Category: owls

songbird work, treasures from sri and all sorts of new things in the shop

And just like that I’m a finishing machine (lots of the new things are in the shop today).

textile art : birds

textile art bird

ephraim : hand made owl

matilde : handmade doll

I haven’t felt this much momentum in a long time. I’m even finishing stuff that was already finished – a little extra.  A few days after crossing Matilde off my to do list it was clear she was missing something  so I made her an underskirt from an antique wedding dress and added the button bustle and black stitch detail at the last minute – I love the combination of black and ivory.

I finished so much stuff I’m allowed to start new things and I have lots of ideas. Many of those ideas sprang out of a lovely package form Sri Threads that appeared with the usual serendipity – unexpectedly and at a perfect moment. Such inspiring old cloth.

sri threads textiles

sri threads textiles

sri threads textiles

I have more songbirds in progress and I feel like there is a pigeon here somewhere too.

rag doll #2 and chuzzlewit

rag doll : camille

rag doll : camille

This is rag doll # 2 – Camille.  I had not intended to name the rag dolls but as I worked on her that name kept occurring to me so she must want it.  She has a very nice life – she just sits around looking serene and  thinking about things. Sometimes just in her underwear…..

rag doll : camille

ragdoll shoes

Besides her name she also wanted fancy shoes and pantaloons. She is in the shop today along with the fellow below – an owl made from Mrs. Brown’s skirt – Chuzzlewit.

owl : chuzzlewit

owl : chuzzlewit

chuzzlewit

He seems  a little suspicious of you.

a scoundrel and an edwardian bird

Last year I focused on creating my first patterns and a couple other large projects and made very little of my own stitch work – the slow sewing I love to do, the creatures I love to make. I’m determined to do more of that this year and to get them into my shop. To build some momentum,  for the remainder of January, and starting today, I’m committing to adding something new to the shop every Thursday. Maybe one thing, maybe several, the usual suspects and some surprises and experiments too. If you’d like an email when new pieces are available you can sign up here.  Two of today’s new pieces are below, a dark bird and haggis ( a scoundrel)  – both made from Edwardian garments.

edwardian bird

edwardian bird

 

haggis

haggis

haggis

sewing frenzy and letting go of outcome

sewing frenzy

sewing frenzy

This is what a sewing frenzy looks like.  I’ve been working on a large ship and I began with a very specific idea of what I wanted it to be.  The ship did not cooperate and taught me a lesson about letting go of outcome. Plans are great but sometimes things need to percolate and meander.  I un-did most of my work ( painful) and pulled out just about everything – kimonos, gowns, boro – tons of stuff – and camped out for hours experimenting.  A ship is emerging – not at all what I expected and I love it.  It’s a ship that wanted to be what it wanted to be – each  thought, each scrap, building on the next, layering into something new.

ship work

Hoping to finish tomorrow and have it in the shop this week.  I’m working on a couple owls as well  – a big guy and a little guy – both dastardly and  made from Edwardian bodices.

owl work

owl work

sleepy august and a brief survey regarding the holidays

This August feels so thick and slow and sleepy, everything shimmers and that strange cicada sound – it all feels a little otherworldly to me. Even the creatures I’m making are golden and languid. August is also when I work on holiday designs.  I’m planning on some ornament patterns for the shop and I would love your opinion on a couple things. I posted a survey here – it’s super brief – just 3 questions and as a thank you you get a coupon for 30% off patterns   (the survey is closed).  I had fun with my handmade Christmas last year and you can check out that post if you’d like to get an early start – there are links to patterns and free projects and ideas. Also in the holiday department – I just saw samples of designs I made for Crate and Barrel this year and I can’t wait to show you – I’m so happy with them.

Have a lovely weekend – I’ll leave you with a couple sleepy Fortuny creatures.

sleeping  golden fox

fortuny owl louis

louis - fortuny owlLouis,  he got all dressed up for you in his summer best.

a sample sale and the alpha workshops auction

textile art owl- fortuny

Please meet Pietro – he’s mean, green and not afraid of pattern. Pietro is being auctioned to benefit The Alpha Workshops  – you can find the auction here and more about the wonderful work that The Alpha Workshops does here.

textile art owl- fortunyAnd one other bit of news – I’m having a sample sale today – these are the sleepy lambs and goats I made while creating the sewing pattern – you can find them here. Or if you’d like to make your own the sewing pattern is here.

handmade lambs

sleepy handmade goat

fortuny creatures

soft sculpture owls

I spent much of the last two weeks working on a large order for Fortuny Venice.  It was a good excuse to replenish my fancy antique button stock  and I found some wonderful stuff.

antique buttons
cat buttonsCats! I love them so much I may never be able to use them.

I brought the whole group to the spectacular New York Showroom yesterday to be packed and sent on to Venice – these creatures have exciting lives.
textile art rat
soft sculpture owls

(photos below by Meena Dimian)
soft sculpture owls
textile art

a couple related notes:
* If you’re curious –  Abby Glassenberg  and I talk about my work with Fortuny ( and lots of other stuff)  in episode 23  of her podcast.

