Portrait No.06 : Amanda Lew Kee

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New illustration up on The Style Notebook. Check it out here!

Cog + Wheel WIP

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I’ve started a new quilt! In July! Well, hopefully it will be finished by the time the weather turns around this fall. It’s from a Denyse Schmidt pattern called Cog + Wheel.

It involves a lot of curves. But is totally fun and I hope to make serious progress soon!

Norway Bay

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I’m back! Spent last week with friends on the Ottawa River.

The clean, crisp air was a much needed break from the brutal city heat. We read, went out on the pontoon boat, swam in the river, and avoided injury by clam shell in the water.

We even caught an old episode of Golden Girls. And subsequently decided on our Halloween costumes for next year.

Portrait No.05 : Calla Haynes

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I recently discovered Calla Haynes when I was asked to create this illustration for The Style Notebook. Calla is a Canadian-born fashion designer based in Paris. And her work is fantastic.

I completely love the description of her collections as “relaxed luxury”. Overall that is a term I would use to describe my own personal style (or maybe just the relaxed part).

Needless to say, I am a huge fan of Calla – her pieces are very special. She creates lovely prints and surface pattern design work, and has collaborated with Jeremy Laing on prints for several of his collections. I have admired these prints for years without knowing they were hers!

Coffee at Ideal & Bridgehead

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Whenever I visit Ottawa, I always go out for coffee with my dad.

Bridgehead is nice if you can find a spot to sit – very popular. Personally, I always love Ideal. It’s way more relaxed.

The Apron That Turned Out To Be A Dress

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At the India Flint workshop last week, everyone made an apron out of a men’s white dress shirt. I was following the instructions, like everyone else, and then I had an idea, which led to other ideas, which led to an apron that people thought was a dress that I had made on some other occasion and just brought to the workshop! So funny!

First we all cut up the shirt by removing the sleeves. We then cut along beside the buttons and button holes on either side to make straps for the apron. Like I said, I made it more feminine with other folding details, bustle, etc. I then dyed the whole thing in logwood (well, karyn offered to dye it for me in logwood), and then I took one of my samples that I had dyed during the workshop with various local plants and flowers, and with a running stitch and some embroidery thread, created a stripe down the middle of the apron.

Karyn posted a picture of the final product here. I think it turned out really pretty, even if it doesn’t look like an apron…

India Flint Workshop

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Last week was full of experimenting with textiles! As I mentioned in an earlier post, the India Flint lecture entitled, Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost – Travels with a Dye Pot, took place a few days ago. I attended the lecture, and also took part in India Flint’s workshop at the Contemporary Textile Studio Coop. Which was fantastic.

I dyed silk and wool mostly, and some paper – all with local plants and flowers. It was quite fascinating. In the past, my (limited) experience with dyeing had been very structured – still amazing, but very organized and calculated. In contrast, this week’s workshop was not very formulaic at all. I mean, some knowledge was employed obviously, such as the importance of staying away from all things poisonous and so on. The experience was very individual, despite being in a group, each person using similar substances and tools.

In the end, we all walked away with: lots of fabric samples; a little book made with dyed paper, fabric, embroidery, and pen and inks (or stick and ink as it were); an apron; as well as a curiosity to continue wondering and experimenting.

I already have big plans for more natural dyeing!

Bead It Yourself BALMAIN?

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I’ve had a small beading loom like this one for a number of years – my grandmother beaded many accessories in her time and passed the loom on to me. It didn’t come with a manual, but there were some books with project patterns. I’d just never gotten around to exploring it much; to be honest I wasn’t that interested…until now!

I love these beaded Balmain sandals (picture taken at, in my opinion, one of the best edited shoe stores in Toronto). I’m thinking, maybe there is something I could do with that loom! So last week my friend and textile designer Alana showed me how to use it.

Pictured above is her non-shoe-related work-in-process in green, brown and white, as well as the coral beads she used as a demo. I could see this getting a bit addictive – though time consuming for sure!

Workshops

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A little while ago I had the pleasure of photographing a few classes at the workroom, and this is a very edited selection of the results. The first photograph is of the test sheet of a pysanky student (wax on paper). I think the process of pysanky is quite beautiful. The first time I finished an egg, I immediately wanted to start on a new one because I had all these great new ideas!

The last two pictures are of the french-stitch cushion class. In this class I was a student, in addition to being photographer. The green and white print is Kristiann’s cushion. I wanted to show the lovely contrast topstitching on the corner of the cushion here.

The bottom photograph is of my fabric being measured. My cushion was so big we needed to clear off the sale fabric table for me to work on it! And I kept misplacing my yellow tailor’s chalk on that piece of nani iro because it totally blended in with the print – so funny! (have a look for yourself in the picture – spot the chalk!)

It was a really cool class, as I’d been very interested in the bright and colourful Roche-Bobois french-stitch floor cushions for some time and they are very similar to what you can accomplish in the class. The nani iro is still a work-in-progress for me (or a work-on-hiatus rather), maybe in part because I chose to make it really big. So it could be like the Roche-Bobois. But it’s ok because I’ve been working on other exciting projects in the meantime! Projects I will hopefully share with you soon!