Archives for May 2012
One last shot from Verona–someone else loves the graphic quality of Hundertwasser as much as I do
and now on our way…
We have cycled 55 kilometers each of the last two days along canals and wooded trails stopping in small villages for latte macchiato. The damage from the recent earthquake was evident. These bells were removed from a crumpling church tower.
This is a city of love. Outside both Romeo’s and Juliet’s homes thousands of lovers have inscribed their names in hearts. You can also buy a lock and fasten it to the gate along with the many others who have made promises and thown away the key. Or you cam touch Juliet’s right breast (the shiny one) for good luck.
The architecture tells the story of this ancient city, from Roman roads to new bridges which replaced those blown up in 1945. Here are some of my favourites.
There are rug inspirations everywhere–in the beautiful iron work and the frescoes. But the highlight of yesterday which we found by good luck was the Conte Graphic Arts Museum where the granddaughter of the original owner, Rossana Conte, gave us a wonderful tour. Just look at those stunning geometrics on the old wooden printing blocks!!
I am almost ready to head off for Italy. Suitcase packed, helmet adjusted, and enough hours on the bike that I feel ready for the challenge ahead. I definitely have my sunscreen–got just a little too much sun on Sunday’s ride–and my reading material. My third Maggie O’Farrell–I think I have said here before how great her novels are. This one is After You’d Gone–I can’t wait to start it. Her works have engaging characters and subtle challenging plots. If you are at all intrigued, watch the video –and give one of her books a try. My second book is Kayak Morning—I have begun this one and I will let you read the review to see the wonders I have ahead.
I’ll be in Verona for a couple of days before we start cycling and then will finish up in Venice for a few more days. In the interval, if all goes as planned, I will be cycling through the northern Italian countryside, soaking in the beauties around me. If bad weather or other obstacles intervene, I will be on the barge enjoying the cuisine, the wine and the company. Either way, I plan to blog and take you along with me. So stay tuned.
My favourite images are of birds and houses. I love to draw them and also to see how others interpret the concepts. The new wedding rug will have both birds and houses and as I look at things in my design collection, it is birds and houses that dominate. Here is my new laptop case from Built. Their slogan is Love Your Stuff. My slogan modifies that a little–reduce the stuff you have to just what you love.
And speaking of what I love…I love working with my good friend and designer extraordinaire, Melanie. Below is the proposed label for the sewing work of the women in Matangwe. Melanie took one of the drawings done by the grade 6 children in Matangwe and turned it into this marvelous label. We are hoping to increase the scope of the work the women produce and develop a recognizable brand. This is a start.
And now on to birds. Here is a glimpse of one of the new prints we are working on. I will be using this for the lining of my leather bags and for new canvas and leather totes. All to come for the fall.
ps Yesterday’s long bike ride in Prince Edward County went really well and the new Strava app worked like a charm. More cycling to come this weekend as the clock ticks down to next Wednesday when I leave for two week’s cycling in Italy.
Right now I am riding my bike as much as I can. A week today I leave for Italy–a biking and barging holiday–which will require more distance than I am used to. I have a city bike with baskets on the front and back and I bike everywhere I can in the city–to the market, the grocery store, my exercise class–but no great distance, ever. Belleville, my small town, has a wonderful network of trails along the bay and the river and these are my favourite biking routes. However, I will soon be graduating to an italian beauty and 50 kms a day. I plan to blog from the barge–so will report on my adventure!
In the meantime I have been making small things. And I am learning abut my process as I go. In my head are some new bags for the fall. I’m doing my casual research, asking the people of style in my life the three top things they need in a bag, and eyeing the new leather I bought in Montreal and Toronto. I love making pieces from recycled remnants as you see here, but I also love a brand new large piece of Italian pebbly leather — and I have some great colours. There is no substitute for the substantial weight and durability of this leather–great for big bags made to carry lots. But in the meantime, I am fooling around with little pieces, combining colour and texture. These cases will make their way to the shop soon too.
Happy Monday! We had a lovely day yesterday with lunch at The O’Connor House in Deseronto. What a find this place is–a Victorian tea room with wonderful service, delicious food and attached to an antique/curiosity shop. I highly recommend a visit there if you are in Eastern Ontario. Btw, I took this photo with my new iphone, (that’s my finger smudge in the corner!) a big pot of delicious Earl Grey tea.
On to some news…
I have wanted a shop connected to the blog for some time. As a mother’s day present, Owen revamped the blog and added a shop button. Over the weekend I put some items in there–so if you get a chance, click top left and have a look. If you are interested in anything you see, just hit the contact button and send me an email.
I will be posting more of the small heart pouches and others today. The combining of assosrted coloured remnants is one of the most fun things I do. In the meantime, here area a couple of glimpses of the colourful, ordered chaos of the studio–one of my favourite places.
and the reverse sides…
Now for the dyeing. The first batch involved dividing a yard of texture into four quarters and dyeing each quarter a different colour. I used Aljo Dyes on this piece, a mid-brown plaid. From the top : 1/8 tsp Military Green, 1/8 tsp Indian Yellow, 1/4 tsp Golden Brown and 1/8 tsp Golden Brown over 1/4 yd. I like the way the colours work together in these pieces.
I then began with two and a half yards of this bright striped wool and divided it into 10 quarter yard pieces. There are two 1/4 yard pieces of each colour. From the left for each quarter yard: 1/8 tsp Aljo Aubergine, 1/8 tsp Pro Chem Chocolate Brown plus 1/8 tsp Chestnut, 1/8 Pro Chem Turquoise, 1/4 tsp Pro Chem Boysenberry and 1/8 Majic Carpet Blue Violet.
I love vintage 100% woollen Pendleton skirts. I find them in thrift shops and in the big bin at the back of the Dorr Mill store. Here are three particularly nice ones I have on hand, washed and ready to go. I use them for the backs of pillows and chair pads and I also dye them for hooking. I was surprised to find an Etsy site that specializes in these great skirts–right now has 418 of them! Now I must say, I prefer the hunt through the thrift store bins and the thrift store prices too–but there must be far greater interest in these vintage beauties than I know. Are people wearing them again?
Here are some of the new pieces I have been working on. They are made from remnant pieces of beautiful grainy leather I have collected here and there. I like to make the linings have a story too–the purple started life as a Jaegar skirt–gorgeous cotton; the green and orange is Tanzanian cotton, a gift from the Principal of the school I taught at in Metangwe. The colours are the colours of the Kenyan sky and soil. Both pouches have removable wrist straps and small leather pockets inside. And both are destined for the shop.
Here are some smaller pieces, also made from remnants, (the small photo on the left shows the reverse sides). The red and black is a great pencil case, the fuchsia and lime a coin pouch. All four of these pieces, and I hope some more, will be in the shop by the end of the week. That is definitely on my list! I have also been dyeing for the wedding rug–and will post results soon. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying these lovely spring days–here in Ontario, the lilacs are just out and the cardinal’s nest outside my kitchen window brings flashes of stunning colour.