Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Textiles: Japanese Boro

I realise there have been many posts about the amazing art of Boro, but I couldn't let my textiles week go by without a mention. Aren't they exquisite? Boro textiles were made in the late 19th century and early 20th century in Japan from recycled indigo-dyed rags that have been handed down through each generation. I love this idea of family provenance - a visual piecing together of family history. You can see in the examples above how they were added to piece-by-piece with patches as they became available. The reverence with which they are now regarded is unsurprising as they have become objects of history yet also as collages that document the soul of a family. I find myself very much fueled with inspiration for patchwork by looking at these. I think it's the chaotic nature of them that appeals. If you'd like to see more you can find them here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Textiles: Nendo

Next up in my textile odyssey is another amazing innovation, this time from Japanese designers Nendo. Blown Fabric was launched last year for the development of new lamp shapes. Made of a thermoplastic non-woven polyester fibre, they use a process similar to that of glass-blowing to construct these light hollow forms. Obviously I'm biased, but I keep seeing these as gorgeous floating frock creations :) Can you imagine this textile in a multitude of light-as-air frills in a dress? The fibre apparently catches the light, as well as being rip-proof. What I love most about it though is that it is impossible to totally control the moulding of the forms, so each piece is an absolutely unique shape... Are we approaching the full circle from the Industrial Revolution where man-made now seeks to resemble nature rather than merely replace it? You can read more about the amazing Blown Fabric here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Textiles: Elisa Strozyk

I'm having a textile love affair at the moment and thought I'd indulge in a week of fabric love. First off the block, German based designer, Elisa Strozyk and her wooden textiles. Surely the ultimate in innovation and imagination, this fabric utilises wood veneer off-cuts and re-purposes them via laser cut technology to create a more fluid fabric of strength and flexibility. I love the interplay between our perception of what is hard and soft. You can visit her website to find out more here.

Photos by Sebastian Neeb

Friday, March 26, 2010

Make Do + Mend: Quilt dress

Sorry I've been a bit absent lately. There's been a lot going on but I have been making in between the chaos...

Basically, I've been making lots of frills. Very simple sewing but so fiddly! The thing about frills (as you probably already know) is that they require a lot of fabric. Average fabric widths tend to be a tad restrictive, but this was great because the fabric I used was from a quilt cover... I know, so naff but I really loved the fabric. It's a light cotton in a gorgeous denim-like colour. No pattern - I just had an idea of what I wanted and began cutting. Maybe it was because I was working on it in snippets whenever I could grab a few minutes, I had more time to think about things before I jumped in... In any case, it was one of the lucky times when things actually turned out (I think)...

I also hand embroidered a flower form on the bodice - now, this was fun... I also made this up as I went along and (unbelievably) it worked...

Tried to take a pic of myself wearing it, and (believably) it didn't work! This still remains a skill I need to master ;) Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tea pots & tea towels :)

I've had a bit of spoiling lately and I'm long overdue in saying my thank-yous. Firstly, to the super lovely Bex over at Stuffed Nonsense who went to her local charity shop to get this 50s tea pot just for me and then posted it all the way from the UK. I'm still totally in awe of someone being that gorgeous and kind - thank you Bex :)

And then there's this wonderful phenomenon which has had much airplay on the crafty blogisphere, the famous tea towel swap. Look at my beautiful collection of tea towels. I hope the photo enlarges when you click on it so you can see them in more detail. The effort that everyone has gone to is just so amazing. So, big thanks as well to Suzie at Soozs, Ellen at Really Turning Japanese, Leah at Puggle Logic, Rachel at Waiting in the Capital, and Tanya at Apple and Tangerine :))

Friday, March 19, 2010

V&A Quilt lovin'

One of my favourite places in the world, and one of my favourite sites in the blogisphere, is the V&A. I love this place. That I used to work there (in the National Art Library) adds an extra thrill to the feeling of this being 'my place', if you know what I mean? I receive their monthly subscriber emails with updates of their exhibitions and what's in the shop etc. This month's update was a wonderful treat... the new exhibition is called Quilts 1700 - 2010 and, as always, they have an abundance of support merchandise in the V&A Shop which definitely comes under the 'covetable' banner :) They have books about quilting, how-to books and stationery, but best of all, the V&A have teamed up with Liberty Art Fabrics to offer a broad range of divine textiles for sale in either fat quarter, half meter or meterage lengths. Here are my favourites...

