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!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

For the social activists among you... Food for thought.



This is a TED talk given some time ago (2014), by a woman I admire (who also happens to be a personal friend). It is great food for thought.




Has anything changed since then?  If so, how?

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's all feelin' so sales-y...

I've been lookin' at the blogs lately, and I just can't relate.  Who is all of this for, if not ourselves and the people we love, right?

Right now, I just crave the real.  I'm knee deep in some projects, and will continue to doggie paddle my way to completion.

I'm making some things that mean a lot to me, and to some truly beloved clients, and that's what will continue to matter right now.

Taking a breather, taking a minute, will show pics, but might not say too much... we'll see!

You know me... I'll definitely say somethin'... eventually.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The next Speakeasy?

Next one:







September 22, 2017

This garment district fabric and notions shopping tour will lead you to places you'll love, likely have not heard of, and didn't know existed. 10AM - 3PM with lunch! 


Regarding cancellations:

 If you have paid and wish to cancel 7 days or more before tour date - 100% refund
 If you don't come on the scheduled date or cancel within 24 hours or less - you will forfeit your refund, but can switch reservation to a future tour date.

 If I cancel a tour for any reasons not related to newsworthy acts of God or other unforeseen major emergencies, you are entitled to your choice of a full refund, or a future tour.



Note: you do not need to have a Paypal account to pay using Paypal. This tour is $90. Wanna come?  Click below.





Monday, July 10, 2017

Seriously. Who'd believe it?

Reposting (6/22/17) Still nothing...


MISSING


Seriously.  Sent via USPS on June 15.  Tracking number and all. Delivered June 16 to destination, according to tracking.  My friend did not receive it.  I have to wait 7 15 days to file my insurance claim. (update: Turns out, they make no promise with the priority mail service, since, really, why would you file a claim if your package arrives before day 15? Dirty trick... )

No tears.

No tears.

USPS has been BEYOND unhelpful.

I wouldn't consider her to be something someone would steal, or have any way of knowing was in the box.

Here's the bright side.  I really had fun making her, my kids had lots of input, she gave us lots of laughs, and even IF someone took her, I'll bet they had to giggle a bit...

We can make another one!  We have developed another character, who already has a name, and if 'Bo is found, she'll have a friend!  If she is not found, we can make up stories to tell the other one about her wandering ways... sigh...

It was nothing but fun to make her, so I've been given an order.... HAVE MORE FUN!

Oh, and the United States Postal Service really sucks.  I mean that.

She'll have an Instagram, and I'll link it here.  And maybe, just maybe... (said with a deliberate cowboy drawl) she'll find her way to her home (new or old - we'll take either one) someday!

How can you help?  Follow her Instagram  for updates (if any), and share widely.  Whoever ends up with her should know it!  Her name is in the box!




Friday, July 7, 2017

All action, no talk...








Last steps - professional shoe guy will adhere topsole/insole to heel, I will finish black edges (join), and gold cushion piece for elastic at back heel.

I'll answer your questions, if you have any...

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

www.shopthegarmentdistrict.com

Reposting...

Announcement:

Please update your records to access this blog via www.shopthegarmentdistrict.blogspot.com 

The old domain name was tangled in a tech problem we can't resolve, so I'll just be using this new domain name from now on.

As always, stay tuned for all relevant garment district fabulousness!

Friday, June 30, 2017

On UFOs (Unfinished Objects) - This stuff matters... often more than we realize.

Reposted from 1/14/13


Since then, years have passed, my daughter has grown older, and she now maintains an Instagram of her own artwork!

Update: City Quilter will be closing its brick and mortar store on 10/26/16.)

A full decade (and lots of hand-stitching) after I began this project, I took a picture of a quilt I have completed. I took this picture at Christmas, looking up at the front porch, outside, while visiting my in-laws home (in the background), since, where the heck do you hang and photograph a 6'x6' quilt in New York City apartment?  At the time of this photograph, the quilting was finished, and only binding remained to be done. Completely hand-pieced, hand-sewn, and hand-quilted, I often questioned my own sanity, but ultimately, I feel the satisfaction of really calling it "finished".  

