I’ve been experimenting with small compositions – making marks and texture with thread, exploring, observing and maybe expanding my vocabulary of stitches. Some are organic feeling marks – spilling out of the botanical things I’ve been working on and some mix with and echo the meandering stitches of mends and intricate darning I find in garments. I’m paying attention to my impulses and habits and challenging them – looking for the rules I’ve made for myself but am not always conscious of – the musts and can’ts that get in the way of being truly expressive. I’m asking myself to be responsive and un-self-conscious – to pick up a thread and follow it.
And P. S – regarding tiny rag dolls – thanks for your feedback and the pattern making is well underway – it will be available in the next week or two!
This big pink flower woke me up last night. It’s one of the new botanical experiments I’ve been working on and it was finished but I didn’t love it- something wasn’t right. The original stem and roots felt too delicate, too fussy for the flower and out of balance – that idea would not leave me alone. My subconscious must have been working on it for me and last night I woke up abruptly knowing exactly what it needed – a bulb, a more substantial stem and very simple leaves. I love the bulb! More botanical experiments soon – there are all sorts of strange new species on my work table.
Have a lovely weekend,
Meet Mr. Cups! My new helper – I found him upstate in a fabulously junky junk shop – he makes a very cheery pin holder. I love the way his details are painted – I looked him up and found out he was made in Japan in the forties and there is a Mrs. – I’m on the look out. He helped me make lots of mini toadstools – pixie size fungi made from Japaanese garment fragments (from lovely Sri Threads). They are made with the little mushroom sewing pattern – it scales up and down well – I printed the templates at around 75% for these little guys.
the little mushroom sewing pattern
They were fun to make in a batch and easy to travel with – just a little bag of scraps and a few supplies – a good summer project. I also added a little extra height to the top for a couple – tracing the template and adding about another 1/2 inch to the top for a pointier cap.
I’m also working on some larger specimens and creatures, in lovely old indigo cloth.
I used to draw and paint a lot.
merriwether lewis 2005 (after the Charles Willson Peale portrait)
west side water park 2005
illustration for film poster 2005
And my begining here, this blog, was making marks on paper – the cardboard horse project.
And then all of a sudden I was sewing. A lot. And as I sewed more and more the drawing and painting went away. I miss that kind of work and that kind of expression but even though I feel inspired in that direction I keep not doing it. It is very easy not to. So I’m making it mandatory and planning a project in the 2 dimensional world for 2013. I have figured out what it’s going to be, the focus, and I’m excited about it but I’m still working out the particulars of how I’m going to share it – when I get that figure out I’ll tell you all about it.
seashell folk, off to celebrate
Thanks to everybody who showed up for the shop update yesterday – I’ll be packing everything up this weekend and getting things on their way right after the holiday. I’m working on things for Tuesday’s owl and ship update ( there will be one more songbird too) – here are some things in progress:
This is the bodice it’s made from- I bought it years ago and have been using bits of it ever since.
A grey owl – fabrics courtesy of Sri Threads.
And a pair of turn of the century wool swim bloomers I’m about to turn into an owl.
I got them for next to nothing – the seat is terribly moth eaten. The fabric is wonderful- weight, shade, fading , texture – everything ideal. Also, in the unlikely category, technically, I’ve just posted a picture of myself on the internet in a bathing suit.
Almost a year ago I got together a box of linings with plans to make things but not much happened after that. I’ve lately pulled that box out and I’ll be posting progress and previews of finished pieces here throughout August. They will be available in September. I love linings and they often end up being my favorite part of a garment.
I’m working on the usual suspects : owls, spiders and songbirds but this collection will have a couple surprises too. I’ve made the most progress on a songbird made from the printed lining of an edwardian bodice.
I spent the weekend with it – stitching, restitching, experimenting and not worrying about progress or efficiency. I’m allowed to do that on the weekends. Pretty vacationey.
This bird, the layering of this print, reminds me of tramp art a little bit and I think I’ll experiment more with that idea.
A long time ago, way back in 2010 I visited the Fortuny showroom here in NYC to talk about making some creatures with their exquisite fabrics. There have been fits and starts and interruptions in the process but lately solid progress has been made towards creating a full collection of creatures that will be available beginning this fall.
Working with patterns, large scale patterns, has challenged how I think about my owls in particular and some interesting things are happening.
More progress photos soon as well as information on where and when things will be available.
I’ve started several new owls including the two robust grey fellows below. The owl on the left is made from a silvery Fortuny pattern and the other from marvelous Japanese textiles courtesy of Sri.
I have also gathered a little pile of things for another fabric ship and owl captain – a moodier pallet than the last – I love the purplish tones – those are for the ship and the indigos are for the little captain. These are all Japanese and again courtesy of Sri. These are the colors I’ve been most attracted to for weeks now – silver, stone shades, and bits of violets and blues
I finished the quilt ship but I haven’t taken it’s official photo yet, this is an instagram shot of the very nearly finished ship and captain.
