Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Japanese Temari

Japanese temari are little balls that are embroidered with different colored cloth. They started as balled up pieces of old kimonos that were wrapped in the silk threads pulled out of the kimono fabric. Today they still exist as a decorative art, and I stumbled across an Etsy seller making them today. I love seeing other shops that are using traditional textile arts as their inspiration, and I thought the colors and patterns were just too pretty not to feature here. You can see the full line of Julie and Co. temari right here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Prints in the Shop!

On Friday, I spent six straight hours listing new items for the shop. That's a whole lot of new items. I'll give you a little sneak peek here, but make sure to head over to see all the new additions.

First up, a new leaf print that will soon be popping up everywhere on coin purses.

The next new print is a block printed version of a popular screen print I sold last year, with a few modifications. I wanted to do something similar to a very traditional block print design, but with a twist. I think the stripes on the leaves and paisleys add something more modern to the design.

And finally, the finished coin purses sewn from the fabric I shared last week. A blue and white version of this print.

So feel free to head over to the shop and check out the rest of the new additions! And at this rate, there will be plenty more to see in the next few days!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Around the Studio

I have been doing little else over the past week or so than working, so I don't have a lot of non-studio news to share with you. Luckily, during those times where I am waiting for something to dry or waiting for a file to load, I have been taking pictures of the things that now seem like everyday objects.

Lots of printing, lots of sewing, lots of carving. Back to it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Miao Batik

While I was in Hong Kong, I saw this piece of batik fabric, blue with an intricate white pattern. I immediately wanted to experiment and see if I could create a batik-like effect with a linoleum print. I had no idea what the fabric was, just that it was from Beijing, and with a little research I found out that it is a hand-painted batik from the Miao people of Guizhou province.

These pieces are all hand-painted with wax and then dyed a deep blue, and I found some process pictures via the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Photo via Minneapolis Institute of Arts Flickr

Photo via Minneapolis Institute of Arts Flickr

Photo via Minneapolis Institute of Arts
So I decided to try my own version of the Miao batik patterns, carved from linoleum rather than painted with wax, and here is what I came up with:

And the finished product, an indigo blue print on recycled card stock:

It definitely has a brighter, more modern look than the original piece, and that is exactly what I was going for: a new take on the original. The cards are now available right here in the shop.

Best of DC Poll

Thanks to everyone who voted in the Best of DC Poll! The results are in, and I won third place in the Best Crafter competition! Not too shabby!

You can see the full list of winners right here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kilim Pillows

It's no secret that I love bright colors and textiles from around the world, so today I thought I would share some pillows that have been calling my name for the last few months. They are all made from old Turkish kilim carpets and are available right here. I could stare at the combination of natural neutral colors and bright pinks and oranges all day.

All images via Sukan.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Carving Away

I'm in the middle of getting ready for the National Stationery Show right now, and I have a few more designs to finish to debut at the show. I'm working on four new blocks, and thought I would give you a little sneak peek.

I'll give you a sneak peek at the other ones in the next few weeks!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blue and White

There is some very intense coin purse production going on right now, so I thought I would share a few pictures of the prints I'm working on. I love the look of the bright white ink on the navy background.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Prison Studios

This weekend we used the sunshine and warm weather as the perfect opportunity to drive out to Virginia and visit the Workhouse Arts Center, an old minimum-security prison that has been converted into art studios. It was recommended by someone I met at an art show, but with no pictures on the website I had no idea what to expect.

The last time I visited a prison was for a Halloween haunted house in Ohio. Being twenty years old at the time, I should have been able to handle it, but I must say it was terrifying. The scariest part wasn't even the people with fake chainsaws and masks jumping out from the smoke-machine fog, but at the very end you walk from the "haunted house" area back to the parking lot through the part of the prison that has been left as it was. Walking through the cells at night, seeing the bars and the places where people had scratched writing into the wall, and the hallways where guards would patrol was so much scarier than an actor covered in fake blood.

So this is what I was expecting when we drove up to the prison. Cells, writing on the walls, and artists working where prisoners had once lived.

It turned out to be not like that at all; since it was a minimum-security prison, the inmates stayed in dorms, not cells, and the interiors have been completely redone except for some markings on the cement floors that show how the bunks used to be positioned.

There was a big mix of art on the inside: some I loved and some I didn't love. The studios have only been there for about three years, so it doesn't feel as professional as the Torpedo Factory yet, but I found some interesting pieces. 

All in all, it was an enjoyable trip out of the city. I don't think it will haunt me as much as my trip to the Mansfield Reformatory (or at all), but it was nice to visit the building and see some of the studios. And of course there was a delicious BBQ meal afterwards.

PS: After perusing the Mansfield Reformatory website I was reminded that The Shawshank Redemption was filmed there. You can also see plenty of scary pictures on the website. Or why not schedule your wedding there through their event services? Nothing says romance like a deserted maximum-security prison.
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