I love walking and often find the best of inspiration for my paintings and photography right under my feat. For this week's Creativity Boost, let's take a look at what I saw on an old marina deck. Strolling up and down, I noticed all of the wonderful shapes and textures created in the wood plans across time. I grabbed my camera and got to work. Doesn't it look like there are faces in these shapes? Eyes? As you embark on your weekend, look down and let me know what you see!
Children going off to college is both an exciting time and a time of change for the whole family. I find that many parents wish to send off their child with something from home, something that tells them of where they came from and something to give them strength and hope for their future experiences. And, it turns out a pillow sewn out of t-shirts (worn across years and many different occasions) is a great item to gift to anybody starting college.
A pile of old t-shirts is a little overwhelming at first but then, once all of the logos are cut out, it is great fun to assemble them like a puzzle into a pillow cover that will fit like a glove. This latest project was a fun exercise in pulling together t-shirts with a variety of colors and fonts and logo sizes. I played around with the cutouts until I assembled a visually appealing front part of the pillow. The covers I design are fully washable and I secure all of the seams for a clean look even on the inside.
The project actually started with finding the right size pillow insert. This one was 46.5" x 19". A great thing about this cover is that I used the excess t-shirt materials to sew the back. So, everything has the same feel to the touch and works well in terms of color scheme.
I wish the happy owner of this pillow all the best in college. May there be great learning and great friends. And if you like what you see and have a t-shirt project in mind, contact me! I am happy to help you.
One of the things that brings me most joy is art and meeting artists who supply our world with loads of creative ideas. One of my friends, Alexandra Sherman, is such an artist. Her paintings - which she describes as "landscapes of the mind" - are thoughtful insights into the human experience and beautiful studies of artist techniques.
So, for this Monday dose of joy I bring you the lovely Alexandra and her painting called "Head Squall", which is on display at the McLean Project for the Arts until August 12, 2017. Like what you see? Have a question for Alexandra? Hop over to her website and say hi!
The end of each day is marked by a sunset and many of them are just striking and breath-taking. In my constant quest to capture the beauty of the nature around us (in my photography and then in my textile designs), I make a point of not missing a sunset. I bet you too have seen sunsets that stopped you in your tracks, that made you pause. Here is an example of one such sunset. I love the large cloud framing the sun as it goes down and how everything gets reflected on the water's surface. And why not test out the snapshot of this precious moment as a fabric pattern ... Isn't this fun? I love the magic of pattern-making. Do you have a sunset photo you love? Let me know!
Brenda Smoak of Artists Tell Their Stories is a woman on the move. She is kind and lovely and determined to support artists in any way she can. We met in 2016 and Brenda featured my textile designs on her ever-so-successful internationally-read blog in February 2017. Her goal – which she pursues with great focus – is to highlight 52 intriguing and compelling artists each year. The artists are invited to tell their own personal story of their work and offer insights into what motivates them. Really, they tell us why they do what they do. Brenda is now my friend; I cherish our coffee dates and chats about art and life.
One thing I adore about Brenda is that she is a great listener. She focuses on the art but more than that, she dives into the artist’s story and listens to their heart’s intent. And while Brenda’s blog tells stories of others, let’s look at why Brenda does what she does.
Tell us a little bit about how Artists Tell Their Stories started.
Artists Tell, as I affectionally call the blog, came as a result of having to close my fair-trade art gallery, Alchemy, several years ago due to construction coming to my area. I had a thriving space for artists, art-lovers and clients and through that experience I continually found myself promoting artists who didn’t know how, or didn’t want, to focus on telling their story. I met so many incredibly talented artists and it just became the next step on my path to help bring those stories to life.
What do you find personally most valuable in working with artists and about learning about their stories?