* Stay tuned in January for a new Fortuny collaboration – I can’t wait to show you.

making things

For weeks and weeks I’ve been occupied with lots of the things necessary to keep a making things business afloat  and there hasn’t been much time for making things.  I’ve worked on web stuff, book keeping stuff, teaching stuff, designed some things and did some press stuff (some fun things coming in the spring) among other things. All good and important things but I miss my time, my hours and hours in my place making things. This week I finally got back to it and made this dastardly fellow out of one of my favorite ever Sri Threads treasures – a thick striped gray wool flannel- just enough for one bad tempered owl. gray_owl_2   Also made from Sri Textiles – a curious spider, her legs are hammered iron wire – I use a little anvil. spider coming Skittering away with her bustle in the air. spider going   sri specimens And new mushroom specimens – more of the signed and numbered edition. All these things and more will be in the shop in about a week- you can sign up for the mailing list if you’d like a notification. And I made a dress! My first ever – it’s a jumper / apron / pinafore / sort of affair. The older I get the more I dress like Holly Hobby and I’m OK with that – it’s contemporary Holly Hobby. It’s got pockets and french seams and I’m very proud of it -it was challenging and satisfying and I want to sew lots more clothes. I got the pattern here – there aren’t a lot of instructions  but I was able to figure it out and I found a tutorial on french seams here. apron dress

headed for squam

I’m headed to the Squam Art Retreat tomorrow to teach my botanical sewing class – I can’t wait to get started. I’m bringing a ridiculous amount of stuff with me – it’s like I’m moving. I’ll also be at the art fair with some of my botanical experiments and I’ll have the prototypes for the ship pattern with me too  if you’d like to see or have a question, or just come say hi – the fair is always fabulous.

botanical experiment

And some new Fortuny pieces – I just sent this group off to Venice.

rats

Francesco and Alessandro

piero

Piero

lorenzo

And Lorenzo.

new creatures

A little collection of new creatures – I’ve posted them on Etsy  just now (7/31). I spent the morning re -shooting them, I was disappointed with yesterday’s photos ( on the up side I learned some things about aperture) so now I’ve got to roll right into Flamingo making – lots and lots of flamingos…

textile art bird

Dark Bird

textile art owl

textile art owl

Pecksniff  (he’s got some fancy junk in his owley trunk)

textile art songbird

Plum Songbird

textile art owl

Mr. Bittles

(beautiful fabrics courtesy of Sri Threads)

inspiration

I started this dark bird months ago and he ended up becoming more complex than I originally intended.

dark bird

His underside is stitched and stitched. I like to have this kind of project, this kind of compulsive, repetitive stitching to pick up sometimes. I like to have busy hands when something is percolating in my mind or when I’m searching for an idea or part of and idea.

dark_bird_2

On the subject of inspiration: I listened to a great episode of “After The Jump” yesterday – Grace Bonney talks to wall paper designer Katie Deedy about her creative practices, where she finds inspiration and how she develops ideas. I love hearing about other peoples creative process and I could relate to everything Katie said. The work of being inspired is a constant and consuming process for me. I enjoy all of it – even when it’s difficult – the thrill of the chase I guess. I’m so curious what might be next, what surprises and odd intersections might reveal themselves.  I do some of my best thinking in the tedious or deeply repetitive work of hand stitching or paper mache and I’m sure that’s part of my attraction to those mediums.

handmade owl

I’m also nearly finished with a big gray owl – I’m photographing all the newly finished creatures today and I’ll add them to my shop ( temporarily on Etsy) tomorrow (7/31).

And progress – this is a sneak peek of the little boat pattern instructions that is part of the paper mache pattern collection (it’s nearly done!).

paper mache boat

 

owl work

I’m  working on some new owls – a  new smaller owl shape for me with some new details.  I’ll finish these tonight and photograph them in the morning . They are part of my “new creatures” update tomorrow ( friday 3/28 ) evening.

owl work

And onother new shape –  a hummingbird – a bit larger than a real hummingbird but still quite small, she fits in the palm of your hand.  The bird and owls are made mostly from Sri textiles – I love this muted palette.

hummingbird

 

 

 

laurent

Another new creature Laurent ( all my rats are french) and a blue owl.

blue owl

junk in the trunk

 

He’s big and blue and  bad, and has some junk in the trunk.

on my work table

Owls. And a blue velvet songbird.

I get pretty excited about fall and to celebrate I pulled out my houndstooth wool.  I’m also working on a blue velvet songbird and another owl  made from a  textile from Sri Threads.  It is one of my all time most favorite fabrics – I can barely stand to use it. I think if I had miles of it I would never get tired of it. Here’s a closer look – it’s a thick  heavy weave and the pattern is incredible.

And I made a little more progress on the songbird.

Another fall ritual for me is taking a group of little birds out to prospect park for a photo ( I do it every spring too).  It was a big adventure.