That kind of sums up life lately. Lots of embroidery projects going at once and even more swirling around in my cluttered brain. I’ve been teaching sewing and fiber arts in Seattle two days a week which has been great to keep that teaching muscle flexing. I’ve also been developing an embroidery workshop, but so far the interested parties have been only kids and teens. While I’m totally into doing a tween class, embroidery can be a tad intense for younger students who are still developing their fine motor skills. I’m most interested in putting together a higher end, boutique workshop experience for adult learners. Similar to what DesignLoveFest did with Blogshop, I would start with a bright, beautiful setting, include a bevy of embroidery supplies and a curated goodie bag (with embroider-able design of course). Is this something you’d be interested in? If so I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Here are some things I’ve been working on lately, including the cutest little top for my niece’s ninth birthday.
If you’ve seen my Instagram feed lately you’ve noticed it’s heavily embroidered. Embroidery and crochet were the two crafts that I focused on in Indonesia and I’ve continued those pursuits since we’ve been home. Recent nights have been full of falling deeply down the Insta-hole of textile inspiration. While I love how the internet can create a tight knit community of far-flung artists, it also has its drawback in that there’s so much amazing work that one can’t help but compare your work to theirs. As a kid I had this idea that ‘art’ meant photo realistic drawing, so my inability to draw meant that I could never be an artist. My awe for artists who can draw what they see is compounded by embroidery artists like Cayce Zavaglia who can stitch what they see. The detail of her embroidered portraits is breathtaking and intimidating.
But alas, I know I’ll never be a portrait artist and by focusing on what I can’t do, I’m hindering my aspirations of what I can do. Recently I’ve expanded my inspirational searches outside embroidery focusing not on one particular medium, but on only color and shape. A couple of my favorites are Frank Stella, Kirra Jamison and Hayley Gaberlavage.
There’s a large Frank Stella piece near the entrance of the NC Museum of Art (located in my hometown of Raleigh). I have vivid childhood memories of being greeted by the the giant, vibrant colors and shapes. Many of his pieces remind me of quilts and textiles pieces and he does a great job of mixing vibrant colors while retaining a sophisticated look.
Frank Stella image sources 1, 2, 3
Kirra Jamison is an Australian artist whose abstract pieces focus on gorgeous color palettes and flowing shapes. Her imaginative floral pieces are especially inspiring when I’m wrestling with my preconceived notions about photo realism.
Kirra Jamison image source 1, 2, 3
Hayley Gaberlavage is a Savannah based artist that I had the great pleasure of knowing when we both lived in Atlanta in the early 2000’s. While many of her current works are whimsical, but realistic portraits, I’ve always had a fondness for her abstract creations.
Hayley Gaberlavage image source 1, 2, 3
Seeing all these images together really illustrates my fondness for movement and color. I’m excited to see how I can incorporate these themes into my upcoming stitching projects.
It’s been all quite on the PNW front here for a bit. I currently have lots of projects in full swing and have been working hard not to drop the ball on any of them. First and foremost, Joel and I have launched our company Raya Exchange. I’ve been sewing up a storm to fill our textiles shop and we’ve received our first shipment of teak furniture that we’re selling locally as well as through our Chairish store. We’ve also participated in a couple of markets including Seattle Makers Market, SODO Flea and an artist showcase at Tirto Furniture in Seattle. So December has been a busy month over here on the island.
Another fun project I’ve been working on is collaborating with the lovely ladies over at CoCapsules. They’re two stylish, young Seattleites whose brand promotes a lifestyle of quality over quantity- a sentiment that I can really get behind! The CoCapsules brand offer tips and kits pertaining to wardrobe, home, travel and stationary all to help introduce the capsule lifestyle. For my first feature with them I weighed in on my must have travel essentials. I’m really excited to see where this collaboration will take us in the future!
Okay that’s it for me today. Time to get back to my holiday preparation that includes making lefse with my mother-in-law and finishing up a hat I’m knitting for my niece.
Indonesia feels like a long ways away, mostly because there’s snow in the air as I type this. But our pictures from the second half of our trip need to see the light, so here are some highlights from Jepara and Yogyakarta.
Jepara is a city by the sea known for its wood carving and we definitely had Indonesian wood on our minds. Joel and I have started a company called Raya Exchange and our focus is on supporting small businesses in Java by importing handmade, home goods that we sell via our web store and Charish. So far, we had been concentrating our efforts on handwoven textiles- pillows, throws and runners- but this trip was planned in order to expand our efforts into teak furniture and planters. We visited our furniture partner in Jepara to check out the progress of our order and we were thrilled to see our products coming together so beautifully.
Continue reading All of Java: part 2
We didn’t actually drink a Singapore Sling (a drink I envision to be similar to a Long Island Ice Tea), but Joel and I did go to Singapore together on our long trip back to the US. We’d each been many times on our own, as it’s the closest place to renew your visa when you’re living in Indonesia. But because we had moved on different dates (him first and me following a few months later) our visa schedules weren’t in sync and we always took these trips alone. It was fun to explore the city together, show one another our favorite spots and finally visit the place we’d been saving for our couple’s trip- the Buddhist hell museum at Haw Par Villa.
Continue reading Singapore Slinging