If you're lucky enough to be heading over to London in the next couple of months, the exhibition runs from 20th March till 4th July 2010. Find out more about the exhibition here.

Sorry if this reads like an ad for the V&A - my intention is only to share this wonderful site and show you some crafty things you might be interested in. Have a lovely weekend :)

Monday, March 15, 2010


Well, the tea towels are done and I'll be sending them off this week. Thanks for all your great suggestions of how to fix my cut-in-half problem with the design. I ended up doing a couple of different things to them because they were actually all different, being hand printed. Two of them just had a threesome of birds added here and there (above)... and two of them had a grid of lines wrapped around the middle print (below)...

I decided to wash them before sending and discovered that on one of the grid Ts I mustn't have sealed the fabric paint as well as I'd thought, as you can see below... I'm still debating with the perfectionist in myself about whether to try and fix it somehow but the Mr says it adds character (he also said I'm in grave danger of far too much over-working on these pieces which was actually the comment that really hit home!).

So, what happened with the fifth tea towel? Well, of course I went totally overboard... or maybe not. I'm still not sure. I decided to do something radically different and screenprinted my retro star pattern over the top of one lino print. It wasn't quite right and so the over-working happened again... and now it looks a bit like one of those 50s clocks I think. (It's a pity I didn't think about this beforehand and make it three o'clock). Anyway, it was all fun and I did learn a lot about patterning and colour in these experiments :)

I've received 3 of my 5 tea towel swaps already. I'll show them once they all arrive I think. Thank goodness others are as late as I am! ;)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hey Brisbane knitters + crocheters!

[click on image to read more clearly]

Brisbane has a guerrilla knitting project coming up! I'm very excited about this and hoping to take part in the crochet side of things. Maybe there are some Brisbane knitters or crocheters out there who haven't heard about it yet? At the very least I'm hoping to find out all the wheres and when to be able to post about it, so stay tuned. If you can't get the image to open in larger format, the email contact is

Hope to see you there :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Inspiration: Vladimir Koncar

Kate posted a lovely story on her blog the other day about collections and it put me in such a good mood just to see it. I love collections. There's something so inspiring about them - as a resource, a memory or just within themselves. I love collectors too - it's not just the feeling of a kindred 'bower bird' spirit, it's also the vision and imagination behind their collection of what it may become.

It put me in mind of a very interesting fellow I came across one day while blog surfing, Vladimir Koncar. He's a typographer, photographer and fine artist who - when he gets fed up with the day job - begins building up typographic representations made from his own collections of various objects just for fun. I like that :)

To have a peek at many more of his collected typographies, you can find his portfolio here.

clover type

paper clips type

tea bags type

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Creative Space - Crochet brooch

I'm playing along with the My Creative Space meme today. Visit Kirsty's at Kootoyoo for more spacers or to play along yourself.

Something a bit different this week. I found some lovely crochet cotton in a gorgeous steel blue colour and purchased a tiny crochet hook to play around with it. After many disappointing attempts I finally chanced on a neat little circle and decided to try and make them into brooches.

Still interested in that mixed media combination with felt. Also, I wanted it to be more durable and yet look fab so I made a felt and linen cushion of sorts as the backing. I love that little peek of red thread coming through.. but it was utter laziness on my part, just using the first thread that came to hand ;)

Thanks to everyone for my lovely birthday wishes :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Maybe 43 will be the magic number..? ;)
Image borrowed from here.