Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Studio and Work

I've been pretty busy working in my studio, dyeing fabrics, lace, & ribbons and recreating garments into new ones. I completed this jacket and have a few more to work on. This is a vintage rayon acetate bedjacket I dyed a caramel color. I then trimmed the bottom with a hand dyed silk ruffle and collaged the back with hand dyed and vintage fabrics and lace. The more I look at this I'm not sure I'm finished with it.

I you live in the Santa Cruz area I will be having a trunk show at Idle Hands located at 805 Pacific from 6:00 - 9:00 as part of First Friday art walk. Please stop in and see what I've been up to, have some refreshments, and see other wearable artists and there wares. After the trunk show I'm heading over to the Crepe Place to a CD release party fro Jay Lingo where my friend Sharon Allen is opening. Here's Sharon in one of my reborn slip dresses she wore to her CD release party. I dye silk habotai, created yoyos with the silk and sewed them onto a vintage slip with vintage shoe button centers.

I work in an unorthodox manner as I am creating several pieces at a time, dragging out bins of vintage laces and linens to use along with my own piles of dyed fabrics and trim, flitting from one piece to another seeing what works or speaks to me. This is what my studio looks like and will for many months to come as I start to travel and teach at retreats and vend and try to create in between.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spanish Broom and Other Flora Around My World

The drive to and from my house is filled with perfumed air from the Spanish broom growing along the roadsides. I roll my windows down to take it all in. I love the bright cheery yellow burst of color as I round the curves.

Many locals complain about this invasive plant. They also call it Scotch broom, which it is not, and apparently is not as invasive as the Scotch or French broom which both grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains where I live.

Here’s what I gathered on the Internet about it:

A perennial, evergreen shrub, Spanish broom, aka Weavers broom, is often mistaken for Scotch broom (Scot's broom) but can be distinguished by the fragrant flowers and rounded, bright green stems.

Deciduous, summer to early spring, this species is considered somewhat less troublesome than Scotch or French brooms. In its native range, stems and fibers are used to make baskets, mats, ropes, and paper. Flowers provide a yellow dye and an essential oil that is sometimes used in perfumery. Introduced from the Mediterranean region and Canary, Madeira, and Azores Islands.

Spanish broom was introduced into the California ornamental trade in 1848 in San Francisco. Beginning in the late 1930s, it was planted along mountain highways in southern California.

According to the California Invasive Plant Council, Spanish broom occurs in coastal scrub, grassland, wetlands, and oak (Quercus spp.) woodland throughout California, and forests in the northwestern part of the state. Spanish broom is associated with coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis) in the interior Santa Cruz Mountains, with a large monospecific stand of French broom located downslope. Spanish broom also occurs in redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests.

This shrub is in full bloom on the hillside along the long drive to my house. I do not know what it is and have not been able to identify it so if you know please leave a message for me!!!


Sticky Monkey Flower


matilija poppy

Yerba Santa with lovely Swallowtail Butterfly

Elderberries in bloom. When the blossoms turn to deep blue/purple berries the birds will flock in droves, western tanagers, lesser goldfinch, flycatchers, towhees, grosbeaks, and then the band tail pigeons will swoop in with wings drumming to lord over the other birds while they stealthily flit from branch to branch.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

wayward threads & Rachel Zee Photography

I took a 45 minute drive to Mountain View yesterday to attend the FabMo distribution center. I was happy with the stash I gathered. I had a friend who attended in the past and said there wasn’t much to choose from the day she went but I think I got lucky. Tables of designer fabric swatches from sample books, cards of trim samples, yardage of donated fabrics are the offerings I perused. A $5.00 donation per grocery bag was asked and I walked away with 3 BAGS FULL!! I’ll use these fabric pieces to revamp vintage and used garments and accessories for my “wayward threads” clothing line.

Remember my post where I cut and sewed a vintage barkcloth remnant as the start of a jacket? The fabrics I had pinned to use as a skirt ended up not being the ones I choose. I totally changed the whole concept by dyeing silk noil gauze for a skirt instead of the tiered look I had originally thought I’d use.

