Friday, December 30, 2011

Teaching Events 2012

As the year is coming to an end I was reading my horoscope this morning (Capricorn) and this is what it said:

Creative writing doesn't just apply to short stories. Add flair to texts and emails.

You need to reach out and connect with someone new today -- your social life is more important than ever. It's a good time to dip into your pool of friends of friends, as they are looking your way.

Really I asked? Then it donned on me, oh I guess it's time to write a blog post so here I am.

The first exciting news I have is to announce is that I will be teaching again at Art Unraveled. I do not plan to have any health issues deter me this year (crossing fingers really tightly)! If you recall last year I had to cancel because of my eye issue. That is thankfully behind me now, finally!

In some of my past posts you'll remember how enamored I became with the eco dye printing technique that India Flint wrote about in her book Eco Colour which started a worldwide frenzy. I have devised a 9 hour class where we will use this technique on silk scarves and a second 3 hour class where we will dye silk ribbons and fabric strips using coffee, tea, and onion skins. Art Unraveled registration is now open so go have a look at the wonderful roster of classes being offered. This is one of my favorite retreats and I am so happy to be part of it again and would love to see many of my friends attend.

Dye Print Samples:

In April I am having some dear friends come visit me to take a private garment construction class in my studio. I am so excited about this but also a little nervous because I'm not sure how I'll combine being focused on teaching when these are close friends and I'll also want to be showing them around and socializing. I'm sure I'll figure it all out but it will be interesting.

Come September I'll be teaching once again at Art Is You Petaluma. This will be only the second year for this event and I think the word of mouth is getting around about what an opportunity this is! Lots of very talented instructors, in the wine country of California (think Sept. crush parties), and you could be there. I'm working very hard on some prototypes for an upcycled garment construction class. This will be completely new but I have a fantastic plan and I can not wait to get these prototypes finished and photographed and complete the write up! Art is You plans to go online with classes and registration in Feb. 2012. You can go to the site now though and see who will be teaching and start making your list of classes so you'll be ready when the registration opens!

After teaching at Art is You I am contemplating traveling to Art & Soul in Portland to vend. However, I will not be teaching. It is so difficult to project so far ahead and plan ones life. Next year already seems so full for me. In March I'll be taking that trip with my husband to New Zealand, the one we canceled because of my eye. April is when my friends come for the workshop, July my hubby and I plan to go to New York, Aug. is Art Unraveled, Sept. is Art is You, so then do I want to commit to going to Portland in Oct.? Do I want to plan to do the St. Louis Weavers' Guild annual show which is also Oct.? I have tentatively agreed to do a workshop in Missouri the first part of Nov. so please someone come organize my schedule for me and tell me what will be best okay? I'm taking volunteers, the lines are open. As my horoscope said ...."It's a good time to dip into your pool of friends"....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Business Side of Things

As an artist, a designer, a maker of things it is the part where I flourish. The studio can be such a creative place where the world is shut away from me and I'm focused on designing and creating. But because what I make are things I want to sell and share with those who appreciate them there is the business side. It has taken several days to do a photo shoot, load the photos on the computer, size and format them, choose which ones to use and then decide I need some more close ups and have to shoot more photos and repeat the process.

On Saturday I was fortunate to have my photographer friend Wendy shoot (photos of course) two lovely young models. My sons girlfriend Jillian and her friend Sara showed up at the Trunk Show and the photo shoot was done. It makes such a difference to have garments shown on a person and I am grateful for these friends who rallied to be there for me.

After getting the photos ready comes the part of writing up what the piece is, taking the measurements, describing the color, etc. I finally got some of that done today and was able to post several new items in my Etsy shop. I hope you'll visit and see my new listings.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Art by Amy Firestone Rosen

I posted this on FB so if you read it there sorry for the repeat but want to share this with everyone. I don't often buy wall art as I live in an Adobe house with lots of windows and very little space to hang any pictures. So it's a big deal that I bought this large piece of art. Of course I didn't hang it in my house but it proudly hangs in my studio. I know this snapshot isn't the best but because of the lighting in my studio I couldn't get a better one in a short amount of time. Just shows how anxious I am to share this artists work!

