05 p l a c e _ woven paint collection

So, as some of you know, this was originally supposed to be my spring collection. Being that it is the middle of summer and I'm still so in love with the concept of this collection, I'm extending it through the summer and maybe... forever? There may never be a deadline and I'M REALLY OKAY WITH THAT.

This exercise has taught me so much. I've been able to get in contact with some of my favorite artists, interpret their paintings in a completely different and new way, AND explore weaving techniques and colors that I didn't have the courage to otherwise. I've grown to love texture even more than I did before. I've learned the discipline of putting my exploratory practice first, when I've needed it to fuel my everyday work. I've been able to understand how to push myself to another level. Always having inspiration there to react to but never actually seeing what I can do to take that feeling to the next level, has made me realize how much a different perspective is necessary in this world of making. 

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Each of these pieces becomes my new favorite after seeing the end result. This one was absolutely no different. Dani Schafer, the talented artist that inspired this piece, has and always will be a brilliant source of inspiration for me and my work. While it's a different medium, I find that she understands the ups and downs of working as an artist, but she always finds the happy moments amidst the struggle. I appreciate that SO much. 

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I've been following Dani's work for awhile and have read her Journal (I suggest everyone take a moment and check out what she has been up to) multiple times, where I've found that I resonate with a lot of what she has to say. I came across her piece called 'Of This Place' almost a year ago, when she had posted it on Instagram, alluding to a journal entry she had written regarding this series of work. In that entry, she talked about hitting a point with her work where it felt like she was going through the motions and "falling into some patterns". She continued with talking about the way she was trying to break from that by using new color palettes and techniques. Seeing this body of work as a "transitional stage", helped her push through her current work and understand a more beautiful concept of exploration. I had screen-shot her painting and kept it with me until this spring, when I was going through something very similar with my work and decided I needed something to shake things up. 

It can be a long, hard process to push through the old and into the new, but it is so very worth it.

In pushing myself to try something new with each piece of this collection, I found this one to be particularly hard. Using the a comfortable (to me) weaving technique called 'Soumak', I tried to reinterpret the colors in a very fluid manner. Often with weaving, blending can be very hard with larger fibers. I wanted to understand how to master blending on a large scale; blending with small and large fibers, but also blending with colors that are not common to be seen together in the weaving world.

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I found happiness in the end result and the vibrancy of this color combination. My blending technique still needs work, but I found that larger fibers are so generous with their flexibility!

Thankful for endless creativity and endless inspiration from Dani Schafer. She's a gem!

04 m a r k s _woven paint collection

Jennifer Gauthier's work has always held such a raw yet clear feeling for me. I first discovered her on Instagram, slowly scrolling through art that I had previously been inspired by. Since then, I've always been stopped by every piece. The strokes, placement and color palettes are simple yet striking. My background in design has taught me that black and white compositions are extremely important, yet very hard to achieve, whereas color can be less strategic. Whether or not I fully believe what I've been taught, there's a brilliance about what she does with her work and how she makes those compositions come to life.

I chose this 'sketch' she had done earlier this year because it reminded me that the quiet moments of sketching and blotting down ideas, are sometimes the most powerful. I saw this strong blank canvas on which she layered texture and color. Wanting to translate that feeling, I chose cotton rope for the canvas and layered embroidery thread, wire, wool, leather, silk and jean-material. All of this anchored by a copper dowel.

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ideas + blue-stained fingers...

source: WildCraft Studio School

source: WildCraft Studio School

On April 15th, I spent the day in White Salmon, Washington with a group of amazing women and indigo-EVERYTHING. The day was led by Megan Mesloh of WildCraft Studio School at their White Salmon studio. In a total of 6 hours, we learned a brief history of indigo-dye, how to successfully dye with indigo and many traditional Shibori techniques. Shibori, for those who aren't familiar, is a technique that typically involves folding, clamping, twisting or binding and then dyeing with indigo to create the beautiful contrast you see below.

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When I first became interested in textiles, dyeing and patterns, I was always drawn to this idea of creating from the start - finding your base (i.e. cotton yardage) and creating your end result (i.e. tablecloth). It seemed like an easy process, but what I didn't know was really how to get from point A to point B, not knowing the value and lessons of the process. 

Megan showing the group Sibori folding & restraint techniques.

Megan showing the group Sibori folding & restraint techniques.

The rich history of Japanese Shibori was mainly done on cotton, while more modern Shibori is done using many different materials and colors. Similar to how we as young children, tie-dye everything we can get our hands on. Learning the traditional way to dye opened up a new channel of interest for me and has provided numerous inspiration to my work.