This sweater jacket is not my usual color scheme but it just designed itself as I went along. I had the pink sweater and had dyed a vintage Edwardian cotton petticoat a pale sky blue. When I received the hand stamped trims in the mail I purchased from this Etsy shop the color scheme was born. I collected fabrics and embellishments from around my studio and piled them all together on a table and then pared it down to what I felt worked. While I was gathering and matching and piling on the trims and buttons I realized that this piece was exactly something that could be part of Dollybelle's Peepshow blog. I describe it as Parisian sparkle, lace, and birthday cake. Thanks for the inspiration Christine, I’m sure I channeled you in some way!

I posted several new upcycled reborn garments in my Etsy shop using photos that Rachel of Rachel Zee photography took using two of her friends, Carmen and Addison as models (I hope I spelled their names correctly). Lovely girls and the shoot went so smoothly. Rachel did an excellent job of choosing a perfect site to do this shoot at and an eye for capturing the images.

Please have a look at my new listings and the beautiful photos and let me and Rachel know what you think!

Friday, June 18, 2010


My cousin Kim Schrag is an artist I have always admired. She lives in New York State and has just now started a blog with her mate, Fernando Llosa, to showcase both their works. You can visit it here and be sure to click the link to their website to see all the fabulous art they create. I particularly like this piece of a series that Fernando is calling Stone Poem assemblages. I love that name for his work, stone poems, lovely.

And this piece by Kim. I can't believe she is creating this with paper? I want to see this in person. Guess that means I have to go visit her and I should, it's been a very long time since I've gotten to spend time with her.

I am almost ready to post some new wayward threads frocks on Etsy and a post here about them and the construction process but I have an appointment this morning with FabMo in Mountain View so I need to leave soon. Yes, I'm going to the distribution center to see what kind of fabrics I can find there. I have been wanting to go to this for a while now but the dates for this have never been ones that work for me. We all know I need more fabric right? :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Silk Ribbons

I just posted some more of my hand dyed ribbons on Etsy. Before I was through posting I had already made a sale. I am always amazed at who purchases them and what they do with them.

Here my dear friend Nina made this lovely story necklace. Her pieces truly are narrative as she calls them. She incorporated some of my faux scripted torn fabric ribbon strips into "The Forest" This piece sold very quickly as most of her jewelry does. Here are some images she so graciously sent me with permission to post.

Another jeweler friend of mine, Caty who creates fabulous lampwork beads and some edgy jewelry designs with PMC and copper, has purchased (and traded) ribbons with me. Here is one of her creation using a dyed silk cord. Isn't it lovely?

A few years ago I had a workshop in Kauai with the talented DJ Pettitt where she "constructed" this fabric book. I say constructed because it seems like many layers of work - painting, stitching, and handwork where she used fabrics I had dyed for her and see the shibori dyed silk ribbon she uses to tie it all together? Another use for my humble little ribbons. BTW, DJ gave me this book as a gift in front of a class I was teaching and I had to staunch the tears of joy as I argued with her that she could not give me such a thing. Since then I am learning grace, how to say "thank you" and not argue against such beautiful gifts.

If you purchase ribbons from me I would love to hear back from you about what you create with them or use them for!

BTW, I just got notice that one of my "wayward threads" vintage reborn slip dresses is in an Etsy Treasury. Another slip dress was also listed in a Treasury a few weeks ago here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Good Day Sunshine! (blog give away winner)

One a clear day I can see the beach across the bay in Monterey.

The rain has gone for now and the days have been bright and sunny and almost perfect. Over the weekend I had a photo shoot of my work and Saturday couldn't have been a better day to do it. Spent the night with a friend in Pacific Grove and she cooked me a fabulous breakfast the next morning. Crab and goat cheese omelet with hash browns and mimosas, yum!

I'm waiting patiently to get the proofs of the photo shoot. The photographer was busy this week so I know it will be next week before I get them. I'll be sure to post them here and also more items will be listed in Etsy.

Yesterday was my blog give away and since I had all of 5 comments and one of them was anonymous I wrote the names down on scraps of paper, folded them, laid them in a pile and closed my eyes to choose one. Joanne was the winner! Cowboy Jack I'm real sorry you weren't the winner because I would have loved any excuse to take off and travel to Current River. It's been too dang long a time and I'm sure the peace and tranquility that place brings to me would be just the ticket. Next year?

I have had a lot of hits on my vintage slip dresses and others sent me private messages via email or facebook. I can't wait to add the jackets and tops I've been working on but I'm just waiting (chomping at the bit really) to get those pics!