Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shake off those mid-winter blues with a trip to the Cabin Fever Show in Boston on February 13th. I'm planning my sale rack for the show as I write this. You can get a jump on that by visiting the Clearance section of my Etsy shop right now. Get an additional 9% off any item by using the coupon code BLOG09 at check out. Just a little something to say, "Thanks for checking in," to my blog readers. Happy Winter!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

sweater chop shop

Greeting from snowy Vermont!

I am here to report on the build-your-own-sweater workshop I took at Crispina's with my friend, Noelle Horsfield, this past Saturday.

At this time of year when production demands have loosened up a bit and skirt and apron making are not keeping me creatively satisfied, I get to explore other mediums during my R&R time. I still seem to be drawn to textiles projects, but I am branching out.

Crispina ffrench walked us through the process of deconstructing several felted wool sweaters and constructing the pieces into a brand new one-of-a-kind unique one. Here's mine, made from parts of five sweaters that were no longer terribly stylish or useful:

I didn't actually finish it until Monday morning. The person in our day-long class of 10 who finished hers first, and before class time was over at that, had never sewn a stitch before in her life. Here she is wearing her finished warm cozy with Crispina in one of hers.

Other than the recycling element which I really dig, one of the aspects of this project that I enjoyed was hand-sewing the entire thing. I love to use line as a design element and I had fun choosing a yarn color that really popped against the subdued wool fabric of the sweater.

During much of the time I was stitching, especially when I was back home, I kept thinking about Wylie Sofia Garcia's work. She's a couture installation and performance artist in Burlington. I love her work and the hand stitching is a big part of what I love about it. She has the most amazing project going on right now involving dresses that evolve daily. Check it out here.

Some other in-progress creations by workshop participants:

This blue one is Noelle's. Visit her website for some wonderful visual treats. She's a cut paper artist with a wonderful way with color and inspiring subject matter.

Next up: Weaving class. I'm going to attempt to make a rag rug stair runner like the one that my grandmother made that ran up the stairs from her kitchen to "the long chamber" upstairs.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Time Out New York

I am starting to catch up on a few things after a busy end of 2011 and a little break thereafter and have some things to report. My trip to New York with Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio for the BUST Craftacular last month garnered some online press (oxymoron?). Time Out New York's online fashion + style correspondents conducted a little interview with me and snapped some pictures. My skirts (okay, and me, my outfit, my no-regrets tattoo, my super cool wrist cuff made from an Iowa license plate by Aaron Stein of Revival Studio, etc.) comprise the last three photos of their rather brief "Street Fashions" slide show. Check it out by clicking here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Handmade Holiday Festival Part 3: Fiber Arts Junky

Happy New Year to all! I've been saving this post for the eve of my return to Alchemy Initiative, this time for a Crispina ffrench workshop this Saturday. Here's Crispina at the Handmade Holiday Festival, wearing one of her signature sweaters and the MAD skirt she acquired at Twist in November.

At her stall full of sweaters, xmas stockings, potholder rugs and wool scrap wreaths, Crispina's sister, Sofie, inspects the skirt. I had to buy one of those wreaths. Every year I am always late getting an evergreen wreath on my door. Problem solved. And the trees whose branches I'm not going to be cutting off in future - well, I think I solved their problem, too.

Let's get a better look at what Sophie is wearing. It is a Crispina sweater - a hand sewn composite of parts of various felted wool sweaters that were no longer very useful or appealing on their own. I don't know if Crispina made it for her or if Sophie made it herself under Crispina's instruction. Either way, it's cool! And suits her so well. It is just such a sweater-making instructional event I am attending on Saturday. I'm very excited.

More handmade attire. The folks at Alchemy Initiative came up with a brilliant way to repurpose t-shirts into useful aprons. Just right for those people who want something soft and fun, but not too "pretty" to freely wipe their hands on. I watched the truffle-maker whose stall was next to mine buy this Elmo apron right off of this volunteer.

Another Alchemy Initiative t-shirt apron worn by co-founder and painter Diane Firtell, who created the trademark image of the bell tower for AI. Her studio is in the church basement and I hope to see her again when I'm there for the workshop.

I am such a fiber arts junky. At the HHF I kept going to visit Christine Fromm's booth three down from mine (pictured here wearing her own creation), which was also full of repurposed sweaters. She makes the most beautifully finished skirts, dresses, hats, capes and more. They are stunning. This photo does not do justice to her work.

Hey, speaking of what people are wearing, here's Suzi Banks Baum of Fe-Mail wearing her MAD skirt. I loaned her my grandmother's red petticoat for the day to keep the skirt from sticking to her black jeans. I have found it's good to have such things on hand at a show.

No group of posts about the HHF would be complete without my home-state pals Moe and Matt of Recycle Moe. We spent a lot of off hours together when in Pittsfield for this show, enjoying food together, comparing consumer xmas philosophies and sharing stories of thrift store scores. In keeping with the fiber arts theme of this post, I would like to tell you that Moe makes those cute birds from recycled sweaters (there are plenty to go around, folks) and Matt crocheted his hat. In fact, I can't think of when I have ever seen the top of his head. Stay warm, everyone!