Never In, Never Out

I started with clothing, sewing for myself and later, for extra money, making clothes for a local boutique.
I was in art school and my ‘serious’ work was Art, things to hang on the wall. Clothes were something else, not my career.
Then my friend Christina said, let’s trade! I’ll weave you a rug, you sew a jacket for me.
And you know, it was so much fun, I enjoyed every second of the process. So I made a dress and an outfit and photographed them and went to New York and to Julie: Artisan’s Gallery who asked me to exhibit.
And that was how I stepped into this wonderful world.
And this was that first jacket, some 30 years later. Still in use and looking fabulous!

So you can see the whole jacket, here in one of those first photographs.
Yes! It’s kimono fabric, beautiful cottons. How perfect is that? 
A detail, showing the applique and a faced hole.

And still going strong!
Never in style, so never out of style. That’s my mantra.

Those rugs I traded for? Also going strong, looking beautiful.
One is right in the doorway to my studio. I step on it every time I enter. A good reminder of how I started on this path.
How perfect is that?

Posted in applique, jackets, misc | 4 Comments

Desktop Inspiration

I have these pictures on my computer’s desktop. Photographs reminding me of something that I saw and couldn’t let myself forget. A picture that I thought, I must remember this. It’s too beautiful, too inspiring to let go. Images that I can look at again and again for ideas and new directions.
For example, these 1925 pair of beautiful shoes, by the fantastic, fabulous, amazing artist, Sonia Delauney.

Or this 1958 mural by Athos Bulcao in the Niemeyer designed Brasilia Palace Hotel in Brazil.
Those colors! Those shapes! Wow!

The entire mural is huge, one whole wall of the dining room.

Another wall, this one in the 1941 Saarinen designed First Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana.
Amazing.

And this fantastic Ellsworth Kelly painting. He cut a black and white brushstroke drawing into 20 squares and randomly rearranged them. After turning it upside down and some further rearranging, he connected them into the final work.
So, so cool!

So many fabulous ideas! So many possibilities. All I need, three extra days per week.

Posted in misc | 2 Comments

New Series

Does this happen to you? You have a project due, and
[grumble, grumble] you are absolutely not in the mood.
But, there are no objections allowed. There is work to be done.
So you focus, begin and before you know it,
to your surprise, you find yourself lost in that beautiful place. It’s you and your hands and your work and nothing else.
And, before long, you find yourself thinking, ‘I’m enjoying this. As a matter of fact, it’s so much fun, I’d like to explore it and see where it goes.’
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On the left, a pieced skirt, sized up and longer than the original on the right.
Number one and two of a new series.

Posted in piecing | 3 Comments

Moon Jacket in Action

This is what is so wonderful about this work. I have my vision, sew it up, then send it to its new owner.
And voila! It is reborn.
My clothing arrives at its new home and is incorporated into a new life. The owner adds their personal touches, jewelry or a shibori blouse [perfect!]. And there is my coat, living a new and happy life!
62010C98-07D7-4393-ABE3-89C56DF6F569Leslee, in the “Moon” swing coat I showed a few posts back.
Beautiful!

Posted in jackets | 2 Comments

Steiner Cabin Tour

Starting in the 1920’s, on the slopes of Oregon’s Mt Hood, hundreds of vacation cabins were built. One of the most prolific builders was Henry Steiner.
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Today there are around 30 existing Steiner cabins. And once a year, if you are lucky, you can get tickets to tour of some of the cabins.
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Other than items they could not make themselves such as windows and sinks, Henry and his sons built their cabins completely out of native materials they found on site.
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The best part of these amazing log cabins is the use of naturally occurring tree forms that are incorporate into the designs.
Like this fantastic loft railing, made from peeled tree roots.
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Looking down from the loft, the current owner and Dick Steiner, Henry’s grandson, reminisce.
These cabins are not big, this one is 804 square feet. But with the beautiful woods and Sandy river near by, why would you need more?
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Tucked into the forrest, each is a perfect example of ‘Oregon Rustic’ architectural style.
The sign above the porch says, ‘H Steiner 1936’.
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The coolest front door ever. The owner told us she had bought the cabin years ago, with zero idea that it was a Steiner cabin. It was a picture of another front door that looked like hers, that clued her into the identity of her cabin’s builder.
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Bigger than the smaller cabins, this one was built in 1926. The owners guess that after 1929 and during the depression, Steiner built smaller and more affordable.
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Views out into the bucolic patio.
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The lucky owners, Mike and Susie with Dick Steiner. When he was a boy, Dick worked with his father and grandfather.
Besides a Steiner cabin owner and restorer, Susie Wickward is an artist. She painted the picture of Dick’s dad, Henry at the top of my post.
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Thank You Thank You to all the generous owners. And to the Mt Hood Cultural Center who put together this wonderful event.
You can find more information and pictures of Steiner cabins here. And at the Facebook page, ‘Steiner Log Cabins‘.

