Posts tagged ‘textiles’

August 21, 2012

Textile Tuesday::kNitting in Norway

by heatherkp

Traveling back to Norway I want to share with you some of the beautiful knit wear and knitting shops I saw in my travels.  A very special stop was made to a  wonderful yarn shop called Garnloftet Helle which was closed for the summer but we had a private “showing”.  This shop is owned by the super talented aunt of my new sister in law!  The Norwegians are known for their talent for knitting, with their cold climate it’s almost a necessity to learn to knit yourself warm clothes for the winter! 

A very special lace knitting pattern that was expertly translated from Japanese into Norwegian by the owner of the shop.  She did so by repeatedly watching a video of the pattern until she had it down.  She teaches a class for this pattern and we got a brief lesson of our own and I’ll be trying this pattern out over the winter.  I’m not sure I have the skills needed since I will have to train myself to knit continental  to master this pattern but I’m determined to try!

In addition to yarn, patterns and classes there were quite a few knitted gifts ready to buy, like these candle jar covers, fingerless gloves (below), several styles of felted “pot holders” and garments such as sweaters and scarves available for purchase.

Above and below are two beautiful examples of traditional Fair Isle knitting.  Boy would I have loved to spend a day here with some more in depth lessons but my mom and I had our guys with us who were quite patient but not enough for a day there!  We discovered yarn in quite a few other shops in Kristiansand although we didn’t visit any other dedicated knitting shops.  What I loved was that there were sections of many shops that carried a small to medium selection of yarns, patterns and ready to wear knit items.  I found these sections in a couple “gift shops” and a children’s store.  I love the idea of incorporating this creative hobby into everyday gift giving!

Spectacular stuff, don’t you think?  It really inspired me to knit this winter but having just moved to a tropical climate I won’t be knitting too much from wool for myself.  I have a big yarn stash that needs to be knit and maybe one day I’ll learn to knit like a Norwegian!

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April 24, 2012

Textile Tuesday::Stress Reducing Hexies

by heatherkp

A very talented and good friend of mine, Betz White, sometimes asks me to do a little pattern testing for her when she’s preparing something new and wonderful to publish.  I had volunteered to participate in some testing for her recently and when she sent me the pattern my initial reaction was to be kind of freaked out.  The pattern in question required some piecing involving sewing hexagons.  Oh boy, I am not a quilter and I would consider myself  only a moderately skilled seamstress.  I took a step back and thought/read through the pattern and decided to give  it a shot.  I love hexagons and since they are part of my logo and my brand identity I though it might be cool to be able to sew some hexagons and incorporate them into my art and designs in the future.

I decided to use some scraps of silk dupioni I had done some rust dying on.  The aesthetic of these are very different from what Betz uses but I was working with a limited selection from my stash that I have here in my temporary home.  I choose 2 contrasting colors, the silver and a dark red brown that both had rust spots.  The repetition of the process is quite fun and can be done in batches, first cutting out all the pieces, laying them out, pinning, stitching, pressing, stitching etc…

The only part I got a little unsure of was the back side of the Y shaped union where 3 hexes come together.  It’s a little figity to get them to press flatly.  There can also be a very small hole here which I was worried about but in the end realized it was fine (I’m a bit of a perfectionist!).  There is a certain amount of patience and care needed to do this and I found it stress relieving because it forced me to slow down and focus on the process.  If you have the desire to try piecing hexagons, take some advise from Betz and go check out Lady Harvatine’s video.  I can’t show you the finished piece but go check out Betz’s patterns and keep an eye out for the new pattern she has previewed here that will use hexagons!

I love the way these turned out!  I will be doing more of this, I guarantee it.  Like I said it was a very soothing, repetitive, tactile process for me.  I did this project in the midst of my in law’s kitchen table over a 2 day period with limited space, materials etc…never the less I feel I learned a beautiful new skill and got a beautiful piece from this process.  Maybe you would like to give sewing Hexagons a try?  I’m not saying I’ll be turning to quilting but I will be incorporating this new skill into my work in the future.  Do you enjoying doing repetitive projects to reduce your stress?

January 29, 2012

Silent Sunday::Sewing for Spring

by heatherkp

Finishing of a handwoven scarf.

August 19, 2011

Friday’s Field Trip::Penland Surface Design Class

by heatherkp

I’m finally getting around to sharing the ART part of my experience at Penland.  It was such an inspiring time.  I loved the energy of working in the studio every day with a variety of other artists.  I don’t really have a studio space at home so I often feel guilty if I leave my art supplies out for a long period of time but for me I need to be able to walk away and come back to my work.  I learned a lot about how I like to work while I was there.

Knowing yourself as an artist means knowing how you like to work, for what period of time, when to step away from something and knowing when to push through and let the inspired moment sweep you away.  Being in a class for the first time since some graduate classes I took back in 2004 offered the balance of exploration and structure which also helped me grow as an artist tremendously.  The irony of this is that as a designer I was trying to loosen up and allow myself to be more free and expressive (and abstract).  Each day our instructor began the class with short exercises that allowed us to be gestural, free, expressive and not to over think what we were doing.  These were fantastic and fun.  I didn’t always like the outcome of what I created but that wasn’t the point.  It was about just getting out of my own way and letting whatever creative expression inside the chance to escape.  Some of the works created by the class in these short exercises are below.

