Thursday, March 15, 2012

handmade love

one of the funnest parts of doing craft shows is trading with other exhibitors.  at the last couple shows i've done i traded with people whose work was so in demand that they had to ship their portion of the trade to me later, which i don't mind at all because i tend to forget that it's coming and then have such a fun surprise when it shows up.

the handmade stars seemed to be aligned today cause when i got home from the dentist (yuck) there was three packages waiting for me!  one was a set of two handmade bowls from peterman bowls, that are absolutely gorgeous and are already serving as fruit bowls on the counter.  the second was this darling but of course very fierce bunny from sonja ahlers:

and the third was a small pouch i just bought online from bookhou:

it's actually made from the drop cloths arounna uses for her silkscreening. i love bookhou's clean and geometric prints (i use their lines and rain pouch so much, sometimes as a clutch purse, sometimes to hold my ipad and sometimes as a travel embroidery pouch), and i really liked the idea of these pouches made from a by-product of their production, and how un-geometric they are.

i'm always intrigued to see how other makers package their wares when shipping them, and both sonja and arounna did such a good job of packing in a way that reflects the aesthetic of their work, something that i'm definitely still working on for my hats.

the bunny came wrapped in recycled clothing patterns, with a doily and pink ribbon to bundle it up.

the pouch came simply and carefully wrapped in kraft tissue, with a stamped sticker and handwritten thanks - so reflective of the clean and careful aesthetic that makes bookhou so popular.

i have lots to learn from these lovely ladies!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

time for indigo again?

the weather in toronto has turned gloriously spring-like this week, and it's got me thinking about dyeing again.  i never feel much like dyeing in the cold weather, and since it's my busy season with the hats, my dyepots often get put away for much of the winter.

we just spent the weekend in montreal visiting mohssine's family, and sunday was so warm and sunny that we spent hours and hours just walking around the city, being happy to be out and about, people watching and window shopping.

i saw quite a few things that got my dyeing juices flowing, including this bag in the window at the gap, which i actually think is kind of ugly, but is clearly inspired by shibori.  it's likely printed fabric made to look like shibori though, rather than the real thing.  one of the mannequins in the window at harry rosen was wearing an indigo coloured ombre scarf just like in the photo of me up top.  mohssine had on another version of the same scarf that i had made him, but his is in a beautiful unbleached linen so the blue is even deeper and richer.

anyways, like i say it all made me want to get the dyepots cooking again.  i was even thinking about trying to wake up my indigo vat, which may be a bit premature, since it will likely not stay this warm for good.  

what about you?  does the spring weather inspire you to dye?

Monday, March 5, 2012

the great gatsby

i'm getting ready to do a new photo shoot of my hats, and have been looking through some photos and fashions from the 20's.  somehow this led me to a re-read of the great gatsby, and i ended up devouring it in just two days.  it really is a great book.

then of course i thought it was time for a re-watch of the movie as well - the classic 1974 version with robert redford and mia farrow.  despite the fact that everyone is incredibly sweaty throughout the entire movie, the costumes really are spectacular.

only about 5 minutes into the movie i had to google to figure out who the actor was playing tom, since i knew i knew him but couldn't figure it out.  of course it's bruce dern, who i know is a great actor, but i can no longer see as anyone but frank from big love - ew.

in the process of googling, i discovered that there's going to be a new version, by baz luhrmann, who i love.  i'm not sure how i feel about the choice of leonardo di caprio as gatsby, but casey mulligan as daisy and tobey maguire as nick both seem perfect.

i can't wait to see the costumes for this version - it's fascinating how the portrayal of period costumes changes depending on when the film is made.  i found this small sneak peek:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

pepper bread

been busy preparing to head to philadelphia tomorrow.  i'm participating in the buyer's market of amercian craft, a wonderful wholesale show that focuses on exclusively canadian or american handmade work.  though i did the show in baltimore in the summertime, the philly show is much bigger, so i'm a little nervous, but also quite excited about the possibilities that may be presented.

in the meantime, i wanted to share the most recent blog post of my roommate aube, who has a wonderful blog called kitchen vignettes, where she makes beautiful video recipes.  i always love her posts, but this one is a particular favorite, as it features a cameo by my trusty studio assistant, pepper.

you may also gather from the post that we are slightly obsessed with this bread at our house.  but it really is the most delicious, and so incredibly easy.  i actually even skip one of the steps that aube shows in the video, and instead of punching down the loaf on a floured board, i simply fold it over on itself a couple of times with a spatula.  which means not only less dishes, but great homemade bread, in about 10 minutes of active time (though the whole process does take more like 15 hours, it's true).  

anyways, just wanted to share pepper's star turn in the movies.  we're hoping it doesn't go to her head.  if you enjoyed that one, there is also this video, featuring our other favorite critter.

Friday, February 3, 2012

having a sale!

to celebrate/mourn the winter that never was (though i'm sure i've spoken too soon), i'm having a big sale.

at, all of the 100% merino, boiled wool hats, scarves and mittens are 25% off.  simply use the coupon code "February" to recieve the discount.

and over in the etsy store, the last few naturally dyed scarves have already been slashed to 50% off their regular price.  i'm making room for spring's new selection of scarves, all in silk and linen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

bleu de lectoure

have been away from here for so long, but always thinking of you all, and meaning to get back.  when this landed in my inbox today, i felt like i needed to share it, and so here i am, and hopefully this can be the jumpstart to get back here more regularly.

got a message today from kathy hattori of botanical colours in seattle, a fabulous source of dyes, information and workshops on the west coast.  botanical colours is hosting a one day workshop with denise lambert, of the famed bleu de lectoure in france.  bleu de lectoure specialises in woad, and in revitalizing the craft, farming and industry of this beautiful dyestuff, which was once incredibly abundant in france and much of the rest of europe.

while seattle is a little too far for me to journey for a one day course, i wanted to spread the word to those of you who may live a little closer.  i think it would be an incredible opportunity to learn about woad dyeing from denise.  you can find details on the course on the botanical colours site, here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

making my way back

feels like it's been forever since i've been here - probably because it has been.  life gets pretty hectic for me in the fall, as the hats really take over my life.  i did two wholesale shows this summer, and now i'm in the thick of things - having to actually send out those orders.  the administration side of that is in itself a full time job, so keeping up with that, while actually having to make all the hats, well, it's keeping me busy.

but it's also such a great time of year for local dyestuffs, and i've snuck in a few dyeing moments over the past few weeks.  one of the most exciting things, for me, was a surprise visit from one of my art school teachers, coby, who was the woman who introduced me to natural dyeing.

coby lives in the kootenays, in bc, where i went to art school, but was in ontario to see family, and was keeping a 'journal' of her time here through dyeing.  each place or person she visited, she would gather some wild dyestuffs and bundle it all up in a small square of silk, sprinkle the silk with alum water, and bundle it all up.  she plans to create some sort of art piece with it when it's all done.

here is miss coby herself, bundling away on the deck at my cottage

and here are some of her bundles from some of her other spots along the way.  i love how they look like little cocoons of colour

and the bundle to be that represents her time with me in port ryerse - a very fitting one i think, as the property at the cottage is bordered by a huge trumpet vine (the red flowers) at the front, and an enormous, ancient black walnut tree (the green ball) at the back.

i myself did a bunch of bundling with my mom a few weeks ago - have been too busy to even unwrap them yet, but hopefully will do that this weekend, and will be back soon to show you the results.......