Photo taken in May 2015. Credit: Martina Sestakova.
Manhattan skyline from the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York City, New York.
Photo taken in May 2015. Credit: Martina Sestakova.
My Fall class - Textile Printing - started a few weeks ago and I have already learned tons! The world of textiles and patterns is full of creativity and innovation. With the fashion weeks going on right now, it is a great time to learn about textiles and how they have changed over time. Most fashion designers incorporate their own patterns and custom fabrics into their collection. So, this class is essential to my understanding of the fashion industry and my own design work.
I spent an afternoon brainstorming and creating fabric patterns that utilize florals. Flowers and plants are the most popular source of inspiration in textiles. To push my skills further, I decided to paint a few motifs in watercolor to get a hand-finished feel.
I first painted the motifs on their own - they covered large pieces of paper. This ways I would get details that would stand out even on a smaller scale. I then scanned the watercolors into the computer and altered their look using PhotoShop. Never ending options!
Take a look below at how I incorporated images of leaves and abstracted flower blooms into several fabric designs. I was aiming for light and modern looking patterns that would stand out beautifully in a dress or a jacket. I am looking forward to further experimentation with watercolor!
Marjorie Merriweather Post's Strategic Use of Fashion Supported Her Status of Entrepreneur and Social Icon
Washington D.C. prides itself on wonderful museums and art galleries. One of the truly outstanding ones, in my opinion, is Hillwood. The former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post (who bought it in 1955) is known for its comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art, a French decorate art collection, and 25 acres of gardens and woodlands.
Post is an icon. A heiress to the Post cereal empire, she carved her own place in fast changing society. She made her mark as a charitable person and a great entrepreneur. I very much enjoy learning about her life and Hillwood's latest exhibition - "Ingenue to Icon: 70 Years of Fashion from the Collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post" - is a wonderful resource to learn about Post through her passion for fashion. And fashion is, of course, a passion of mine, too.
The exhibition is not grand, but it is well-curated and informative. As you walk through the exhibition hall, you will discover designs, fabrics, and styles that distinguished seven decades in the life of Post's apparel. Post, a great strategist when it came to her status as a woman of high social and economic standing, used fashion to represent herself and to project her role in society. She had fun with fashion and while fashion underwent rapid changes over time, Post was able to constantly reflect her cheerful personality.
"Throughout her life, Marjorie treated her clothing in much the same manner as her art collection," explains Hillwood's associate curator of textiles and curator of the exhibition, Howard Vincent Kurtz. "She knew that her clothing represented not just her own style, but a record of women's fashion. Thanks to that vision, today Hillwood has a singularly complete collection of costumes and accessories that is a resource for the study of American style and the changing role of women in the 20th century."
So, scroll down and enjoy the wonderful designs that will give you a peek into the life of an outstanding woman.
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens is located at 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20008. "Ingenue to Icon" is on display until December 31, 2015.
Intricately decorated doors. Prague, Czech Republic.
Photo taken in August 2015. Credit: Martina Sestakova.
During my recent trip to Scotland, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the landscape, the warmth of the people, and the pride they have for their country. Travel is such a great way to learn about the world around us - to step out of the routine and to embrace a different worldview. And of course, my camera is always nearby to capture the beauty of the land I am exploring.
Scotland is an intriguing place. It rains a lot with dark clouds rushing across the sky. Yet, when the sun comes out, it seems bigger and more intense than in other places I have visited. It is appreciated; it balanced the coolness of the rainy moments. Such intense ambiance!
The landscape is impressive with its mountains, rivers, and lakes. In this blog, however, I want to introduce you to spots created by the locals. There is just something so cute about the villages and gardens. Take a look and enjoy the poetic feel of these photos.
I learned a lot about the history of textiles in my Textile Design class. One of the topics was paisley. Paisley is a term for a design that uses a droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian original. Such designs became very popular in the West in the 18th and 19th centuries with the increase of international textile exchange. The western name derives from the town of Paisley, in West Scotland, a centre for textiles where paisley designs were produced.
It is a lot of fun to study the history of textile design and then put the knowledge from research into practice. For my summer class assignment, I tested several techniques in generating ideas and paisley patterns. My favorite? Silk screening. I created modern-looking shapes in blue that I printed on cotton. I scanned the finished pattern and manipulated it in PhotoShop creating a repeat of it. The options are endless.
