This detail from Monet's Waterlillies masterpiece makes me feel pure delight. The colors are like a harbinger of spring. Monet painted these vast works at the end of his life when his vision was failing, but a lifetime of experience working with color shows in the way the eye mixes the colors on the canvas.
|(Click to see large version)|
This time of year as the light changes, notice how your own taste for color shifts. What colors resonate with you? Is there any way you could use color in your life that would bring a satisfying sense of delight? A new color, accent or color grouping to play with?
Marcy Tilton's Newsletter for Everyday Creatives
#22 January 2008
|Just back from a wonderful sojourn in Paris with 12 fabulous women . My heart is full and my brain is on overload. So many images and experiences packed into a couple of weeks. I'm settled in for a few days to rest, integrate and unpack. Reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to 2008.
Musing on 'what's next?', 'what do I want' and 'what brings satisfaction?'
Big questions with no immediate answers and plenty of space to ponder. Having been in the presence of some of the world's art masterpieces (Monet's Waterlillies, the impressionists etc) and fashion/textile masters (breathtaking LaCroix show at the Louvre, behind the scenes visit to the St. Laurent workrooms and archives) , I am upping my personal commitment to keep questioning my own invisible upper limits and to keep my creative process fresh each day.
Two books are nourishing my soul: Pema Chodron's The Places That Scare You and Sarah Susanka's The Not So Big Life.
This time in Paris I left with an empty suitcase and came home with fabric, thinking spring, new color, selecting things intuitively with the intention of inventing in unknown ways. Big order! First to unpack and find a place for new materials to live in the studio. Then to get down to: Select, Eliminate, Focus, the theme Diane Ericson and I have chosen for our Design Outside the Lines focus for the year. I keep coming back to these 3 precepts as I work in the studio. .....and organize the frig, plan a meal, ask, 'what to wear?'......and the gazillion other creative decisions that come up every day.
Creativity is about making connections! In the Carnavelet museum (of the history of Paris), I had an aha moment, drawing a direct connection between the clothes in paintings at the time of the revolution and what I saw on people and in the stores.
Then I found prints of women's suits from the 20's at the flea market with the similar lines and details. (see them available as new silk screens)
At the end of a day of art and fabric-gathering, group of us went lingerie shopping in one of the big department stores and I got another aha, of how the underpinnings are directly relate to the fit and hang of the garment......and I became a convert to the French concept of lingerie that not only fits and is comfortable, but matches.....and got over the fact that the undies can cost as much as the bra (but the sales help a bit with sticker shock).
In her draping demo, and as we shopped, my colleague Shermane convinced us that clothes with SHAPE and a close fit at the bust are more flattering.
In the Yves St, Laurent workroom, we had a visual lesson in seeing a customized mannekin with a draped to fit suit impeccable in every way, in muslin, one half only, the entire thing pinned together---no stitching at all, but the shape adjusted to the figure beneath, working with it and enhancing it.
(and I want more of that in my own work!!!)
|Spring is in the air, in spite of the cold and rain. The light is changing every day, and I am moving to working with different colors and fabrics.
Here in my Oregon property, my sister Nandini/Katherine Tilton and I are renovating our red barn into a studio for her and a workshop space so we both can host small classes, workshops and retreats. It has been a long process and should be finished by spring. So stay tuned. You can come here and work with us in a small group intimate setting. Information will be posted in this newsletter as plans solidify.
Looking ahead to being in beautiful sunny Santa Barbara for Design Outside the Lines in early February with lots to show and share.
I'm focusing on jackets this year, in my teaching and pattern designing: distinctive jackets with a casual flavor. I have a new CD-rom in the works, the working title is, 'The Deliberately Different Jacket', set for release at the Puyallup Sewing Expo. I will be doing a fashion show at the expo this year in collaboration with my dear friend Sandra Betzina. We always have fun playing & working together, so if you are coming to Puyallup, you'll want to attend. 9:30 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings.