When I was at the St. Louis Artists' Guild with the Weavers' Guild show there was a framed print on the wall from one of the STL members. Since I upcycle vintage slips it really caught my attention. You can see the print if you click on Amy's name, it's the first one on the left in gallery 3. This is a life size print as the artist, Amy Firestone Rosen, uses vintage corsets, slips, and other garments to run through a large printing press. She inks the actual garment and runs it right through. The framed piece on the wall was not something to easily ship because of it's size but Amy was in house so she showed me her work space and all the prints she had in store and I got to choose one I could bring home on a plane. I had it framed and it's hanging in my studio. I love her work!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trunk Show Announcement!

Donna Rohm has graciously agreed to host a trunk show of my wearable art garments and accessories in her home. She will be selling her CAbi samples too! If you have never viewed CAbi (Carol Anderson by design) clothing you have to come check us out!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have been trying to find a source to buy some soft "pashmina" like scarves and stoles to dye. I find that most of these come from China and it's hard to know what they are made of because there is no quality control on fiber content. There are lots of sellers on eBay but none of them know what the item is made of. I know some countries sell these but call them "Pashima" and they are either wool, rayon, or a combination of. I bought some in Italy. I could not afford to purchase real pashmina wraps because they are very expensive.

This is what wikipedia has to say about "pashmina"

Pashmina refers to a type of fine cashmere wool and the textiles made from it. The name comes from Pashmineh (پشمینه), made from Persian pashm ("wool"). The wool comes from changthangi or pashmina goat, which is a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas in Nepal, Pakistan and northern India. Pashmina shawls are hand spun, woven and embroidered in Kashmir, and made from fine cashmere fibre.

The fibre is also known as pashm or pashmina for its use in the handmade shawls of Himalayas. The woolen shawls made in Kashmir find written mention in Afghan texts between 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD. However, the founder of the cashmere wool industry is traditionally held to be the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zayn-ul-Abidin, who introduced weavers from Central Asia.

Cashmere shawls have been manufactured in Nepal and Kashmir for thousands of years. The test for a quality pashmina is warmth and feel. Pashmina and Cashmere are derived from mountain goats. One distinct difference between Pashmina and Cashmere is the fiber diameter. Pashmina fibers are finer and thinner than cashmere fiber, therefore, it is ideal for making light weight apparel like fine scarves. Today, however, the word PASHMINA has been used too liberally and many scarves made from natural or synthetic fiber are sold as Pashmina creating confusion in the market.

Pashmina from Nepal are the best in quality because of the conditions to which the mountain goats have adapted over centuries. The high Himalayas of Nepal has harsh, cold climate and in order to survive, the mountain goats have developed exceptionally warm and light fiber which may be slightly coarser and warmer than cashmere fibers obtained from lower region goats. To distinguish Nepalese Pashmina, the Nepal Pashmina Industries Association has registered a Trademark around the world, called "Changra Pashmina".

It has been difficult to get a natural fiber item that I would be able to dye. I received some that I was able to dye but they had some polyester in them so the dye wasn't real strong. You can tell if there is polyester in fabric by doing a burn test. Take a thread and burn it. If it turns to ashes it is a natural fiber, if it melts and becomes a hard plastic ball you know it is a man made fiber and will not take natural or fiber reactive dyes.

Here is how correspondence went with some of the dealers on eBay:
(M = Me T= Them)

M: "What do you consider to be "pashmina"? Please tell me what the fiber content of that is. Thanks!"

T: "70% pashmina & 30% silk"

M: "What is pashmina?"

T: "Man-made cashmere"

M: "What does that man-made fiber consist of?"

No answer

Next correspondence:

M: "Please tell me what the fiber content of "pashmina" is. thanks!"

T: "Hello friend,
the tag shows it's 100% Pashmina.
Happy shopping!

M: "What is pashmina?"

No response

Next query:

M: "Please tell me what "pashmina" is? what is the fiber content?"

T: My dear friend,

The factory told me it's pashmina. But I guess it's cotton.But it's really warm. I also wear it. And for this scarf, many customers purchase it and leave a good feedback.


I'm left frustrated and not sure how to pursue this. I know Thai Silks/Exotic Silks has a silk/wool scarf but it's not as soft as I am looking for. If anyone has a good source I would be so happy to get that information!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Where did October go?

