Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ikat is It!

Three ikats from my own collection:
Upper left - Japanese (I think) cotton scarf -  ikat warp
Upper right - cotton rebozo (shawl) from Oxaca - ikat warp
Bottom - wool scarf that I made - ikat warp + weft
(warp = the long yarns strung on the loom, weft gets woven across)
Traditional ikat is an old technique of tie dying yarns prior to weaving, often in intricate patterns.
My digital textile students have been working out ways to render ikat and I wanted to explore the history of it more.
(I'll post the students' modern digital ikats later if they send me their files).

I found a very informative article by Kerry Ann Dame on the Posh Living site. Here is an excerpt:
"The word Ikat comes from a word in Malay that means  “to bind or wind around”.  Thousands of individual threads are tie-dyed in intricate patterns, then untied and woven into fabric; in 19th century Bukhara, there were hundreds of workshops dedicated solely to making Ikat threads.  The threads were wrapped, dyed, sorted, rewrapped and dyed again; the tie-dye technique produced slightly innacurate color distribution which resulted in the enchanting blurred edges of the finished designs.. The more elaborate the pattern, the longer the process before weaving could begin.  Ikat designers then hung the threads on simple looms, marking them with patterns passed down through generations of artisans. Weavers charged according to the intricacy of the design. Hundreds of thousands of Ikats were woven in central Asia in the nineteenth century, and exported to countries all along the Silk Road."
Uzbek Bukhara silk ikat Chapan, late 19th century
Antique Aymara ikat Poncho, Charasani Valley, Bolivia,  ca. 1900
Antique Ikat Bidang, Malaysia
Here is a modern ikat-inspired rug by Luke Irwin that looks ancient
I love this tattered-looking concept!
source, Luke Irwin
Ikat is a very labor-intensive process. Often, the yarn is tied and dyed before being wound onto a loom. Here is a dyed section of threads with ties removed and slightly separated. I think it's from either Guatemala or Peru (got it from Jone Pasha back in the 80s). I swear I have a tied-up sample as well, but have no idea WHERE that might be...

sorry this is out of focus... will replace with better image soon
 Here is an Indonesian weaver working on her ikat:
Source (scroll almost to bottom of post)
Joanna of Law Moda found an amazing YouTube of Whitney Matalone creating a modern ikat, from start to finish.
It gives a good sense of all the work that creating an ikat from scratch requires.
You'll also get a speedy lesson in the craft of weaving!

Ikat-inspired items on my Lyst* in case you now have to urge to wear it:

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Day with the Dahlias at the Getty

Last Thursday, Deborah and I made a trek up to the Getty. It's in one of the best locations in LA and I always get rejuvenated after a visit. This time, we actually made it inside a building and looked at art! (I don't want to admit how rarely that happens -- we usually get distracted by the garden).
Our first stop is usually for food. We opted for upscale and went to the restaurant (vs the cafe).
Stone fruit salad with prosciutto, blue cheese, cucumber, baby lettuces.
Next we saw the exhibition "Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line"
If you get a chance, go see it! It's a rare look at Klimt's drawings, ranging from realistic early work to later expressive abstracted pieces. His mastery of line is breathtaking.
Image from the Getty site
And then we strolled in the garden.
Much to our surprise, dahlias were blooming. We've never seen dahlias there before! They came in every color.
Delicious food, inspiring art, beautiful flowers; all with a best friend. A five star day.

Linking up with the Lovelies over on Patti's Visible Monday

Sunday, July 29, 2012

And We Have a Winner!

In the DITTO (Sun)Glasses giveway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I virtually shower you with some vintage IBM punch card confetti
You can now remedy your sad sunglasses situation:
simulation found in Mar Vista
I can't wait to see which style you choose...

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the giveaway and do the tasks requested.
A big welcome to my new followers -- you will find SpyGirl full of surprises!

Friday, July 27, 2012


And it's not just for the ladies:
I tried on a variety of frames during the past week. Here are a few of my favorites:
I think these checkerboard ones qualify as the most, um, eyecatching!
Even if you only answer the first question, you have a good chance of winning!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 23, 2012

Goddesses Convene in the Inland Empire

My good friend Leslie has work in an art exhibition at CCAA in Rancho Cucamonga.
Here she is in front of "Wild Spirit"
see full piece on this page on her website
We moved the celebration from the reception over to Fleming's.
It was very dark in there, which I thought made for a nice ambience:

Must interrupt the dream to show what I wore:
And remind you that I'm hosting a giveaway for a $200 gift card for DITTO sunglasses
(who gifted me the ones I'm wearing above). Please click here to see all the details!

More Visible Monday Goddesses chez Patti here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How I Became a Pattern Mixer

Pattern mixing is one of the big trends this year. Some of my blogging cohorts have written great "How To" posts on the subject (see links at end). I love to pattern mix (have you noticed?) and I got to thinking: what is MY method?

