Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Beauty in Chaos... Textile Art in Christchurch, New Zealand

Currently, I'm visiting Christchurch, New Zealand. My friend Betty, a native of Christchurch has been taking me around, and it is a surreal experience to see the devastation of a city I've visited on several occasions before. The earthquakes of 2011 have completely changed the face of the city, and reconstruction work continues.

Amidst all the chaos that still exists in the city is the Transitional Cathedral, designed by Shiguru Ban. Here is the outside, and a few shots of the inside.

What you are seeing is cardboard tubes, and laminated wood, amongst other things.

The alter was decorated in the most beautiful textile art; a quilted fabric rich in color.
Here are a few shots:

As in all things, beauty exists, and fiber arts play a role.

Garment Designer Pattern: Eco-Dye Style

Garment Designer Pattern Eco Dye Style was created with our upcoming Batwing sleeve! Here at Cochenille, I’m working on a group of new styles (Style Set 3) for Garment Designer. At the same time, I’m teaching a new course at Mesa College; Textile Design. I decided to combine the two as I test new styles.

The Pattern

Here we have a style I’m working on; a Batwing sleeve. My inspiration came from the costumes at a recent Ballet performance I attended. The ballerinas wore a batwing style sleeve with an extended cuff, scrunched up their lower arm.
Garment Designer Pattern for Batwing sleeve
To the left is my initial write of the style. I’ll extend the sleeve when I cut the garment.

I printed a test pattern, then taped it together. This I laid on the fabric and once I understood the shape, I began to lay out my various plants on the fabric. began to lay out my various plants down in place.

The Layout

Positioning my pattern for layout purposes.
Arranging the plant materials using the pattern as a guide.
Various plants.

The next step was to roll the fabric up, and tie it tightly. Then, it is put in a pot of simmering water. A rusted pot was put in for good measure to assist in heightening the color of the plants on the fabric.

Into the Pot

Rolling all into a tube.
The ‘sausage’, rolled and tied.
Into the dye pot

After about one hour, the fabric come out, and is untied, and unrolled. Many plants (but not all) transferred their color to the fabric.

Revealing the Fabric

Fabric fresh out of the pot.
Revealing the color upon unrolling.
Fabric, eco-dyed

My fabric is ready… now time to get the garment cut out and sewn.
Susan.. Cochenille
Fabric, after washing and drying.

Friday, December 25, 2015

2015 Christmas Tree

The final 2016 tree
Wishing a wonderful holiday season to all... it's that time of year, and it's been busy as usual.

Regardless of how hectic the season becomes... it is always a priority for me to create my non-traditional holiday tree. I'm in year 11, I believe, and each year, some idea sparks, during the year to become the inspiration for the annual tree.

This year, my trip to Japan,which was the highlight of the year, served as the impetus for the tree...
So, we needed a few asian elements... hmm... maybe a short kimono/haori, a painted asian umbrella.. some tulle, lights, and of course, many,many little umbrellas cocktail stirrers.

I had two gross of these....
Took a while to open them up..
And string them on the lights..

And of course, there is also my little traditional tree... a real green tree.

Not such a big tree.. easily carried

And decorated with chili lights

Happy Holidays to all.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Nuno Textiles in Tokyo, Japan

I am a great fan of Nuno Textiles, an innovative textile design and manufacturing company in Japan. The driving force behind Nuno is Reiko Sudo. I had seen her talk at a Convergence (weaving conference) several years ago, and was so intrigued with the philosophy and design of their fabrics. They combine traditional weaving techniques with new fibers and technologies to create the most unique fabrics you have ever seen. And, at times, hand operations (meaning, truly by hand) are involved in the textiles.

I was honored to meet Reiko in their main Tokyo store and she allowed me to take photos of their fabrics to share with my students, and of course, here on my blog.

 Here is a fabric that now resides in my fabric collection. It is like a stained glass, with a window pane effect. The top black layer is actually cut away.

 Next, we have a scarf (also now in my personal collection), with closeup.
Felted Fiber Scarf
And now.. a fabric made by mounting small pieces of other Nuno fabrics on the surface.



This fabric is woven in such a way that it has a puckered surface.



Finally, how about an embroidery..


Nuno creates fabrics for interiors as well as clothing. They have been featured in numerous exhibits and museums, and are well known in the Fiber Arts world.

Here is a great Youtube link if you would like to see more.

Open: 11:00 - 19:00Holidays - 18:30Closed Sunday
B1F AXIS Bldg., 5-17-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 106-0032
E-mail: info@nuno.com

A U.S. office also exists, if you are interested to purchase fabrics here in the United States.

Material Things
Online store at www.nunoonline.com
P.O. Box 400, La Jolla, CA 92038
T: 858-488-2000
F: 858-488-2002

Kobe Fashion Museum, Kobe, Japan

One of the highlights of my trip to Japan in September was a visit to the Kobe Fashion Museum. You can reach Kobe from Kyoto easily, and from the train station you can take a tram to the area where the museum is located. The building itself in quite extraordinary.

The photos included here were provided by the Museum itself. Photography was not allowed, and so the curator generously sent me some photos to share.

The current exhibit at the time of my visit was Digital X Fashion. This was most interesting, and of course a topic of great interest to me, as I study contemporary and future-forward textiles. Through the exhibit you could see how technology inspired the design of garments. Two fashion designers/companies were highlighted. The one that intrigued me the most was Anrealage. The name of the company comes from a combination of words of ''A REAL, UNREAL and AGE''.  The Designer, Kunihiko Morinaga, was born in 1980 in Tokyo, graduated from Waseda University and Vantan Design Academy, and has received numerous awards. Go to their website, http://www.anrealage.com/ and look at the various collections. The Reflect collection (2016 Spring/Summer) uses fabrics that were photosensitive and thus responded to the flashes of light from cameras or the lighting (as was the case in the museum). One moment, a garment could be solid, and the next it was a plaid.

The second featured designer was Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta. Click on this link, tokyofashion.com/somarta-2011-ss/ to see a collection that shows her unique body suits (made popular on their own and by Lady Gaga). In past Ms. Hirokawa worked for Issey Miyake, but she started off on her own in 2006. Her designs are known to be more conceptual than functional.

The museum’s regular collection was also very good. Their collections included historical through modern. There were a few unique presentations. The first was a reconstruction of Napoleon’s coronation clothing. Here you can see it, in all its glory.

Here are some images from the historical collection.

The museum also had a collection of muslin (plain fabric) garments reconstructed as accurately to the time period of focus. These you could touch and examine. Sadly, I don’t have any photos of this part of the collection.

There was an area where garments through a range of years were presented, and I must say, it was an excellent sampling of various designers through the past 150 years, including Worth, Balenciaga, Dior, Vionnet, etc.

The Fashion Library at the Kobe Fashion Museum is one of the largest collections of books I’ve seen. Had I known about it before, I could have easily spent a week going through all the books.

If you get the chance, and are in Japan, do make Kobe a stop on your agenda, and go see the Fashion Museum and or visit the library.

Kobe Fashion Museum
2-9-1 Koyochonaka, Higashinada Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 650-0032, Japan+81 78-858-0050