Yet Another Dreary Day…

I’m getting as tired of writing this headline as you are I’m sure, of reading it.  And the cold dreary rain continues…

But today I felt a little better.  I have daylight fluorescents all over the studio along with a number of OTT lites.  I put all of them on which brightened the atmosphere considerably,  and I didn’t feel the gloom as acutely.  So, after my morning routine, I decided to finish up the dress, and got the lining cut and sewn, inserted it into the dress, and now all I have is the handwork.  I’ll take it to the meeting tomorrow night to finish it.

frontbackI couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.  It is so pretty, especially from the back, and it fits well, at least for the moment.  I have a feeling the dress will continue to grow, but I can take in the seams more, if I need to, there are worse things in life!  🙂

The colors really look like a summer splash, and I’m glad I have something to remember the whole Challenge project, that I can wear, because the original ensemble will travel with the HGA until 2010, when the next group of designers will present their work, and Loretta and I will get our ensemble back.  I told Loretta she could have the coat, most of her contribution was on the coat, the beading, collar, and felt godet in the back,  I’ll get the long teal tencel dress, since it was mostly my work, but I’ll have this dress to remind me of the Design Challenge for Tampa Bay!

When I started this blog, way back in December, I had outlined six projects I wanted to work on over the next few months.  With the completion of this dress, I have finished four.  I still have to formally photograph the Arctic Sky Jacket, and this Splash Dress, but here is a recap of the last few months of work.


All this and a new website, and a blog, and a website for my sister, I’m realizing how well I used the time I’ve been out of work.

I spent some time getting the contracts together for my guild for our workshops for next year, lots of follow up there, but the board meeting is tomorrow night, and I want to be ready.

Meanwhile, good things are coming up!

First, The Fashion Show, a Bravo TV fill-in for Project Runway, (which was sold to Lifetime Network, and won’t air until late summer 2009), starts on Thursday, May 7th for it’s first season.  It is a complete Knock-off of Project Runway, except instead of Tim and Heidi, Isaac Mizrahi will be the host.  The reviews are great, and hey, it is a design competition, just like Project Runway, and what’s not to like?  So, I won’t be blogging on Thursday nights 10pm/9c, while I watch the latest episode.

And my favorite bloggers, Tom and Lorenzo, formerly of Project RunGay, have launced a new blog, combining a couple of their blogs, which feature fashion, and reality TV, have the absolutely best up to the minute photos of what’s happening in the fashion world and on the runway.  I tune in daily, there is always something fabulous to see.  And the comments are a terrific part of the blog.  This is fashion at its best and worst, and if you play around on the site, you will find the actual final runway shows of the top three designers of Season Six of Project Runway, no designer names of course, but I had my little taste of PR today, enough to keep me going until August when the actual season airs.

Late last night I decided to weave another placemat for the exchange, which is due next month.

Score:  Mom 5, Bri 4…

Where Did the Time Go?

Is it Wednesday night already?  I have spent most of the last two days sitting in front of my computer, my hand permanently attached to my mouse, processing photos of houses, additions, and renovations for my sister’s website (she is an architect).  My eyes are crossing, I’m not processing anything in my brain, and my hand is in the permanent shape of the mouse.  I have to uncurl the fingers from it when I want a tea break.   But I’m making huge progress.  I am close to the end.  There are a total of about 30 pages for this site, and I have about 6 to go.  My sister is thrilled.  So I’m thrilled too.

timeThis is my favorite clock in the house.  It is in my studio, right by the door, within site anywhere I happen to be.  My husband and I use to collect clocks, until we had no more space to put them.  I showed my work at craft fairs all through the 1980’s, and traded for a lot of craft/art work over the years.  Do you know how many pieces of pottery/dinnerware you can get for one handwoven jacket?

Anyway, I remember trading a jacket to a husband and wife craftsmen team, and I got a few clocks for the trade.  One was this one, done on foam core, the signature is Gail Oring, but it isn’t really clear, so that may not be correct.  It is done in a very Lichtenstein-esque style, (Roy Lichtenstein being one of my all time favorite modern artists, seems to me we saw a retrospective of his work at the Tate in London on one of our trips). The clock keeps ticking away, and I totally identify with the blonde in the artwork.  It is always “beat the clock” with me.

