Archive for February, 2010

The textile issue


“Yes, Tim?”

“We know you had a long illustrious career as a freelance textile designer in NY before you studied Graphic Design at Yale, and we know you still have passions for pattern and fabric.”

“Yes Tim, that’s very true.”

“Well, we have a surprise for you….”


“The February 21st issue of The New York Times Magazine is loaded with textile patterns and for this challenge in addition to making your usual cover look, you can shop the whole magazine for any prints and materials to work with that strike your fancy.”

“Wow, how exciting!”

“Spring is here and we want you to celebrate the explosion of flowers you’re starting to see in Portland with pattern and color and exuberance. We’ll take a ten minute shopping trip to Food where you’ll have a budget of $6.00 for the Seattle edition of The Sunday New York Times.”

“Ten minutes?”

“Ten minutes is plenty of time! Come, come everyone, we’ll have a fabulous shopping experience!”

“Designers, your ten minutes are coming to a close. Make sure you have everything you need.”

“All right Designers, time’s up. Bring your purchases to the register and check out with the lovely Ashley.”

“OK everyone, is everybody finished? It’s time to go back to the workroom. Thank you, Food.”

“Thank you. Thank you”

“All right, I see you have lots of materials to work with that you’ve gleaned from inside this week’s New York Times Magazine. Of course your cover look will be separate, but feel free to mix any of the other  patterns for your additional looks. I caution you as always to not let your work get too costumy, but I do want you to enjoy mixing up these elements.”

“OK Tim, thanks, I’m on it!”

“Designer, how’s it going?”

“Well, Tim, I think it’s going well.”

“With so much to work with, I think it’s important that you use your editing eye. This dandelion wallpaper is fabulous, but it’s out of focus so probably won’t be as useful as some of the other patterns.”

“I know, I’m having second thoughts about the leopard skin too. I thought I might use it for a cape or trim but even re-appropriated, it still sends a message, and I don’t want to condone working with fur when there are so many other terrific options.”

“All right Designer, I’m going to leave you to it. Good luck on the runway. I hope you end up with show stoppers and not train wrecks.”

“Thank you Tim, me too!”


“All right Designers. It’s time for the show. I’ll see you on the runway.”

“We think your cover look is lovely, but we hear you have more for us in store this week.”

“Yes, Michael. Here are the rest of them.”

“Designer, I see you’ve done one of your typical romps through fashion history, and you’ve been around the world a few times in your mind as you were working on these pieces.”

“Well yes, Heidi, that’s true.”

“This is a fun collection, Designer. I see a movie marque in there, Machu Picchu, some adorably tiny heels on the red booties in the Tim Burton number, along with a large scaled knitted shawl inspired by Twinkle or Teva Durham. Also, you made a couple of interesting hats to top things off…. You’re IN Designer. You can leave the runway.”

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Extreme talents

In the past week or so we’ve witnessed breathtaking Olympic athleticism, prowess pushed way beyond what seems humanly possible, and also have been saddened by the tragic loss of the designer, Alexander McQueen, who expanded our notion of what’s possible in the rhelms of fashion, comfort and style. Perhaps the greatest result of such steadfast dedication to pushing boundaries is that we as a people see by the examples of such superhuman abilities, that we can step a little farther out of our comfort zones, can expand our own visions a little more, can push our own ideas in ways we may not have thought of before.

The February 7th issue of The New York Times Magazine features a beautiful photo essay by Ryan McGinley of Olympians on the move, dressed in clothing designed by Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. Here’s the cover. Check out that fantastic fringe taking flight on Emily Cook’s sweater!

Oh man, Jeret (Speedy) Peterson as he’s never been seen before!

Rachel Flatt, Beautiful!!

An other worldly Hannah Kearney…

and the incomparable Johnny Weir…. It seems knitwear is definitely back!

