My Dad makes knives. For years he has meticulously crafted these beautiful objects, mostly for fun and sometimes for profit. Kirk is the proud owner of one, as are other family members and family friends.
And now Will has his very own knife. It was a gift made especially for him on his 8th birthday last month. By special request and made to fit his smaller hands. From Grandpa to Grandson. To say Will was thrilled to receive it would be an understatement. He is very proud and enjoys telling people all about it. “My Grandpa made this knife for me. Get it? He didn’t buy it, he made it!”
I made reference in a recent post, to working on a special project with my Dad. It was this sheath, or scabbard (not sure what the difference is). Participating in this part of the gift made it that much more meaningful. And it was a blast! I learned a lot about leather working (and thus added to my ever-growing list of ‘things I want to make and do’, specifically this. But I digress!). More photos of the process and the finished but un-dyed product here.
I have been feeling really grateful to have this work of art in our home and will cherish it for many years to come. It really is a family treasure.
A note about safety: Will is never allowed to use the knife without close and proper adult supervision and we continue to teach him about about the correct way to use it. The knife is kept in a safe and secret place in mine and Kirk’s room so we always know when it’s out.
A final note: if you are interested in having a knife for yourself or someone you love, my Dad does take custom orders. We are working on getting a Big Cartel site up and running for him, but in the meantime you can let me know and I will put you in touch with him.
A few years ago, I picked up a book about Nancy Crow and fell in love with the work she’s done using her own hand-dyed fabric. (Just try not to).
And last year, I discovered Shabd’s work and was instantly smitten. (So gorgeous it hurts).
Since then I have thought a lot about hand-dyed fabric and all the beautiful things I could make—and haven’t done a damned thing about it. Our annual summer tie-dye session last month renewed my passion and shortly thereafter I began dreaming—quite literally—about dyeing fabric. I dreamt I had a dedicated studio very much like this one, and this one. It was awesome. The next morning I started sketching a little plan for converting the former laundry space in our basement which turned into a good exercise in patience and appreciation for everything I already have…
But the tie-dying was fun! The kids—including a cousin and friend or two—did their usual T-shirts and a couple of pairs of socks (and leggings for Lauren). They are big fans of the classic spiral and bulls-eye, but I favor the more free-form scrunch method and convinced Lauren to do one of her shirts that way. Will invented his own folding technique.
After everything was set aside for the required 24-hour period (excruciating) and all the littles had moved on to other activities, I found myself alone with a generous amount of dye left over. I grabbed a few yards of grey Kona cotton and started squirting and scrunching with no plan at all in mind. While resting in its plastic bag, it looked exactly like a bag of rotten salad greens…
But look how it turned out! It's really darker than it looks here but overall very lovely. I am hoping to make Lauren a First-Day-of-School dress with it—if I can make time in the next week.
OCAC is offering a class this fall on working with natural dyes, but it’s so expensive and I’m trying to save for one of these so I don’t think I’ll be doing that.
One thing I find very creatively satisfying is putting together a bouquet from things I find in my yard (which does not have a cutting garden). It’s especially exciting when at first glance the yard looks like mostly a bunch of soggy, gray nothing—which it most definitely does at this time of year. I usually focus on the colors and textures of leaves, grasses and branches. But sometimes, if I look closely, I can find the smallest bits here and there of purple Hellebores drooping downward, and the fiery young leaves of Spirea to nestle next to them. A few branches of baby willow, some Rhododendron leaves for contrast and delicate Pieris buds make it suddenly sort of breathtaking. Lauren and I had fun putting together this arrangement for her sharing day at school this morning. I made her a little guide with sketches and the names of each plant for her teacher to read to the class. After we brought it home, I just couldn’t stop admiring our work and had to take a few photos to share with you.
The other day I did a quick search for what had been my favorite drawing material while in art school; the Cretacolor Monolith Woodless Pencils—as referenced in my post about Hugh Ferriss. My search turned up a real gem of a website called Leaderholder.com. This guy loves lead!! And everything that goes with it. The site’s photo galleries are a virtual treasure trove of beautiful, vintage and modern lead packaging.
But it doesn’t stop there. You can also browse a nice display of drafting supply catalogs (covers and interior pages) as well as vintage print ads from various pencil manufacturers. I always admire the devotion it must require to maintain and share a collection of beautiful—yet often overlooked—items like these.
What is this? It’s one of my creations from typeisart.com, a really fun interactive project inspired by Susanne Cerha’s absolutely brilliant typography poster, Parts of a Character. The Flash interface allows users to create designs using fragments of letter forms which are neatly arranged along the bottom of the screen—a nice palette of shapes. If you are even slightly interested in typography and letter forms or if you just like to create abstract designs (as I LOVE to do) you must give this a try. Show off your designs by saving them to the public gallery and when you’re done check out some of the typeisart swag. Who knows, maybe one of your—or my—designs will end up being selected for use on some of those items. I really want the silkscreen poster, but will have to settle for the tote-bag or a T-shirt. Oh and some stamps!!
For quite a while now I’ve been thinking about a new cover for our bed; something different than what we have now, more sophisticated, yet still soothing and graceful. I really couldn’t imagine what it would be until I saw this wool blanket from MeS Textiles:
That’s what I can do with all the hand-dyed felt squares I bought at Quilt Market last year! Although the colors I have are more subdued than these, finding a few brights or patterns for contrast would be fun and easy. I really love the graphic and especially modern quality of the MeS blanket and the size of the squares keeps it from feeling too precious.
I’ve never done any kind of piece work before and am oddly intimidated by the process. Lots of sketching, planning, hemming, and hawing will probably occur before the idea can be realized. It’s debut here will likely be next year sometime.
But maybe I’ll surprise myself—it’s only squares, after all!
…that I spent the better part of Friday afternoon taking photos of my fabric stash? I look at it all the time anyway and since photography is just another way to look, I figured this would be some good studio play. Although the results were less than stunning (further fueling my desire for a new camera), I had a good time and ended up with a few interesting shots. I also took some photos of fabric combinations and ideas for patterns with which to use them. This gave a me another idea—which I’ll have to share later. For now, here are some favorites from my little impromptu photo shoot: