GirlwithArtThis weekend I will be doing nothing but art.  And I mean literally nothing because I am participating in not one, but two great events and I am spending my time split between the two of them.

First, I will be at Art-A-Whirl, which is a giant open studio event in NE Minneapolis.  I am the guest artist in studio 401-B with my friends Ingrid and Eric.  It’s my first Art-A-Whirl and I think it’s going to be fun.  We are on the 4th floor in the Northrup King Building.  There are lots of good signs, just look for 401.  I will have all digitally printed fabrics there.  I have 3 dresses that are “show pieces” and a bunch of skirts, scarves, ties and hankies that are for sale.  I will be at AAW Friday, Saturday after 2pm and for just a bit on Sunday morning.

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I will also be at the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival at the Washington County Fairgrounds on Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.  Thanks to my awesome booth mates who are helping me be at both events!  This is my 5th year (or something like that) at Shepherd’s Harvest and I will have laser cut jewelry and looms and some new really cute zipper bags featuring all kinds of knitting and fiber puns.  I even made a new day-glo pink laser cut loom just for this year’s festival.

 

 

I have been writing a lot of “behind the scenes” posts here lately and I think that is kind of fun.  That’s the season I am in right now.  I am not making a lot of new work, but I am working a lot with others.  Spring is a busy time for projects with kids.  I know that from my years administrating those kinds of programs for Textile Center.  I am very fortunate to have made some great connections while I was there that have lead to a couple of neat projects for me this spring.  I posted an update to my Facebook page each day of this most recent residency (which I have quoted below) and I wanted to tell you a little about what it is like to be the artist who comes into a classroom.

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8th grade residency: Day 1
This quilt got verbal “oooohs” from the 8th graders. I started a residency today doing digital fabric designs with the Fiber Art 3 class. I wasn’t sure they were really in to what I was showing them, but this was a hit.

Lesson One:  Bring good show and tell.

We didn’t do any hands-on projects the first day of this residency, but I talked about my art and what it’s like being a full time artist.  I talked about fabric design and repeats and border prints and we looked at a lot of examples of clothing and places you see patterns.  The classroom teacher told me that they might be pretty squirrely because they weren’t used to a “lecture” kind of class, but it was a great opportunity for them to practice taking notes.  They looked pleasantly bored for a lot of the time (as is completely normal for 8th graders) but they completely came to life when I brought out this quilt to show them and I had a mob around me at the end of the period as I pointed out the photo of Chester in the pool or my nephew with his bright yellow ball.  I didn’t know this was going to be a hit, but I am glad that it worked.

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8th grade residency: Day 2
What’s cool today? The dress I wore that has a pattern of zippers on it was moderately cool. With the exception of The Table Who Whines, drawing was sorta cool. The fact that my sister is a computer programmer and a girl? Awesome.

Lesson Two:  Share.

It is tough to come in and not know names and know that I won’t be there quite long enough to learn them.  So I try to make any connections I can with the kids as we chat.  I tell them about my dogs and my favorite color.  I brought new show-and-tell every day by wearing something I made.  They picked up on the fact that I was doing that and started to ask me about it.  When they left the room at the end of day one, they were anxious about drawing the next day (What if I can’t draw?  I am a really bad drawer!).  So my sister volunteered to make a sample that I could show them from “not an artist”.  They totally connected with that and thought my sister sounded cool.  I told them about how I really hate painting and when I was going to school I didn’t want to study to be an artist because I thought I would have to do so much painting.  I gave them permission to call me Becka (instead of Mrs Rahn).  I let them chat all they wanted to while they were working (you can’t stop 8th graders from doing that) and I chatted too as I walked around the tables. The “I can’t draw” attitude totally went away once they were doing it.

I also shared some eye rolling with the classroom teacher about “The Table Who Whines” (which is her affectionate name for them) and a nod from across the room when the phones crept out, because although they are technically not allowed, the kids were using them to look for photos to do drawings from and we decided that was a good thing.