Behind each piece of interesting artwork is the person who created it and I am continually fascinated by learning who that person is. Why did you make this piece? Why do you play this instrument and what makes you cry when you get to that part of the song? That poem is so moving – what inspired you to write it? What makes you stay up all night to finish painting that piece? Why to you look for broken things and then create majestic creatures? Writers, dancers, painters, storytellers, musicians, and visual artists – every one of them has a story of why they do what they do. It’s those types of questions that fascinate me. So many artists create stunning work and people ogle over the work without ever asking what made that particular artist create the work. I look for the story behind the story to get a glimpse of who the artist is. It’s hearing those stories and having the artists be so happy to tell them that keeps me on the look-out for the next cool artist to feature. It’s truly a labor of love!
What is your vision for Artists Tell Their Stories? What’s in your future?
The blog readership continues to grow and that thrills me. We gained an international readership within the first year. This is the third year and now I have artists seeking me out, asking to be featured on the blog. That was part of my dream when I started this. I have a natural propensity to market people’s work that I like so it has been a win-win every year. Some of my goals for the blog are to feature at least one artist from every country world-wide, to add audio interviews to the blog, and to do follow-up stories on previous artists. I have so many artists writing me months later talking about this award or an upcoming show and it seems natural to continue developing and promoting a world-wide community of artists creating beautiful work.
Brenda has been working to bring artists together and to create a supportive community. I appreciate all of her efforts and to tell the truth, I can’t wait for our next chat over yummy coffee.
If you want to follow interesting stories of amazing artists or want your original work to be featured, Reach out to Brenda with your social media links. Artists Tell Their Stories has a new website, and stories are cross-posted weekly on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and more.
It never hurts to start the new week with a look at a lovely flower. I love blooms and apparently so does my mom as she took this pretty photo! She continues to inspire me to be my best and to keep going after my dreams. Have a nice week!
Zanzibar, Africa, March 2017
Photo credit: Alena Sestakova
Weekends are great for slowing down, for looking around, for noticing the intricate beauty of our world. One of my favorite activities is to pay attention to trees and wood projects created out of them. It's so fun to see what people can create with wood cuttings. And, aren't the patterns in wood created as it grows mesmerizing? This weekend, head out and see what you can find!
I love collaborations. I always learn much from working with people in the fashion industry and it's so helpful to get their feedback on my designs. One of these great collaborations has been working with Lilly of Marchande de Mode, a fellow student at the Academy of Art University (which I just successfully graduated from!). Lilly loves anything black and kindly highlighted my black-and-white Rain Drop scarf in a blog that provides you wonderful tips on how to transition your outfits from season to season. And we all know scarves are perfect for any time of year and thus help you feel good and comfortable every day!
Let's see what Lilly suggests: "I love to wear black max-dresses, boots and luckily I have found the most perfect lightweight scarf that transitions perfectly. If there happens to be a cooler night to follow you can throw a jacket on right over and it looks just as good."
To read all of Lilly's styling tips, hop over to her website and enjoy!
All images credited to Lilly at Marchande de Mode
I was on a ferry ride a few weeks ago and loved watching the waves and wake created by the boat's engines. The loud sound. The churning. The foam at the top of the waves. The water droplets jumping up into the air. So much energy! And I wish all of this energy to you this week.
Smith Island, MD, May 2017
Photo credit: Martina Sestakova
Aren't these pictures like abstract art masterpieces? I love looking around the world and finding the loveliest of textures and colors around. And who knew?! Rust is beautiful. The photos below were taken at Tangier Island (Virginia) on an old dock at the local marina. They are sections of pilings or random pieces of metal I came across. So lovely.
Summer breeze, ocean waves coming in and rolling away, smooth sand under your feet ... Ooh, summer is just such a lovely time of year. It's the time to relax, to rejuvenate, to stock up on fun activities that turn into fun memories.
