Dip your feet in! Yes, dip your feet in ... into anything and everything you wish to experience this week.
For this Friday's Creativity Boost, I invite you to look around and see how lines and circles interact in random objects in your life. I went to a meeting and encountered this lovely moment of the large rectangular window reflected a lovely ceiling light. Doesn't it look like moon reflection? There is just so much to discover.
Join The "Together As One" Art Project And See How A Touch of Creative Spirit Benefits The Community
Painting and any other forms of artistic expression are such fun ways to discover joy. And all the better when an art piece can help the community. This is exactly the case of Land a Hand Art Auction hosted by a really lovely shop, The Muse, in Frederick, Maryland. All proceeds from this art project benefit Blessings in a Backpack. The organization raises awareness of childhood hungers and works to improve the lives of local children by providing food when schools meals are not available.
A $20 entry fee goes directly to the charity and includes a blank canvas and a map piece to inspire your art piece. This year's theme is "Together as One". Everyone and all media are invited to participate. Canvases will be sold up at the Muse until the finished art deadline of 31 August, 2017. Join in!
I picked up my canvas not too long ago and truly enjoyed the creative process. Let me tell you what happened ... Anybody working on this project can interpret the theme in their own unique way. My first thought when it came to the idea of "Together as One" was the heart. While it may be a cliche, it is still the most recognizable symbol of caring and connection. Connection ended up being the driving idea behind my art piece. I sketched an outline of a heart on the canvas and rummaged through my art closet to pull out spray paints. Because I love to spray paint!
I ended up with a shiny black background splattered with dots of dark blue. The heart area was left blank as I was not clear about what to do just yet. A few days later, I used acrylic paints in a variety of blues to fill in the heart. I enjoyed building up the heart area with large amounts of paint to give it a 3-dimensional feel. And again, I took a break .... I like to give my ideas time to ripen, to take form. I also pondered how to incorporate the map piece in my canvas. It seems to me our hearts have a map, something of an inner guide to lead us through out lives. I glued the map piece on the heart and covered it up with more paint. The map literally became embedded in the heart. And again, I took a break ... Ultimately, I added a few more colors - reds, whites, greens - to honor the diversity our hearts come in and the diversity in which we use our inner map to navigate our lives.
And here we go! My canvas is done and I can't wait to hand it over to The Muse for a public auction they will be hosting to raise financial support for Blessings in a Backpack. This project has been a lovely experience for me. I have had a chance to sit down and think of my way of interpreting my theme. I have learned about the important work Blessings in a Backpack does in our area. And, I have felt a sense of connection to the community through this meaningful project. Thank you, The Muse, for this opportunity!
If you wish to participate, stop by The Muse.
19 N Market St, Frederick, MD 21701
Last day of July 2017. Time goes by fast. I am thinking of what I hope August will bring. And I am thinking that it will be about connection and meeting new people along the path. I wish you a lovely August and may there be new friendships on your own road.
Two things that make for a fun combo: leaves found on a walk and a can of spray paint! This weekend, check out how you can use the shape of something found to create an abstract piece of art. I love the speckles of the spray pain over and around these organic shapes of the leaves. And at the same time, the negative space created by the leaves adds so much interest to the whole artwork. Test it out!
Summer is well underway. I am in love with all of this sunshine and warmth and evenings with friends spent chatting and relaxing. And of course, I am in love with capturing the creative goodness of our lives in my textiles. I do what I do because I believe in bringing smiles to people's lives and because unique fashion accessories, such as handcrafted scarves, make one stand out and experience their days with an open heart and mind.
Speaking of evenings with friends ... Not too long ago, I got to spend a few hours with my friends Ruth and Lana. They offered to model my scarves and I thought I would share these photos as they capture beautiful why I do what I do. It's indeed all about smiles and approaching life with curiosity.
Ruth is such a sweetie. Lovely lady who makes outstanding jewelry and is up for any creative adventure. It seems she was born with curiosity imprinted in her heart. She is wearing my Salt-y Watercolor scarf in blue. First, it's styled in a loose knot. Second, the infinity scarf is draped over in one big circle really letting the print stand out. Ruth is just striking!