8th grade residency: Day 3
Collages are easier than drawing. Some people count their pieces to make sure that they only do the 8 minimum that is required. Lace doilies were a big hit. Especially when you got to peel them apart.

Lesson Three: Find your role.

This residency was a treat because the teacher I worked with is someone I have known for a while.  The kids love her and she genuinely shares the room when you come in to make art with the kids.  She is the best kind of teacher to work with.  As “the artist” you can be presented to the kids in many different ways:

  • The Babysitter. The classroom teacher spends the time grading papers at the desk or talking to the parent volunteer and you are on your own.
  • The Alien. The teacher constantly explains to the kids that she doesn’t know what you are doing either so she can’t help and we all better listen up.
  • The Treat.  No one has any idea why you are there or what you are doing, but they are ready with their desks cleaned off for you to begin the show.
  • The Afterthought. The teacher takes up half of your teaching time doing the daily writing thing and homework reminders, followed by lecturing the kids about how to behave.  Then you try to teach your lesson in half the time and nobody gets done.
  • The Assistant.  The teacher re-teaches everything you just said, or jumps ahead to an instruction you haven’t gotten to yet, and every kid in the room is asking her the questions instead of you.
  • The Goddess.  The teacher constantly points out to kids how amazing your sample is and how it’s ok if theirs looks bad because you are An Artist and they are just learning.
  • The Partner.  The teacher works with you, directs questions from the kids to you and asks questions on behalf of the group.

None of these are bad necessarily, but you almost never know until you arrive which role you will be expected to play.  The best question I ever learned to ask right away is what the signal is for the kids to be quiet and listen.  With 8th grade this isn’t as essential, but with 3rd graders, knowing the clap-clap-clapclapclap sequence can make the whole day go much differently.  I can teach as any of these artist roles, although I enjoy some more than others, and I have learned to adapt.

8th grade residency: Day 4
Computers are a success! I was much nervous about trying to do a computer thing with 34 8th graders on Chromebooks (which I had not seen before today.) Technology cooperated and I think we got everything saved onto the thumb drives. Double checking, that is my afternoon project.

Lesson Four: Have a backup plan.

I always have an extra 10 minute lesson planned.  I am a complete nut and agreed to do this residency with kids on computers which I had never used or seen.  I like to live dangerously.  It worked out fantastically, but I did bring an extra simple hands-on project with me just in case we had to bail on the laptops and do something else.  I planned an extra day into our lesson plans in case we couldn’t get everything done in our 45 minute periods (which are really short!)  One day we got done a little early and there was a little bit of noisy chaos at the end of class.  One day they were total speed demons and claimed to be “DONE” after 5 minutes.  The teacher and I made up some new “rules” about their designs and that they had to try more things before they could say they were done.

I also did a lot to make sure I knew everything I could about the technology before I got to class.  I know the art form no problem, but I made sure I was extra prepared with the tools and things that were out of my control.  I had 2 other online graphics programs picked out and tested in case PicMonkey didn’t work or was blocked by the school firewall.  I had 8 thumb drives ready to save kids artwork, but I knew that PicMonkey could also email the files to me in a pinch and I had tested that out.  Which was really good because for some reason 3 kids couldn’t get theirs to save and we emailed them instead.  I made 2 extra “generic” versions of the original art work for each project (a pencil drawing and a paper collage) so that the kids who missed the day when we made the original art wouldn’t have to sit and not participate on the day we did the digital editing.

8th Grade Residency: Day 5
Monday morning. First period. 8th graders. Grey and rainy day. These things do not mix. We got it done. But it was a slog.

Lesson Five: Don’t take it personally.

In every class, there are 4 kids who are 100% into whatever you are doing, they do amazing work and you are completely blown away by it. There are 12 kids who do great work and are about 80% engaged and will give you a high-five on your way out the door.  There are 10 kids who are ambivalent and are having fun in the moment and will probably forget that they ever met you come next week.  There are 5 kids who never quite get it and need help for every step.  And there are 3 kids who don’t ever connect and although they probably do the project, they just really don’t care.  And that’s ok.