If you are planning to go to the beach this summer, I bet you are looking forward to all the fun you will have. I can't wait to go myself. Cute dresses, sandals, straw hat ... I am packing it all. And of course, a unique scarf is a necessity! My friend Taryn has a RADOST scarf from the Salt-y Watercolor collection. It's a scarf I designed based on a watercolor painting into which I dropped kitchen salt crystals. Magic! So fun and so unexpected. The pattern is like a kaleidoscope; it changes every time you look at it. And Taryn surely knows how to rock it. I love these pictures she sent me. They are exactly why I do what I do: to bring people joy through art and stories I tell through my textiles.
I often start a design process by brainstorming words my fabric should represent and it seems that joy, laughter, lightness of being, space, balance, curiosity, freedom, care, warmth and many more are exactly how Taryn feels in these lovely moments on the beach. How do you feel when you wear your RADOST scarf? Let me know!
I would love to hear from you. Send me pictures of your joyous moments and let's spread the joy of living and the joy of creativity. And let's plan a great trip to the beach! Have fun!
(All photos credit of Taryn Queen)
Lone sailboat resting top of calm waters. I love sailing and it's a great way to relax and to take a break from textile design. Though ... I am not sure I ever take a break. Because take a look at this photo: aren't the shades of blue just strikingly beautiful and wouldn't they be great in a fabric print?
Chesapeake Bay, MD, May 2017
Photo credit: Martina Sestakova
Photography is often a source of inspiration for me. Several of my textile designs use photos I have taken and this weekend I would prompt you to pull out your camera (or iPhone) and to snap a photo or two. Get close to things and see what a magical world it is when you go macro!
Clothes should work for us. They should function well and they should bring us joy. That is what I strive for as a textile and fashion designer. Hence, I am so excited to bring to you a line of handmade blouses that are all about comfort and indeed, joy! So, let's take a look ...
Oh, comfort. Such a good word. Comfort food. Comfort dessert. And ... comfortable clothes! This word just works for so many things. I am all about comfy clothes; the tunic tops you see below are made out of jersey. They feel like a lightweight sweatshirt except they look like high fashion. You can wear them with yoga pants or with dressy pants appropriate for the office. They are great for travel and they make a statement at a party. The tops are versatile and adjust easily to many body shapes.
Oh, joy. My favorite word! I love designing textiles and bringing joy to you in the form of colors and patterns and stories behind the ideas. We communicate so much through our clothing: what we like, what we value, how we want to be perceived. And I bet, feeling good about yourself is one of those things, too. My textiles tell stories of joy: some of them are based on original paintings, some of them are photos I took. For instance, the blue/purple top below has a pattern made out of sound waves. I recorded this powerful statement: "Joy fills my heart" and created a print. What more do you need to feel great? This is what joy means to me when it comes to clothing and its power to give us confidence and to put a smile on our face.
Here we go then: comfort and joy all in one versatile tunic top that will boost your mood and draw attention anywhere you go. Because being joyful is the best way to be.
And the storm is brewing in the most beautiful of ways.
Blantyre, Malawi, April 2017
Photo credit: Martina Sestakova
I feel a little vulnerable writing this blog. But then ... f**k it. I am a textile and fashion designer and I believe in the power of stories. I capture stories in my textiles and I turn them into items, such as scarves and tops. One of my collections is called F**k It! and while I never though I would design a pattern like that, now it makes sense to me.
I started my business last year and oh my was I scared! Fear has stopped me from doing so many things in my life. All of the moments I didn't do something because of fear could fill up days and weeks, maybe even months of my life. You know all the times when ... you don't not voice your ideas, you don't not approach a person you think is interesting, you stay in the same old pattern because it's just fine. While I was thrilled about my new creative adventure, you should see me shake as I drove to a local shop to offer my designs. I almost turned around and went home. As time passed, I got tired of all of this fear nonsense.
I needed a boost, a reminder of my inner courage. So, I recorded the words "F**k It!" as they seemed to be a little more convincing than just "Go for it!" ... I used the image of the sound wave as a textile pattern and sewed a scarf out of the fabric. I wore it in new situations; I rushed into my closet to put it on as a potential business connection called my cell phone. For a little bit, that scarf became my signature look. I din't tell anybody about the idea behind my design; I didn't feel the need.
