Mama’s got a brand new bag line.

three bags in a row

Here is a preview of a new bag line I will be painting this season.
I’d be interested in feedback on what you might think would be a fair price for original art which is also reversible? Appreciate your help!

What a Mess!

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What a mess is right! This is my normal routine. There is no getting around staying clean and pretty. In fact, I don’t want anyone to see me after a session of silk painting as I usually have dye all over my hands and face. Even though I do my best to stay clean by wearing loves, my worst clothes, I still make a mess. I’m usually exhausted after a days work as well. My table says it all and I absolutely hate cleaning it up. If I don’t, then I’m not motivated to get started on a new piece. It’s like having a dirty kitchen. Your office is several doors down the hall but the yucky kitchen is calling you and you can’t get anything done. If I don’t clean up, I can’t work.

Why would anyone want to paint on silk if it is so messy? The end result is the only answer to that. I hope that you will agree.

What is your favorite Christmas Gift?

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I’m still trying to get in to more of the spirit but I’m rushing around getting gifts in the mail.  I know that I’ll need to do some baking also before the end of the week. I usually make candies filled with liqueurs and brandy in a milk chocolate center.   I also take time to make Christmas ornaments every year and I have to say that I’m way behind schedule.  I made a bunch like you see above last year and a woman bought all of them.  I guess I’d better get with it, huh?

I don’t ever duplicate my ornaments and I’ve got a bit of artist’s block. I guess it’s time to visit the closest craft store to get inspired. I’ll keep you posted on what transpires in the next few days but I’m feeling squished for time.  I remember the time when I made absolutely everything. My favorite thing to do is to decorate the box or basket. It must be festive or personal.   I know I’ll be giving away some of my hand painted scarves but not sure I’ll have time for much more.  Will my inspiration hit me the night before….it usually does but I really want to sleep and wake up feeling good this year.  Christmas morning with a great cup of JO and a bite of my candy is awesome way to start!

What’s your favorite thing you love to do for Christmas?

No Sundried Tomatoes Today!

Today I’m jammin’!  But, you’ll get no sundried tomatoes from me but maybe some scarves.I tried to rush things along a bit by drying some of my scarves in the sun today.  I don’t usually do this as I’m have more time but  I am on a serious mission to finish about 50 scarves before November 10th, so I can relax a bit. They are in the steamer now steaming away and solidifying the colors.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll pull them out and rinse them but first I’ll paint again.  I just hope my feet and back holds out longer than today!

Actually, I had Fried Green Tomatoes for my birthday brunch!  Yum!!!

Custom Fabrics Just For You

I’ve been working away this week for the holidays. Most of the items I’ll be selling this season will be scarves, a cool new bag line which I haven’t unveiled yet, and custom work.  Maybe you never thought about ordering an original design specific to your own personality from a textile artist? It’s not difficult as it’s all in the communication from the client to the artist, usually a sketch or two, and a test of colors before the project is final.  It’s worth it if you have a special engagement or you just want to be the fashionista of the year. There is a plethera of talented folks out there so if you’re looking, I hope you pick my style of painting but if not, search on…you’ll be amazed!

Here is a simple piece I worked on today for a friend who likes teal.

Working for a Living

Are we all working for a living? I certainly feel like I am.  At moments, I feel like I would trade Huey Lewis’s job instead of multi tasking myself to death. I’m not complaining, it’s just that my craft is so time consuming that sometines I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Will I be recognized in the world of fashion and art?  Only I can make it so. To finish up details on each new piece seems overwhelming at times.  Just painting the silk, then all the steps to finish, clean, photograph, upload to computer, upload to my wearable art site and art site…seems like it’s never ever ending, blog and social network. If you have a real job out in the corporate world, just remember if you wanna be an entreprneur, you’ll be working 9-11PM.

I do have a nice diversion on two days of my week. My grandson! There’s my peace. I’m still working though!! You bet I am! I’m getting in shape so I can run after him, he’s gaining speed.

I’m a Mess!

Is this a mess or what?  I’m not sure about my art most of the time.  When I finished this, I thought…..”You’d better get a new career, girl!”  But, after I steamed the silk and I took a photo of it, I had a different perspective on it.  I saw some of the movement in it and I liked that part.  I’m still not sure if anyone else would like it. It might take a great frame job to pull it off.  Art is subjective, right?