Posted in misc | 2 Comments

New Each Time

It all started with this one.
A jacket using the very last of a beautiful speckled kimono silk, creamy white with little sparkling spots woven in. I pieced it with other white silks into the jacket below.
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A customer liked it and asked for the same in a different size. She understood, that because I’d used the last of the speckled silk, her jacket would be pieced with a different fabric. Hers would have a fabric with a swirling brushlike design.
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I liked the results, interesting things were happening with the interaction of the design elements.
So I made another one, similar, but different and brought it to the ACC San Francisco show.
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And a new customer, looking for a mother of the bride jacket, saw it and asked for one in her size.
Below, in process, the latest version.
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I love how they are like siblings in a family, same ingredients, same environment but each completely different.

Posted in jackets, kimono silk, piecing | 9 Comments

The Moon and the Sun

It was a coincidence that during the same week as the total eclipse, I was working on a ‘Moon’ swing coat. ‘Moon’ because of the white circles. White circles in kimono silks are spaces left blank so that a family crest can be added.
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I’ve been an astronomy nerd since forever, so there was no question that I would go to see the total eclipse. Especially since the path of totality was so close to home. An easy 2 1/2 hour drive from Portland to the beautiful Crooked River National Grasslands outside of Madras, Oregon.
All along the remote roads through the park, eclipse chasers were lined up and ready.
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My special eclipse glasses on,
my paper plate pinhole viewer, up and ready.
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Slowly, over the next hour, the earth, the moon and the sun lined up.
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It got darker, the temperature dropped,
until the sun was a skinny sliver peaking from behind the moon.
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And then,
magic.
At this moment in the history of the universe, from the vantage place of the earth, the moon is the exact same size as the sun.
So that when the moon rotates between the earth and the sun and if you’re lucky enough to be in the shadow, you can take off your protective glasses and stare directly at the sun.
Stare at the black hole in the sky where the sun should be.
The eerie light, the pink horizon, the sky, though dark, still blue,
so, so, so amazing.
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My iPhone photograph showed only a white smear in the sky, so in order to show what I saw, I’ve added in the black sphere of the moon. Otherwise, the picture shows the sky and the landscape exactly as I saw them. The center of the sun really was black, black, black. The sky and the land really were those odd, sunset-like colors glowing in an other worldly landscape.
It really was truly, truly breathtaking.

Posted in jackets, kimono silk, misc | 2 Comments

One Kimono, Two Jackets

One kimono usually has enough fabric for two jackets, especially if I use a different fabric for sleeves.
I take apart the kimono, wash the pieces and then the fun part, follow where the fabric takes me.
This beautiful old kimono had flowers and leaves sprinkled around, looking perfect together. But as I spent time with it, I found myself separating the cherry blossoms from the maple leaves.
The first jacket, pieced with only the flowers.
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And the second, with the maple leaves.
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Interesting, isn’t it? How different, they look, but also, sort of the same?

Posted in jackets, piecing | 8 Comments

ACC San Francisco 2017

Where would you want to go if your city’s forecast was for 106 degrees?
How about San Francisco? High of 70?
The American Craft Council’s San Francisco’s Show landed on the perfect weekend.
I escaped Portland’s high temperatures for 3 wonderful days in one of my favorite cities.
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In such a fantastic venue, Fort Mason. Right down by the Bay.
On the far left, can you see Alcatraz off in the distance? Where else but San Francisco?
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On my morning walk to the show, nasturtiums tucked in.
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Right next to Fort Mason, wind blown pine trees. So beautiful!
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What a fabulous show! So many people stopped by. I met new and visited with old friends.
Jackets, skirts, tops and scarves were sent off to new homes.
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San Francisco, I can’t wait to come back next year!

Posted in shows | 1 Comment

New for ACC SF 2017

Next weekend, August 4-6, I’ll be in San Francisco for the American Craft Show. With a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, at the very cool Fort Mason, I’ll be right up front in booth #103, with all my new jackets, skirts and blouses.
Like this one from a beautiful old kimono, disassembled and rearranged into a new trench coat.
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The back.
For good luck, cranes and fans and pine trees and ocean waves.
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The fabrics from the pieced jacket below were from old, unwearable meisen kimonos. After I took them apart and washed them, each had enough usable fabric for a jacket or coat. Then all the leftover scraps from those projects were added to my stash [these fabrics, even the smallest pieces, are too beautiful to throw out]. When there were enough, I pieced them together into this jacket.
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2 very cool meisen silks from older kimonos sewn into a full skirt and a short sleeved blouse.
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A detail, so you can really see these gorgeous silks.
And all the leftover pieces from this skirt and blouse?
They’ve been carefully put away, waiting to reappear in a future project.
Version 2
These and many others, all at Fort Mason next weekend.
See you there!

Posted in jackets, kimono silk, piecing, trench coats | 2 Comments
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