With this post, I specifically want to highlight the incredible difficulty of finding just the right fabrics and colors to make this quilt.  I spent a solid two months looking for the right fabrics back then, venturing out to many stores to get the combination of colors I needed.  Nowadays, there is a much closer option... City Quilter.  While not in the garment district, it is energetically walkable, taxiable... subwayable.  For my next quilt... and yes, there will be a next... that will be my destination.

This quilt is a fabric interpretation of a painting my sister created when I was little (1976).  It is called "Family".  My goal was to make a quilt with no machine stitching anywhere at all.  I envision "speaking" to the great-granchildren I may never meet through my own hand-stiching. Please feel more than free to love it, hate it, not understand it.  It's not for display, sale, or art... just love. Our family will be sleeping under it.

Hanging kinda crooked - I was cold and impatient while taking this picture!


My 11 year-old daughter wrote many test essays during her test practice sessions for an entrance exam she just took for a specialized school.  This particular topic in her prep notebook:  "Someone Who Makes a Difference in My Life".  I happened to take a look at it one day, and saw this...



Stash Management

Reposting (originally published 6/28/12)

Oh the stash... it just grows and grows, doesn't it?

Okay, here is an exercise for all of us. ALL OF US... Yes, ALL of us...

You know that fabric stash that is stuffed in your closets, drawers, boxes, rubbermaid tins, cedar chests... wherever? I know you've got piles of fabric waiting for your next project soon someday. Okay... today we're gonna decide that's okay. Part of the creative process is collecting hoarding curating a fabric supply. That's what keeps the creative juices flowing.

I'm being serious here. I have yet to visit the workspace of any creative person, fully immersed in the art of making things, who doesn't have a big ol' pile of creative madness going on. Embrace it.

Why do I bring this up?

History has taught me that when I wander in and out of fabric stores, I see all kinds of great things that I would love to use, if only I had a project going for which I could use it. If I decide I want those things six months later, I may never find them again. Here's the thing... buy it, and you may be surprised by what it inspires later on! I made some covered buttons about 6 years ago and never finished the project for which they were intended. Time marched on, the design idea lost its luster, and my daughter asked for the buttons instead. She made use of one in a fabulous necklace made for my birthday! Creative karma...

Another reason to curate a healthy stash? When the fabric is considered before your creation/design decisions or pattern purchases, you can build a wardrobe of planned items that are interchangeable and/or coordinating, rather than a one-at-atime approach, that keeps you buying new shoes accessories and bags to complement each piece. A time/money saver! See...? Not so crazy, huh?

So, feed your stash, people. Organize it to the best of your ability, but understand that it is part of the process.

Now, cue some sad bugle playing taps, while you scroll through the swatches of fabulous fabrics I regret not buying, or not buying enough of...

Some sorta leather-like wool animal-printed fabric I found at Paron. Just weird enough to intrigue me, but not creating a sharp enough creative vision in my head to coax any money out of my wallet that day. NOW, I can see the winter vest it should have been.



I am almost embarrased to share how long this crinkled denim (above) lived in my stash. In an appetizing color I affectionately call "Pepto", I always knew it needed to be a pair of pants, but there was never quite enough of it to become a pair. So it became a jumper. And a hasty one at that. One I have never, ever, ever worn...

I need a tissue.

And quite possibly a hug.

Learn from my mistakes, folks. I share because I care...

The best stores for stash shopping are the ones where you find wonderful surprises in limited quantity or quick/limited seasonal availability. Bring your wallet with some "mad" money, because these are a few of the places to find the fabrics you weren't looking for:

Mood225 W. 37th St., 3rd floor (mid-block, office building, go into the lobby and take the elevator to the 3rd floor)

Paron
257 West 39th st (bet. 7th 8th ave) New York, NY 10018

Metro Textiles
265 West 37th Street Suite 908 New York, NY 10018
More info about this store can be found here.