Sometimes you can look at the “I am so cool I am bored” attitude and not see a glimmer of that fact that they are completely in love with what they are doing.  I don’t ever get more than a moment with these kids, so I have no idea whether the lack of enthusiasm is the flu or just being 14.  As artists, we know that not all art forms appeal to all of us. There’s a reason I am not a painter.  I want them to try something new; they have my permission to not like it.  I try to always teach my classes with that in mind.

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Day 6 hasn’t happened yet, but I am pretty sure it’s going to be a hit.  We have collected and uploaded all of the kids art and I am ordering 2 fat quarters of fabric for each kid.  This is a tiny thumbnail of their abstract designs all together.  I will ask their permission to show you more detailed images at some point.

Our big show-and-tell day will be in a couple of weeks.  I saved their original paper artwork to give back to them along with the fat quarters so they can see the before and after.  This has been a really fun residency and it is a treat that the school got a “technology integration grant” that made this technique a perfect fit for the fiber arts class.

 

photo 1This has turned out to be my very busiest time of year.  This last week I travelled to Rapid City SD for the Black Hills Fiber Arts Fair.  It is just the second year for the fair.  I went last year as a visitor and took a class with my mom; this year I taught 4 classes and had a vendor booth.

I do several fiber fairs that are structured like this one:  vendors, classes, other events all packed in to one weekend.  Figuring out what parts you want to do and what you realistically CAN do are two different things.

Classes

photo 4I realized quickly that I wouldn’t be able to take any classes.  This event was set up to have a “classes day” for the vendors before the event was open to the public, so that you could go take a class without having to have someone watch your booth.  But I was teaching a class then and the schedule worked out that I was overlapping with other classes and one of the events that evening (an opening reception) so I wasn’t able to do either of those things.  It was a great class to teach, so that really worked out just fine.  The rest of the weekend I was either teaching or needing to be in my booth, so no classes for me.

Events each have a personality.  This fair had a pretty laid back policy about checking in for set up and teaching and those kinds of things.  I needed to be a little pro-active about tracking down what I needed (extension cords), improvising name tags (masking tape) and adjusting some lights in the space we were in.  The gallery staff for the venue was outstanding and really helpful. One of my classes had 2 or maybe 3 different times published which was a little confusing, so just being extra prepared and having a “make it work” attitude made the weekend that much nicer.

I packed all of the supplies for my classes into rolling suitcases, packed with big ziploc bags.  I knew I needed to just be able to pop them out and be ready to go since I had limited set up time and more setup meant more time away from my booth.  I stashed the suitcases under my table so I could just grab them and go.

photo 5Vendor Booth

I was super lucky to have my sister and husband who could be booth sitters while I taught the rest of my classes over the weekend.  It really helped that they were both pretty familiar with my items for sale, but there were still lots of people with questions who stopped back to find me later when I was in the booth.  Even a great booth sitter (which mine were) isn’t a substitution for being able to interact with the artist, so I felt a little sad that I was away from my booth for about 8 hours of the event.  I might think next year about requesting that my classes happen during the “slow hours” of the event right at the end of the day.

I forgot my knitting!  One thing I think is really helpful at a fair like this is to have something to do with your hands.  I know how much I hate “pushy salespeople” in a shop and I feel like if I am occupied with a little something, then I make the customers more comfortable looking at things at my booth.  And it gives a really easy start to a conversation with strangers – “Oh, what are you knitting?”  You need a simple project that you can pick up and put down (no lace patterns to count) at any minute and especially something that you can look up and talk and be aware while you are doing it.  I didn’t have a project ready to go and I was antsy without it.

Social & Social Media

I had really good intentions of taking lots of photos and writing up a whole post about the art and the vendors at the show.  Oops.  That didn’t happen!  I have some photos of my booth, but only because my mom took a few.  I really only got to walk around the show in the minutes before we opened to the public and I could chat with other vendors.  I bought one skein of pretty yarn from the booth right across from mine.  I love reading other people’s posts about their visits to events like this, but being able to write one fell down to the bottom of my list of things I needed to do.