I am. And getting rid of things. And rearranging. This is my newly appointed button drawer:
It was formerly my “drop in anything I don’t know what to do with and then never open again” drawer. I dumped it out and found a tiny hand-full of things I might actually need someday. It’s perfect for buttons and much better than searching in a bunch of jars and boxes and bags. Now that my buttons are all organized and in one place I’ll probably be a millionaire by the end of the week.
I’ve also been working on some special caketopper bird orders. This is the world’s tiniest garrison cap (airforce).
And the world’s tiniest boutonniere.
And a very fancy fascinator for his girl.
A new owl I’m working on:
I named him for a nice man who sold me tires a couple weeks ago. I’ve been working on him forever and he’ll finally be finished tomorrow. He’ll be in the shop on Monday, the 4th with a couple friends.
There were ferocious thunderstorms on Tuesday – this is a photo (iphone) of a thunderstorm gathering over a little pond upstate. I wish I had my big camera with me – It was spectacular:
I’m also working on new little boats made from quilt scraps and getting ready for my boat making class at squam next week. You can find the pattern to make your own stitched sailboat here.
And a couple other notes:
* little birds are back in the shop
* thanks for the helpful comments regarding the grey hair situation. I’m interested in hearing about other peoples experience with this. Mine is in a particularly bizarre two tone moment but I’m sticking with it.
( I worked late last night and left a big mess)
I’ve got stuff to tell you about and no time to tell it. I’ll be back later with some important topics:
- collections- new things I’m working on ( including some pieces for Fortuny)
- my hair – I’ve decided to let it be grey ( it always has been – but I stopped dyeing it in december). I’ve got mixed feelings…..
- Squam ! Just 2 weeks away!
- My terrarium.
- And hula hoops.
I’m not sure exactly what this is. It is old -my guess would be depression era – and it’s home made. The back is shorter than the front and that seems intentional, as opposed to a missing piece – I wonder why.
The fabric is spectacular – wonderful teal flannel with a very fine stripe to it and the color variations where it is faded and worn very thin are shades of soft grayish teal. The little collar is cotton sateen – a fancy little detail on what seems like a plain everyday type garment.
And it had a surprise -when I disassembled it I found the lining was made from a perfectly a preserved printed feed sack .
I started making a songbird with it this weekend.
I’m working on a little group of things – bats and perching owls mostly. I’ll put some of these things in the shop next week – most likely in time for delivery (in the US) before Christmas.
And The winners of the first ever ann wood handmade caption contest !
The voter chosen at random ( # generated by random.org) is:
comment # 15 – Geiger. Who is apparently a black cat with a recently replaced hip.
And for a variety of reasons I have decided to award birds to the top 2 vote getters and those winners ( it was very close) are:
“Now witness, dear friends, as David Blainebird prepares to package himself alive for 6-10 business days! Don’t try this at home!”
Darlene had told only her best friend, Eliza, but by the time her mail-order groom was set to arrive, the whole town had heard about it.
Thank you and Happy Holidays to all participants ! (winners – I’ll be in touch for address etc.)
P. S. – Another first ever for me – I’m going to teach a workshop!! (boat making). I’m something beyond excited about this and plan to go on and on about it next week but you can find more info right now here if you like.
This antique gown arrived a while ago. I think it’s Edwardian but it was definitely reworked at some point – it has fasteners and hardware and repairs that were added later. I guess it has had many lives.
The peach silk is almost all shattered, it’s torn, stained and many of the seams have let go but the gauze, sheer silk lining and lace are still strong. First I’m making a bird.
Two really – one from each lace and tulle sleeve. And maybe later today a little boat with gauzy sails and little peach silk flags.
Finished! snowflake and ashton
I’m working on some new songbirds, hoping to finish today. They will be in the shop by the end of the week along with a small collection of other new things.
I have been pretty occupied lately with this group of birds. They’ve been finished, packed and shipped off and later this spring, for the first time ever, sweetheart birds will be available someplace other than my shop.
I’ll let you know where you can find these limited edition birds very soon .
This dress turned up here in brown pieces – I’m not even sure how it really goes together. I soaked it for days and days and then had lots of fun pinning it into a dress shape. The under and over skirts are weighted and the overskirt has a lovely tulip shaped hem.
I’m making some things from it now – I’ll show you next week. I’m also working on a new kind of little boat -they’ll be finished and in the shop next tuesday .
I’ m making some one of a kind fancy girls from this antique ball gown. I used most of the large sections of lace for the pip and estella set and it’s almost gone. Now I’m using the chiffon and appliqueing tiny motifs I cut from the lace that is too damaged to use.
The under skirt of that gown was kind of a surprise, after several days of soaking years of grayness away it’s a beautiful pale pink and blue floral tulle. I’m making a little troupe of blue ballerinas from it.