Sunday, December 09, 2012

View from my seat

Slowly building my velvet painting museum.

Oh Batum, you help me find inspiration!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Clicked my heels & I’m still here!

The past few days have been incredibly rewarding.  My clothing is now being carried in two locations: 

Anne Bocci Boutique: 7824 Southwest Capitol Highway Portland, OR 97219

Garnish Apparel: 404 NW 12th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97209

AND I was featured in an article in the Oregonian as an upcoming designer to watch!

It has been a rocky year, a Rocky Mountain kind of year, with lots of ups and lots of craggy, sharp-edged downs.  These past few days have helped raise my boot straps and keep me going. CHEERS to hard work, dedication and the loved ones that keep you going.



Thursday, November 01, 2012

Hump day, Jack-o-Lanterns & mini Reindeer antlers! OH MY!

Halloween ended up being a glorious day.  With 5 hours of sleep and two jolts of coffee I brought this season’s new inventory of rain jackets to Anne Bocci of Anne Bocci Boutique.

hang in there jackets, you'll find a forever home!

I met Anne a year ago while participating in Portland Fashion Week and she has been a supporter ever since.  In fact, her boutique (located at 7824 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219) carries a lot of local designers, such as Ms Wood, Seth Aaron and Au Clothing.  Au Clothing is me bitches!

cropped orange and long toffee rain jacket
As a solo, struggling designer it is like a big hug or a full size candy bar given on Halloween to have such support.  On my way to total fashion domination it is people like Anne who help me mortar the bricks and make me realize I am not building a shit house but a fashion mega dome! She not only carries my work, but has helped me tweek sizing and given me invaluable advice.

 So let’s put on our rainwear, raise a glass to Anne!   XOXO.

this is how it all started
had to buy these earring while i was there!

Monday, October 22, 2012

I love working with leather.  I love the smell of it.  I love the varying textures of it.  I love its durability as well as its rich, luxe quality.  Leather just says LUXE. 

 Leather has been used since the dawn of man.  Leather is the skin from birds, reptiles or animals with the hair or fiber removed. It must be treated first to not rot over the course of time.  Leather is often the byproduct from the food industry, so where there is prime rib, there is leather.

Before the skins, known as hides, become leather they must be processed.  First they are cured to prevent the skins from rotting.  During the curing process the hair and flesh is removed from the skins and they are dried.  After the skins are cured they are tanned.  The main reason for the hides to be tanned is to prevent them from rotting, and keep them from becoming hard and eventually cracking.  The tanning process can take anywhere from a few hours to up to a year depending on the process and thickness of the hide.

Splitting, coloring, and finishing follow the tanning process, AND this my friend is the point of this blog post.  PATENT leather.

 Patent leather goes through the same treatment above but is then finished with successive coats of polyurethane, the end result being a high shine, high luster finish that is very durable.  I just nabbed me some high-shine, high-gloss patent leather.  It is so glass like, I just want to put it in my mouth.  Perhaps I will make something from it instead!  My inclination for this shiny ass hide is to turn it into jewelry.  Or a bag.

Sewing with patent leather can be a bitch.  I recommend using a machine with a walking foot and a Teflon foot.  Always use polyester thread.  Use scraps first to set correct tension, and go SLOW.  Once you perforate the hide with the needle, you are forever left with a hole.

Off to play in patent leather land… I hope I see a patent unicorn there!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

i feel like a gherkin...


…sweet, salty and a touch of sourness.  Yes, I feel like a gherkin.  Perhaps less sweet than sour, I really could use a bit of venting right now.  Or a good old fist fight.  Or a night in jail.  Or, maybe, just maybe, a nap. 

Perhaps a fist fight that lands me in jail where I can take a nap.  PERFECT!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

creatively sleeping

I have a nasty habit of closing my eyes and having design come to me.  I don't know if it is the blank canvas that is the back of my lids?  Or the turning off of distractions around me?  But I inevitably wake up at a devilishly dark hour with a stroke of brilliance. 

This morning it was 3:41.  
I finally gave in and rose at 4:40. 
Tea in hand I type. 
1/2 a tea in hand I sketch.

At least my brain wakes me up so I don't miss these moments. I just wish they happened when my eyes were already functioning.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

shot of life

"Janet didn't realize it was bring your penguin to work day.  Way to miss the opportunity Janet. Way to go."

We all have missed opportunities.  Flashes of progress to capture that fail.  I still kick myself for not seizing the 8am Saturday shoemaking class in college.  Shoelessly I kick myself.  But I suppose it's only when you begin to kick yourself you realize the flash is gone, along with the opportunity.

I found some legs..........

Michelle Lesniak Franklin

And I am pretty sure they are mine circa 2005?
When you google yourself, funny stuff comes up.

Friday, October 05, 2012


First real day of production in my studio and what have I learned?

·         Light is very important. From lightness of spirit to the heaviest of burden, a well lit room will make you see more clearly.

·         Don’t choose a paint color flippantly.

·         It takes time to get used to a new work space. “Now where did I put that?”- Get more light!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Last day of September

It’s the last day of September and I am ready for it to draw to a close.  A new month is a new start.  I am ready for this new start.  It will require heavy lifting and long, long hours.  It will require lots of tea.  Lots of tea.  And some wicked good doodles.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tis the season for all things wool.

Wool, along with silk and leather, is one of my favorite textiles to work with.  Here are some reasons why:

·         Natural fiber

·         Good drape

·         Creates dramatic structure

·         Hydrophobic (wicks moisture)

·         Warm/Insulating fabric

Wool comes from sheep and has been used by humankind since the Stone Age.  There are over 40 different breeds of sheep, such as Merino, that make up 200 types of wool fiber. Wool is judged, a process that is called grading, based on fineness of fiber as well as length.  The best quality wool comes from the back, sides and shoulders of the sheep, where as the lowest quality of wool comes from the lower legs.

 (Side note:  Looks like my wool production would be of poor quality, my best asset is my legs. Thank goodness I’m not a sheep. Bah to that.)

Determining quality of wool depends on the breed, health, climate of the sheep.  Merino wool is thought to be the best grade of wool due to the thinness of the fiber, the best drape, most strength, softest hand, best elasticity and most resiliency.

I was lucky enough to participate in a fabric buy with the owner and designer of Garnish Apparel.  A wholesaler came to her shop with suitcases full of swatches where she selected fabrics and yardage for future production.  One sample hit me and hit me hard.  The wholesaler, also known as a jobber, saw the love and light in my eyes and was kind enough to send me 2 yards free of charge, and I have been dreaming of it ever since.

Well the fabric is in.  Here she is and she is going to make an extraordinary coat for fall. Super clean lines.  Super modern. Super “who-the-hell-is-that-gal-in-such-a-striking-bad-ass-coat,” kind of coat.

Pictures to come.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


There are things I relearn every time I paint.  Here is a rough list:


1.      Don’t rush choosing the paint color.  Having to repaint is twice as shitty as doing it once.

2.      Don’t wear your favorite_______________.

3.      Don’t wipe your hands on your clothes.  The paint just seeps through onto your expensive underthings and your person, leading you to freak out a little hours after you completed the paint job.

4.      Don’t soak your roller dumb-ass.  If you soak your roller in paint it ends up spattered all over your arms.

5.      Don’t imbibe.  It makes you care less.

6.      Listen to killer jams really loud so when someone comes up behind you and startles you, you end up dropping an over-soaked roller in your lap.





My new studio is painted.  Perhaps a bit too institutional grey, but nothing a shit ton of sketches and artwork can’t cover.  And I love me some grey.

Friday, September 14, 2012

when silk and lurex make a baby

When silk (an animal based natural fiber) and lurex (a yarn made from a metallic fiber that has been woven together) make a baby, this is what you get.

I found this amazing textile at my local fabric store for a mere $40 a yard. Using a coupon, yes this smart lady clips coupons when it comes to fabric, bought 1 1/2 yards and transformed it into a pretty snazzy top, albeit see-through, which makes it not just snazzy, but sexy too.

And it should be!

Did you know Julie Numar's Catwoman bodysuit was made out of lurex for the 1960's television series? That was some sexy costume!

Monday, February 27, 2012 wash away the rain...

Black hole computer!  How do I go from changing my website settings around one moment to 4 hours later looking up fonts? Argh!  And now I want to look up the lyrics to “Black Hole Sun”.  MUST FOCUS!!!  Ohh, so look at this!