The Perfect Wedding Love Story

 This story begins,” Once upon a time…. I met a prospective client through my online store, SilkEscape which showcases my wearable art.”  I quickly answered a request, “Could I paint some fabric for a wedding dress?”  This wasn’t your average every day wedding dress. Christina knew exactly what she wanted.

She told me about her sweet romance story. David and Christina met 10 years after dating in high school. Once again, they found their original true love. Just before their reunion, Christina was drawn to the mountains of Sedona, Arizona for some unknown reason. She fell in love with the beauty and healing powers of the natural surroundings. Hence, she wanted to share her experience with David. They both agreed this is where they were to be married. The fabric would represent all the values in color of the Sedona earth. This is how my part in the story comes in to play. I was chomping at the bit but had to control myself. I really wanted to make this happen for them.

Typically, it might be difficult to get inside someone’s head unless you engage in lots of conversation to gain trust.  This is hard to do when you are working online and you can’t see the person face to face. When I start a commissioned project with a client, I’m evaluating how easy they will be to work with as much as they are doing the same with me. You might say, we are sizing each other up until there is a comfort zone. Why waste each other’s time? Well, it can work for everyone if you take baby steps, charge only for a test or sketch and move on from there.

 Long before the start of the final painting, we established a nice working relationship. Christina supplied me with color chips, photos of her concept and a copy of a vintage sewing pattern.  I could now evaluate how much the dress would cost regarding the time and fabric it would take. I did my homework by creating initial sketches and color pallettes.

With the input of 50 or so convos and emails, we were off to a terrific start. Above is the sample piece I emailed to Christina to see if I was on the right tract. Some additional conversation was made regarding the flow of color and how it would vignette from a dark shade of bordeaux to a very nude shade of peach. We also discussed which silk would work best for the skirt. It couldn’t be too wimpy, heavy, or too shiney.  I ordered one yard each of three fabric weights and finishes. I painted those pieces and shipped them off to Christina. In the end, we both agreed it would be crepe de chine. It is one of the softest to the skin because it has a subtle nub. It’s my favorite.

After final approval of the color values and silk samples, I went to work building very large frames to stretch the silk on.  It had to be wide enough for a ample skirt bottom.  I think that was the toughest part of my job.

I produced 11 1/2 yards of fabric which just about broke my back because of my deadline.  I had to be meticulous in matching color on each sheet of silk so the seams would flow perfectly together. After this process, the silk must be steamed in a steaming unit for 4-6 hours to set the dye colors.  After it cools down, I unwrap all the paper and foil off the silk and just stare at my work. I had great success except for a couple spots of imperfection on a sheet or two but I beleived the seamstress could cut around them.  I was worried that I might have to paint over some of the sheets of fabric. No, No, please No!  My anxiety was pretty heavy at the time as I am a perfectionist and I would paint it over if means satisfying the client.  Now, the silk must be rinsed thoroughly to release all dye residue.

Done yet?  Nope, not yet!  I carefully took every piece out individually and layed them in the sun to air dry. A light pressing, then I boxed it all up with all original concept notes, color chips, sketches and fabric. Off it went to Christina where I hold my breath until she unveils the box.

This is what she said after opening it all up at her busy office! 

Just received.  GORGEOUS MICHELE!!!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!  

Can’t wait to meet with Rosie and strategize the pattern lay out.  I’m sure there will be plenty of fabric.  And you really did such a lovely job. The tones are perfect and any “imperfections” just make it what it is… a unique, gorgeous, piece of ART!      THANK YOU!!!”

Awwww! I jumped for joy!  Now, I can relax…..no……not yet…..not until I see the final dress completed! Only then will I relax.  And so, the happy ending to this story is…………..

THE END

My many thanks to all the collaboration on this beautiful representation of my work.

Thank you Christina and David for giving me the opportunity to do this for you. 

Thank you Rosie, for the tremendous sewing, insight on design, and perfect fit. 

Thank you Andrew Holman for your eye in the camera capturing the most perfect wedding moments.  www.andrewholman.com

Thank Giovanni, (my love) for helping me make the very heavy frames and for always supporting my talents.