My daughter and I took a break when she got home from school yesterday, and we curled up in my bedroom (which is the only TV I can figure out in this house), and watched the DVD from the fashion show at the Tampa Convergence, sponsored by the Handweavers Guild of America, in June of 2008.  One of my previous blogs, I talked about the challenge project I was involved in for this show, and the presentation I put together for it.  I haven’t forgotten, I am still waiting for the “HGA Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”, and then hopefully I’ll have my own disk to market.  But the DVD from the Fashion Show is now available from the HGA, for about $25., including shipping, less if you are a member.  It is worth seeing.  If you belong to a guild, get it for your library.  It is an inexpensive thing to show at a meeting, you just need a computer/projector set up, and this past year’s version is well done.

That said, I have a couple of musings I’d like to share.  I’ve seen a lot of weaving conference fashion shows.  I’ve seen some with professional models, I’ve seen even more without, where the maker or someone from the conference wears the work.  I’ve seen some really professional models, and I’ve seen some models that have no business modeling.  I’m not talking about body types.  It is the way a model carries themselves, walks, and presents the garment.  I’ve seen some pretty bad ones.  The models in this DVD were at best, a mixed bag.  But that happens, and that’s what the agency sent.

But what I really want to talk about, has nothing to do with the models, or in this case, everything.  When I sent my work to the Surface Design Conference in Kansas City in 2007, the paperwork clearly explained that I had to send coordinating support outfits, head to toe, for the model to wear along with my accepted garment.  If I was sending a short jacket, I had to send the skirt or pants, and a shirt with it.  Even the accessories. What that does, is it makes you think of the garment you have made as part of an ensemble.  When I was given the criteria for the design challenge I was asked to participate in for the Tampa show, my partner and I were told our project had to be an ensemble.  I am thinking much more in terms of “ensemble” with my work now, especially if I design it for the runway.

Fast forward to the Convergence show.  I was back stage for much of the preparation of the fashion show, the fittings, and the dress rehearsal.  Sadly, no request was made of the participaing artists to send anything other than their actual garment.  And no one shopped for coordinating garments or accessories.  So that left whatever the models had in their bags.  Which is usually black.  Spandex.  Badly fitting black spandex.  So the artists who sent a beautiful silky jacket in gorgeous Floridian colors, it was stuck on a black spandex body.

So my message to any of you who design garments, and might want to submit work for a fashion show, don’t wait for the sponsoring organization to ask.  They might not.  Design an entire look, like they do on Project Runway.  That doesn’t mean you have to weave the pants and the shirt.  But you could make them out of a commercial fabric and send them along so the garment isn’t orphaned.  When you watch the DVD, you will see exactly what I’m talking about.

The good news here, is that the work is really easy to see.  The models held still long enough for the close-up cameras to really pan the garments, and the details are pretty amazing.  Sadly, there isn’t a clue about what techniques are used, only the name of the artist and title of the piece.  I’d like to encourage the HGA to consider putting that information on future DVD’s as well.

loomAnd, I got the first Overshot placemat woven for our placemat exchange.  If you haven’t been following this thread, since way back over the Winter Break when my daughter started winding the warp for this project, in a nutshell, my daughter and I are each participating in an overshot placemat exchange with our  guild, Jockey Hollow Weavers.  We are each paired with seven other weavers, and each weaver selects an overshot pattern, and we each select our color, and give 2 ounces to each of the other weavers in our group.  The idea at the end is, you will get 8 placemats in your color, each with a different overshot design.  My daughter immediately selected purple, and asked when I select my color, that I pick something that will sort of go with purple so when I die, she can have my set as well.  🙂

So I picked a celadon green.  I love how icy it looks.  I started with my mat, to work out all the bugs with the loom.  This one is a little quirky, and the warp beam is slipping, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get it to hold tension.  I haven’t been totally successful.  But I made it through one mat, only 15 more to go…