Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wearable Art and the Body - Take 4 | Kuba

Wearable Art and the Body lets us spend hours with the body - thinking about it, looking at it, drawing it, conceptualizing it, studying it and celebrating it. And when the time comes, we get to design for it, make art for it and decorate it!

For many of us in the fashion and textile world, this means our brains head in the direction of fabric. What types of cloth, patterns, textures, colors and cuts best represent our ideas and help us zero in on each artistic vision as it arises?

As artist Carys Hamer studied our model, she was eager to bring her love and knowledge of African patterns and textiles to the table. We all loved seeing her set down her graphite pencil in exchange for these colorful chalks and pastels that did such a fine job of helping her develop quick but focused studies related to the Kuba tribe of Congo - and eventually settling on the beginnings of a wonderful design for her Kuba Kaftan.

My philosophy with these workshops is to not dwell for a single second. As an idea comes, get it onto the page. Tedium, refinement and carefully honed craftsmanship can all come later. First we must engage with the spirit of our own ideas and let them manifest on the page as their unique and interesting selves. Carys so beautifully did just that - and I hope to see her wearing her finished Kuba Kaftan at our next workshop!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wearable Art and the Body - Take 3 | Jon Talks About Love

One of the very best parts of teaching in a workshop format that is open to the community is that inevitably a spectacular blend of ages, sexes, experiences levels and artistic interests come together - and work together - with a combined goal that levels the playing field for everyone involved. Suddenly the 19 year old fashion student can have conversations about his work with the 75 year old quilter who has been sewing for decades - or the veteran welder can share her insights with the novice printmaker eager to learn a new skill. In the end, each process and point of view has something to offer the other. And in the end, we can all share and learn in a meaningful way that truly reaches beyond the typical limitations of the classroom.

With this open, thoughtful sharing as our mantra for the workshop, my mind continually returns to the great pleasure of having Jon Aesoph in our February workshop. Jon's work has made it to my blog in the past - and I remain a great fan of his talented hands and active mind that offers kind and thoughtful feedback that is alive and keeps conversations awake!

As we gathered around drawings and ideas in the workshop, it was Jon (whose background as a teacher leaves him especially at home in the classroom) that so openly shared how he approached figure drawing and working from a live model.

"Working with a model is truly an intimate, and sacred, undertaking. Especially with a model who works as hard as many do, sharing their energy and enthusiasm for the task at hand. It becomes, for me, a form of lovemaking between the model and the artist, and the result on paper is as much theirs as mine. We all know, in this culture, that taking off your clothes is a BIG DEAL, so when a model agrees, it is a BIG DEAL for me. The models are exposing themselves, and so is the person drawing, except with their clothes on. I am very concerned with pleasing the model as a way of thanks for their hard work"

Some drawings created by Jon's hands and mind working together - guided by love.

For more workshop information contact:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wearable Art and the Body - Take 2 | Linda's Moves

For better or worse, sometimes my academic tendencies get the better of me and course descriptions end up sounding something like this:
"Working from a live nude figure model, students will begin hands-on experimentation through guided instruction on how to see, articulate and draw the human figure both still and in motion. New techniques, inspirations and strategies will be demonstrated to provide students with insight on how to think about the human form as an armature and inspiration for their own wearable art designs and creations...."

But please let me get a bit more real for a second and offer you this translation:
With a beautiful nude model in the room, you won't be able to control your creative impulse as ideas spill fourth, studies develop, and you come to see and think about the body in ways you may never have before!

Linda Berlage -Metz, a talented artist from our February workshop so beautiful channeled this energy as she studied our model both still and in motion. I remember being slightly mezmorized by what was happening on Linda's easel as the drawing session evolved.

Simple warm up exercises quickly developed into loose, fluid and active translations of the motion and movement she was seeing in the model before her. Capturing one movement at a time and not using the drawings as a means of rendering the body exactly as she saw it - but instead connecting with the rhythms and motions of these movements to create page after page of lively marks that still evoke the various gestures and motions seen in our model.

And be sure to take a good close look at the photo of Linda above - working with not one, but two drawing in each hand! Seeing such an open response to the exercise was truly exciting for me as an instructor - and I still smile when looking at these images.

Wearable Art and the Body - May 28-29, 2011. For more information contact:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wearable Art and the Body - Take 1

I'm so pleased to be leaning into another exciting weekend with our exciting Wearable Art and the Body Workshop later this month. In an effort to begin breathing some life back into this blog, I want to share some highlights from our last workshop to keep the spirit and pleasure of it all in the air and on the books.

I developed this experience with one substantial guiding principle leading the charge: In order to create art or design for the body, we must first know the body....and know it well.

To make this all seem more feasible - more manageable - I've drawn up this two-day workshop to help us all move through the challenges (and pleasures!) of studying and celebrating the human body. Our first weekend together back in February was a great success and wonderful thrill. We're anxious to be doing it all over again on May 28 and 29.

Please drop a line if you're interested in being part of it all this time around!

Workshop participants warming up for a full day of figure studies.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New York Times

Catherine Cabeen and I proudly celebrate our recent collaborations and the acclaim they are receiving in today's New York Times!