Thursday, March 18, 2010

Getting a Lift from Artwear

I am still kind of ditzy and foggy, working to accept that I have to create a new lifestyle, and trying to figure out what it should be. In the meantime, Art You Wear awaits. First, a few announcements, and then I have a flock of photos from Rachel Clark's last exhibit. I wanted to keep the show whole, but that's a lot of photos--too much for some computers. I'll break it down into several sets, one set every day or two, so come on back after you're seen today's update.

Bits & Pieces

Style 2010 is the fabulous art-to-wear sale and show taking place this year at the Palo Alto Art Center (Palo Alto, CA) on April 24th. For more information, please go to: This note courtesy of Diane Master, Empress of Style! I will try to remember to put up photos from last year's show. It's always wonderful!

The next Vionnet Class will be an in-depth intensive for textile artists at the Textile Art Center In Minneapolis, as part of the Surface Design Association meeting there in early June, 2010. It will be hands-on draping and focus on using art fabrics in the Vionnet Way. News courtesy of The Center for Pattern Design

Next November Sandra Ericson of The Center for Pattern Design will present Vionnet, the Art of the Cut (including lots from the recent Paris show) at the De Young Museum, San Francisco, in their Saturday morning lecture series sponsored by the Textile Arts Council. More on this later when I edit the fall version of their newsletter.

Speaking of the Textile Arts Council at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, more interesting programs are on schedule: April 17, 10 am--Judith Content moderates a panel of textile artists who have successfully maintained a fiber business over many years. They will answer questions about finding inspiration, how to manage in poor economic times, etc. One of the panelists is Charlotte Bird who some years ago wrote a book about quilted garments, Sew A Work of Art: Inside and Out. I just bought myself a copy so I'm eager to meet and hear her. It's funny, when the book came out I thought the jackets uninspiring, and now she has exactly the information that I want. Check her out on Amazon and Google. The May 22 program is fiber art artist Sha Sha Higby talking about her travels and sources of inspiration. I will announce more details in another update.

SAIC: Fashion 2010, Friday, May 7
Nick Cave, professor and chair of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Fashion Design Department, announced that SAIC's 76th annual fashion show is coming up. For the first time, the fashion show takes place in the critically acclaimed Renzo Piano-designed Griffin Court of the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing, marking the return of SAIC's annual fashion show to the Art Institute of Chicago for the first time in 15 years. Fashion and art lovers from across the nation will have the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular runway show featuring cutting-edge garments by the next generation of up-and-coming designers who have themed their designs around Piano's stunning architecture. News courtesy of the Center for Pattern Design.

New e-Zine from Quilts Inc.
I'm quoting Kerry Bresenhan, President: "We decided to create an electronic magazine that would celebrate not only the great friendships and bonds forged today among quilters worldwide, but feature fun, fast-paced articles, guest columns, quirky facts, and information that you won’t find anywhere else—all at the click of a mouse! We also wanted to design it in a way that reflects the editorial content—with a lot of zippy colors and graphics that aren’t locked-in to a set format or style. We want the freedom to be, well, free! I hope you enjoy the first issue, as well as the upcoming quarterly editions." To get your copy, send an email to:

I look forward to future issues. Right now Kerry has no plans for more wearable art fashion shows like the Bernina Show. She asked anyone with ideas for what we should do next, to send them to her. This e-zine as it stands in the first issue, feels mostly like a marketing tool. But let's see what future issues bring, and in the meantime I'm wracking my brains on how to get more wearable art back into the picture.

Ethnic Techniques in Contemporary Clothes

Do you remember me describing Rachel Clark's artwear challenge last spring? I was working on a vest derived from Polish techniques and traditions. I showed you the imperfect embroidery I did. I never did get much farther than selecting the black fabrics, piecing the skirt, and planning the flower design for the bodice. It was something for which I needed chunks of time and my husband was becoming more needy by the day. I will finish it one day because my whole cultural background is tied up in it. I've done all this research, I want to show a result. Besides, it's sitting where I look at it every day and I'm starting to get sick of it. Which means I'll do a lot more to it.

In the meantime, others finished their garments and the show went up at the Back Porch Fabrics store in Pacific Grove I was in no condition to go to the show so I asked Jean Dunn if she would share her photos with us. I thank Jean for this major effort and present them to you here. I hope I kept the right names with the correct garments. I tried to do closeups but many of them became too blurred. But that's also ok because it means you'll want to see the real thing. Rachel is looking for more avenues to put up the exhibit so let her or me know if you have ideas to share. I'm hoping she will be able to get them into PIQF this year or next.

I got comments from Jack Brockette and Jean Dunn when I was talking to them. If others offer me more, I'll write them up in another update. Meanwhile, enjoy what you see. The goal was to use one technique from a culture, in a jacket or long vest, that would be recognizable as coming from that culture. We don't have real closeups so I can't be sure of the techniques, but it's fun to see what people made. Forgive me if the sizes of the photos are wonky. I can see I need more study of how to use Photoshop.

The Kurta is among the most basic of garments in India. Jean Dunn created texture on the Kurta fabric by rubbing gold Shiva Paintstiks® over a Rubbing Plate®. The blocks were then machine pieced. The resulting yardage was machine quilted to the lining before constructing the Kurta. Rosemary Eichorn’s machine technique was the inspiration for constructing the shisha mirrors and attaching them to the garment.

Pojagi is a form of Korean patchwork. When in the hands of Jack Brockette, it is hand dyed silk organza with 1/8" French seams. " It was so much fun to work with all the different reds. I even found some small scraps from old Fairfield garments. What fun that was! Another technique is to use the new wash-away stabilizer that sticks to the fabric--it is clear and works great for embroidery on silk. Do a piece and hold the steam iron just above the silk; the wash-away shrinks. Makes very interesting designs in the silk. Go to the "Copper Shade Tree Gallery" web site and look at the fiber show. Twenty-fourTexas Art Quilters with work that was made just for the show. Everyone made a 12 x 12 piece stretched canvas with fiber 10 x 10 on top. They published a book of the pieces.

Don't forget to come back for more of Rachel Clark's exhibit. Till then, stay well! Rosalie

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