This photo essay dovetails nicely with the Quicktake: Rodarte show, curated by Gregory Krum, at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in Manhattan, February 11th through March 14th. You can see more beautiful pieces from the Rodarte collection at: http://blog.cooperhewitt.org/category/Rodarte/.

Alexander McQueen’s edgy work wasn’t loved by everyone. His designs weren’t always kind to women’s bodies (and sadly, he wasn’t kind to his own), but there’s no denying that he was incredibly creative and imaginative.

I’m loving the sea and butterfly influences of his recent collection. Here (as featured in The New York Times Style section from February 14th) he used digitized clown fish and butterfly wings to great effect in his patterning, and several weeks ago one of his lobster claw shoes was also pictured there.

Isn’t this what couture is all about, exquisite details and elaborate designs we probably wouldn’t wear for everyday dress but which flavor our daily outlooks on style and fashion?

For the Valentine’s Day issue of The New York Times Magazine, Amanda Hesser challenged a couple of creative chefs to put a modern spin on a chocolate caramel recipe from 1881. The result is what looks like a plate of oysters on the half shell, made of dates, walnuts and melted cheese(!), with a fascinating blow by blow of the transition from one dish to the other.

I’m ready for such a challenge myself! The February 14th cover of The New York Times Magazine features a photo montage by Carin Goldberg based on “George Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, from 1851 (after an original painted in 1848).

I have the Olympics on my mind, so I will use this as a springboard to Johnny Weir, with his swirly sparkly spandex and his huge crown of celebratory red roses. The chefs used molasses as the underlying element tying their dessert to the earlier recipe. I’m keeping the flag for mine and I’ll slice the sword in half to make a couple of skate blades.

Perhaps my Grecian paper doll was one of the earliest Olympians.

Here’s Evan Lysacek, one of our new gold metalists, at the top of his game.

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Double holiday feast

Well, I’m back and I had a wonderful time!

While you’re waiting for that double post, I thought I’d wish you all a Happy Chinese New Year Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year both coincided this year on February 14th. We went out for Dim Sum to celebrate and I brought back a few papers from the restaurant to commemorate the event.

Here’s our special Valentine’s Chinese New Year card. By sliding the arrow you get a whole new view.

Stay tuned for more, later this week!

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Creative ventures

My friend, Abel Bazan, makes the most stunningly beautiful, full sized paper shoes. He is moving from Portland, Oregon today to work in Milan as a shoe designer for a couple of lucky companies there, a most exciting adventure!

While these particular lovelies are spoken for, he still has many other wonderfully stylish shoes available at a special sale price at the Beet Gallery in Portland (http://www.beetgallery.com/artists/a_bazan/a_bazan.html).

And I am heading up to the Madrona knitting retreat in Tacoma, Washington, to teach Jazzknitting this weekend (http://www.madronafiberarts.com). Look for a special double post next week when I get back!

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Spring finery

Well, for a black and white cover, this one from the New York Times Magazine, from Jan. 31st, is pretty colorful.

I get it, really, a greenish black and white cover for a money article, a reddish one for a story about terrorism…. But still, as for nuance, I’m not exactly feeling it.

Actually, this is how I first saw this cover…

and the Oscar buzz gave me an idea. How about a red dress for the red carpet? Here’s an understated satin number….

Inside, I had another thought…. How about a wedding dress too?

The porcelain illustrations by Portland, Oregon ceramic artist, Kate MacDowell (http://www.beetgallery.com/artists/k_macdowell/k_macdowell.html), are for an article on the views of ecopsychologists, who believe damage to our psyches results from the damage we’ve caused our environment. The article stresses the importance of re-sensitizing ourselves to keeping balance in the natural world, and to take steps to protect it from further destruction.

This hand sculpture is lending itself to an elaborate back to the earth, ballet slippered bride… just in time for spring in Portland!

“Designer, this is just glorious!”

“Thank you Tim, I hope the judges appreciate everything that went into it, my work and the fabric designer’s too.”

“Good work Designer, you should both be very proud.”


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