Only recently have I learned about Lois Smith, a famed quilter. A friend mentioned her name to me and I ended up going to see her work at Glenview Mansion in Rockville, MD. How have I not known about her work before?!
Her stunning quilts are showcased at an exhibition called "Lois Smith & Friends" until July 29, 2016. Yes, I know it's coming up so rush over there! As a designer, I have great appreciation for what artists can do with fabrics. I create my own textiles but constantly seek inspiration for new creations. And what better way than to see somebody else's view of the world and how they incorporate it into their own work?
So, let's take a closer look at Smith's quilts. The exhibition has a nice selection. And while they are all imaginative, I would group them into two groups: quilts with identifiable objects, like the beautiful bird one below, and quilts that use abstract shapes to convey Smith's artistic views of composition and color. I was totally mesmerized by the example below. The amount of work that must have gone into creating this large quilt - I cannot even imagine. The quilt is incredibly detailed with hundreds of fabric swatches and precise top-stitching. The workmanship supports the striking scene depicted - the birds in motion with their wings spread out. It's like poetry in textile!
Here is another example of a quilt with identifiable objects. Yet, how dreamlike and poetic! I love the color scheme - the muted browns turn into fiery reds and intense blues. And then you walk up closer to the quilt and find a child resting on the beach!
Smith's abstract work is of note as well. I love art and art history and looking at the quilts below was like being at a top-notch gallery with art by, for instance, Wassily Kandinsky. Smith has a strong sense of composition and works with fabric swatches to guide your eye all over the quilt yet bringing you in to appreciate the details.
The Glenview Mansion's Art Gallery also highlights wonderful works by Smith's fellow quilters. What amazing variety of workmanship! I like the idea of artists' works to be showcased together so one can appreciate the individuality they bring in and at the same time learn about what the community of quilters has in common.
As mentioned earlier, this noteworthy exhibition is closing soon. I highly recommend you stroll through the lovely exhibition halls and pause to admire the imagination and hard work that went into each of these pieces of art. I have certainly gained a huge appreciation of quilts!
Prickly beauty: cactus in bloom. Rehoboth Beach, Maryland.
Photo taken in July 2016. Credit: Martina Sestakova.
Even if you are a grown up, I urge you to stop by Strathmore Mansion in Rockville, MD, to stroll through the lovely building and to admire wonderfully delightful selection of children's book illustrations. The show, on display until July 31, 2016, is called "Turning the Page" and it will take you right back to your childhood.
I live a short walk away from Strathmore Mansion so their exhibitions are pretty much obligatory to me. And I have seen many. But this one is truly lovely. The exhibition features local artists as well as artworks from the Mazza Museum of the University of Findlay in Ohio.
In addition to award-winning illustrations, you (and your children) will enjoy items inspired by the wonderful stories and even sit down at a reading corner and flip through pages of the books on display! What a fun afternoon activity.
Book illustration is a great artistic endeavor - I find particular magic in an artists ability to read a story, internalize it, and then capturing its essence through drawing. This exhibition even has illustrations that incorporate actual items, e.g., leaves and sticks and fabric remnants.
Make a trip to Strathmore Mansion and I promise you will be charmed by the exhibition and the many wonderful and creative ways a story can be captured through art.
The quiet of a sunset. Harper's Ferry, Maryland.
Photo taken in June 2016. Credit: Martina Sestakova.
Adeline Andre is a French fashion designer and the head of the one of the ten haute couture design houses in Paris.
I am fortunate to live in an area full of beautiful public parks and gardens. Spring is a fabulous time to go visit these gardens as they are in full bloom and kick off a season of breath-taking colors! What better time is there for a textile designer to grab her camera and go find natural treasures? Not too long ago, as we were getting a bunch of rain in Washington D.C., I spent an afternoon walking through Brookside Gardens while rain was coming down and the sky was overcast. I just could not stay away. And it paid off!
While we may connect rain with dreary weather, I love the idea of searching for rain drops on the spectacular blooming flowers. The closer I can get the better. And of course I capture the magical moments with my camera. After my walk, I went home and flipped through all of my images. There were three that caught my attention and I decided to use them in a scarf collection I call "Rain in the Garden". Take a look below and see how a close up can end up being a fabulous textile pattern.
I ended up using the imagery in a variety of sizes, going from smaller print to large scale to get as much visual variety as possible. And the rain drops from the afternoon are now forever celebrated in my scarves! If you like what you see and are as in love with Spring as I am, take a look at my shop and treat yourself to a rain drop or two.
Liz Vandal is a French Canadian fashion/costume designer best known for designing the costumes for the Cirque du Soleil show Ovo.
The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City puts on amazing fashion exhibitions every year. This year's show is no different. I strolled through the exhibition halls a few weeks ago and "Manus x Machina" took my breath away. Andrew Bolton, the curator, delved deep into the history of workmanship and arranged the exhibition in an engaging way. You will learn tons about the relationship between handwork and the use of machine within each garment on display. Scroll below and enjoy the stunning pieces.
The main hall holds Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel wedding ensemble. It's a fabulous example of the balance between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina). It is made from scuba knit, a synthetic material, and is hand molded, machine sewn, and hand finished.
There is so so much to cover but I will just highlight a few things that caught my attention. I love florals and as you can see below, a whole section of the exhibition was devoted to flowers and their multiple ways of application to garments. Amazing!
This wedding ensemble is an exquisite example of a garment done purely by hand. One could study it for hours ...
Embroidery, featherwork, lacework, and leatherwork ... these are just a few ways of garments construction studied in this exhibition. What is also interesting is the comparison of garments created in different time periods. For instance, you may see a dress from the 1920s right next to a 2015 piece. In many cases one cannot really tell the time and it is thus great to learn about how the techniques in fashion have changed; or, haven't changed.
I appreciate the work of Iris van Herpen and several of her intricate 3-D printed garments are on display. A whole section is devoted to pleats, as they do indeed deserve much attention. As you walk past early 20th century Greek-inspired gowns to contemporary Japanese aesthetic in garments constructed out of pleated shapes, such as circles, you won't cease to be amazed.
As a textile designer, I am drawn to textures. And this exhibition surely has tons of them to offer. The photos below give you an insight into the variety of methods that go into fashion. Aren't these true masterpieces?
"Manus x Machina" is on show until August 14, 2016. If you have a chance, go see it. It will open your eyes to the magical world of fashion workmanship!
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.
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