Um, sorry, I still can't verbalize it. [This is why I teach technical classes and not design or fine art].
Throwing like colored garments into heaps sometimes helps: 
Too bad these are all tops. They'd make a great mix.
What I HAVE figured out is how I acquired my skills -- I was the "go to" girl for jean patching in high school!
It was the early 70s. One patched one's jeans -- more patches = more cool. I inherited a pair from Allison, pre-patched (some by me). They required constant repairing.
Xmas, 1971
I went to a girls' boarding school and even though we were allowed to dress casually, there WERE some arbitrary dress code standards. Eventually, the above jeans were banned from the dining room (along with a camisole that I made -- more on that later). Since they were already loaded with so many patches, I figured they were a great start for a crazy quilt. I was crafty that way.
The quilt today -- every patch holds a memory.
The quilt itself has been through many permutations. I no longer have the original section with the jeans, that part went missing in Santa Barbara while I was working on an extension to it in upstate NY the summer of 75. It was in constant usage until about 2000, when I finally tired of repairing it. Oops, I've taken a detour down memory lane! Anyway, it was while working on this quilt that I developed my eye for pattern mixing. I still recall the joy I felt when I'd find "the right" scrap for an area that needed a new patch.

I imagine that starting a project such as this is WAY overwhelming. You just want to mix stripes and florals and not look like a clown, right? Click on one of the links below. These ladies explain it better than I ever will!
The Citizen Rosebud -- Pattern Play: 6 Simple Tips for Wearing Mixed Prints

Already Pretty -- Print Mixing for Beginners

Unusual Forum -- Pattern Mixing 101 (found through Already Pretty)

Suze Geeks Out -- How to: 8 simple rules for mixing patterns (found through Citizen Rosebud)

Is there another link that has helped you in your pattern mixing journey? Do tell in the comments!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The (Sun)Glasses Dossier: DITTO Giveaway [CLOSED]

Hello world! I am a DITTO Style Visionary and am here to tell you about this new way to try on glasses.
This is a sponsored post.

I met the DITTO team at the Two Point Oh blogger picnic last Sunday.
They gave me this cool pair of Chloe sunglasses in exchange for a review.
Yes! Ivory with gold accents! C-R-A-Z-Y!!!Me likeeee.
DITTO is an ecommerce site that sells interesting designer eyewear. You create a DITTO avatar using your computer's webcam to "try" on the frames. It's super easy -- the hardest part is arranging your "set"!
"I'm sorry but, stripes? Did you not hear of moire?"
It helps to have some light shining in your face if your computer is in a dark cave, like mine.
I did a side by side comparison, modeling the same style of sunglasses.
On the left is my virtual DITTO. On the right is reality, using Photo Booth.
[Apologies for poor quality of video]
Here is my DITTO link, so you can see me bigger and better (and suggest other looks)!

"What about the giveaway?" you ask.
DITTO is offering a free $200 gift card to one lucky winner, US residents only. (International readers, you will have to find a US surrogate to receive your frames if you want to enter. DITTO only ships to the US at present).
You get 20 possible entries by using the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway will run from today (7/19) through midnight 7/28/12 EST. This will allow you time to take advantage of DITTO's "free Rx lenses" offer good until 8/2/12.
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quick Draw at the Republic of Pie

Here are Ivan Pyzow and Anny Celsi, sketched while they performed last night at the Republic of Pie, in North Hollywood.

Here are some very bad, dark photos:
Anny is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I featured her album in a music list here.
Ivan is Anny's son, and very talented.
He sang a couple of his own compositions too.

"Where's the pie?" you ask.
Of course I had pie! How could I not?
First I had a savory - a mushroom and spinach quiche. Yummy!
I took home a couple of slices from the sweet category...
Coconut cream for The Mister (lower left row above), apple for me (no image).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quick Draw at the Blogger Picnic

This is Tosha, of Bambi's Armoire.
She left the park before I finished the sketch or got her info.
Through the power of Twitter + Instagram (and her friend Sheryl of Walk in Wonderland),
I tracked her down and applied the finishing touches to the sketch.

Kelsi, of Dedicated Follower of Fashion, and Two Point Oh LA hosted the picnic.
She wore such a cunning (as my grandmother would have said) dress -- it had cupcakes on it!
These are my two Quick Draw sketches from Sunday's blogger picnic. I decided to try something new -- drawing on my iPad using the Brushes App. I want to get proficient with this so that I can do some decent sketches during my upcoming trip to the east coast in August. Last year I only had my iPhone, which resulted in minimalistic landscapes such as this one. I've returned to Danny Gregory's Every Day Matters drawing Challenge (the impetus for my first blog in 2008) to practice and improve my drawing skills. Drawing with one's finger vs a pen sure makes for some crude line work! (I also had a old school sketchbook, which I still find the best for fast sketching).

I've never been very good at drawing fashion figures from scratch and always used a croquis template when I was in school through to my Barbie designer days. On the iPad, Brushes has layers like Photoshop so I uploaded a figure that I offer my digital design students.

It's not my own figure and I didn't like using it as a template. Time to revise!