Monday, August 31, 2009

La Lana Wools, Taos, New Mexico

In Taos, New Mexico, there is a yarn store.... what more can I say. Lynne, one of the employees treated us royally, and totally delighted us with her personal touch to sharing the shop's history.

The shop/gallery features all naturally-dyed yarns and fibers. The owner, Luisa was inspired by the beautiful yarns of Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala, and has carried her passion forward to create the line of color you see below. They support their yarn with a full array of patterns, needles, and other items which are candy-to-the-eye. The patterns are developed by designers who know and love La Lana yarns.

La Lana Wools
136 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte # C
Taos, NM 87571-6099
(575) 758-9631

Thanks to Lynne for sharing herself and her world of fiber.
Below see various shots taken during our tour and shopping trip.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

High Road to Taos: Ojo Sarco Pottery

Our second High Road artist stop was at Ojo Sarco Pottery.

Ojo Sarco Pottery
County Rd. 73
just off High Road to Taos-76, Ojo Sarco, NM 87521
(505) 689-2354

Kathy Riggs and Jake Willson, a husband and wife team, are the two artists who own and operate Ojo Sarco Pottery. Kathy is the 'thrower' and Jake builds pieces working with clay slabs. Their work is beautiful as you can see below.
Thanks to Brian for the tour.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Museum of International Folk Art

If you visit Santa Fe, you must visit the Museum of International Folk Art. This museum houses not only craft items from around the world, but an amazing costume and textile collection.

As part of the past Retreat I hosted, we visited the museum to view an exhibit called Writing with Thread. This featured costume from tribes in China. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed in the gallery, so it is not possible to share with you. And... the exhibit is now over so I cannot send you to the web site to view the amazing costumes we saw.

Below are some images of the grounds and art outside the museum.
706 Camino Lejo
On Museum Hill, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 476-1200

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The High Road to Taos: Ortega's Weaving Gallery

The High Road to Taos is a beautiful drive between Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. Eve with the scenery, the drive becomes more interesting if you can stop at various artisan studios along the way.

Our Retreat group's first stop was at Ortega's Weaving Gallery and Shop in Chimayo.

Ortega's Weaving Gallery and Shop
CR 98 at NM 76
Chimayo, NM 87522
Phone: 505-351-4215

Robert Ortega explained the Ortega family history. They have been weaving for 300 years, but commercially since 1900. The style of weaving is traditional, and pulls its roots from Spain during the 17th century. It is known as Chimayo or Rio Grande weaving. The looms are of Euopean origin. Wool is the fiber of choice.

Robert demonstrated the weaving process on a rug loom as well as a blanket loom. Below you can see some shots of the weaving process, as well as a rug on the loom.

Santa Fe Dry Goods

If you want to view amazing European and Asian fashions, then you must visit Santa Fe Dry Goods, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Our Retreat group was given a tour by one of the family owners, Shobhan led us around the store, and shared with us the different lines that the store carries. These include the following:

- eskander
- Rundholz
- Girbaud
- Sophie Hong
- Pauw of Amsterdam
- Lainey Keogh
- Annette Gortz
- Trelise Cooper
- Manish Arora
- Issey Miyake

Here you see Lisa, one of our Retreat participants... and she is trying on a Miyake design. Doesn't she look great!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Santa Fe Weaving Gallery

On August 14th, as part of the Cochenille Design Retreat, we visited the Santa Fe Wearving Gallery. This is a wearable art boutique/store in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Santa Fe Weaving Gallery

124 1/2 Galisteo St, Santa Fe, New Mexico
(505) 982-1737

Here you can see Jill and Barabara, the owners of Santa Fe Weaving Gallery.

Jill spoke to the group about the history and currentstatus of Wearable Art. She explained the gallery's buying philosphy and how they go about choosing artists to be featured.

Below you can see member of our group, really becoming involved with the amazing clothing. Artists include: Jorie Johnson, Akihikb, Maggie Parlou, Latifa Medjdoub, and Diane Prekup.

What is your 'Box" and how do you think outside of It?

Every year at the Design Retreat I coordinate for my company, Cochenille Design Studio, we begin our days with a Creative Exercise.

Last week, at our retreat in New Mexico, I gave my group their morning exercise of thought. Since our goal in the retreat was to learn how to think and design outside of the box, I figured we needed to talk a little about the 'Box'. So, I asked each of the students....

What is your box?
And how do you think outside the box?

Here are their responses:

Evelyn (Chicago, IL)My box is the perfection box.
To get out of the box, I need to make myself become free to make mistakes, and to realize that mistakes can be my greatest creations.

Eman (Spokane, WA)

The box is what the majority of society sees as norm, including sub-cultures within
To get outside of the box, I make errors that need correction. I also look at things outside inthe environment and to include. I also “listen to my fabric”.

Cynthia (Torrington, CT)
My box is a fixed empty place where you can only put in so many things of certain shapes and sizes. Organized, regular things with predetermined shapes and sizes.
To think outside of the box is to ignore that you have a fixed box and stretch the box into the shape you want it to be. Then, fill it with the things you want. In other words, ignore the box completely and free form your thoughts without boundaries.

Sue (Cookeville, TN)

My box is filled with “my” thoughts, actions and beliefs.
My box becomes flexible and elastic only when Iinteract with the world via literature, conversation, visual engagement, meditation, prayer. “My” box becomes brittle and stale and lost if interaction does not occur!

My box is my own perfection
To get out of the box, is being freer,

Lisa (Trenton, NJ)
I have two boxes – One box is my training box, learning techniques, the way I was trained. The other box is “Who would ever wear something like that?
To think outside of the box, I just let it go and start pushing the techniques.
For the second one, if I allow myself to just make art, it doesn’t become too crazy to wear. I allowed myself to create art, and it works out.

Cheri (Lynnwood, WA)

My box is “what people expect, or the expected”
To get out, I do the unexpected. E.g. using a contrasting color, a curved line among straight line,s or a spot of color among a neutral.

Sarah (Shoreline, WA)
My box is that I don’t think free enough. … too many constraints. I tend to pre-judge it before I let it go.
To get out, I need to let go of the technical thinking.

Carol (Glen Ellyn, IL)

My box is “my technical training”
To get out of that I need to experiment with non-traditional, eg.. using non-traditional shapes to create the garment.

Susan (... me... San Diego, CA)
My box is thinking that I am not an artist.
To get out of my box, I have learned that an artist is a state mind, and I have learned to break rules, happily make mistakes, and lose of fear of doing things wrong. Things become much freer and think as a child.

So... for those reading this blog? What is your box? and how do YOU get out of it. Care to comment?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cochenille's 16th Design Retreat: Day 1

We are on the road! This year, I am hosting our annual design retreat in New Mexico. We just finished our first day, in Santa Fe, and it was absolutely great! In total, we are nine people, coming from Illinois, New Jersey, Conneticut, Tennessee, and Washington State.

Our goal? To expand our design awareness and skills. What better place than Santa Fe, Taos, and Cimarron!

We began our day at the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, then made our way to the Museum of International Folk Art. From there we moved to see the work of Fail Rieke, and then onto Santa Fe Dry Goods.

I'll be expanding on our adventures in the next few entries. We will catch you up on all that goes on.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fibonacci Skirt

I'm back to designing, and it feels great!

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, I am working on product development for my company Cochenille ( We are in the middle of creating a product called Easy Seven: Skirts. This is a collection of skirt patterns that we teach you how to draft using my software, Garment Designer. There are seven skirts in the set, and each skirt is designed to teach you how to use the software in a more creative way; basically, we want to teach you how to think “outside of the box”.

Fibonacci was an Italian mathematician of the Middle Ages (1170 – 1250 A.D.) He is best know for his use of a number sequence that he discussed in his book Libri Abaci.
In the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers, starting with 0 and 1. Therefore, the sequence is as follows:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610 etc.

There is a relationship between "Fibonacci numbers" and the Golden Ration (which was used widely in Renaissance art, world architecture, etc. If you divide one number by the preceding number in the sequence you get very close to the golden ratio, which is 1: 1.618 or .618:1.

In the design of this skirt, I created three panels for the front and three for the back, which use the Fibonacci sequence proportions. Below you can see the patterns, once printed and taped together, and then the cutting out.

Since I chose to use a dark and patterned polka-dot knit fabric for all the gores, it became necessary to accent the seams in some way so that you could actually see the proportions of the panels in the skirt. To do this, I cut strips of a contrast knit fabric and stitch these on the surface of the seam (from the right side of the garment). I am using my sister's sewing machine, and already I miss my new Brother machine which seems to do everything except the dishes!

Below you see progress-to-date. All that remains is the waistband and hem!

Shoe Time

Most fashion people love shoes, and I am no exception. When my family was here for my son’s wedding, the “girls” went shopping. Here are the results of our day.

Can you guess personalities from the shoes? There are four of us here, ranging in age from late 20's to 80.
btw.. enjoy my mosaic as the backdrop for some of these photos).

This is just a crazy shot, with a little sunlight and shadows (no, it is not hosiery).