Saturday, May 25, 2013

By the Yard

I was invited to participate in a show called "By the Yard" and it has a really unique concept: Artists can create textile yardage and that yardage can than be used to create other works.

We were asked to create a minimum of five yards of a surface designed textile - all other parameters were up to the artist.

My concept was inspired by my daily walk to work each day through a cedar forest; I’m calling it “Essence of Cedar”. I've attempt to capture the effect of light being filtered by the dense tree boughs, the texture of the bark and the lichens growing on the trees and the minimal color palette – greens, orange, browns and grays.

The base is taupe striped gauze; that has been  block printed with a stylized cedar bough pattern in both green and orange to represent both living and dropped boughs.

My print block was pretty low tech - craft foam cut to shape and glued to a worn Plexiglas quilt ruler. The clear ruler proved to be a great idea, as I could see where I was placing each print and it helped keep me semi level. I wasn't terribly concerned with very precise placement, as the result was intended to be organic.

I then appliqued the stylized cedar trunks by placing the printed gauze over my tree pattern and overlaying a second piece of gauze that had been sponge printed, then I hand stitched the pattern and cut away the excess.

The tree trucks were than embroidered with merino wool for added texture.

And embroidered lichen was added.


As usual, I started with a plan that had to be altered a bit, but I'm pleased with the final result - I've even created something with the scraps, to be revealed soon!

If you're in the area, stop by the show and enjoy all the other work in the gallery too.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Better Late Than Never!

Winter has lingered and Spring is very late this year (right now it's only 51 degrees), but the gorgeous flowers of the season - both wild and cultivated - are emerging finally.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Capping It off

I obtained this mid-19th century night cap via an online auction and while it has some condition issues, it still has plenty to tell us regarding period attitudes and concerns.

During the 19th century, night caps were worn by all ages and social classes. They were designed to fully cover the head and tied under the chin - they closely resemble the day caps worn by women in the 1700's. Night caps were nearly always constructed of white fabric, which allowed for easy washing and boiling if necessary. They were a functional item, intended to confine the hair, protect the bed linens from the oils and pomades used to dress the hair and provided warmth in chilly bed chambers.

The seller did not provide any provenance for this cap, I believe it may be a museum deaccesion due to the number penciled on the tie.

This cap is an excellent illustration of the relative cost of materials versus cost of labor during the period. A cap of this style would usually be constructed with three pieces of material: the brim, crown and neck curtain. This cap has been extensively pieced - 14 pieces in fact - including a tiny triangle, with sides less than 3/4" in length. All the pieces have been very carefully sewn, the stripes matching perfectly and all seams finished with no raw edges visible. A great deal of time was spent in making the minimal amount of available materials (probably recycled from a previous garment) work - a very 19th century mindset.

It's not something we see done very often in modern interpretations of historic clothing; we typically purchase new textiles and go buy more if we run short. It's an option I'm increasingly trying to incorporate into my garments: piecing materials, reusing materials, tiny details that add to the authenticity!

Night cap available for purchase here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Winter will just not leave this year, it just keeps lingering on and on and on...

As of May 4th, there was still a pile of lake ice on the shore and you can hear it creaking and moving in the sun.

The texture of the ice has changed; it's very crystalline and brittle.

The slightest tap, and it breaks into shards.

There are a few signs of spring in the woods, despite the snow which is also lingering - new leaves pushing up and through the old:

Buds, waiting for a bit of warmth to open:

And a few not willing to wait, open despite the cold: