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. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Not dead...

Just insanely busy.  

Will update very soon with positive news and fun things!