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.
I’m working on a dark bird made mostly from an Edwardian bodice ( you can see it here). I wish you could feel the texture of the velvet ribbon – it feels like the silky top of a cat’s nose. The dark bird is one of several pieces I’m working on – dastardly owls among them. It’s been a long time since I made things for myself, for my own shop, it’s been a year of special projects, wholesale, collaborations and pattern making.
The wings are stitiched an stitched, it’s a slow and peaceful kind of sewing. Her beak is carved from a twig – I use an exacto knife on a nice hard dry twig and then sand, stain and buff them. I think this bird’s feet will be made from paper mache. For a bird of this size (it’s one of the largest I’ve made) and owls I use 16 gauge wire for the feet and leg armature. If you’re curious there is a full list of my favorite resources and supplies here.
I wanted to show you a little more songbird progress – she has fancy tail feathers. They take ages to sew but I love them. She’s made from beautiful plum Sri textiles.
And I’m having another annual-ish stoop sale! The virtual kind – I’ll put everything on Etsy. I’ve just started photographing treasures I’m ready to part with. There is still lots more to sort though and decide about – I haven’t even started going through fabric and lace. There will probably be some antique garments too. It’s at least a couple weeks away but I’ll post the date and time as soon as possible and more previews soon. Here are a few things I’ve decided to let go of – they have been lovely for me and now they can be lovely for someone else.
I love the doll clothespins – most of them are antique and beautifully made – I hope they make some doll very happy.
I pursued a blue fox through the forest this past weekend (the Adirondack forest- it was a glorious weekend – the first real feeling of spring up there). I had a fabulous time – I got muddy and scratched and poked by sticks, was tormented by flies and wasps, and kneeled in enchanted poop but it was marvelous.
I have spent much of my creative life in pursuit of the land of make believe, the world on the other side of the looking glass, down the rabbit hole, through the wardrobe…. It has always been something that captures and delights my imagination. I know what’s real and what isn’t. I’m pragmatic, practical and not terribly sentimental but I have spent a great deal of time and energy and resources to create a world, largely for myself, where enchanted creatures appear in the forest, or a ship might float through my open window. I wonder if I’m wired that way, I wonder if it was things I was exposed to as a small person, I wonder why I find the intersection of real and pretend so compelling – especially where pretend inhabits the natural world or where real is recreated, represented – like a soundstage, theater, dollhouse or diorama. The fascination has not diminished as I’ve gotten older, it has held on to me and I’ve given it more space, more time, more thought and more intention.
My weekend with the blue fox left me wanting more and wondering what else might happen to an elusive and elegant blue fox in the dark and shimmering forest – where is he going? What might he come upon? Whom might he meet?
Sun showers and foxes and secret forest weddings – I loved this project.
I spent the better part of the autumn working on something special with Fortuny to help introduce its first new fabric collection in more than two years. The collection plays with the idea of what is seen and unseen and draws inspiration from Japanese folklore of “The Fox’s Wedding”. The legend is that foxes marry in secret in the forest and only during a sun shower – far from prying human eyes.
From Fortuny’s creative director Mickey Riad:
“We decided upon the theme of ‘The Fox’s Wedding’ as we were playing around with halftones and production techniques,” “The way a sun shower can fool what your eye sees, Japanese legend attributes this phenomenon to foxes that often play tricks on humans. The idea that the new collection plays tricks on the eye fit perfectly with that theme, in addition to the pattern and color choices that were inspired by Japanese art and textiles. ”
The collection is being introduced in Paris today. Three foxes traveled to Paris for the occasion, another two will leave for Venice this week and two will remain in NYC at the Fortuny Showroom.
For the past few weeks I’ve lived with fox companions and it’s a little sad to let them go – they so inhabited this place.
I’ve just added a few new things to the shop ( including a dastardly owl).