Learning that anything, even scraps of wood and rubber bands, can be brilliant restraints.

Learning that anything, even scraps of wood and rubber bands, can be brilliant restraints.

The dye bath.

The dye bath.

A piece of finished yardage!

A piece of finished yardage!

03 f r e e _ woven paint collection

I wanted to fall in love with white all over again. There's a purity about the color that's kept me away; no room for mistakes or experimentation. Weaving beautiful paintings that are imagined on a white canvas, the very place of experimentation for the artist, made me dive into thinking about the structure of a weaving versus a painting.

A canvas with an opaque underlay, allowing the pigment to become a second layer becomes something as soon as a drop of paint hits it. I imagine it's freeing to push around the color and add to it - to only see it become different in a second layer. There's a carefree feeling that goes into watching two colors become one. 

In weaving, a loom provides the structure, a perhaps blank and absent canvas at the start. It can be as simple as a single movement - up and down or back and forth. Sometimes even as far as layering, although two strings rarely become one. The manipulation, for me, happens in the free form of shapes built next to each other. I often weave without a direction and in a sense, it's freeing to me. I live my days with structure and designing the built environment, that it's a wonderful break to walk away from plans or direction and walk into my imagination.

I challenged myself in this collection to find direction and paint - but on a loom. I'm finding my comforts lie in the brush strokes that happen in the middle of a painting. Knowing that I've made the first bold move to lay something down, I can now experiment and play with color, technique and form. But in this process, I find myself feeling constricted to my weft, I can't freely move the three rows back that may need blending. Almost through my weaving, I understand that I have the benefit of not only manipulating my canvas, but also manipulating the pigment and texture. It's just a matter of a different perspective.

And now a blank canvas and white weft has never looked so inspiring. 

The brilliant Kelsie Grazier painted this simple but strong piece, 'Free Spirit' and I couldn't help but feel completely inspired by it. In her words, "The Awakening Series is derived from the need to rewrite a new story. Through creating with no boundaries, the artist was allowed to begin to heal. Mylar provides the lightness to evoke the transcendence of time all while situated in a recollection."  -- in awe. 

I think we should all remind ourselves that the only boundaries we have are the ones we set for ourselves. 

02 o u r s _ woven paint collection

Lauren Packard knows bold.

I came across Lauren's work over a year ago and found her bold brush strokes to be refreshing. I had always thought that if I were going to introduce color into my pieces, a bold stroke could be beautiful. For me, this piece represents more than a beautiful composition of colors and shapes, it's an underlying representation of the happiness of pushing my comfort zone. I've experienced and achieved far more when I step outside the circle of what I can currently do. And really, this translates to this entire collection as a movement to propel me into a greater unknown, left to discover what else I can do. Does anyone else love the feeling of being bold? I could weave more of her painted work all day long. 

 

This is my second piece of the spring collection - 02  o u r s.

 

This Is Ours by Lauren Packard

 

My interpretation kept similar colors but changed up the stroke placement.

 

 

See more of her work below:

http://www.laurenpackard-art.com

01 f l o w e r s _ woven paint collection

New year, new colors and fresh ideas.

Vera Neumann's life story and paintings were the inspiration behind my first piece of the spring collection - 01  f l o w e r s.

Born to parents in New York City who encouraged their children to find a passion and follow it, she chose drawing and painting and decided to become an artist at a young age. She attended art school at The Cooper Union and became a textile designer immediately out of school. Told to reproduce creations of current designers, Vera left to become a freelance artist, starting her early designs by screen printing at her kitchen table.. During World War I, she became well-known for her bold and colorful graphics and scarves signed "Vera" and featuring a lucky ladybug. Her world-renowned "Vera scarves" were worn by First Lady Bess Truman, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly, among many more. Her motivation, creative energy and cheerful designs set a paradigm in the design industry and we forever associate bright prints and poppy paintings with Vera.

Vera Paints a Summer Bouquet exhibit at Alexander Gray Associates, June 26 - August 12, 2014

This particular piece was woven for my Spring 2017 'Woven Paint' collection. Being my first piece of the collection, I understood these colors to complement my neutral palette tendencies. 


A great article featuring Vera and a little backstory on the legend from Design:

http://www.designsponge.com/2010/12/past-present-vera.html

now _ 2017 Spring Collection 'Woven Paint'

This obsession with the inspiration that paintings give me started last summer.