I met some really cool people, but I never really had time to chat.  We were each running to teach and then back to our booths and I think next time maybe I will plan an evening for going out for a drink or a meet up for coffee before the event opens.

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Don’t underestimate the Power of Chocolate

photo 2A very dear friend surprised me by coming to the show to say hi and bringing me a little box of chocolate.  I hadn’t had anything but a granola bar for lunch that day and I was feeling a little worn out after teaching for 4 hours.  Chocolate was exactly what I needed.  Sea salt caramels coated in chocolate can fix anything.

They had a really awesome food vendor at this show from what I heard, but sadly for me, she didn’t have any vegetarian options.  I probably could have gotten a side of potato salad, but I wished that the taco salad option would have included beans instead of meat.  I will put that in the evaluation that I turn in.

Overall…

It was an awesome show for me.  I had 2 shops approach me about carrying my stuff.  I met some awesome people. My classes all went great.  I was invited back to teach again next year.  Sales were even better for me than at a much bigger show I did last year.  All in all, this one gets an A.  Thanks to the staff and volunteers at both the BHFAF and the Dahl Arts Center.  You do a great event!

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I just finished 28 hours of an art show.  That’s probably really 36 hours on my feet on a hard concrete floor once we have set up and tear down.  The experience was amazing and I wouldn’t trade any of those minutes for anything, but chatting with my fellow artists all weekend brought out some things that we agreed they never tell you are part of the job description.

1.  Describe your art in 10 words.

When you meet anyone at an art fair there are about 100 things competing for their attention.  You need to be able to talk about what you do in 10 words or less if you want to start a conversation with someone and talking about your art is why both of you are there, usually.  My phrase for this event was “Let me know if you have questions.  These are all digitally printed fabrics from manipulated photographs.”   Most people would pause for a second (as they made sense of all of those technical sounding words that I just said) and then I would get a big smile and they would say “Oh, that’s really cool!” or “Wow, I’ve never heard of that.”  I had a lot of really great conversations that started just that way.

2.  Cute outfits always include comfortable shoes.

There is just nothing like the 10th hour on your feet in inappropriate shoes.  Danskos will save your life.  Cute dress, tights, danskos, cardigan sweater.  That’s my uniform.  Pockets are also really necessary.

3.  Eat lunch in 2 dozen 2 bite segments.

Almonds, cheese and apple slices are my very favorite show lunch.  You can eat two bites between conversations, and your fingers don’t get messy.  Sometimes you are lucky and you can step away for a few minutes and sometimes you just can’t.  This particular show had a demonstration by the local TeaSource (who will be forever my heroes!) just across an aisle and I can’t tell you how good a hot cup of tea is when you have been talking all day.

4.  You will get sick the week after it is done.

I shook about eleventy-thousand hands and I was already stressed and a little sleep deprived from getting everything ready.  It was inevitable.  I should remember to schedule nothing the week after because that’s exactly what is going to get done:  nothing.

5.  You will have another deadline.

The week I was getting ready for this show (the biggest one I have ever done!) was also the week that the final edit of the manuscript for my book was due.  Yup.  Two deadlines right on top of each other and by the time I realized that they were all going to happen on the same week there was nothing I could do but hang on for the ride.  The universe will sense all of that great creative energy and will throw things at you like crazy.  The best strategy is to just admit that you are insane and not let the stress get to you.  I let some things go, I wrote some emails and apologized for having to delay a few others and I tried to enjoy what I could – these were really GOOD things happening that were making me stressed.

I didn’t really listen to my own best advice, although to be fair, I didn’t know about either the show or the book deadline when I agreed to this week’s project: Black Hills Fiber Arts Fair.  I will be teaching 4 classes and minding a little vendor booth all weekend in Rapid City SD, my hometown.  Hopefully I will be over this cold.  The classes are ones that I know and love and so there is no stress about preparing for any of them.  Just good fun teaching.  If you are in the neighborhood, stop by!  My youngest sister will be minding the booth for me so I can teach one day.  Say hi to her too.

