Posts tagged ‘Art & Design’

January 28, 2011

Fiber Friday

by heatherkp

Happy Friday!  This has been a relaxing week and we’ve finally gotten some real snow.  As I sit here writing this there is snow on the ground and more falling.  Due to the snow this week I was unable to get out for my weekly field trip so today I’ll bring you some fibery goodness from around the web.  These are some of my all time favorite fiber artists (not an extensive list though).  I hope I’ve shared a few new artist and designers with you here, or some old favorites.  All photos are courtesy of the individual designers and artist websites and if you click the photo’s you will be directed to their sites.

Spirit Cloth Stitched and Quilted Textile

Red 2 White Scarf

Alabama Chanin Pillow

Betz White New Scarf

Elyse Allen Knit Textiles

Anne Kyyro Quinn Textile Installations

Jeung-Hwa Park Shibori Knits

Tinctory Fiber Jewelry

January 21, 2011

Field Trip Friday::Oasis @ The Textile Museum

by heatherkp

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (image copyright The Textile Museum)

I went to check this show out last week with a friend.  We had also intended to go to the Phillips Collection which was FREE to the public last weekend to celebrate their 90th, but alas the line was insanely long so that didn’t happen!  It was okay because I’d had this exhibit on my to-see list for way too long.  I admit that sometimes I take the Textile Museum for granted and don’t get as excited about some of the more traditional exhibits, boy was I wrong about this one!  I just thought it would be another nice Ikat exhibit (right~ you know I’m a textile designer when I say that) but it was so much better than I had anticipated!  Look at the COLORS, wow!  No wonder they called it Colors of the Oasis.

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (image copyright The Textile Museum)

This exhibit showcases 19th century Ikats from central Asia.  The collection (of over 200 Ikats but not all are on view was donated to the Textile Museum by collector  Murad Megalli.  This is the first time this collection has been on view for the public and many of the pieces were beautifully restored.

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (image copyright The Textile Museum)

They chose such a fantastic color for the walls to offset this collection.  I can’t say I’ve ever really noticed the walls at an art exhibit but this color really does the collection justice.  These warp ikat designs are characterized by vibrant colors (with a lot of primary’s used) and bold, rather large scale motif’s with quite a bit of contrast.

Colors of The Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (copyright The Textile Museum)

I would love to really be able to study the motifs and color combination’s used more closely, it was so inspiring.  It’s no wonder these magnificent textiles were a sign of prestige and status in the Oasis towns of Central Asia.  Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (copyright The Textile Museum)The exhibit also featured a small display and video explaining the technique and process used to create warp Ikat designs.  These were contributed by students at MICA’s Fibers department.  The exhibit is also accompanied by an in depth exhibit catalog (that I would LOVE to have!).  I’ve been a member of The Textile Museum for the past 5 years and I’d greatly encourage you to donate or join if you are inclined to value the research and exhibitions in textiles that this world class museum provides.

January 18, 2011

Trend Tuesday::Pinwheels

by heatherkp

Here is another fun trend I’ve seen popping up all over.  With it’s historic roots in quilt patterns and the fun paper pinwheels that kids play with this design motif is so cheerful.

Pinwheels (click on image for links)

There are so many variations on this motif (like the Chevron’s) and there is probably a style of pinwheel that would make almost everyone happy.  It’s geometric and linear, can be more about form or linework or color depending on how it is rendered.  Not to mention the 3 dimensional versatility that can be used in many materials such as paper, fabric and other materials used for building (plastic composites, metals etc).


Pinwheels (click on image for links)

Have you ever made a paper pinwheel?  Don’t you love the childlike spirit invoked by this little motif?

January 18, 2011


by heatherkp

They are all over the place on everything from grand mom’s vintage throws to wood flooring, paper goods, textiles, rugs, jewelry and wall coverings.

Chevrons, Zig Zags & Flame Stitch (click the image for sources)

I think that the versatility of the chevron is what makes it such a satisfying pattern that never goes out of style.  Weather it is a bold graphic chevron, a subltle knit pattern or a simple line work impression it can be so effectively used in such different ways.

Chevrons, Zig Zags & Flame Stitch (click the image for sources)

I love a well placed Chevron (or Zig Zag or Flame Stitch), how about you?

Do you prefer the bold two color look like black and white or do you like more subtle or multi-color chevron rainbow effects?

January 11, 2011


by heatherkp

I’m excited to share the latest completed textile commission I delivered to clients on Sunday.   This piece was commissioned to fit into a 2 story entrance area in a home that’s design is influenced by Victorian era elements.  I discussed the colors, size and overall feel that the client wanted.  The chandelier and fabric below are a couple of the main elements of design influence.  I wanted to use the peacock feather motif and the colors from the fabric.