Enjoy yourself, take deep breaths, and embrace the stash...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Whew! Spilling the details on the "Speakeasy" tour...

Reposting (from 9/29/12) - for those of you who don't know what the Speakeasy idea is/was, and what I would love to duplicate, if there is enough interest!

Now that the tour is over, and I've had a good sleep, lemme tell you all about it! This was the first Speakeasy tour I've done, and since no two will be exactly the same, I can dish here without spoiling it for those who will come in the future. Our tour was scheduled to meet at 10 AM at the "Big Button", and I arrived quite early. The rain was TORRENTIAL when I got there, so I ducked beneath a shelter for a time, and reemerged when the rain lightened to a steady drizzle. Cindy (my great tour guide partner) and I met the participants as they arrived, just when the sky ABSOLUTELY OPENED UP.

I'm not sure when I've seen it rain so hard.

I briefly wondered if one could build an ark of canvas and boning, since I do know where to get that...

Thankfully, we were all dressed for the occasion, and they were all really good sports about the relentless downpour. We quickly scrambled off to our first destinations.

Because these were smaller stores, Cindy took half of the group to C&J Textiles, while I took the other half to Metro Textiles. Cindy's part of the group absolutely RAVAGED the $6 sale rack. Yes, I said $6. Really, I did say $6. Why do you keep asking me that? (That's why I call it a "Speakeasy"... see?) And good luck going there now. They practically cleaned it out. No, I'm not kidding. When its gone, its gone, until they restock it. You would have had to see it with your own eyes. At Metro, Kashi was, as always, an incredibly gracious host, whose selection is just overwhelming. While there, a serendipitous visit from George of International Pleating, holding THE MOST MAGICAL pleated fabric you ever did see, allowed me the opportunity to introduce him to my part of the group. Truly, the way that pleats can give a new personality to such a tame and classic print... We couldn't even imagine what it must have looked like before pleating until Kashi showed it to us in its original state.

Really, you hold up its pleated version, and you dance with it. Just because you have to.

So, when you're in Kashi's place, you just keep looking at his vast selection of fabrics until things jump out at you. I can be easily distracted by shopping for myself, so I promised myself I wouldn't buy a SINGLE thing. However, I do now have a list in my head that I will need to satisfy shortly. Thanks, alot, Kashi... Kashi has three fabrics I MUST have, and will go to pick up this week. Mostly because I can barely sleep without them. That's just true. On another note, you will feel the need to call the place "Kashi's" instead of Metro Textiles after going there. That's just what happens.

Okay, so then I tried to minimize my excitement as the entire group met up at Fabrics and Fabrics (formerly Lace Star). I just wanted to let them get off the elevator, and GASP as it unfolded before them. I'm not even sure why I mention the name Lace Star when I talk about them now, since this version of that store BLOWS what was known as Lace Star away. This place is VAST, and I can assure you, the sale racks will amaze you. But bigger than that, there are AISLES and AISLES of brocades (and plenty of other things, too) in lots and lots of colors. Fabric-selling industry veterans have told me that a wide variety of brocades are amazingly hard to find. They found them, somehow. The antique French laces, the wild, unusual fabrics...

As I walked around, I kept hearing purrs, shouts and "Come look at this!" from corners and aisles all around this store. And the layout of this store is absolutely stellar. The organization and labeling of goods is just so perfect, I don't think it could be improved upon. I am so serious about that. And it just keeps going, and going, and going! Rahman is just a great, welcoming personality, and I know there are other staff members, but I just gravitate to him specifically, because he is always first to smile!

Understandably, people were reluctant to get things shipped home rather than carry them, because it takes away from their fabric budget (and can be pricey, especially for our Hawaiian!), but arms were getting weary!

From there, we moved on to Rosen & Chadick. David, Ellen and the assistants were wonderfully helpful, and the group was astounded by the quality of the goods they carry. The beautiful heavenly beaded net fabric and velvet combo bought by one member of our group nearly brought tears to my eyes. The printed cottons are also just TO DIE for. The silks, oh, and the silk tie fabrics are just glorious! The cotton twills for pants, the UPSTAIRS... oh yes, there's an upstairs... you mean you didn't know? "Speakeasy"... see?

And here's the deal... you see stuff there you won't find in other stores. The pinwale corduroys in particular are so beautiful, and inspire ideas in so many directions. The layout and lighting are awesome, and the wonderful, warm personalities of David and Ellen are even awesomer... yes, that's a word...

So, from there, we took a quick little subway ride to 28th Street on the 1 train, where I discovered that I could not swipe a whole pile of people with a pay-per-ride fare card... and seriously MTA, why not???? After a few people, the machine tells you that you have exceeded your "transfer limit". Why? Someone explain to me what transfers have to do with this? And the absence of subway personnel makes it especially frustrating. Random venting.  I digress.

So, I just bought more fares, and we moved on. No big deal.

Anyway, our next stop was Manhattan Wardrobe Supply, which offers more stuff than you ever knew you needed. We discussed the joys of waxed hand sewing thread, various glues and adhesives, types of elastic, all sorts of bust fixes and fitting solutions, garment shields, shoe concerns, fabric care supplies, and just soooo much more.

That place was a ball, and everyone was about to keel over, so we all rested out tootsies (and other parts) for lunch. It all worked out fine, but for the next trip, I will make sure to plan lunch better! We all ate well, though! Over lunch, we answered all of the "where can I find" questions they had for us, and got feedback on their favorite stores. Surprisingly enough, the favorites were pretty evenly spread out among the group! Everyone said they had an awesome time, and they were really happy they came! I am so glad!

After the tour, I did a follow up with a few of the store owners, and they had some great feedback for us, too! One of the major points I stress on this tour is that this is meant to be a MUTUALLY beneficial trip.  You get access to gorgeous and fun stuff, discounts, bargains, and relationships I already have with vendors.  They get business from people who probably don't otherwise even know they exist.

The folks at Rosen and Chadick thought the groups was really nice, fun, and interesting to talk to! They were pretty amazed at how far some were willing to travel to come on the tour, and so was I!

Side note: I had NO idea you could drive from elsewhere, park your RV at the marina, and save yourself a hotel bill! Makes coming here crazy affordable!

Kashi really enjoyed the group as well, and was happy to have been able to show them fabrics they found exciting! He has such great prints! 

C&J can really look intimidating, but don't be intimidated. Yes, there is a receptionist, but don't feel put off by the feeling of being asked to state your business. They just wanna help you find what you need... and of course, they want your business!

Manhattan Wardrobe Supply is better explored than explained. Also nice people, in a very businesslike environment.

My request to all of you:

After reading this post, when shopping in the Garment District, make sure to tell anyone who will listen, that you came because you saw the business mentioned on the blog. I can't guarantee that it will always help you at the register, if I'm not there with you... but sometimes it will!

In a nutshell,  conversation flowed, I am really happy that the blog is entertaining for so many, and was happy to meet those who hadn't really followed the blog, but were just excited for the real-life opportunity to go on the guided trip! I was especially excited to have learned so much from those who came on the trip, too!

Oh... and... sorry for no pictures... I was having too much fun to think about photo ops! And vain truth be told, I got drenched, and wasn't much of a fashion plate after the rain! Can you say "hot mess"?

The next garment district tour will be...

September 22, 2017.  Click here for more info.

Today, I saw a sobering post from Seek LLC tours, stating that they will no longer offer fashion tours in NYC.  As businesses disappear, I wonder what the future holds...

While I understand Seek's choice, I do feel that there is still a glorious fabric shopping experience to be had here, and I will continue to lead you through it.  Since I have not been a competitor of SEEK for the same type of service, I have recommended SEEK tours to some of you who have a greater interest in fashion shopping than in the process/exploration of making things. I hope someone will fill that void.