I use a lot of contrast when I weave - different textures, sizes, shapes of yarns, and even objects like recycled leather. It gives this three-dimensional feel, like there's more to the story than traditional warp and weft. Don't get me wrong, I love traditional weaving, sometimes almost more than modern-day free form weaving, but there's something about what I do that's freeing. Similar to the way seeing certain paintings makes me feel. There can be so much emotion, or nothing at all. It's all up for interpretation. 

Emily Jeffords let me weave her 'Silence and Mystery' piece last July and I fell in love with the idea of interpreting paintings through weavings. There are constraints to the way fiber interacts with warp structure but also how fiber can blend together and be malleable all at the same time.

For a makers exchange between a few of my new friends from The Handmade Pop-Up, I wove painter Monika Kralicek's 93rd day piece of 100 days from her 100 days challenge as her gift. There was something so elegant about the way the colors were of a similar hue but contrasted with beautiful golds and whites. See photo below.

So, over the duration of spring 2017, I will unveil many weavings from painters who inspire me. I'll also try to write a blog post about each one of them so as to share the thoughts, feelings and method behind capturing their work in a different medium.

inspiration _ love & distance

I love weaving memories. 

When Melanie asked me to make her a weaving, there were a few pictures exchanged but the biggest piece of inspiration I took was the story.

For me personally, I think being a few states away from my loved ones is hard. Living a year away from someone you hold so closely like your partner, is another story. Melanie and her partner Mike have been living a transatlantic relationship for the past year. She said she rarely saw him and those times together were so special. Their last trip to Scotland together was to drive through the countryside together and take in all the beauty found there. She was able to move back after over a year of separation and this piece hangs in their home to remind them of the strength and love that conquers distance. 

 

inspiration _ emily jeffords

http://emilyjeffords.com - check her out. 

I've always been really inspired by oil paintings, especially landscapes. I came across Emily Jeffords through Instagram where I've religiously followed her work and process. While our pieces reflect opposite coasts, there's something telling in her paintings that remind me of the Pacific Ocean. I particularly fell in love with her Silence and Mystery piece which she gladly allowed me to translate into fiber terrain. My interpretation yielded stormy Pacific Ocean skies with clearing rays. The top half of this weaving was produced while on vacation in Montana and as I look back on it, I think the thunderstorms had a bit of influence as well... :) 

process _ a pacific coast collection

Naturally I feel inclined to boast my love of the Pacific through weavings. The more I started to weave, the more I realized a connection I was making to something far bigger than what my hand loom could create. 

And I think we all yearn to be back where we make happy memories and can feel the sand between our toes. I think about the tall grass surrounding me as I walk through the salty air and arrive before the water. Those moments of clarity in knowing you're exactly where you should be. This is the euphoria in living here.

 

I started to gather driftwood months before I picked up my loom. I found shells and sand dollars and beautifully-shaped rocks and I brought it all home. Every time we visited, something came with me, as if I eventually thought the ocean would step into my pocket as well. We visited numerous coastal towns and gathered vivid memories of the landscape; took pictures and had picnics.

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And then I sat down at my loom and started weaving these feelings and these memories. I realized how happy I was to transform this piece of my life into something that could be shared. I hope you enjoy my Pacific Coast Collection.

now _ 365 days in natural light

I'm celebrating a year in [sunny] Portland, Oregon this upcoming week and I couldn't be more excited to reflect upon this past year's achievements.

The older I get, the more I realize the power a year can give me in the form of vision, determination and exposure. There are opportunities that present themselves and passions that find a way to make even the bright days, brighter. Weaving came into my life a long time ago, but only lately found it's purpose. Upon reflection of the last year, I've been made aware of how the landscape of this Pacific Northwest region inspires my creativity yet pushes my boundaries. I'm inspired to explore, grow, learn and do; to transform this landscape into woven pictures and understand the relationship between what I see and what I feel. And I love it.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, I can tell you a little - or a lot - about natural light. I see life through a completely different transparency than I ever have before. I've learned to love the shades of sunlight, cloudy skies and the rain - so different from where I grew up. But more importantly, I've learned to savor the days that make me feel the best, the days where opportunities feel endless and even the days where I have to create this light for myself. Portland's track record is far from three hundred and sixty five days of sunshine, but it doesn't have to feel like it. 

The tangible light - the controlled value shifts of northern light is what I've found to be the best medium in my work. Much of what I weave comes with the guidance of daylight. Our first studio had west-facing windows and both the heat + direct light was hard to manage, but we were more than thankful during the winter months when the light was more abundant than other spaces in the city. Our current abode has big, beautiful north-facing windows and Alex and I are constantly amazed by how beautiful the light is in the space. My favorite spot to weave is right by the window - fiber everywhere and music humming. Thanks for letting me ponder across these pages!