Wednesday, August 30, 2017

David Kelley, IDEO, Creative Confidence (and a welcome bear hug from someone I'd never met before)


Below, are examples of two projects that could have pushed me away from designing, or deeper into something that agreed with what the client was seeking, depending on how I chose to interpret their reactions...

I created this feathered duster for a client, inspired by burlesque dancers.  I loved it.  The client?  Not so much at first.  This was version #1 of quite a few tries.
Add caption

Recently, I shared a blog post about this bolero, the process of designing and making it, and what happened next.  This story fits within the context of a talk I attended recently.  Read on, and go back to that blog post, if you're curious.


In many cities around the world, there are events where very interesting/influential/smart speakers talk to an intimate crowd at gathering events hosted by Creative Mornings.  In New York City, these events are EXTREMELY popular, and registering for any of them  (free!) requires amazingly fast fingers.

The last one I attended was a wonderful talk, given by Seth Godin last year, which was fabulous.

With the help of a close friend, who knew to try multiple browsers to increase our chance of attending, we were able to score 2 of the 600 tickets to the talk given by David Kelley last Friday (May 16th).  

Who is David Kelley?  Well, think Steve Jobs.  You know who that is, right?  Follow the highlighted text for an explanation.  I can't force it down into a quick sentence.

Okay, so... Why should I care?  Again, I ask you to click, unless you already get it, and don't need further explanation.

I arrived 30 minutes early, grabbed some lovely pastries and coffee in the waiting area, and lingered with the quiet crowd, talking to a few interesting creatives, mere steps away from David Kelley, who hung out among us, but whose attention seemed to be fully absorbed in one particularly intense conversation. I wanted to compliment his boldly unusual choice of shoelaces (a shock of an orangey-neutral accent that presented the perfect surprise against an otherwise sedate outfit), but it just didn't seem the time. With an ENORMOUS wait list crowd that packed the sidewalk outside of the school amphitheater, we all took our seats, and listened to his talk. You might want to check out his TED talk, which was quite similar to the talk he gave to us in that space last week, but a bit less of a lecture, and more like a conversation.

You know how people say "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt?"  Well, had there been a T-shirt for sale at the event, I would have bought one. At this point, I have attended the Creative Morning event, watched the TED talk, and bought the book.  Frankly,  if there had been Kool-Aid served at the event, I might have taken a sip. Reading the book now, I can see that the ideas he presents are applicable in just about all professions and circumstances. 

So, what's my point here?

The book, his school, and his mission are all about Creative Confidence, which is basically "design thinking" as a tool for innovation.  I'd have to write a book of my own to explain it all here in a few sentences, so I'll send you to the source:



Seriously, you'd be better off reading the book to get where I'm going with this, but here's how it applies to your own (our our collective) creative journey.


  • Involve your (or someone else's!) kids



  • Practice empathy in design.  Understand what the challenges are, seek to resolve or minimize them.



  • Get other people involved.



  • Think outside of the box.


After the talk, did I stay to talk to David Kelley?  No, I did not.  I stopped to talk to the NY organizer of these events to give her a personal "thank you" for achieving the Herculean task of organizing events like these, which she reciprocated with a big, warm, impromptu bear hug. (This was a particularly sweet gesture on a day that happened to also be my birthday!)


Monday, August 28, 2017

How I won the lottery (and asked about buttonholes)

** Originally posted 5/12/13 - updated because I'm thinking about buttonholes now again...



Seth Godin, currently the world's most successful blogger, gave a talk at The New School's Creative Mornings Series on Friday, and, geek that I am, I was BEYOND eager to attend.  Not only that, but I knew that I would be eligible to register for free tickets last Monday at 11AM, so I logged in at 3 seconds before 11, and dove in.  Did I get a ticket?  Yes.  And so did my best friend (who was equally psyched about it).  The event "sold" out in 45 seconds.

45 seconds! As an audience, we were praised for our "skill", but I think we were just the people who cared the most.

Whoa.



So, my friend and I sat in the front row, listened with focused attention to his talk, and only one burning question stayed in my mind from start to finish.  Yes, I listened to the challenges of the new economy, creative thinking strategies, workplace philosophy, and all of the other pithy insights he had to share, but...

Creatives, you know what that question is, don't you?

"Where'd ya get that jacket????"