What are your additions to the artist’s job description?  I know you have them.

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A huge thank you to all of the artists at the American Craft Council show in St Paul.  I was part of a “Hip Pop” pod, which is ACC’s new emerging artists program.  They curated pods of 6 new emerging artists and we shared a double booth space at the show.  The artists, the shoppers, and the staff were all so enthusiastic and supportive of our pod, I can’t say enough thanks to them.  We felt loved!

A special shout out to veteran artists John Jameson, Sharon Rosenthal, Arlene Wohl and Kay Chapman.  They were our neighbors at pod #303 and were absolutely welcoming and supportive (and funny when we all started to get a little tired).

I was in amazing company with my pod mates who are all so talented.  I am so glad we got to spend the days together and I hope we run into each other many times again.

Matthew Krousey.  Matt works in richly textured ceramics that have a strong connection to nature and organic designs.

Nick Lundeen  Nick’s jewelry has a sense of agelessness in style and texture.

Betty Jäger  Betty’s work has as much personality as she does.  Organic, unexpected, lots of sparkle.

Lauren Mayhew Lauren incorporates bold graphic designs into whimsical knit hats.  The pops of color with the soft neutrals remind me a lot of her personality.

Elizabeth Pechacek  Elizabeth’s work has a sense of fragility with soft colors and fine lines that is in juxtaposition to the classic forms of her pieces.

Betty, Nick, Elizabeth and I will all be at Art-a-Whirl, Matt does tons of shows around town and keep your fingers crossed for Lauren who has a job interview this week. Please say hi to them if you see them out and about in the art world.

Thank you to all of YOU who stopped by to say hi at the booth.  I can’t begin to name all of you, but it was so great to see all of your smiles and to get to show off the work I have been doing.  Thank you to Rachel for the Advil and Andi for the tea.  You are both life savers.

Today I caught up on all of the emails I have been ignoring and feel like I need a nap.  What a weekend!

PrintI just created this poster for my display at the ACC show which is coming up in just a little over a week! These are all of the designs I will have at the show in the form of skirts or scarves.  There are a few favorites there that are designs I developed over the last 3 years or so and many many new designs created in these last 6 months of my new art-making focus.

I thought it would be fun to tell you some fun facts about this collection of designs.

  • Three are collaborations with my mom.  She is an awesome photographer and she knows what I love.  She taunts me with these irresistible photo textures and I can’t help but design something. It is super fun to collaborate with her.
  • Five at least are collaborations with my husband.  Also an awesome photographer.  Sometimes he snaps photos and puts them in a folder marked “Textures” and waits for me to find them.  Sometimes we take photos together and I spot things and say “Get that!”.
  • The original photos/scans that were used to create these designs were taken in Mt St Michel and Giverny, France; London,England; San Antonio, TX; Hill City and Rapid City, SD; Minneapolis, MN; Orlando, FL.
  • There are 2 kinds of lace, 2 kinds of leaves, 2 kinds of ice, 2 hand fans.  Two images were taken at the Hennepin History Museum.  There are two images that are each used in two different designs: a pile of video cables (thanks Jay!) and a collage of painted newspaper.
  • There are designs made from junk mail, painted paper and scanned maple leaves.  The painted paper collection has batik made with elmer’s glue and a rubber eraser, painted sheet music, crumpled brown paper and masking tape.

I had these same images printed onto custom playing cards, so I have a card for each design that will be attached to the tag for each piece.  I wanted that to be a part of the piece – the story about where the design came from.  And I got an extra deck of cards for people to just look through.  For me these designs are about wearable art.  I am not a fashion designer or into conceptual fashion.  I love basic pieces that show off the surface design and allow you to wear the art. You get to be a part of it. There’s a great quote by Oscar Wilde: “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”  Exactly.

