I can't get those beautiful "boro" textiles out of me head! So, instead of skirt-making as I had planned, I found myself digging through my ridiculously disorganized piles (and I mean- PILES) of fabric in search of blue remnants to patch together. One of the things I love about the boro textiles is the fact that they have been worked within an inch of their lives. But this working ad reworking has occurered over time and on an as-needs basis - so the collage effect has built up in an organic and unplanned way. So i've been pieceing and cutting and piecing away and now I feel that my pieces are just plain "overworked". I think I may need to set them aside and give them (and me) some space and time before I revisit them.
I'd like to really build up the textural aspect of the pieces with applique and reverse applique and maybe some simple sashiko-inspire stitching so that they have a real sense of the history of the human hand about them. I've had in mind cushion covers as the final application - but we'll see...
I did finish another ruffle skirt last night. I think this might be my favourite so far.
Peharps it was the prelude to summer weather which took me by suprise yesterday, but I find myself shaking off my naturally autumnal pallete and gravitating towards more temperate colours. These two skirts I worked on today reflect that. The blue/yellow/white one makes me think of golden sand and and crisp ocean whilst the green one is a bit spring forest.
Browsing the web today I came across some of the most beautiful artworks I have ever seen -Japanese Boro textiles. I can't believe I've never seen/heard of them before. Dating from the early to mid 1900s they are evidence of the resourceful nature of rural Japanese who, through economic necessity, had to continually mend items of everyday existence such as futon covers and work clothes to prolong their usable lives. The side-effect of this labour are stunning collages of cloth.
You can view more more boro textiles here
When I wasn't loosing myself in the vortex that is the internet I was creating a few more ruffle insert skirts.
When you run your own business, holidays tend to become a mere concept -something nice that other people do. But the fact is, we all need a break from the commitments of daily life. So, having booked a stall at Red Hill Market, I decided to combine work and a mini-holiday by spending a couple of days, post market down by the Mornington Penninsula. So,come Friday night, Ed and I packed the cat off to my parents and drove down to their holiday place at Somers. The early morning market start wasn't particularly "holidayish", however being surrounded by gum trees and savouring freshly baked scones and billy tea from a nearby stall was. The weather was a little less than perfect, with sporadic rain and wind that our neighbour pointed out came uninteruppted from the Antarctic! But thankfully the locals are an intrepid and well-prepared bunch who turned up in gumboots and super-warm jackets and there were quite a few Melbournites there for the day as well. Ed and I spent the rest of our time eating very well (the french toast with berry compote and yoghurt cortesy of the Somers Gerneral Store was a bit of a highlight) and relaxing in front off an open fire drinking Red Hill pale ale (my current favourite brew). Lovely. Back in Melbourne now I have been working on some new garments. This is a sample I finished today. I've been thinking about texture, about feathers and foliage and about how I need to start using up my enormous stash of fabric scraps which never seem to be big enough for whole projects.
I'm quite happy with the exterior look but I need to work in the interior finish and I also found that base skirt I used was a little too lightweight so required quite bit of stabilising around the cutved cut-out edge. I'm going to keep playing with some different permutations - the size and angle of the ruffles, the size and shape of the panel insert, different fabric base skirts etc - plently of things to try!
So call me a geek, but I love libraries. I'm not a big fan of catalogues. I prefer to just wander through the aisles of shelves and browse. Usually, my most interesting discoveries come from finding a lone book shoved into the wrong spot or little piles which have been collected by someone, then left behind. Last week I can across this little treasure "The Principles of Uncertainty". It's kind of just a collection of little observations on life. All the text is hand-writted in this lovely lyrical scrolling way and the illustrations are so charming - all raucous colour and slightly clumsy-feeling excexution (in a good way).
Back in the studio I have been making small smaller jacket neck pieces but cutting down some slightly larger versions I made a few months back. I thought it would be nice to reduce the scale and also to simplify the fastening by replacing the corsages with wooden button pins.
I've been intending for a while to make some book covers. I feel kind of naked if I'm stuck waiting for a bus or a appointment or something of the like without something to read, but I also like to have a little privacy in my reading. One of the many things that I loved whilst living in Japan, was the way that your book purchases always have their covers wrapped by an extremely origamically-adept sales assistant so that you can walk straight out of the bookstore, jump onto the train and open up your book and start reading without showing your reading material to the world. I like that. I've also been missing my patchworking of late, so, I've been piecing up fabric remants from my studio to make larger pieced pieces of fabric with I can cut up to make some book covers. That's the plan anyway!:)
Whilst I am pleased the jacket pieces I've been working on of late, the palette of the wools has been quite sobre, so I'm really enjoying working with colour again and having the chance to utilise the greate kitchy touristy Queensland table-clothes I found recently!
So here is a sample of my latest batch of jacket tunics. There are more pics on my Flikr site or if you like what you see, and you're a Melbournian, pop into Olive Grove, where there are some others which I didn't get a chance to photograph in the midst of the madness that is starting up a small business and trying to survive! Though I am going to make a bigger effort to prioritze photgraphically recording my work as I always feel kind of sad when a piece goes out into world without me having something to remember it by:(
An amazing photographer I am not, but once I get going I rather enjoy finding little "locations" to shoot my pieces. It is quite a challenge to find areas that don't showcase the mess in which live (two creative people living under one roof means lots of "stuff" in piles) Credit to my partner whose beautiful paintings and assemblage appear in the background of some of the pics.
Guess what! I'm published! In a book, with colour pics and my words...well almost. Recieved a letter in the mail late last week telling me that I will be included in the new edition of "Handmade in Melbourne" which, as the title suggests, is a collation of a variety of folk who make stuff with their own two hands. Very suprised - but stoked! The book comes out on August 1st.
Meanwhile, I've been working away on some more jacket tunics. Bit by bit I am improving my working proccess by breaking it down into smaller parts. I've also modified the design a little so that the back tie has been replaced by two small ties which are connected to the back of the piece and fasten with D rings at the sides (I'll post some pics when I've finished this batch.) This is the process so far.