The end of September found me teaching and vending in Petaluma at Art Is You. Then I got to relax in beautiful Kauai while I experimented with some eco dyeing with local plants. The PDR you see in this pic was purchased at the thrift store so I had something to press flowers and leaves in. I also purchased a portable steamer at the same thrift store to use for eco print dyeing.

I came home for a week before I left again to visit Missouri. In that week I was gathering my wares to take to the St. Louis Weavers Guild show, helping buy my parents a computer that would be at their house when my husband and I arrived so we could get that set up for them, and packing. My studio suffered severely from the months of neglect while my eyes healed and then frantically trying to get things together for the shows and in between piles and piles and piles were created. That was waiting for me when I got home, a bit overwhelming.

The Missouri trees were just starting to change color and I got to be there to see that. Truly a beautiful sight. In the California Mountains the most color we get is from the brilliant red poison oak.

And I did some eco print dyeing while there. (Thank you to my new friend Pat Vivod for the pics)

I came home still on Central Time so I went to bed earlier than usual and have woken up at 4:30 - 5:30 in the morning. So if you see me on FB then it's because there isn't much else to do while one is waiting for the sun to come up.

I am now in the process of arduously cleaning and organizing my studio so I can get in there and work. I feel great creativity right now so I want my space together. It seems there is a constant cluttering up and then the task of decluttering. I've not learned how to work systematically so that things stay organized. sigh.

I sent this garment off in the mail yesterday to St. Louis. I was so disappointed in myself that I didn't get any pictures of Ricë or Leighanna wearing it around the vendor hall at Art Is You when it looked so fabulous on both of them! I hope to make similar shirt tops in the next few weeks and I will reopen my Etsy shop with them.

And then I'll be getting ready for Thanksgiving. We always have the feast at our house with traditional turkey and dressing and all the trimmings. I've been cutting out a lot of sugar in my diet these last months so I will be looking forward to PIE!!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

From Art is You to Kauai

It's already October? Where did the time go ......... well I prepared to teach at Art is You Petaluma, my sister came from Dallas to help me. This was my first event since my eye surgery back in April. I could not have done it without her! Seriously, for five months I had to do almost nothing and then to suddenly be on my game to vend and teach was a big jump! I was so happy to be there though and I feel it went mostly smooth. But again it's because Jan was there to help me from stitching up last minute garments to sell, sewing in labels, loading the car, setting up classrooms, fetching and lifting, hauling and packing. Whew! Here are some photos of my nuno felt scarf class. Alas we were so lame at taking photos. We both had our cameras but on vendor night we failed to snap one picture, in my ribbon dyeing class we did not get one darn photo so the last day of class we remembered and Jan did a wonderful job of documenting. See? I really did need her.

The day after class we drove back to my house in the Santa Cruz Mnts. and we unloaded the car. The next morning we were up very early to take Jan to the airport. I came home and finished unpacking, figured out my inventory and made my list for the St. Louis Weavers' Guild show the end of this month, paid my overdue (eek!) AZ taxes, and packed fabrics and dyeing items to bring to Kauai with me. 6:00 a.m. the next morning we were leaving for the airport for a direct flight on Alaska airlines to Lihue. No flying to Honolulu to take the WikiWiki to inter-island terminal and wait an hour and a half to fly over to Kauai. It was nice.

Now I'm on island and the weather has been fabulous.

I went to my friend Connie's yesterday to do some eco dyeing. We had both collected flowers and leaves to use. We took a walk down the road that fronts her house and onto a eucalyptus tree lined path. We collected the euca leaves and barks from 3 types of trees. Alas I do not know what kind they are. We bundled euca leaves, tulip tree flowers, different colored hibiscus, plumeria, gardenia, plumeria leaves, croton leaves, and flowers and leaves not yet identified and all sorts of rusty items. We hot bundled so we opened them fairly soon. We were wanting to know what would dye and what wouldn't before we did larger pieces to leave bundled for longer periods of time. I bought a two tiered large electric vegetable steamer at a thrift store for $4.00 and that made me very happy. Isn't it great that something that simple can make a person smile? I was so tired when I got home from Connies! Hubby and I went out to eat and came home and I swear I was asleep by 8:00.

Today I'll iron out the samples we did yesterday and take some photos to post later. The larger scarf bundles I won't unwrap until the coming Friday or Saturday before I head home on the 10th.