My friend Lana picked my Strength Lives Within Me scarf and I styled it doubled-over. When you wear the scarf this way, you get a little bit of volume (but not too much) and a lovely layering of the pattern. Lana combined the scarf with a simple black tank top, so appropriate for the summer. And indeed, strength lives within this young woman.
I hope your summer is spent doing what you love and with people you enjoy. It's just such a lovely time of the year. And evidently, it's also a good time to incorporate a colorful scarf into your wardrobe so you can stand out and honor your own uniqueness.
When I first approached this peaceful spot at the Japanese-style garden at Hillwood Estate in Washington DC, I focused on the blooms. Their vibrant pink contrasted so well with the nearby green leaves. Then, I noticed the little turtle popping its head out of the water and the whole scene took on even more charm. May this week bring you the loveliest of surprises!
For this week's Creativity Boost, I invite you to experiment and to share your art. I love to take photos of textures I see in nature and am excited to have my photos from the Tangier Island series on show at the #1460wallmountables at the DC Arts Center! My abstracts are right next the beautiful art pieces by the lovely Angela White! We had tons of fun putting our art up. If you have an interest that turns into art of any form, be sure to let the world know. Your creativity is valuable and so beneficial to us all!
1460 Wallmountables 2017
District of Columbia Arts Center
Opening Reception: July 21, 2017, 7-9pm
Exhibition: July 21 - September 10, 2017
2438 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
I designed a scarf with an empowering message. The print consists of repeats of the sound wave of the words "F**k It!". Why? Because I believe in the power of words and in the power of textiles that tell stories of our lives.
Here is the message that comes with the scarf on a small note card: "Pardon my French but ... F**k It! What is all this about you may ask? Well, on a serious note, fear has stopped me from new experiences many times in my life. I am no longer interested in a fearful lifestyle. On a fashionable note, I recorded a sound wave of the words "F**k It!" and turned the visual of the recording into an empowering pattern design in this bright scarf. Now, every time fear may poke its head out, you have a stylish reminder to go forward and not to hold back. Life is worth the courage we have in our hearts!"
I designed this scarf for myself first - it's message of not letting fear stop me in my creative, and any other for that matter, endeavors, has helped me experience new things in life. And then, I noticed how much others appreciated the message so here we go now with this scarf in a variety of colors! Because we are unique as individuals and our clothing should reflect this uniqueness.
I originally created this scarf print in a combo of magenta and light pink. But not everybody is into these colors so then there was burgundy red and then came navy blue. So much fun! I love hearing from all of you and helping you create something truly remarkable for your closet and life. See below what Patricia of The Hungry Zebra has to say about her scarf.
"My husband had gotten me this scarf for Mother's Day made by a very talented friend @radostbymartinasestakova. I thought it appropriate for my first full day living in Colorado. Although exhausted and having some issues Mast Cell and Autonomic related from the traveling and am off of my schedule, I am so happy to start this new journey. The scarf design is a vocal recording of "F**k it" directed at fear in the unknown and trying new things. Martina has so many great ideas and other inspirational recordings in her designs. Thanks Martina."
I so appreciate the opportunity to hear from my customers and to bring something unique into their unique lives. What's your favorite color? Let me know!
I use flowers as inspiration for my textile design. I would even say they are my favorite source of ideas. Nature is pretty spectacular and there is always something interesting to see. So, may this week bring you moments spent in nature as I bet those moments will bring you joy and a sense of wonderment.
This photograph is part of a black-and-white photography exhibition called "En Blanc et Noi" organized by the Chesapeake Art Center. The photo is on display at Gallery 90 at the Hospice of the Chesapeake in Pasadena, MD, until September 1, 2017.
In this week's Creativity Boost, I am pondering the idea of looking around the world and seeing how difference is made. I snapped this photo on a morning walk. I focused on the path under my feet. The best moment occurred, though, when I looked up and captured this little bird doing its thing: making the repetitive pattern of the electric lines much more interesting.
Ok, this blog post is a total tearjerker for me. Why? Because I got to help a dear friend celebrate her mother's birthday with one of the most unique scarves I have ever designed. Just read on and you will see ...
My friend grew up on a farm with a lovely orchard. And I visited this farm and this orchard on a few occasions. A truly beautiful place in the mountains; stunning views and fresh air. My friend's mom is a sweetheart. She is kind and adorable and makes the best peach pie I ever had. So, when her birthday came up, my friend asked me to help out. She send me a few photos from the farm and as I sifted through them, I recalled just the nicest of memories. To capture this home in its fullness, I decided to use a photo of the orchard as a pattern piece for my textile design that would later transform into an infinity scarf. I believe the photo below captures everything that this place means to my friend and to her mom. It's the sunshine. It's the richness and ever-so-present giving nature of an orchard. It's the work they put into it.
I picked a section of the photo and tested out a few way to change the color scheme to make it pop once it became a print on a fabric. I honored the rich greens and blues but added a touch of the sweetest of pinks. When I was finished, I just could not wait to get the printed textile! When it arrived, I was so excited. The scarf is a token of a full life and a celebrate of a person and my friend's mom, a women who has worked hard in that orchard to reap its fruits. The scarf is both a gentle reminder of home and a striking fashion statement. You can pretty much see the leaves on the trees and feel the warmth of the air. And once the scarf rests around my friend's mom's neck, it highlights her face and the pink just adds the most amazing pop of color.
Isn't this just the best experience to have? I got to collaborate with a dear friend and used all of my skills as a textile designer to capture her home and to celebrate her wonderful mom. Not much can top this. I am so grateful. A beloved home is indeed a truly wonderful inspiration for a unique design.
Update as of July 29, 2017: My friend's mom now has her new scarf and this is what she said about it ... "My daughter gave me this lovely scarf for my birthday. I knew immediately that it was a design by her friend, Martina. When I discovered that the inspiration for the scarf came from a picture of my orchard I was delighted. Martina is a very talented artist and a very good friend."
New week, new opportunities. On Saturday I hiked at Great Falls, MD, and snapped this photo of the lovely view. I thought of all of the opportunities we get to broaden our views, to see the bigger picture. So, this week, may there be many moments of spectacular views and mind-expanding experiences!
For this week's Creativity Boost, look for the reflections you see around you. I love water and water is just the perfect medium to reflect what is happening around it: trees along a river, clouds roaming the sky ... Here is a photo I snapped at Tangier Island in Virginia last month. These are pilings at a local marina that reflect themselves on the water's surface and add such lovely shapes and textures to the environment. Enjoy your search!
I have had the privilege to work with Yenifer Ubiera, a fellow Academy of Art University student and a fashion stylist on the rise. Seriously, this woman is a force when it comes to fashion and remarkable wardrobe styling. She is an artist whose passion for self-expression caught attention of many companies and magazines in New York City and all around the world.
Yenifer styled several of my RADOST handcrafted infinity scarves and I just fell in love with her ideas. So modern and colorful! Today, I am sharing an interview with Yenifer. Read about her thoughts on fashion and collaboration with fellow artists.
What is your styling philosophy? Why does fashion styling matter to you?
What matters to me in styling is self-expression and my interpretation of a certain editorial. In general, style is not about putting pieces together and making them look better. It is more about creating a totally different impression that you ever thought could exist. Most of the time, stylists are minimalists and love clear looks. I am totally the opposite. I am spontaneous and a totally color person, so perhaps my philosophy is to break the old rules in styling and make the impossible, possible.
When working with a fashion designer, what is the most important thing in order to clearly convey the aesthetic of their designs?
I admire designers for their creativity and hard work to craft unique pieces. They inspire me; it’s indeed a creative super power in terms of what they do. When I am working with a designer on a specific look or project, I always research their past works and meet with them about whey are expecting. However, the most important thing for me is to see if they are willing to experiment and create a new feeling of their design.
How was your experience styling the RADOST scarves? Any thoughts on the designs?
I love RADOST designs. The prints and vivid colors are so unique. The fabric is soft and I love the practical shape of each design. I found it really easy to incorporate the designs in my current editorial stories. I am happy to have made an awesome professional connecting and at the same time started a friendship with Martina, the designer behind the brand. She is an amazing artist and I can’t wait to collaborate with her again in the future.
You meet a lot of creatives in your field of work. In your collaborations, what brings you the most joy?
I think what brings me joy is the point when everybody at a photoshoot makes an effort to create the perfect shot. I always say that what makes a fashion photoshoot special is the passion that each member of the team puts into it on the set.
What are your plans for the future?
Currently I’m freelancing in New York City. Ultimately, I want to create a rentable closet for designers, photographers, models, or any individual involved in fashion who may need access to a wardrobe for photoshoots. Also, I work with actors and music videos producers and work to expand my celebrity styling field in the next 5 years. Another market I am drawn to is Asia (for instance, Japan) where I would like to travel, stay, and grown personally and professionally.
I cannot thank Yenifer enough for styling my scarves and for taking the time to chat with me about her exciting career. As I said, while Yenifer already has many successes under her belt, there is so much more coming. She is an unstoppable force and will make a huge impact in the fashion industry. Want to work with Yenifer? Contact her as she would love to bring your products to their life in the spotlight.
Facebook: Yenifer Ubiera Fashion Stylist
Do you too find hiking and strolling through parks enriching and relaxing? And doesn't it get even better if you come across an unexpected stream? May this week bring you many lovely moments and a surprise or two!
Gambrill State Park, Frederick, MD, May 2017
Photo credit: Martina Sestakova
Anything can be beautiful, right? I believe so! The world around us offers a limitless stream of creativity and things to admire. An example? I stumbled upon a rusty water faucet. Yes, faucet. And I snapped a photo and turned it into the cutest of patterns. Isn't it charming? And fun? Indeed, even the most random (and useful) things around us can inspire fun creative projects. This weekend, look around and see what you can create.
I am excited to participate in an art project called One House, the idea for which comes from Ellyn Weiss and Jackie Hoysted, leaders of a group called Art Watch. The project aims to use the power of visual communication to express values, such as inclusion, tolerance, and equality under the law.
Many artists are taking part in this project. We all started with a blank 12" square piece of plywood. Here I am at Jackie's lovely studio the day I picked my square up. Each square is dedicated to an ancestor, somebody who came to this country from elsewhere. As I am the first one in my family to come to the US (the rest of my family lives in the Czech Republic), I was instructed to tell my own story. Once all (a few hundred) squares are completed, they will be publicly displayed in Washington DC towards the end of 2017.
I admit to having felt conflicted about how to use the square to tell my experience of being an immigrant. I came to the US in 2002 as an au-pair planning to stay with a family for a year. Yet, that year turned into 15 years of an incredibly colorful life. As any immigrant, I had both moments of being truly accepted as a human being and of feeling excluded as the 'other' or sometimes viewed as the 'help'. While dealing with a bit of immigration paperwork, I went to college, held a variety of jobs, started my own company. I gained and lost friends. As I was pondering how to use my board to represent my story, it dawned on me that my story is no really 'just' mine. It's the story of all who touched my life in any and every way.
So, I got to work. My board has two aspects. First, I browsed through 15 years of photos and picked moments that sometimes meant a lot and others that were just a quick passing experience. It feels like life is just like that: the big is mixed in with the little and vice versa. What an emotional experience! I saw so many faces, so many stories, in all of those photos. People who invited me into their lives; people who I literally have known since day one in the country. To honor their anonymity, I added a filter to all images as I assembled them into a collage. Some photos sit nicely next to each other; others clash. Some pop with color; others take your eye in as they are dark and you need to search for the silhouettes.
One of the photos is the first photo taken of me in the US, another one of a former supervisor who gave me advice I use in my life daily. My parents, friends, kids I took care of, people I am not in touch anymore ... They are all part of my experience of establishing a life in the US.
The second aspect of my square is sound. I am a big believer in the power of words. What one says matters and makes an impact. I recall many things said to me over the years. Some were words of inclusion and encouragement. Some stopped me in my tracks and their sharpness took my breath away. I recorded two words that are the title of my square: "Community. Connection." The sound wave recordings sit on top of the photos and bring together my experience as one of richness and gratitude.
Participating in this project has been an important experience to me. It's turning out to be a great starting point for more stories. I now have conversations with people from a variety of backgrounds; we all come together through the act of sharing our lives. To learn more about One House and artists participating in this meaningful effort, hop over to Art Watch DC and click on One House.
I know we tend to think of weekends as the time to rest and recharge but I find that taking time to pause during the busy week makes my life better. As a creative person, I value fresh ideas and those only seem to come up when I honor my need to relax and just play. So, have a great Monday and may there be many relaxing moments!
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
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!