I can agree that there are fewer people interested in group tours, and I have found that I lead far more private and small group tours than the larger crowd tours these days.

Keep in mind, there are always maps, too!

You'd be amazed at what creative pursuits, exhibits, fabrics and notions you can explore in the district.  

And...


I'll still be here to show you.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Friday in the district...

Man, it NEVER gets old...

Saw such beautiful things on a private tour I led on Friday...

Really floored by the beauty of it all.


Heavenly adornments.



Suede - really.



I haven't been able to express just how wonderful it has been in the district lately.  The beauty is overwhelming. It truly is just THAT amazing, and you need to come see for yourself!

Friday, June 16, 2017

I made a friend.

I started with the idea of a mouth. Just randomly constructed a mouth, with the idea of creating a sock puppet that would pretty much be ALL MOUTH.


But that mouth took over.



And I made a friend. 


No pattern, no plan, just a puppet that TOLD me what to do, how to create her... It took a while. I kept thinking I was done, but that mouth wouldn't stop yappin'.  She is LOUD.  Even if I am the only one who could hear her.  Creative chaos ensued.






I MADE a friend.




It took a village.  Did I shop for items to make her?  No.  She was 100% scraps and stash. I credit Britex (San Fran), Daytona, Elliott Berman, Metro Textiles, Spandex House and New York Elegant for all the pieces of my sewing life it took to create her.



Turns out she loves an adventure.  She came with us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art this week, took a few pics, and then announced she was ready to go to her new home. 

She really found her place among the exhibits.






So, here's the deal.  Long ago, I made a quilt for my family.  The idea of the quilt was to create a loving place to snuggle when you feel tired, sad, sick, heartbroken, or just in need of a hug. 

'Bo is the continuation of that idea, BUT I made her to give to a friend and HER family, but specifically her daughter, who is just a sweet little 1 year old right now.  She may find her terrifying, but I know her mom has a good sense of humor, and that fear will fade in time. 'Bo can be the mouthpiece of the household.  She may even insist on it... Whatever you wanna say, you can let 'Bo say it for you.  She has no filter, and is not SHY.  I hope she enjoys her new home.  We'll miss her.

* Inspiration (Sassy Urban Friend referred to in the Bo Burnham song #Deep.  The jury is still out on whether this qualifies as fan art, since he is NOT a kid's comedian, but she is kinda named after him...)

Photo credits: my kids.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Truly, Madly. Deeply - Rei Kawakubo

Part of the "War" grouping of pieces.

Where do I begin? Let's see...

Okay, let me begin by saying that I love Rei Kawakubo like nobody loves Rei Kawakubo.  We have a history, she and I.  I wrote (and kept) a paper I feverishly, passionately wrote as a high school student about her work and the magic I felt when I first viewed it. I went to this exhibit this weekend, with my kids in tow, and again, melted at the sight of her beautiful work. My son, not nearly as interested as I, sat just outside of the exhibit (for a great reason I will explain in a bit), and my artist daughter navigated the space by by side... well... kinda.

Where is it? The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  See link for more info.  Note: Remember that the entrance fee is only suggested, so don't let the price stop you. No need to be embarrassed, either.  They will let you in, with no judgement at whatever price you are willing/able to pay.  What is this kind of thing worth to me?  About a MILLION dollars, but that's just me!  And no, I don't have a spare million...

This exhibit is hardly navigable.  It requires you to squeeze through uncomfortable spaces, peer at important work through strangely shaped cubbyhole openings, gaze up uncomfortably from strange vantage points you must find on your own, and repeatedly murmur "excuse me" as you weave through the crowd.  

I had to ask myself, was Rei Kawakubo (if asked) happy with this layout?  My son, while completely respectful of my interest in it, opted not to join this tangled crowd to see the work, as it just "isn't his thing". (Well, that, and he really came along for the skateboarding opportunities in Central Park afterward...) What he did do (on his own), was pay very close attention to the reactions of the people who were coming out of the exhibit.  People were endlessly questioning why they didn't even think to put arrows on the floor, to give some guidance through this maze.  While it was (still is) a holiday weekend, did they not anticipate that it could be a bit crowded?

So there are what were most photographable among the pieces we saw:


This piece, while interesting to me, reminded my daughter of the "Turtle Shirt" skit from Saturday Night Live (below)





Scattered among the exhibit, were these titles... giving a bit of food for thought, with descriptions as cryptic as cryptic could possibly be.
Each section of the exhibit was labeled with a similarly contrasting title, like the exhibit map  below:


Reminded my daughter of an Ellen Degeneres act...


A folded, newspaper-like map and explanation of the "scenes" were handed to the guests upon entry.  I would have benefitted from a printed summary or video to introduce the ideas, so that I might have some time to digest it a bit before viewing.  I really don't think this exhibit could have been considered self-explanatory.

Birth/death/marriage were all presented with an artistically somber tone...



And... I am so happy that this work is also intended to amuse, because my daughter, a teenaged artist, who is also HILARIOUS, gave me a million reasons to laugh as we stumbled through the space.

"Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between" examines nine expressions of "in-betweenness" in Kawakubo's collections... It reveals how her designs occupy the spaces between these dualities - which have come to be seen as natural rather than social or cultural - and how they resolve and dissolve binary logic."

Mission accomplished.  I wholeheartedly endorse this exhibit.

I just think there should be direction arrows on the floor and an printed intro or video on the wall to help orient the visitors.

So... in a nutshell, see it.  If you have a curious mind, a giggle in your heart, and a moment to spare, just see it!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Leather: Whether friend or foe (faux!), you'll find what you love there!

It was a simple visit to a leather vendor I've visited before. I knew what to expect.

Or so I thought...

I stepped into the showroom of NAT Leathers, a beautifully organized and welcoming office and meeting space, with an exciting stocked shelved section in the rear room. I was warmly greeted by Nick, who was happy to show me the wonderful pieces his space had available.

As eye candy, I share these with you:

Metallic faux leather

If you could touch this, you would consider it "hand candy" as well.

Clearly, I had misunderstood the possibilities of the world of "faux" leather.  I remember as a teen, that faux leather was something to be made fun of.  Inferior in quality, look, performance, durability, and lifespan, it was considered a cheap imitation of a superior product.  It was for "posers".  But no longer.

NAT's product range includes high end faux leathers. "How do your faux choices compare to the real thing?" I asked.  Nick's answer? They perform as well, if not better, than real leather.

And when it comes to real leathers, there is so much beautiful product in this space, that you will just squeal with delight (as I did) when you see the range of weights, textures, finishes, colors, and softnesses (if  that's even a word).  It is a wonderful adventure.


A "polka dotted" optical illusion?

Sparkly "disco" leather!

Lots of textural excitement!


Beautiful colors to custom order...

So, what's all this leather for?  Accessories, clothing, shoes, home dec, upholstery, hospitality... you name it.  On trend, budget-friendly, and wonderfully curated color palettes.  Custom orders and bulk orders are welcome, as is the small quantity shopper.


N.A.T. Leathers 
248 West 35th Street Suite #505
New York, NY 10001

Call 212.643.1702 for an appointment to meet with one of the team, or to inquire about bulk pricing.

Did I find a few gems?  You bet I did!  Then I hightailed it to SIL for leather thread and leather needles, to Manhattan Wardrobe supply for glue, and to Daytona for a special trim.  I'm in creative heaven! 


I've spoken at length in the past about shopping for leather in the garment district, sewing with leather, and I have shown you some personal projects I've explored/made.  The tools and assistance you need are right there in the district to help get you going (think Botani, Lou Lou, Star Snaps), and, if you are motivated and brave enough, trust me, you can create what your heart desires.