weekday sketching

This weekday sketching started out as just a pencil sketch. I added a layer of light water color and then went to town with my assorted gel pens. I do love playing with color to play up a sense of energy and vivacity and these pens have some COLOR to them!

Perhaps about a year ago I got very into cutwork and white work embroidery. The subtle textures combined with the negative space is what makes cutwork so intriguing and delicate. It can be a sweet little detail to the edges of a collar paired with something a little more odd like the over button of the collar.

Of course, as per my general norm if I’m not paying attention to it, or if I don’t have a subject or look in mind my drawings end up as unintentional self portraits in some way shape or form. 4.headband

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the empress

The Empress:

The third Major Arcana is a card of abundance, beauty, femininity and nature. She lounges on an array of pillows in a field of roses in the fore ground with a flowing river in the back ground. Her connection to nature and the physical world is present in the stability of the earth of the forest and the abundant bouquets of flowering roses. She is also connected to our emotional and spiritual aspects, reflected in the river and her crown of stars. The Empress, as the archetypal Mother, reminds us to reach for the stars to bring forth new aspects of life and or creative projects.

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weekday sketching

For this week’s weekly sketching I didn’t really have an idea in mind of anything besides the pose. Everything followed from that. Eventually I’ll probably make some of these garments I keep sketching for these weekly drawings. It’s hard not to want to fill your closet up with fun and exciting new things. This one in particular would be such a statement with the mix of prints. Paired with a little sweater or jacket and it would make a cute little outfit for work, too!

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And what’s funny about the result is after looking at my drawing, I remembered this dress I’d made back in college. It was some quilting cotton fabric I’d found with a simple diagonal stripe and I pieced it together with french seaming to create the chevron.  Trust me, lining up all those stripes for a french seam was pretty difficult. French seams are done in two parts, the first line of stitching is done wrong sides together and then the garment is flipped inside out for the second line of stitching. This just makes the seam enclosed so the raw edges don’t show. The process isn’t that bad when you get the hang of it, it just takes a little more precision and math to work it all out with the stripes!

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tarot works

Since sometime in 2016 I have been working on drawing up a tarot deck. These decks are 78 cards- each with a different image and meaning- so it’s been taking forever! Not to mention, I know I often forget about it and go long periods of time with out working on them. So, in the same line of thought as my Weekday Sketching series, I’ll be updating this post with a new card each week.

Because this is the first post- here’s a little about how a tarot deck works.

There are 4 Minor Arcana suits: cups, pentacles, swords, and wands. The suits have generalized meanings which the 10 numerical cards and 4 face cards all draw from. Cups have the element of water and deal with our emotions and spirituality, loves and passions. Pentacles have the element of earth and speak of stability of family and finances, and the material aspects of our lives. Swords have the element of air and revolves around the mental and intellectual aspects of our lives particularly in situations of change and decision. Wands have the element of fire and express energy, motivation, inspiration and creativity.

In addition to the Minor Arcana cards, tarot decks also have 22 Major Arcana cards. These cards are archetypal in nature and relate to the human journey through life.

Tarot is commonly thought of as divination and fortune telling, but in practice it is an intuitive and introspective lens to view and see our personal lives, hopes and dreams and the world around us more so than anything else.

While there is no set imagery for a card or deck, the Rider-Waite deck originally published in the early 1900s is one of the most popular decks to use. The set I’ve been working on for the last little bit often draws on the Rider-Waite version with my own interpretative twist. One such twist is it’s all in black and white- designed to be a coloring book. What better way to meditate and concentrate on each card to better understand the story and meaning behind it than by spending some time coloring it and making it your own? It’s very similar to how I’ve greatly deepened my understanding of all the cards in making this deck by taking time to research the story and imagery of the card and then deciding upon how I wanted to interpret it in drawing.

This week I’ll include the first few Major Arcana cards as I’m starting this series where I left off all those weeks ago.