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Finding inspiration isn’t a problem for me.  In fact, it’s almost the opposite.  I am compelled to create things and I am never lacking for ideas.  Sometimes it is difficult to actually finish something because I always have a better idea in the middle of what I am doing.  My mom will attest to this.  She tells stories of elaborate schemes presented to her in order to get her to take my sister and I to the local hobby store. No one was bored at my house.

There’s an expectation, or perhaps a social media inspired trend, that I am feeling right now that when you are an artist that you do a lot to find inspiration.  You create a mood board or a journal or you collect things that inspire you.  You put things in your space to provide inspiration.  In fact, you have a specific inspiring space where you do your work.  And you post photos of your inspiring space to help inspire others.  And you pin photos of other people’s inspiring spaces.

Abby, a blogger who I follow, just posted something the other day about a comment left on a photo she posted of her laptop at the kitchen table:

This question really struck me. I started to wonder what people might be imagining it looks like here at my house when I’m writing or sewing or podcasting or working on my business. Do they think it looks somehow different than this? Sexier than my kitchen table? And if they do, why?

What makes us want to imagine artists in beautiful light-filled loft studios surrounded by a rainbow of paint tubes where even the drop cloth is color-filled and brilliant? Or writers sitting in bustling coffee shops sipping espresso and effortlessly dashing off inspired tomes?

In fact, this has been somewhat of a recurring theme for me lately.  In an art group I belong to, we had a discussion about journaling.  One of the artists is in a mentoring program that does not require, but strongly recommends, that you keep a journal of your experience.  She wasn’t sure where to start or how she could do it without it becoming something she felt obligated to do, rather than inspired by.  Another group meeting recently had an activity where we were each asked to bring our sketchbooks and talk about our process.   A friend stopped me at an art show and was disappointed when I said I didn’t have a studio that I work in.  (I get asked this a lot)

I actually find all of those things the opposite of inspiring.  I don’t like to have other people’s work in my space.  I have art all over my house,  but nothing specifically there to “be inspiring”, just things that I love.  I don’t want to have a photo clipped from a magazine that I can copy.  I don’t keep a sketchbook or a journal.  In fact it was very awkward for me at this meeting with the sketchbook activity – I felt as though I had to defend myself for not having one.  I keep a notebook of notes, but it’s all math and technical notes.  I write down RGB and hex codes for colors.  I write out the math for determining how much ease and the size of the facing on my wrap skirt. It’s practical and it’s information I know I might need again.  I also keep meeting notes in there and stuff I write down while on phone calls.  It’s not very inspiring.  I like working in my house and being able to scratch my dogs and go make tea or a piece of toast when I feel like it.  Sometimes I work in my sewing room, but it’s small and so sometimes I spread out all over the dining room table.  There’s a card table set up in the dining room right now too because I am working on a big project and I feel like I need the space.  Sometimes I spend the whole day at the computer, which is on a big messy desk cluttered with coffee mugs, earrings and camera equipment. And I am not talking business chores on the computer, it’s a part of my art process and one that I love.  But not exactly inspiring either (at least to anyone else.)  Believe me, erasing pixels is exactly as exciting as watching paint dry.

I think about the artists who I know and love and none of them have Pinteresty workspaces or processes.  My friend Donna works with buckets of frozen rhubarb leaves and stews made from a whole lot of other things that most people would compost.  There is nothing romantic or pretty about that.  (I imagine some of them smell bad, too.)  Another friend’s studio is a mish-mash of storage space, staging area and place to make a mess.  She doesn’t want the mess at her house, so the studio is the place to make the mess and it invites you to do it.  I work in the dining room or at the kitchen table or on the back porch or sometimes all in my head.  I may or may not be wearing a matched pair of socks while I do it.

Do I burst your bubble by admitting this? Are you sad that I don’t have a secret artistic sketchbook to show you?  Do you want me to have a studio and a pretty Pinterest-worthy wall?  (I am curious now.)  Do you have a sketchbook of inspiration?  Does it work for you?  Or do you do it because that’s what artists do?

