Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kicky Pocket Improvisation

Working on a version of a not yet released pattern
that I'm making for myself.
I can't show the garment
but I can show the pocket I'm improvising.

The samples have patch pockets 
or 'bag' pockets in the side seam.
When I got to the pocket stage
on this garment it was clear
after auditioning options
that neither patch nor bag pockets
were quite right.

When in doubt, 
sleep on it.

Returning to my studio the next morning
and 'circling the wagons',
by moving from computer,
to sewing machine,
to button choosing,
to phone calls,
cleared a space for the perfect pocket
to arise in my awareness.

Funny how surrendering to procrastination 
can work in your favor...

Finished patch pocket with contrast interior and 'piping'.

One pocket 
in a geometric shape
that complimented the fabric
with an opening
that did the same.

I tried on the garment
put my hand where 
it wanted to go into a pocket
and marked that spot with a pin.

Pocket placement marked with a pin.

The idea of the shape
was cut out of a pellon type pattern 'paper'.
When the shape cut from my original concept
 was placed on the garment
I immediately turned it upside down
and it felt perfect. 
A smaller shape was cut 
for the opening.

Pocket pattern with cutout.

I wanted the contrast fabric
to peek out of the pocket opening
and to 'pipe' the opening.
I used Diane Ericson's 'piping' technique
where the facing fabric 
wraps around the edge
giving the illusion of a piping. 
Simply genius!
Fortunately the knit I used was 
a stable double knit with great flexibility
and it worked perfectly.

Pocket shape drawn on back with pins marking corner placement.

Pocket and opening shapes were drawn with chalk
on the back of the garment
and the corners of the opening marked with pins.

Facing for opening cut from contrast fabric.

I didn't have much left of the contrast fabric
so I used as little as possible.

Pocket facing in place on front of garment.

Facing lines up with pins coming from the back.

Pocket facing stitched, opened and trimmed.

I love the houndstooth cover of
my custom Stitch Nerd ham peeking through.

Facing turned to the back -- but not all the way.

Once the 'piping' was in place 
I pinned and pressed it down.

View from the wrong side.

How I determined the side pocket pattern shape.

I realized that I wanted another pocket
on the other side of the garment
but not the same. 
I placed the geometric pocket shape I'd created
on top of a classic pocket pattern piece,
made some small adjustments
to angle the shape
and came up with the piece on the left.

Had just enough contrast fabric left for this pocket.

Finished side pocket.

The contrast fabric in the two pockets
provide just enough variance
to keep things interesting visually.

The two pockets together.

Look for me wearing this garment
at the Sew Expo
in Puyallup, Washington
February 26 to March 1.

Come see all our wonderful fabrics
in booth 830.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Beginner's Mind

 There's been this longing
to make my mark,
exacerbated by museum visits
where marvelous paintings
trigger the idea
that maybe I could/should/would 
start making art again. 

Claude Monet Water Lilies.

Then my friend Carol started painting lessons.
Talk about inspiring!
When she mentioned
a painting class she'd signed up for this month
I was in.

I had no idea how terrifying 
this would be...
In the beginning
the mind focused on
The right supplies,
the best supplies,
enough supplies.
Where are all my supplies?
You know.

The first class I ended up with a latte
that was NOT decaf.
Wrong move.
Even so, I did manage to follow the instructions.

My teacher Janis Ellison is very good.
Really knows her stuff.
 More importantly, she is able
to explain the process
to an intuitive artist
who never really 'got'
or was able to articulate
all that data about value,
tone, hue, etc.
I'm still not sure I can explain it
but I have a better understanding now.
(I must have missed something major in school.)

When panicked 
the best thing to do is just start.

A photo I took at Giverny in October 2014.

We started by choosing a photo 
we'd taken from nature
that had light, middle and dark values.

Gotta love Photoshop!

Shifted it to black and white.

4" x 5" first sketch in pencil.

Reduced it to just the values and shapes
in a small pencil sketch.

4" x 5" sketch in Tornbow markers.

Sketched it again using graded markers.

9" x 12" sanded paper mounted on foam core.

Then sketched,
attempting to capture the shapes and values,
on our 'good' paper with chalk.

These techniques are new to me.
I feel lost and unsuccessful.

I remember
beginner's mind.

Carol working on her charcoal sketch.
Janis's demonstration and work area. Value underpainting on right.

This photo shows Janis' work area
with her charcoal value sketch
fixed with alcohol
ready for the next step of watercolor underpainting.
(I seem to be missing the photo of my value underpainting.)


Driving to the second class
I watch my mind churning
over philosophical questions about the why of art,
the value of art and art making
(not light/dark but good/bad value).
That why-bother, how-to,
not-good-enough conversation.

Being curious and open to possibility
appears to be the best option.

Second lesson:
Apply a watercolor underpainting.

Use the opposite color
of the pastel that will be applied later in that area.
(The mind boggles here
and nearly shuts down --
it's as if I never heard this before!)

Then finally
its time to apply the pastel.
Janis demonstrates effortlessly.
(At least it appears that way.)
She talks about applying the pastel
like a whisper on the page.
and easier said than done...

I begin.

Naturally the pastels
don't seem to work as fluidly for me
as they did for Janis...
How does she do that?!

I continue,
having no idea what I am actually doing.

Finally, surrendering to the mark
that my hand is making,
I find the flow 
and lose myself in the process.

Stepping back from the easel
reveals something magical.

is why.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Beginning

Every day
a new beginning.
Every year
new intentions.

May your New Year 2015
be filled with 
more manifestation of your heart's desire
than you can even imagine.

(but not confined to):
deep intimate relationships,
abiding love,
heartfelt gratitude,
satisfying creativity,
inner peace,
loving kindness,
exceptional health,
true compassion,
exciting adventures,
expanding awareness, 
good food
and lots of laughs.

Photo from Pinterest.

What are you intending?

From my heart to yours.