Another fun aspect of the class was that our instructor, Jason Pollen (check out his amazing work if you don’t know him!) used Astrology as an inspiration for us to focus our creative energy on.  Each day we discussed a different planet, the corresponding sign and the energy surrounding it.  In this way we were encouraged to channel certain emotions or energy to put into our work.  This class was primarily a surface design class and we began with limited materials and an 8″ x 8″ format using black backgrounds.  The way we see color on black is different and this encouraged each of us to shake free of the “normal” color combinations we might use.  We started with only gesso and color and eventually were encouraged to add stitching, collage or whatever else we wanted to.  I find it tremendously helpful when I’m creatively stuck to really limit my options, within more restricted boundaries I find my self stretching to explore those limitations.  After a few days experimenting and playing in this smaller format most of us began to explore other mediums and formats for our work.  A group of us in the class began raiding the iron departments scrap pile and we began experimenting with rust dying.  There is a good description of this process over here if you want to learn more about the technical aspects.  I loved how as a group we got swept up into this creative process together.

Rusty metal pieces laid out with fabric for rust dying.

Completed pieces of rust dye fabrics.

Another process we began to experiment with was Encaustic painting.  Although this was not a class in Encaustic one of our classmates was using encaustic and there was also a class being taught so those of us interested in experimenting with this process got the chance to give it a try.  As you can tell we covered a lot of ground in this class.  It was so freeing and inspiring, I came home with several new materials, techniques and ideas to work through more thoroughly.  Both Jason and our studio assistant Debra Smith were fantastic about assisting and encouraging each of us in our own directions.

Jason working on one of his stitched pieces for the auction.

Debra’s scarf and a collaborative piece by Jason and Debra, donations for the Penland fundraiser auction.

Debra modeling a purse made by one of the students for the fundraiser auction.

Below are a variety of samples of fellow classmates work and working shots.  My class mates ranged in age from 18 to over 75 and came from both the east and west coasts with all different backgrounds.  Each one of them was an inspiration to me.  I am so glad we all got to meet and work together:)  Thanks to each of you!!One of the final projects I worked on was a collaboration with 3 other students which we donated to the Penland Session 4 fundraiser auction.  I love to collaborate and this piece turned out well.  I wish I knew who bought it…

Next week I will be back to share some of the work I began personally in class.  Some of what I started is still incomplete but hopefully won’t be by the time I post again.

July 15, 2011

Friday Field Trip::Textile Museum Green

by heatherkp

I saved a few field trips up for you for my time away.  I hope they keep you coming back and you find them just a little interesting.  Back in June (which was not that long ago, boy time is flying this year!) I went to see the Green exhibit at The Textile Museum.  If you have been following my blog over the last couple years or if you happened to read my old blog you know that the Textile museum is probably my favorite museum.  It is a little hidden jem in DC, not far from Dupont and nestled in a row of Embassy housing.  I love going there and upon arriving at the street of the museum I feel transported to a more serene place, it’s almost gentile and reminds me a bit of Savannah or Charleston.  In the midst of the city here is this small treasure that’s quite and peaceful.  I wish that more people knew about the museum but I’m also glad that for now it stands in a hidden corner of the city.

The current exhibit is all about Green: The Color and the Cause:: re-purposing of materials (textiles) for textile art.   For someone who is a huge fan of the museum you might think I’d follow the rules but I’m a bit of a rule breaker when it comes to taking photo’s…so here are a few.  I don’t have a lot of details but the online catalog is quite extensive and you can find additional information about the artists and the cause here.  These are just to whet your appetite…Enjoy:)

I do apologize, some of these photo’s are not the greatest but that’s what happens when you are sneaking around behind the back of the guards trying to get a few shots.  I hope these peak enough interest for you to visit the online catalog or better yet, the show in person.  There were a tremendous number of contemporary entries and a slide show that shows the work of all of these talented textile artists.

January 18, 2011

Trend::Tuesday::Chevrons

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 15, 2011

Sashiko::Saturday

by heatherkp

Samples of some beautiful Sashiko textiles.  Click the photo to go to my Pinterest board and find sources for each image.  Enjoy your weekend!

 

August 24, 2010

Modern Women in Design

by heatherkp

One of the most inspiring things I have seen this summer (and there have been quite a few!) is the current exhibit at the Textile Museum.  It is all about mid century modern women in design and boy are there some fabulous and fun textiles on show!    I tend to be a rule breaker (in some areas of my life only) and when it comes to taking photo’s in museums…I often break the rules.  I do it so I can share snippets with others who I know may not be able to experience the same thing in person.  So enjoy the photo’s I risked my visit to take, luckily that day the security guard seemed more interested in talking on the phone than observing the museum goers.


The show is called “Art by the Yard: Women Design Mid-Century Britain” and it ends on September 12, so if you get a chance you may want to make a trip to see it.  The show features a majority of designs by British designer Lucienne Day and two of  her contemporaries: Jacqueline Groag and Marian Mahler.  The work above and below is from Lucienne Day.  Aren’t they just incredibly fresh and fun and honest?  That is what I love about this era of work.  The designs are not pretentious, over thought or trend driven.  They are little pieces of honest and good design (in my  humble opinion).  This is the type of work I aspire to share because it’s lovely and different and fun and the love that the designer put into the work shines through.  
Lucienne Day’s husband (Robin) was also a furniture designer.  I’m certain this contributed to her overall sensibility about good design for home interiors.  Below are some great tea towels she designed.Her are a few shots of the overall show.  All these ladies were fabulous designers which shows since their designs have stood the test of time.  I especially enjoyed the work of Lucienne Day and was so glad to get to see this show in person.  Hope you enjoyed this sneak peak and let me know if you got to make it to the show.