 

 

hhm

It ‘s #MuseumWeek on Twitter this week and that seemed like a great excuse to talk about my favorite museum in the  Twin Cities: Hennepin History Museum.  Museum Week is a fun celebration of museums behind the scenes.  Yesterday the theme was “behind the scenes secrets” and today the theme is “souvenirs”.  And I have some great souvenirs from HHM!

I visited the museum a few weeks ago and brought along my camera.  HHM is housed in a turn-of-the-century mansion that is full of beautiful details.  When I was there taking photos, an exhibition of hand fans had just opened to coincide with a “Fireside Chat“, an afternoon lecture by a local fan collector.  HHM holds these chats every other week and they feature local authors and history experts talking about everything from beekeeping to baseball.

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I was really enamoured with this painted feather fan.  It is made from white goose feathers which are painted with a floral spray and tipped with peacock plumes.  Since I have been designing skirts non-stop the last few months, I looked at this and saw a skirt (naturally).  My wrap skirt design is a 3/4 circle, which is a tough shape to work from, but a fan is already a 1/3 circle shape.  It was a natural fit!

BatHHM

IMG_3262I love those peacock feathers around the hem!  The museum staff was so excited that I was making things inspired by the collection that they invited me to have this skirt on display along with the fans.  It was neat for me to see the two side-by-side and you can see them too if you stop by.

I also took some photos of the woodwork details in the Fireside Room.  This helix patterned trim is featured throughout the room.

hhm-3And that also inspired a design.  I haven’t stitched up the sample of this one yet, but you can see the sketch.  I used this bit of woodwork trim to make radiating stripes from the waist to hem.  I also designed a basic stripe based on this woodwork pattern, which I will hopefully be printing to make silk scarves for the HHM shop a little later in the spring.

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One visit and two pretty awesome designs!  I feel like I found buried treasure.  I can’t wait to go back and see what else I find.

I had never actually heard of Hennepin History Museum before a year or so ago, even though it has been around since the 50s.   My friend Cedar is their new Executive Director and I think she has some pretty awesome ideas and the enthusiasm to bring their knowledge and collections more into the community.  In fact, I joined the Board of Directors in January, so I can help her out with that project. If you are in the Twin Cities area, I hope you will stop by and visit or come for a Fireside Chat.

 

 

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My niece drew this picture of a sewing machine for me.  Her message “Don’t miss the sniff” is to let me know that not only is there a scratch and sniff sticker there, but she drew it using smelly markers.  Important stuff when you are 4.  I am in love with this picture.

“Kid art” is a really hard thing to translate into fabric design.  And honestly, I look at pretty much everything anymore and think “How can I make fabric out of this?”  So I wanted to capture this fabulous drawing in fabric.

via gofugyourself.celebuzz.com

via gofugyourself.com

The new fall line for Dolce & Gabbana offers this.  Which I honestly think is hideous.  If you click that photo it will take you to a whole slide show of their runway show, which has a whole collection of “kid art” prints.  They all look like they are printed on shiny satin besides, which also doesn’t make any sense.  Formal crayon wear? Ugh.

So instead of trying to go with a literal interpretation, I decided to use Mia’s drawing as inspiration instead.

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So, I drew the sewing machine and all of the other doo-dads and shapes in Illustrator, making it into a vector design so I could rearrange, resize and so on to make a repeat.  This one is about 18″ because I wanted it to be big and bold.  I wanted some textures to overlay on designs like this, so a few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon making fibery textures.  This one is perfect for this design.  I also used Mia’s drawing for the color inspiration.  I think my version has enough pink in it for her to approve.

I don’t see this is a clothing fabric (although she would probably wear it) so I decided to think of it like a craft/quilting fabric instead, which meant I wanted to have a collection of coordinating prints to go along with it.  Solids with the same fibery texture, “cheerios” and little banner flags so far.  I think I need one more.  Any ideas?

coordinates

 

I know it is sewing machines (and you do now too), but I think this also could look like tribal/tiki/monster as I can see a few faces in there.  And that also works for me.