January 12, 2018 0 Comments

The Laika exhibit at PAM showed whole wardrobes of tiny clothes for its tiny characters. For our last installment of made by hand, thenI chose the act of sewing.  My own experience with the craft has been less than stellar. I remember spending childhood Sundays with butterflies in my stomach because Mondays saw “needle craft lessons” in school. At which, to use contemporary language, I sucked. Darning damned me, cross stitch killed me. Crocheting cursed my brain. Back stitch blinded me, chain stitch tied me down and basting stitch bowled me over. The sewing machine reserved its clogging spools for your’s truly, and then there was the day where I gave it a good kick in fury and ended up at the headmistress’ office….


It is with pleasure, then, that I introduce someone today who has much better attitude and aptitude, a creative seamstress of my acquaintance. Here are her words about the process, studio and inspiration and her photographs to demonstrate.

In most cases, what I like to do is start with white cotton fabric and dye or paint it, then stamp it, stencil it, silk screen it, and stitch it (by machine or hand or both). Once I have colored and decorated the fabric, I like to sew it into useful items (examples: shoulder bags, zipper pouches, coin purses) or art quilts and fabric collages. The possibilities are endless! Currently, bright colors and simple patterns are my favorites but I’m curious about working with earth tones and interesting combinations of hues and values.

Joan’s work can be found here if you’d like to see the end products: 

Only the images of buttons are mine, since I can proudly announce I am these days able to sew them on, at last.

And here is a fun trailer from a Spanish film about a seamstress who also became a weapon smuggler and spy during the war.  Title translated means The time in-between seams.  

(English version on Netflix The Time Inbetween)

Watching pretty people do dangerous things and fall in love from the perch of your couch is so much more pleasant than getting a seam straight, don’t you agree? I cherished the fact that the heroine’s idea of dying and twisting plain cotton/linen fabric to make a special gown manages to make said dress take on the sheen of silk. Hollywood magic…. Hey, I might not have the hand, but I still have the eye to see these things!

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