sustainable Antiques) to those in need of refurbishing by you (Hillbilly Recycling on the ground floor. I got a nice bamboo shelving unit there I am fixing up for my display at fairs - to hold these pillows actually). Anyway, there are other wonderful things going on at the Mill in terms of local economic development and training people in skills to set up cottage industries that I can't even begin to explain. Find Adriana Curutchet at Sustainable Antiques or the Thrift Store and she will tell you all about it. That woman has a vision.
Some of the other fabrics I've used for these kitten pillows are also acquisitions from friends. At some point people realize that they won't be making any projects with the yardage they've accumulated. I have rarely had this type of feeling, and I have been collecting for over 15 years. Maybe I have pack rat tendencies, but I feel like I'm giving every bit I acquire a chance to speak to me at some point - even if that time is years from now. There have been fabrics that I finally found interesting, or found the perfect project for, after hanging on to them for years and years.
The orange and green fabrics with the kittens above come from Lois Jackson. Thank you, Lois! Lois has been very responsive and supportive of my work from the start. She has also been instrumental in moving our open studio tour group, Vermont North By Hand (VNBH), forward in an organized and productive way. VNBH:
Thanks to Lois, and the rest of the executive committee and members, you can stop by and watch me sew while you puruse my wares on the last weekend in September (the 29th and 30th) as well as on December 8th and 9th.
Well, here I am running out of visuals. I'm going to leave anything else I have to say for another post. Coming up: where to find me and my sustainably handmade housewares stall this summer!

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