So, did it come from a store that way, did he find a pretty sedate suit jacket and commission someone to jazz up the lapel, change the lining, and create a bold rainbow of multicolored buttonholes of which any web designer would approve?  Not only were the buttonholes cool, the color combination was particularly good.

There was a brief Q&A, when all questions were about business, and then an informal, seated-on-the-edge-of-the-stage Q&A, when I  scurried up to ask my question.

"There's a little store in the East Village," he said, "where they take these jackets from somewhere that are going to be thrown out, and do things like this to them.  I just saw it, and liked it."

Perfect. Nice upcycle, Seth.


  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Food for creative thought - and making things as a form of "protest"

Frustrated?  Annoyed?  Angry?  Here's a great bit of advice...


Tina Roth Eisenberg: Don't Complain, Create. from 99U on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Side notes: Shoemaking - More action... less talk

I am posting less often.  With fewer words.  Doing the work, instead of spending so much time talking about it. I'm entering a different season of my work life.  It continues to unfold.



So, here's today's point. We don't have to rely on factories.  Of course you can choose to rely on factory made anything, from your clothes to your dinner... or... you can choose NOT to. Your choice.  Roam wherever your creativity takes you.  

After experimenting, I have found that the best shoe glue for my purposes comes from Home Depot, which is a very short and convenient drive for me. Yay!

More and more these days, I'm seeing that supplies are both findable and affordable, if you know (or get creative, and think out of the box a bit) where to look.


Below, find a weird list of links and things that have nourished my creative brain on my shoemaking journey thus far...





For inspiration, take a look at these websites:

https://makeworkshop.com/collections/shoemaking

http://brooklynshoesupply.com/components/

Other tips (based on my own experience):

Consider the heel and sole carefully - they do the work when walking.

Consider the technique - stitching has to be done properly to stay strong and to do it's job!

Consider safety and closures.  After all, there is nothing more vain than fashion-related injuries.

Enjoy the journey, if you're on it!  If not, decorate a pair you already own!  If not, love the ones you've got, and don't concern yourself with my weird obsession!


Monday, August 21, 2017

The perpetual shirt - rest in peace, Jerry Lewis

(8/21/17) RIP Jerry Lewis


*Updated 3/8/15*
and again... 6/3/16

Note: *On the evening of May 20 of this year (2016), I laid out my perpetual shirt to wear on May 21st.  On May 21st, I got up, got dressed, and forgot to put it on... Now, it is labelled JUL 01 16, and I had to give it an alarm on my calendar, so I will remember this time! Ha!

A exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York takes this idea in a completely different, more conceptual, fascinating direction.

Originally posted 4/1/13

You may already know that I love humor in my clothing. 

One particular piece I just made was inspired by Jerry Lewis.  He was rumored to have never worn a pair of socks more than once, and I was struck by the sheer impracticality and wastefulness of that choice.  Unless, of course, he had a sock endorsement deal, and a free lifetime supply of new socks, which could then be laundered and donated to charity monthly.  Then, that kinda cleans it up. Right?

Every now and then I get truly obsessed with a clothing-related idea, and, when that happens, I feel the need to talk it out. With anyone who will listen. So, I told some friends I was designing a "perpetual" shirt.  Every time I explained it, it generated at least 10 follow-up questions, most of them starting with "But... how would you..." or "Why would anyone ever..." No one really understood why this idea was important or funny to me.

But guess what...

When you make your own stuff, the only person who needs to like it or understand it is you.

So there.

I've learned by watching cartoons, that when people or animated characters get an idea, they often experience that moment beneath a single, illuminated light bulb. Well, not in this case.

My idea hit me like this...


This image in my head helped me sort out a way to make this work.  Look at my other blog for sewing info, if you care.

Okay, so yes, I know what today's date is, and no, this isn't an "April Fool" idea.  Really now, why would you even say that to me?

(*clearing throat) Moving on...

So, since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, here it is.

The "perpetual shirt". It only looks impractical... 


Cotton stretch fabric from NY Elegant. Why that store?  Because I am only making this shirt once, I want it to last a long time, and their quality and variety when it comes to fashion stretch fabrics is stellar.

Velcro by the yard from Daytona Trimming. Why that store?  Because I know they sell it by the yard, the prices are wonderfully reasonable, I find the store very easy to navigate, and getting quick, courteous assistance is easy there.

Silver fusible letters from Jonathan Embroidery.  Why that store?  I happened to notice just the letters I wanted when I wandered in for another reason recently.  Easy, and they had what I needed. For something as simple as letters, I'm well aware that there are other great choices in the district too, though.