Aptly first is the Fool, a card of new beginnings, innocence, imagination and potential. The Fool is a traveler. The rising sun is the start of a new day, a beginning of her journey. She carries a bag for her travels, but it remains closed and untapped. A cat plays at her heels to push her curiosity but also keep her aware and focused to not completely fall off the sheer edge of the cliff as she pushes the boundaries of her courage and motivation. 0.fool

The Magician is a card of creativity, power and resourcefulness. He has all the tools on the table in front of him, represented as the suits of the Minor Arcana: cups, pentacles, swords and wands. The Magician represents the connection between the real world and the spiritual. He underlines our ability to harness our own creative power and possesses a sense of concentration to fulfill any difficult or complex task at hand.  1.magician

The High Priestess is an introspective card. She represents our intuitions and subconscious knowledge.  The library behind her is curtained off and she wears a veil, pointing to aspects of hidden knowledge and mystery.  She is associated with the moon and the pomegranate, a symbol relating to the tale of Persephone, who lives in the world of the living for half the year, and the underworld for the second half as the world turns to winter. The High Priestess calls us to slow down and listen to our inner voices.2.preiestess.jpg

Next up is the Empress!

 

weekday sketching

April beginnings:

I’ve been thinking about making another blazer. Not that I mean ‘another’ as in one-in-addition-to-one-I’ve-made-before. But as in, yes, it would be nice to have another blazer! Plus it would  be a design challenge because my experience with outwear is very very limited.

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floral skirt

floralsketchI admit, I have a stash. I have fabrics I’ve bought I’m not even sure of how long ago. The other day I pulled out a few of these old treasures and doodled a little bit to get some ideas going. Well, turns out, I still haven’t made anything with those fabrics yet- but I sketched out this skirt with the scallops along the button closure down the front and I knew I wanted it. Scalloped edges are certainly annoying because of all the precise stitching and the way you have to clip the edges of the inside to reduce the bulk of the fabric, but you have to admit it. They’re just the sweetest little detail that otherwise, would this skirt have been exciting with out it? sketchbookAdventures at the store! Things got really exciting when I found this floral stretch denim and these brass shanked buttons. shopHere is the pattern all cut out. I’ve got a skirt front with one center front side straight and extended to be turned under for a facing for the buttons, and one side scalloped with a separate scalloped facing as seen to the right of it. The back of the skirt is on the center fold line; and the pieces below the skirt front and back are respective front and back facings for the hem of the skirt. Adding a facing like this will give the skirt edge better body and weight for a prettier drape, and it will also be an easy finishing technique because the skirt is flared. The facing is the exact copy of the flare, so it contours to the shape, rather than folding under an extension of the skirt. An extension like that would buckle because the circumference would have increased too much; that or I’d be stuck with a tiny hem.

In-between the skirt front and back is the pocket, which gets made out of the corresponding lining fabric (which DID come out of my fabric collection, by the way). To make a pocket nice, I’ve got one layer of the pocket- the one that sits against the body- in two parts. One part is sewn in the lining, and the other is sewn in the same fabric as the skirt. Making the pocket out of a lining fabric is nice because it reduces bulk, but making just the part where your hand enters the pocket made out of the denim keeps the cohesive look because it means the lining won’t show when the pocket peaks open.  piecesInterestingly enough, I used almost every scrap of fabric for this skirt. Which was great, because denim is a little higher on the price scale. This is a picture of what I had left after cutting everything out for the skirt. I know I measured before going to the store how much I’d need depending on what width the bolt of fabric was, but WOW~~~~

No mistakes allowed or it’s back to the store with you!leavings.jpgSo, with any project, you get bumps in the road. I finished my skirt and I loved it! It was so cute I wore it to work the next day. Trouble is, I didn’t just go and fix the top button situation when I first thought it would possibly, maybe be an issue. I knew it had a lot of tension at the waistband and didn’t have the same kind of support because of the scallops, and I knew I could have at least sewn that button on better. But, I was far to excited and eager to wear it to work. And in my haste, it only took about 3 hours in before the waist band button just… popped off…

At least I’ve got that office chic down. You’d be surprised how well that actually worked. The clip rested in the button hole so it had something to kind of grab on to. Tacky? Yes. Innovative? Mmm. Sure. I’ll give myself a pass on that one.  missingbutton.jpgTo every problem, a solution! I added a slide hook, which is hard to see because it’s the little black clasp that is in between the first two buttons. This excellently removes most of the tension from the waist band button by having the slide hook directly at the apex of the scallop. Worn it several times since, washed it and everything. Definitely should have just done this from the beginning. slidehookJust a few detail images from the skirt.