In the surface design arena, I am inventing some new silk screens, and having a vision of blending silk screening with hand stitching---influenced by some over-the-top details in the La Croix show.
Wishing you 'bonne annee' (happy new year)....in France they only wish each other bonne annee on the 1st and afterwards, it is considered unlucky to greet this way before the new year!
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|Paris Window Shopping Peeks
I travel carrying the Clone bag by Groom which has a handy pocked designed for a cell phone, but just perfect for my little Pentex Optio camera. When I spot a cool window I snap a photo. Here are a few to share with you
|Maria Caladera on Rue Cherche Midi is one of my favorite places to visit. The clothes cost a fortune, but the red haired woman who runs the shop is always gracious and eager to share the genius of this Italian designer. (Some of the clothes can be worn so many ways you need a lesson on how to put it together. One ingenious jacket could be reversed so the lining and facings made a whole new look)|
|Clever and graceful pocket from a shop on the Rue St. Honore.|
|A tongue in chic comment on the no smoking law that (finally) went into effect in January (well, kind of). In the windows at the legendary and original Chanel store on Rue Cambon. Another white very chic bowling shirt had NO SMOKING embroidered on the back in red sequins. Couture all the way, but with a smirk.|
|Spring Color Forecast
In the midst of all the dark winter colors worn on the streets of Paris and shown in the shops, there was a hint of the colors designers are using for spring. I saw similar versions of this same palate in other collections as well.
This spring pastels are cool toned, somber and a bit discordant---they seem to reflect the mood in the world right now. Oddball (and hard to wear) combos like chrome yellow and hot pink. Flesh tones. Cool beige. .....colors that are not particularly flattering to most.
What looked more wearable to me are shades of grey with pink, off tones of blue-aqua or your personal best yellow.
|Paris Button Connection
While in Paris, I found a fabulous source for vintage buttons. Made from vintage plastic (from the same era as Bakelite and similar to it), glass, shell and metal. Dates range from the '30's to the '60's. Some were made for couture houses, others to supply Paris department stores which had large notions and fabric departments catering to women who sewed for themselves and for 'modistes' (custom dressmakers) who sewed for private clients.
I'll have the complete collection at the Sewing Expo in Puyallup, and will continue to post new designs, so please return to this page regularly.
Below are just a few examples.....the tip of the iceburg!!
|Click to see the Paris Button Collection|
|New Spring Fabrics
Click on the following link to see new Spring fabrics. Each fabric is hand selected. These are the fabrics I will be sewing with myself and will be using for garments in the fashion show I am co-producing with Sandra Betzina at the Puyallup Sewing Expo. New fabrics are arriving every week, so come back regularly to this link to see what is new. Below are a couple of current offerings. New cotton/lycra knits in spring colors and a new grouping from a Bay Area designer are coming next week.
|Click to see Fabric Collection|
| Silk Screen Sale
We are inventing some new silk screen kits, so are offering a special price on some current kits.
|Journey Set of 3 Medium Silk Screens: SALE $30|
Versatile assortment of 3 screens in a theme with related design.
3 medium ( 5 x 8): Carte Postale, Topo Map and White Writing
If bought separately: $45. Each set is designed to work together with the bonus that all the sets harmonize with each other.
|NEW SILK SCREENS
A sampling of our new selection of silk screens are shown here. Click on the link below and come back soon as we will be adding more designs for spring.
|New Silk Screen Designs|
|New Groom Bags
I was able to bring back the Capuccio backpack and the Felleuil billfold in limited edition colors, purple and cognac.
|See all Groom Bags|
|Christian La Croix Exhibition at
the Musee de la Textile et de la Mode at the Louvre
|Sketch by Christian La Croix|
|The little drawing at Left, done by Christian La Croix reveals a small taste of the inspiring and in depth retrospective of his work at the Musee de la Textile et de la Mode. I have a renewed respect for him as a designer, artist and museum curator......and he has a sense of humor too! La Croix spent time each week for over a year, combing the extensive archives of the museum for garments that reflected the same themes or concepts as his own designs.