Background fabric for letters from an unused fancy black table linen given to me by my son's occupational therapist some years ago, because she "knew I sewed, and could use anything"... how random is that? And, how true is that??? Ha!

And, hey, if that isn't true about Jerry Lewis, don't tell me.  It's far more fun to believe it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How long did it take you to make that dress?


Reposting (March 27, 2017)

A day.  

Shrug... 

Really?


Well, 

sorta...


Fell in love with this silk from NY Elegant in 2012...

But... add all components together, and it took just about all my adult life so far...

Blogging has let me keep track of so many tiny details over the years, that I can now share them with you, and marvel at/share the ACTUAL timeline, which is kinda crazy.

I loved this pattern, and grabbed a copy when I was a Butterick/Vogue employee in 1999. Always wanted to, but never made it for myself.  Worries that it was costumey, and maybe a bit too youthful for my age. Nowadays, you can still purchase it online, if so inclined. It was the inspiration for the very similar dress I made... (with quite a few changes)



These fabrics above were purchased (and some of the silvery-grey 4 ply silk was wasted.. until now!) for the creation of a client's Waterfall Dress (2013)



The jacket, hanging off the shoulder, to give an idea of the translucency...

video

A fabric I was so excited about when I bought it, I made it a little video! (October 2010)


This is a killer silk from Rosen & Chadick that has lingered in my stash, too pretty to cut, for years.  People really loved the kimono-inspired jacket-thing I made with it to wear with the dress.
The waist of the dress...


I made my dress close with a wide strip of the organza I used to make the jacket.
Silver/grey silk peeks out as front skirt inner layer. (this pic taken during dress construction - before finishing edges)




So now that I have danced and celebrated at my dear friend's wedding in it, I've taken some pictures of the (already partied in, above) dress on the floor and form before posting this!

I like that this dress has no closures, has a shape that is great for dancing/twirling, and is fairly simple in design.  The pattern is actually designed for cottons, but my choices were silk, which required some changes in finishing techniques and handling.  I naturally subscribe to an anatomical design/construction method, so my own patterns never have straight lines in any of the fitting elements (dart, seams that need to conform to the body's contours). I had to change that.  My version of this dress has only one closure point, which is at the waist, so I needed my under layer to encircle the body at the hips for modesty. This, I just did with a wide/strip band of fabric that is at hip/rear end level.

How long will it take you to make your next project?  Who knows? 

Well, you can always look at it this way... you may not realize it, but you've already begun!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

$17 later... Curtains. (And my fight for curtain diversity)

Updated -Original post 4/27/15

The simplest of curtains.

*The details of the curtains are unimportant here, no special finishes or hems or anything of note... I just love the colors. On Friday, I was looking up at apartment windows, and noticed the glaring absence of interesting window treatments.  Mostly white, and not distinctive in structure or texture, it seemed, I just wanted to see something different. This random thought led me into a local fabric store on Saturday.  I had grown tired of my old, golden-hued curtains, and wanted an immediate change.

I went to a place one wouldn't likely know to go to... and you can only win there if you can distinguish the good stuff from the crap, because, believe me... they have too much of both.  While I can't say I would "recommend" this store (unless you really wanna beat Manhattan prices, and this place is likely a jobber, a big sign tells you all fabric is sold "as is"!), the prices, eclectic selection, and opportunity for thinking differently absolutely couldn't be beat.  I'm talking $1-4 a yard, mostly.  So, what did it cost me to make these curtains?

$17.

Yup.

I made them on Saturday.  Simple, cheerful curtains. Done.

So let's say you want to do the same?  You can spend more, of course, but the options are practically endless for simple panels.  At that price, you can change your curtains monthly, if you want. 

Note: Home dec fabrics adhere to flammability standards, but you can also spray other fabrics (not leather, though) with this stuff.

Wanna make your own?

Here are some ideas for where to buy the fabric:

NY Elegant (upstairs)
Prime Fabrics (upstairs)
B&J Fabrics
Mood Home
Truemart Discount Fabrics

I just did a rod pocket, but if you need grommets installed for hanging:

Star Snaps
Steinlauf & Stoller

When it comes to simple curtains, make them yourself, and you'll save a fortune.  Pay someone else to do them, and you'll spend a fortune.

If money is no object, you can really have some glorious things made.  Just keep in mind, there are more options in the world than just WHITE!