Sunday, July 24, 2011

Repurposing and Reusing

When I was Shibori Girl (for real, that is), I had piles and piles of beautiful, streaky-patterned hand-dyed fabrics to transform into wearable art. Some were cotton, most were silk. The cottons were great fun because they could take some abuse in the dye process. I would dye them, color, over color, over color, until I went just a tad too far and they came out muddy. Then I'd pop them into the discharge dye bath to remove some of that color I worked so hard to put in. Here's a good example of that process:

my very favorite jacket modeled by my trainer, Maria

Absolute magic would occur. I had a basic idea, but didn't know exactly what the final result would be. I was always excited when I pulled a piece out of the pot.

I used a batch of my favorites, gold-and-purple-over-maroon cotton, to make some kimono-styled vests in a variety of sizes. I made three vests and, though they received positive reviews from customers in my booth, none sold. So they hang in the closet.

Fast-forward to today and my conundrum... My favorite handbag has no pockets. Silly, really, for someone who likes to be organized. Everything needs to be in its place. I dislike being one of those people who digs around in the bottom of their bag for a wallet, phone, or whatever, while impatient people wait in line behind them.

Today I took one of those pretty gold-purple-maroon vests and whacked it up to make myself a purse organizer. Kinda like the night before my wedding when I took scissors to the neckline of my dress because I didn't like it - but that's another story... My sewing skills are rusty, having lain dormant for years. After some false starts, I got a rhythm going, and now I have an organizer loaded with pockets.

I won't be keeping anyone waiting, foot a-tapping, while I reach for a wallet which is where it's supposed to be. The added bonus: I'll have the pleasure of seeing that wonderful shibori fabric every day.

copyright 2011 Shibori Girl

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Passionate For Purple

I promised pictures of the polymer clay pieces made from my first attempt at mokume gane. As I gathered them all together for their glamour shots in the light tent, I realized... that's a whole lot of purple going on there.

Each necklace is reversible, which I think is a great selling point - two necklaces for the nice (low) price of one.

I need to make two halves of each bead anyway, and it doesn't take that much more effort to make the second side slightly different than the first.

As with the brocade pattern I referenced in my last post, I didn't want to waste any of the trimmings from my round beads. I put together this great pin using those curvy leftovers. And, of course, MORE purple! I think it came out very well.

Of course, I finished out the session with swirlies made from the scraps!

While those pieces were baking, I took time to finish some more brocade design stuff. Earrings:

And another pin, this one is considerably smaller than the previous ones:

I'll be spending the next few days listing these in my shop so be sure to stop by often to check them out.

copyright 2011 Shibori Girl

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Polymer Clay Play Time

Since returning from Canada, I've been in the studio learning new surface design techniques with polymer clay. I've had this book for some time but needed a good stretch of designated quiet time to crack it open. My favorite technique so far: a brocade look using gold leaf and acrylic paint. I also tried my hand at mica shift, which is very cool...

There's a lot of work in the brocade technique, so I didn't want to waste any of it. I used the curvy trimmings from the bead to make this pretty fan pin.

I purchased a couple of really wonderful tutorials from Naftali Studios for making hollow lentil beads and crackle finishing. These are very well-designed tutorials with clear instructions and good photos. I followed the crackle finish tutorial and decided to use the instructions verbatim. My finished result looks just like her design. Once again, I made it reversible - two necklaces in one... I love that!

Because the bead is hollow, it's very lightweight and comfy to wear. Now to use the technique to make beads in my own design.

This weekend I did my first attempt at mokume gane. I just love it when I can take out my aggressions on an inanimate block of clay. My first successful sheet of mokume gane:

I've got a bunch of beads half done, so I'll be posting those images soon. I'll have some of these new pieces listed for sale in my Etsy shop this week. Until then, you can find me in my playroom.

copyright 2011 Shibori Girl

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Blogosphere is a small place

Last week Marble Man and I proved the Blogosphere can be a very small place when we met fellow blogger, Gabriela Delworth, in Toronto. Here we are hanging out with Alexander in her part of Toronto, Greektown.

We were in Toronto for a family wedding. When I heard where we would be going, I immediately thought of Gabriela and contacted her to see if she'd be interested in meeting IRL. We emailed back and forth for months as plans solidified. We finally settled on a plan: she would pick us up to take us to Greektown for lunch and a walking tour.

It was a hot day (by Toronto's standards anyway), so a visit to Dolce for some gelato seemed in order. It was worth every single calorie. "Mmm, Mmmm... GOOD!"

Gabriela is as lively and colorful as her blog. We talked, and laughed, then talked some more. Before we knew it, it was late afternoon and time to go home. I hope someday we will return to Toronto; I'd love to swing by the Harbourfront Center to take one of the classes she teaches there.

I hope you'll stop by Gabriela's blog for a visit. It's full of craft ideas, color, and marketing wisdom. Thanks Gabriela!

copyright 2011 Shibori Girl