Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ACC Baltimore

Fantastic furniture by David Stine. ©David Stine. All rights reserved.

I took a little road trip this past weekend to visit the ACC flagship show in Baltimore. Over 600 artists were showing off their work in the enormous convention center in the heart of the city. I can only too well imagine the time commitment, effort, and stress that goes into preparing for an event of this caliber. Everything needs to be just right from the amount of inventory, quality of work, and not least booth display.

Hand knit wonders by Elena Rosenberg. ©Elena Rosenberg. All rights reserved.

For the most part the level of craftsmanship was amazing, but from a consumer point of view (not as a disgruntled fellow artist) I have to admit that there were a few exceptions. In some instances I would question the amount of "handmade by the artist" that was actually taking place, and in others I just did not think the level of design and artistry where up to par. Having said that I want to highlight some of my favorite artists at the event. Naturally there were many, many more but the work featured here symbolizes the best of the best in my mind.

Indigo dyed paper by Lynn Pollard. ©Lynn Pollard. All rights reserved.

Sculptures and jewelry by Stacey Lee Webber (made from screws, nails, and repurposed coins). ©Stacey Lee Webber. All rights reserved.

Beautiful stoneware by Yume Studio. ©Yume Studio. All rights reserved.

Exquisite quilts by Erin Wilson. This one came home with me... so lucky. ©Erin Wilson. All rights reserved.

I want to apologize for the long time gaps between posts lately. I am still adjusting to my new work schedule, and am always overestimating how much I can get done on my days off. I hope to see you back here before soon.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

100 acts of sewing

Dress no. 4, 2013 and no. 75, 2012 by Sonya Philip ©Sonya Philip. 
All rights reserved.

Sonya Philip and her project "100 Acts of Sewing" is one of the main inspirations behind my recent decision to question my own clothes consumption and start making clothes again.

Dress no. 97, 2012 and no. 58, 2012 by Sonya Philip ©Sonya Philip. All rights reserved.
What began as a personal challenge for Sonya to make 100 dresses in a year, soon developed into a deeper exploration comparing making versus manufacturing. The purpose became not only to present the product of a year's labor, but to also expose the process, and in turn educate the audience. 

Dress no. 14, 2012 and no. 98, 2012 by Sonya Philip ©Sonya Philip. All rights reserved.
The project is now in its second year and while the dress making is continuing, Sonya is also exploring different sources of materials, from reused sweaters to reclaimed fabrics otherwise destined for the landfill. In addition she is teaching hands-on affordable workshops in the San Francisco area, hoping to instill a love and awareness for home made and altered clothing to more people, who in turn can engage others and share their knowledge. A true movement in the making!

Dress no. 8, 2013 and no. 5, 2013 by Sonya Philip ©Sonya Philip. All rights reserved.
One of the most important things about this project is how it demonstrates that sewing and making clothes does't need to be complicated or time consuming. Although Sonya works with several dress patterns, most of them are really simple and manageable. Many of the dresses consist of just a few seams and a hem.

Work by Sonya Philip ©Sonya Philip. All rights reserved.
"100 acts of sewing" is only one of several creative projects Sonya Philip has launched in recent years. She is a self-taught artist who practices what she calls "conceptual craft." One of my favorites is the series called "ordinary objects" where she by applying knitting to the surfaces, brings the most mundane of mass-produced objects to life. More examples of her beautiful art can be found at www.sonyaphilip.com.

Work by Sonya Philip ©Sonya Philip. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 4, 2013

untidy work habits

Most people would probably guess that my work space and my studio is a wonder of order, calm, organization, and cleanliness. And although that is how I would prefer my surroundings, it is far from the reality. The truth is that I am a pretty messy person.

Part of the problem is that I rarely work on just one project at the time. More often than not I will get inspired to try something new, even if I already have two or three things in the works. And when I try something new, piles of fabrics are brought out, and then threads to match, and some plants, and a reference book or two... In addition to the creative process there are deadlines and other things that need to be accomplished, like mailing orders, finishing commissions, and book keeping. It is difficult to keep ones work environment tidy in these circumstances. So things stack up.

Despite all this, I love my studio. It is relatively small, and crowded. It is flooded with light from three large windows. It has some of my favorite pieces on display along with artwork by my boys, and mementos from friends. When I do keep things in check there is plenty of room to spread out and frequently my canine studio assistants will sprawl out on the floor. And then there is the lingering scent of eco dyed cloth and lavender that in my mind is irresistible.

Not neat nor orderly, not always clean, but still close to perfect.

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