The resulting show was displayed in large windows with giant clothing racks with
|numbered garments hanging on them. Each display had a theme---stripes, white, sheers are just a few examples. La Croix designs were integrated with vintage garments from many different eras and many had never been shown before. Sometimes his contemporary garments would be mixed with vintage pieces and accessories. It was a rich and inspiring feast for the eyes and a pleasure to scrutinize the fabrics and designs. The hand of the maker was evident in all the pieces, and it was pure pleasure to witness such a blend of skill and artistry.
I LOVED it!
|Visit the Christian La Croix website|
|Behind the Scenes at Yves St Laurent Foundation|
The two women working were from the original YSL staff and were clearly enjoying their work. They were meticulously examining garments for an upcoming exhibition and making minute repairs. The grey dress in the background is famous. It is the first design that the young Yves St. Laurent designed for Christian Dior, and the trapeze shape revolutionized the fashion world. Here, you see her repairing the slip which is the underpinning beneath the dress that acts as a lining, undergarment and essential shaping support so the dress holds its shape.
Behind the scenes at the Fondation Yves St. Laurent. We were whisked up an elevator into this workroom, which was one of the original couture workrooms---and the only place where photography is allowed on our tour.
When St. Laurent retired (his last collection was in 2002), he and his partner Pierre Berge retained the building at 5 Avenue Merceau, and created a Foundation, which houses the archives of thousands of garments and features a museum and bookstore which are open to the public Fondation Yves St. Laurent The next portion of the tour let into the archives. Imagine a bank vault for clothes. Huge sealed, climate controlled metal cabinets contain thousands of garments that span the career of St. Laurent.
We saw a grouping of classic St. Laurent garments---items that he invented and that have become classics in his lifetime. The Tuxedo suit, Le Smoking, The Safari jacket, the Mondrian dress, and a transparent black chiffon evening dress that celebrated the topless revolution in the '60's.
Then, the sealed vaults were opened. A big wheel turns and the case parted, a moveable closet and the brilliant colors of gowns extended the entire length of the room---at least 20 feet. Drawers held elaborately beaded evening jackets looking like giant doll clothes stuffed with tissue. It was an exercise in restraint to look and not touch. When we parted, the ladies in the workroom commented that we all had stars in our eyes!
|At work on the famous grey trapeze dress. When she worked on the dress itself, she wore white gloves. |
|A dress awaiting inspection and repair|
|The upcoming show will include robes from North Africa. St. Laurent was born in Algeria, and the ethnic garments from that area have influenced his work over the years.|
Toile, Draping and Mannekin
Every design and every pattern for the design begins with a toile or draped muslin. Here, our guide shows a sample classic YSL suit that is entirely draped in toile. The mannekin is a replica of the customer's figure and would be adjusted to her figure as it changes. The toile is draped on half of the mannekin, and then pinned together. There is NO sewing here. The flawless quality is obvious to even an untrained eye, and is a tribute to the skill of the 'toiliste' or pattern-maker/draper, who works in close concert with the designer
|A working mannekin showing the special ribbons which are essential reference points.|
|The draped suit. Once it is deemed ready to cut, the toile (muslin fabric) will be used as the pattern|
|Hemp Canvas Ironing Board Cover
The surface of my ironing board touches and influences every project I make. After a lot of trial and error, I have found the perfect surface for pressing is hemp canvas which has the perfect blend of 'tooth', smoothness and strength. Hemp is all but indestructible, so the cover lasts for a long time. Stains and burns usually wash out too. I make the cover double thickness, so when one side is soiled, I can turn it over. Edges are bound with wide bias binding and elastic slipped in to give a tight fit. Photos below show how I do it.
Books have always been one of my favorite toys. Here are some current recommendations