Monday, 19 November 2007

No ... there is another

OMG. The first book almost broke my mind.

As someone who has studied complex pattern making at Uni - I can only extol the sheer beauty and simplicity of Tomoko Nakamichi's visual instructions. Although all the instructions are in Japanese, those who know their way around a pattern will have no hassles. For those who don't - don't be afraid, the visual guides are exquisite and might just inspire you enough to have a go anyway.

Draping, at school and in industry, is all too often presented as highly complex, highly technical and only the realm of the experienced couturier. But pattern making is all about confidence - having a go and like many creative skills, requires a little practice to "get your eye in".

I applaud Tomoko's work on so many levels. Not only is it visually stunning and inspirational, she doesn't claim to own the ideas (unlike certain other designers doing similar things - patenting pattern making techniques - arrgh - the ego). In fact she steps you through the process, demystifying what are quite complex but ultimately commonsense ideas. Good pattern making is sculpture - translating two dimensional planes into a living, breathing 3 dimensional object. It has too be structurally sound, but also malleable so that it can move with the body.

I did a work placement in a rather famous Australian designer's studio last year. Most of my friends know not to mention their name for fear of the bile that I might gush. I guess I only have myself to blame.

(i.e. Don't put your idols on a pedestal because rarely do the actual mortals measure up. Truth is I'd still buy their clothes because they are that amazing - but I'd probably have to cut myself for compromising my ethics)

Anyway, self-mutilation aside, an afternoon in a comfy chair with this book taught me far more than many long days in a joyless, stuffy and poorly resourced production room.

Thank you Clementine (and your shoes) for adding Volume 2 to my wish list.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Monday, 5 November 2007

Craft vs Art

And this is what every gal should tell herself daily...

This has actually been finished for a couple of weeks - but between work and a computer with a dodgy power supply, I really haven't been able to do much updating.

I've another reason for not posting this earlier... but it is a confession of sorts.

This cushion was supposed to be a birthday present for someone very nice way back in July. Definitely a high caliber fox at that. Unfortunately after lots of quality time spent together sewing and what not - the thought of actually parting with my little friend is, well kind of difficult.

I'll freely admit greedy thoughts of "well her birthday was quite a while ago..." and "she wouldn't even know..." are often mused in moments of weakness. Not very charitable of me is it?

How do other crafters do it?

Which brings me to my next issue. I sort of promised Jms that I would set up an Etsy shop by his birthday. Yes well that was a week ago and still nada - but that's beside the point. The point is that I have all these little designs that I have been (v.v.v. slowly) working on with the intention of selling them. But I am finding it really problematic - because I can't seem to bear to part with any of them!

I love them, have dreamt about them, deliberated and slowly nurtured them into life - what if, god forbid, no-one loves them as much as me?

My only clue to the answer to this conundrum is that this passion I feel for these little projects suggests something actually quite profound. I have turned my hand to many things in my life. Always searching for that "thing" that puts a fire in my belly. Crafting is something I have always dabbled with - but in my heart of hearts did not ever credit it as great art. Aesthetic consumption perhaps. And in my darkest moments when my critical eye is appalled at the footprint I am leaving on this earth, I think how could I possibly justify the creation of more stuff that no-one actually needs?

But that passion - that care and indefinable imprint of yourself that is imparted - does that not make it art? And Art I can justify. Art breathes life into a stale mind. Art can change minds. And if you can change enough minds - you can change the world.

So if my craft invokes a deep emotional response in me (even if it is just soft furnishings) I'm inclined to believe that it has intrinsic value, that others too may appreciate.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Granpa's couch lives on

Lucky me scored the Monday before Cup day off as well - so Ive been able to spend my 4 day weekend getting some big jobs done - such as recovering the couch (excuse the blurry shot but our house is delightfully Art Deco but very dark on the sunniest of days). The new foam was a bit of an expense - but soo comfurtables. I've used linen because its got such a nice hand feel and sheen that seems to be fairly resistant to cat hair - but I fear it may not be sturdy enough to cope with snuffling dogs.

Fortunately it was very cheap (from one of my favourite fabric haunts) so if it doesn't cope it won't be the death of me. I saw some lush Japanese linen that was divine from my local fabric shop, but at $55 p/m it was a little too lux for my budget.