First image is the scalloped edge. Theres a little top stitching on that, too.

Second image is the hem stitch at the faced edge of the hem. This stitch crosses over in tiny ‘x’ patterns which gives a small amount of stretch to the seam which makes it perfect for a hem.

I also hem stitched the side seams to the skirt front to keep them flat and opened. One more good decision for the third image: putting the lone extra button I had on the inside of the skirt, just in case, another one of those buttons just goes flying off. details copyThis new skirt is perfect spring weather attire paired with a soft lime lenin shirt and my collar clips. All set for a day at the park, I just need a book. skirtdone copy.jpg

all blocked out

Any good design starts with a block.

If you don’t know what a block is, it’s the starting point for any flat-worked pattern you’ll ever make. It’s the basic shape with basic fit, usually with just a few simple darts or seams.  With a well fitting block you can go just about anywhere with a creative license and come out with a pattern for a just about anything.

Back in college we had standard size mannequins that we developed a block for- and at the time, I would use the block for class- and also for my own garments. I would only have to make a few tweaks, mainly that I’m long waisted and needed a lower bust point. But as time went on, my body changed and that block no longer fit me. BUT I STILL KEPT USING THIS OLD BLOCK!  I’d just adjust it every time I made a pattern. Of course I’d tell myself, one day, one day, you’ll just make a new block so you don’t have to keep making the same basic edits.

Well, its 2018 and 7 years later I finally did just that. I can’t believe it took me this long.

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weekday sketching

Lately I’ve been reading through the Artist’s Way and this last week had a “reading ban” as one of the tasks. I don’t really read much- I often go for audio books. I can’t craft while I’m reading, but I love listening to things, especially stories while I’m working. Sometimes its just the radio– shout out WRKF baton rouge’s NPR station– or maybe something like This American Life. But I definitely love audio books, even though I’m not very good at picking good ones.

So as a result of not really spending a lot of time reading, I broadened my definition of what the ‘reading ban’ should entail. So that meant: looking at my phone for anything other than *reasonable app/text checking*. So no just scrolling through Facebook or snapchat stories. Which brings me to the discovery and topic of the day.

What do you do on your lunch break when you’re the only one in the break room? Or when you’re just at home unwinding from work with a cup of tea????

Weekly sketchings. It’s the perfect answer.

One night, I was going through my files on my computer and the papers and sketchbooks I have in my studio and I realized how much I used to sketch and doodle and just play around on paper and how much I DON’T do that anymore. Drawing now seems to be more about some kind of end game, like, I need to design something, or explain something. No little studies and stories or spills of the imagination.  Drawing is a skill to keep up with and build on, too!

This is going to be a recurring post built for celebrating sketching and the wandering of the spirit.

Hoorah, first posting of Monday Sketch Therapy.

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tarotcloth

I began studying tarot in 2014 out of curiosity for the history and intricacies of the meanings of the cards and the archetypes depicted. For the last year or so I have been drawing a deck of my own which has really deepened my understanding of the cards because it gave me a chance to look at each card individually and consciously choose how to depict the imagery that would encompass the identity of the card. I’m still working on it… 78 is quite a lot, even if they are small little pictures.

But on a similar note, I decided I wanted a cloth to wrap my cards in when they are not in use, and to double as a display cloth for doing readings.

And like most things, it remained “just one of those things” you talk about and say, oh, well, maybe that would be nice to do some day.  Funny enough, the fabric I made it with had the same story. My mother had brought back those three pink Japanese cotton prints from the Houston Quilt Festival one year and I could never decide what to do with them. They were small pieces and too pretty. I definitely was afraid to cut into them.  But a special object requires a special material, and these two went together perfectly.

I did purchase a few other fabrics to go along with the Japanese cottons – which by the way, have such a beautiful hand. They are crepe like and delicate.

With all projects, first sketches:

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