Thursday, 3 November 2011

Gnomes vs. Snowmen: The Battle for Mochimochiland

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Today I was lucky enough to attend the opening reception of Gnomes vs. Snowmen: The Battle for Mochimochiland, a brilliantly inventive and imaginary land created by fiber artist Anna Hrachovec.

The story was charming and told over 45 foot-long panels that are bursting with woollen delights. The details in the panels suck you into the chaotic and extremely cute battle scene. Want to know who won? Well you'll have to go and see it for yourselves! The exhibition runs from November 3 through to November 18th, 2011 at Gallery Hanahou.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Tara Donavan

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Last weekend we managed to catch the last showing of Tara Donavan's exhibition at the Pace Gallery. The gallery space was completely dedicated to her large-scale installation called 'Untitled', 2011.

The Brooklyn artist is known for transforming everyday objects such as Styrofoam cups, scotch tape, pins and drinking straws into huge bio-organic sculptures, and this one was no exception.

'Untitled' consisted of varying sizes of stacked metallic balls, created by folded sheets of mylar and hot glue, to form organic almost molecular structures. Some areas of the sculpture reach 11 feet high. Donovan says of her work, "It is not like I'm trying to simulate nature. It's more of a mimicking of the way of nature, the way things actually grow."

The enormous glimmering balls, that encompassed the whole room, reminded me of Christmas baubles or even one of my cat's toys but on a grander scale of course! The reflective quality of the mylar is important to the visual balance it maintains within the white space, made more apparent when you walk around the piece. Stepping back from it, it was just stunning and so graphic. I have to say I had to resist all temptation to scrunch the balls.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Handmade zipper bag

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Fueled by my enjoyment of making the tote bag's from my Purl Soho class, I decided to get more adventurous and try a project from Amy Butler's Style Stitches book. The bag I decided on was the zipper Origami bag in small. This was my first project using zips, so I was a little nervous. However I really enjoyed this project, so much so that I made a few bags (they make great gifts!).

The materials I used here were: Ikea's SNÖA FLINGA fabric for the outer fabric - 100% cotton by designer S. Edholm/L. Ullenius; the lining was a striped fabric from Mood Fabrics and the zip was from Purl - a nylon coil 12" zip in Medium Grey #340. I really liked the way this one and my others turned out, however I would like to try them with a thin waterproof liner as I think they will make great make-up bags.

If you know of any good waterproof linings please let me know.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Sweet typographic umbrella

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A 'Spoonful of Sugar' is a gorgeous typographic umbrella, hand-lettered by the talented Leen Sadder for Stefan Sagmeister's class, Can Design Touch Someone's Heart at SVA.

Leen is a designer from Beirut, Lebanon and moved to New York City to attend SVA. Inspired by Mary Poppins (which happens to be one of my favourite films) she decided to reach out her hand - well umbrella - and touch the hearts of umbrella-less New Yorkers on a rainy day and gave out bags of chocolate dipped spoons, to those who accepted her shelter. I certainly think she has touched many people's lives with his beautiful umbrella, I would certainly buy it.

Images from the SVA site

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Baseman & Kehoe

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In a strong attempt to crawl back some creativity into my life, after another terrible week at work, I decided to make the most of living in New York's dense gallery area and get some culture. Of course because of work I missed Gary Baseman's opening at The Jonathan LeVine Gallery, so Saturday would be my day.

Luckily for me there were two exhibits at the gallery, Baseman's Walking Through Walls and Andy Kehoe Strange Wanderings. There was a great contrast in the artists' work with Gary's almost monochromatic twilight colour scheme, children in ghost and Halloween costumes vs Andy's autumnal fairytale, Where-the-Wild-Things-Are-esque beautiful and painstakingly detailed paintings. Both equally lovely in different ways.

So if you're in the hood, please go and check it out. The exhibitions are on from March 5th to April 2nd, 2011.

Monday, 27 December 2010

A stitch in time: Reversible tote bag

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Back in September, I decided that my job was giving me no satisfaction whatsoever and that I needed to do a little learning to enrich my life more. And what better time to go 'back to school' than September?! A friend of mine, AM, had just finished a sewing class in one of my all time favourite shops in New York, Purl Soho. I didn't realise that they did sewing classes, I thought it was more of a 'stitch n' bitch' knitters helping hub, but it turns out they do much more than that. Anyways, she created this gorgeous reversible tote bag in just 3 Saturday classes, and I just had to take the class!

The class was called 'Beginning Machine Sewing I' and my class took place every Thursday night for 4 weeks, at the back of the shop. The hardest part of the course was deciding on the material I was going to use for the bag, Purl have so many fabrics to choose from, I was like a child in a sweet (candy) shop! Eventually the fabrics I choose were a brown heavyweight fabric (for the outer) and a lightweight material for the lining which was called Wild Thyme, Ecru Dots 249E by Carolyn Gavin for P&B Textiles. Unfortunately our laptop died so I lost all the photos of my bag's progress, but that just gave me the excuse to buy a small sewing machine (a Brother 60-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine, CS-6000i) and make more bags! I've since made a mixture of one strap and two strap totes.

The fabrics for the other bags are a mixture from Purl Soho and Mood Fabrics. Mood is where the Project Runway contestants always go. I have to say that I was completely overwhelmed in there, there is just so much crammed in the 2 floors that I just had to get out as quick as I could. But you can find some great fabrics, especially for linings, at the City Quilter and for good heavyweight fabrics, Ikea, has a great selection and very reasonably priced.

I got this wonderful sewing bible from my husband for Christmas called The Sewing Book by Alison Smith (a fellow Brit as it turns out) I just couldn't wait to get stuck into a new project that I dragged my husband out of our cozy apartment, into the snow to go to Ikea to get some fabric! Well if we're going to be stuck in a blizzard, might as well be doing something productive, no? So watch this space to see some of the projects I'm trying to tackle.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Seasons Greetings!

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Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays or whatever you celebrate this season, and what better way to do it than with some talented designers.

In order of appearance (left - right):-
1st row: Adrian Johnson’s ‘Six Geese A-laying’; Darling Clementine's 'Candy Cane';
Tom Gauld's '4 calling birds' & Rob Ryan's G2 Christmas card.

2nd row: Jotto Seibold's 'Olive the other Reindeer'; Craig Ward's 'Season's Greetings'; Alison Carmichael's 'Baubles' & Christoph Neimann 'Let it Dough'.

3rd row: Yulia Brodskaya's bookcover for the 2009 Neiman Marcus 'The Christmas Book'; Kate Sutton's 'Robin'; Jessica Hische's '6 Geese are Laying' from her personal project & Frode Skaren's 'Opposites' Christmas card.

Have a great one everyone!