I initially did these sketches to get ideas down and then choose materials.  Over the last 6 months or so I’ve worked at the piece at times knowing clearly what I wanted to do an at other times I let the piece sit while I figured out technical or  creative challenges I needed to solve.

A project like this is so rewarding because it challenges you to step into someone else design aesthetic while remaining true to your personal design style.  I knew that this client liked my weaving’s but without my loom set up currently, I was left to find another medium to work with. 

I choose to work elements of weaving into this piece by using the long hand dyed fringe as a major design component.  I also used a subtle toile fabric as the background and selectively  painted motifs that were inspired by a collection of hand colored etchings the client has.  I used layers of sheer fabric bringing in both color and metallic sheen.  Layers of texture are a common theme in my work and this piece ended up having 3 layers of fabric, 1 layer of fringe, feathers and embellishments including stitching and beading.  They were thrilled, I was thrilled and I was thrilled that they were thrilled!  My husband was thrilled to have our dining room table back available for use!

December 21, 2010

Spotlight::Our American Textile Heritage~Churchill Weavers

by heatherkp

Advertisement showing the front exterior of the Churchill Weavers loomhouse.

Before weaving begins, a warp or vertical the threads of the loom must be made. Weft threads are woven through the warp threads using the loom and shuttle. ca. 1928


Churchill Weaver’s stereocard advertisement, style 15319R.

I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to work for some US textile manufacturing facilities my career, some of which are no longer in existence and some that no longer manufacture in the US.  Starting right out of college I landed a job at one of the oldest and finest Hand weaving mills in the US.  I’m speaking of the late Churchill Weavers of Berea, KY.  Once so valued for their products that the US military spared wool rations so they could weave woolen undergarments for our military men.  It greatly depresses me to see their beautifully woven products now being sold as “rare” on Ebay!  There were a number of factors that went into the final outcome of Churchill’s doors being closed forever but they didn’t go down without a long battle.  Historical textiles from their archives were salvaged and donated to the Kentucky Historical Society.  They have compiled quite an amazing online Archive, accessible to anyone!

Churchill Weaver’s stereocard advertisement, style 15451.

Woven Panel made by Churchill Weavers and Designed by Gerhardt Knodel ca. 1978

One of the valuable lessons I learned working at Churchill is that there is no substitution for learning about business and technical data at a facility that manufactures rather than being miles and oceans away from the products you design.  If you’d like more information on the fascinating history of Churchill, please check out this blog.  A limited selection of baby blankets with original Churchill designs are available here.  I’m proud to share below a few of the items I had a part in designing!

I knew when I graduated from college in 1998 with a degree in Fibers (textile design) that it would not be an easy career choice.  I headed ambitiously into the profession knowing that the beginning of the end (as I had come to understand it) was already in sight.  Shortly after graduating I started seeing the full effects of the “global”market’s influence on the industry.  First the mills began to run shorter shifts, sell off machinery and start to outsource manufacturing to foreign mills.   Within the first 5 years of my career I had gone from designing for high end luxury goods manufactured in the USA to designing mass produced goods being imported.  I had a hard time with the ethics of this but I needed to stay employed and by then I was beginning to see my friends design jobs being eliminated as their companies not only shut down manufacturing facilities but started to hire off site designers and design studios in other countries.  I started to see another trend that was quite maddening.  Before I say more this observation is not singularly in regards to the textile industry.  It is the mis-informed “American way” to throw something way when it’s broken (or just worn out)! So often we don’t er trying to fix it because it seems far easier and cheaper to just start all over.  This is so maddening!  Can’t we learn from those around us who have invested so much time and energy to make something special?  Okay, sometimes new life needs to be blown in but there is often so much we can learn from these establishments.

It was also about this time (early 21st cent) I really became aware of the “Indy craft” movement.  I started seeing all sorts of crafters, makers and designers pop up on the http://www.  In response to this I also saw a few new kinds of manufacturing facilities in the US who were responding to the needs of these independent makers.  I’m speaking of textile print on demand (such as Spoonflower and others) and weaving mills in particular but I’m sure there are lots of other examples by now.  This was very encouraging to me on the one hand but also frustrating because we had already begun to loose so many older manufacturers.  I often think that if the two generations had found a way to communicate with one another some very unique solutions could have come about and kept some companies afloat.  I do think that there are some companies in the industry who did respond in this manner and I see them now as established and valued but also aware of new and upcoming trends.  My request to you is this; if you are a maker, manufacturer, lover of all things handmade and you are working in the US please consider the source of your purchase and support our US heritage of manufacturing. We can’t bring back these historic and iconic facilities but we can learn so much from them by informing ourselves and making the most of our purchases now.

September 28, 2010

Idea or Process

by heatherkp

For some, it’s all about the ideas and for others, well it’s all about the process.  I definitely fall into the later category of creative type.  When I get stuck and I have a vague idea of something if I start playing with materials, researching, experimenting and writing or sketching out my ideas then they become more concrete and really take form.  When I am creating something, weather it is a garden design, a photograph, a textile design or a craft it really comes down to process.  Take the photo above, I remember assembling all the flowers, all the teal vases, arranging them in just the way I wanted them to be, down to the fallen petals  It might not be a perfect technical or compositional photo but it speaks to me and may inspire something more later.  It is the process that I enjoy, it’s the process that keeps me doing/making, it’s the process that keeps me interested and marks the time I have spent in a way that feels satisfying to me.

Often I am not sure where I am headed with a project but I don’t have to visualize the end piece to begin working.  This in itself can be scary for me and I’ve often been stuck for fear that I would never be able to finish something when I don’t know what “it” will end up being.  This is when I need to remember that I am a process person, not necessarily an idea person (or I should say that my ideas aren’t always as strong as my process).

When I graduated from college I had to put together a portfolio of work but before the portfolio could be assembled I had to decide what my portfolio was going to represent.  I choose to skirt the edge of two types of portfolio’s with part being geared towards “industry” and pattern/woven design and the other part was geared towards studio design which encompasses creating the design AND the product.  What I really wanted to do was to focus on the Studio portfolio but what I ended up doing was creating a portfolio that would get me a job in the real world.  In doing so I did have to sacrifice part of the process stage of creation.  Now I have the luxury of going back and deciding to take a journey down the more process oriented road of Studio design.  What this means is that I can have great ideas or so-so ideas but it’s my follow through that will bring these ideas into reality.  I have to work out the design problems and follow through to completion of a product (not just a 2-D design on paper).  This is exactly the process that’s been missing for me.  I have been separate from the process of creating a product for the past 10 years as I have designed on the computer and rarely got to see these designs implemented into products.   What I did enjoy about the work I did in the Hospitality industry is that there was a process that I created that made the projects more fun for me.  I loved collaborating in the idea stage with the designers I got to work with (and I think many of them are idea people) and I took ideas and made them work in real life spaces with size and technical constraints to work with.  These limitations were a part of the process that in the end was quite satisfying.

As for those flowers in the photo above; as a matter of fact they have inspired me in a current project I’m working on and will show you here soon!

Are you an Idea or Process person?

August 17, 2010


by heatherkp

Moving directly from my last entry I would like to explore the idea of collaboration.  My last project was a collaboration between myself, another artist and the client.  Each and every custom design is just that, at least that’s the way I view it.  My job on any custom project is to help fulfill someone else’s vision.  As an artist and designer I am find myself getting stuck on certain projects or pieces from time to time and usually if I can find a way to collaborate then I can break free of those limitations.  Over the last several years I have been involved in quite a few collaborative projects.  I’ve both been invited to collaborate and organized collaborative projects.  You can view some images of my last project “Collaborative Visions” over HEREAbove is a mosaic of several in progress pieces from a previous art project and there are more images over HERE.  These projects never fail to inspire me to look at my process differently.  I love seeing how other’s react to things I create intuitively and vice versa.  We don’t take these projects too seriously, we  have fun with them.  That’s the whole point, to liberate ourselves beyond our own creative process.

I can promise you will be seeing a lot of collaborative work here at HKPowerstudio.  It is something I want to explore in more depth on both a professional level and in a more personal creative way.  How and why do you collaborate?

August 13, 2010

Custom Design

by heatherkp

I thought it might be interesting to show the process of how a custom design project evolves with a recent project I worked on.  This was a really fun job because my clients; Normans Farm Market; are energetic, young, entrepreneurs who run several farm stands supplying the area with fresh produce from many small farms within about a 100 mile radius of DC.  They had a long time friend of theirs, Anne, create the conceptual sketch for their new season re-usable shopping bags and tee shirts.  When I heard they were going to hire a graphic designer to convert Anne’s art I told them I could do it for them!  Here is what we started with, Anne came over and we spent a couple hours together as she was curious to see how a pencil drawing becomes a screen print design.  Next I worked on “cleaning up” this original piece of art.  I work in Photoshop and an industry program called Texcelle for all my work.  I really want to learn Illustrator, that’s next on my list.  So after I got this basically into a two tone image with the right high resolution and file formats (this will differ based upon your output type and end product) I presented it to the client and it looked something like this.  From here I went back and forth with the Normans several more times to revise text, placement and other elements within the design.  The final design is below and it turned out great, they were happy and that’s the most important aspect of working with a client on a custom design.  I have to say that working on custom design is one of my favorite ways to work.  I love working with people to take a creative idea and make it a real product.  The final product is always a little thrilling to see once completed!  It’s is especially great when you get to work on a project that incorporates something your passionate about, in this case Local Food and it’s even better when your clients are such fun to work with.  Thanks John, Eris and Jeff!