Thursday, December 16, 2010

Providence Patterns

I first came to Rhode Island on a college visit. I explored the city nervously, trying to picture myself here as an art student for the next four years. After a tour of the campus and wandering around I fell in love with Providence's architecture and of course RISD.

Since 2003 I've been living here on and off again (yikes!) There are definitely times when I take it for granted, or forget my initial reaction to the city of Providence.

Visiting Japan was a similar experience. Everything looked so different; the buildings, people and transportation are all scaled smaller. Tall people might find this disconcerting... but I loved being able to reach the handholds in the subway.

I also loved living in the picturesque countryside of Kyoto. No matter how grumpy I felt a quick ride on my bike always brightened my mood. There is really nothing better than casually biking past fragrant fields of rice, vegetables, streams and small houses. I also developed an affinity for the surrounding mountains, they offered a fantastic backdrop and landmark visible from almost anywhere in the city.

At first when I came back I had to fight the urge to point out how different everything is in the US. "Look at my giant coffee!" "Can you believe how loud those people are talking?" Coming back allowed me to see Providence with fresh eyes and of course appreciate the time I spent in Japan. ( The blue painted under porches in New England always makes me smile)

With that in mind I felt compelled to draw patterns of Kyoto and Providence for my East vs. West collection. Here's my Providence drawings...

After coloring it in the computer and about 3 trials of printing and tweaking the colors:

And a close up!

Here's the Kyoto side complete with trains and mountains!

Yay trains!

The fabrics were printed and being sewn into reversible totes, mostly so you don't have to pick one over the other.

They are for sale in my etsy store! A few other items are there that I made for the sale Claire and I did around Thanksgiving. The sale was a bust but at least I got a lot of work done!

Hurrah for getting things done!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond!

Lately, I've been obsessed with the moon and the early stages of NASA. I've been reading lots of great books about space: Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. She asks all the right questions; who makes the food that goes into space? How do bathrooms work in space? Does space smell after 2 weeks? Her books are always written with a fun sense of curiosity and I always learn a ton of interesting facts. Here's an amazing poster of the moon that I've put up in the studio. It's from a 1969 National Geographic.

Between all the reading and documentary watching I've been wondering if there was a piece I could do about the moon or the 1960's. So when Etsy announced their joint contest with NASA it felt like perfect timing. The winner would get to see an actual shuttle launch and might even have their winning entry sent into space !! How cool is that? Anyways, I started sketching out various things related to NASA; shuttles, lunar modules, astronauts, and ham the chimp! I decided it would be fun to make a space pattern and sew it into something functional such as a laptop case!

I wanted the lining to look like a control panel, this one is pretty closely based off of the Apollo command module.

After studying the construction of popular laptop cases, I decided to create one that zipped 1/2 way down the side allowing easy removal of the laptop. You also can see and appreciate the lining more!

Here's a close up:

When I entered my case in the NASA contest I was hoping to make it to the voting stage, so I could rally friends and family to vote for me. I didn't get in and I was pretty bummed about it. Soon after, I saw this: Moon Embroidery, which also didn't make it to voting. I thought this piece was extremely innovative and beautiful. I couldnt imagine why it wasn't in the contest either. After linking to it yesterday, it appears there was some sort of glitch with the voting system, so who knows what happened...

Despite all that I'm glad I designed the fabric and made this! It's up for sale on Etsy and fits a 13" mac. I'm going to photograph some other stuff I've finished and put it up for sale sometime this week!

I'm pretty happy with how my case turned out! I'd never put in a zipper like this or done work with padding before but I managed! If you or someone you know is obsessed with space why not get them a sweet laptop case for the holidays? ; )

I've been so busy the last few weeks sewing for my first Craft Fair with my sister and finishing up a piece for They Draw And Cook's Holiday Contest.