But then all of the moments when my friends stopped themselves from something new kept catching my attention. And I thought why not share my little trick. Let's be clear about what this textile pattern is not. It's not "Oh, f**k it. I don't care." It's not "I can't do much about this. It's always been that way." So, what is it about? It is about experience; it is about letting yourself have space for experience. Because there is always space for something new and unexpected and because you are worth changes that enrich you and your life.
Fear won't go away but I am not sure it needs to. It can hang around, just not rule our days. A friend of mine asked me to make a blouse for her out of the fabric. When we chatted about it, she said: "Oh, it will be a good conversation starter." And indeed, it is! So, say it with me ... F**k It!
Nature paints the best picture. A good sunset is always the winner!
Chesapeake Bay, MD, February 2017
Photo credit: Martina Sestakova
Do you have a favorite quote? A lyric? A saying? Using the sound wave of your quote and your favorite color, I would love to design a custom scarf just for you. Words matter and their power can be even stronger once they rest around your neck in the shape of a stylish and unique scarf. Let's connect!
Any article of clothing we own is a matter of emotion. We wear what makes us feel good, what is ultimately 'us'. Our clothes also tell our story to others. It is thus no surprise that letting go of items is no easy feat. However, there may be a way to let go, yet to keep. How? Here is a story of transformation that is good for the heart.
A dear friend of mine cherished her Dad's shirt she got to keep after his passing a few years back. The shirt was his signature look; it was of his favorite shirts. The shirt became part of my friend's home; wherever she would go, the shirt went with her. Not too long ago, she thought of transforming the shirt into a keepsake item: a pillow. I was happy to help. Pillows are lovely for so many reasons but this pillow may be one of my favorites now.
The shirt turned out to be the perfect size for an 18 x 18 pillow. I brainstormed how to cut up the fabric to create a well-designed cover. Carefully I removed the parts of the shirt I would not need and drafted a pattern. And then off I went sewing.
The pillow turned out so wonderful! The front is decorated with the buttons and a pocket. The buttons function as the front can be opened up and the cover may be removed. I believe this pillow is a perfect way for my friend to cherish her Dad and to keep his memory well and alive in her home. I am honored my friend approached me and trusted my skills.
What do you think? Have you ever had a cherished item transformed into a keepsake? Let me know!
And the water rolled down the river loudly announcing its presence to all. And the clouds moved in bringing with them rain that met the river as if they were best of friends.
Great Falls, MD, March 2017
Photo credit: Martina Sestakova
Want to do a bit of art this weekend? Then, don't hold back. And ... mix different mediums. Not too long ago I started a watercolor painting only to end up combining it with an excessive amount - because why not have some fun! - of oil paints! I just let my hand glide over the canvas and ended up with a vibrant painting that now brightens up my home. Give it a try!
Not too long ago, the lovely Justine Hong of Just Souled Out styled my Glue It! scarf. Today, I am sharing another fresh and modern take on the classic that is RADOST infinity scarf. Justine matched a blue scarf from the Salt-y Watercolor collection with a pair of jeans and a bomber jacket! I love it! The scarf is so versatile and is just the perfect layering fashion accessory. Want to read more, hop over to Justine's site!
I always loved the delicacy of lace in fashion design. However, good quality lace can get pricey so I don't have that many items in my closet. My love for it is strong so I came up with a way to incorporate it in my outfits anyway ... By taking an old piece of lace and spray painting it! I turned the artwork into a digital file and came up with a pattern that celebrates laces in its intricacy and adds a wonderful touch of color into anything I wear. Test it out! You will love the variety of patterns you will create.
Welcome! My textile/fashion design brand RADOST™ (Czech) is all about JOY (English).
In the blogs, I bring you thoughts on textile and fashion design, art, and travel.
Check back often, as creativity never sleeps (well, almost never) and surround yourself with joy!