I also sketched other ideas in my sketchbook. Paisley, as defined above, starts with a droplet-shaped form. One can then leave it simple or fill it in with other geometric shapes. Color schemes, while there are some traditional ones recorded throughout history, depend on the textile designer. I quite enjoyed combining the droplet shape with other shapes and combining various colors into fresh and modern looking patterns.
Paisley, like flowers, remains one of the most popular textile design patterns. Do you like paisley? Do you own anything with this pattern? Let me know!
You can tell from my previous blogs that I love the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. I check their website periodically and rarely miss an art show. Not too long ago I stopped by to see "Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye" and cannot stop raving about it!
I am a big fan of Impressionism and the National Gallery of Art has a lovely collection. The exhibition of Caillebotte's masterpieces takes their place in the art world to the next level. I will admit not knowing much about Gustave Caillebotte when I walked into the exhibition halls. However, I indeed walked out with great admiration of his work.
Caillebotte is an interesting character as art to him was a passionate interest. Having come from a wealthier background, he never really needed to sell his works so his role within the Impressionist movement is somewhat hidden. He was friends with Edgar Degas and Auguste Renoir who both encouraged his artistic endeavors. One of Caillebotte’s most famous works - depicting shirtless laborers finishing a wood floor - became one of the sensations of the second Impressionist show in 1876.
What most intrigues me about his works - and really any other artist's work - is the insight into the life of his contemporaries. Caillebotte has a sensitive and well-trained eye. The Floor Scrapers provides such an in-depth look into a moment in the life of these men. I see hard work, dust, grease. I hear scraping, chatter, laughter. I smell chemicals, hot air, sweat. What are your feelings about this painting?
The exhibition halls provide a concise review of Caillebotte's subjects: portraits, nudes, river and city scenes, still lifes, and landscapes. In all, they portray this artist as deeply interested in his surroundings, preoccupied with the ways art can connect us to our environment. This search for connection is what makes Caillebotte truly essential to the art world.
Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye is on display until October 4, 2015 at West Building Main Floor.
During a quick afternoon trip in July, I got to see two lovely architectural landmarks in Alexandria, Virginia. I already shared my observations about the Pope-Leighey House with you. This time, let's take a look at Woodlawn, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
I recommend visiting both properties during the same visit as you will get to explore and contrast the architectural and historical backgrounds of two unique homes. The estate - all 126 acres of it - is also great for a relaxing picnic on the rolling hills overlooking the Potomac River.
A bit of Woodlawn's history ... It was part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. He gave the property to his nephew who, together with his wife, built the Georgian/Federal house designed by William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol. The mansion changed owners over time until becoming a historic house museum in 1949.
As with Pope-Leighey House, you can take a guided tour of Woodlawn. I highly recommended it as you will be taken back in time and will explore social and economic standards of many different decades as they unfolded at the mansion.
The long July summer days may be over but a few hours on a warm afternoon would still be perfect for a visit of this lovely architectural treasure. So, hop into your car and check it out!
While flowers may be the most popular inspiration for fabric patterns, geometric art is another popular source of creative designs. I do love gardening and I do love art. So, researching geometric imagery in art across decades was a fun endeavor. The research was part of my Textile Design class and the purpose of it was to create fabric patterns using tie-dye. Take a look at what I came up with!
First, I assembled a moodboard - a fashion designer's reference for inspiration, color, texture, scale. The imagery in the moodboard suggests the color story for my tie-dye work: yellow, black, and blue.
Second, I cut out pieces of fabric to dye and got to work! Messy but fun work. To imitate geometric patterns seen in my moodboard, I used a variety of tools - snaps, pins, rubber bands,and paper and binder clips. I folded the fabrics over and over and submerged them in the dye.
Et voila! Many a fun fabric pattern came to be. Which one is your favorite?
When I travel, I often seek out botanic gardens to visit. I am always drawn to nature and beautiful flowers and trees amaze me. There is just such a variety and I can use the beauty I see as inspiration in my fashion design work. So many textures, colors, and shapes!
My latest trip took me to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland. And what a treat! Established in 1670, the garden is both a study in historic gardening and latest landscaping. It is a large garden with about 70 acres of land. So, allow sufficient time to stroll around, sit on benches, and admire the beautiful plants. Some of the most famous sections include the Scottish Heath Garden, Rock Garden, and Herbaceous Border.
The garden is also home to the largest collection of wild-origin Chinese plants outside China. A hilly set up of the Asia area will take you across creeks and beautiful bridges. One cannot resist taking photos of the impeccably maintained landscaping.
Once you take in the outside, step into the Windows on the World - a series of glasshouses that explore ten distinct climatic zones. The plants range from the economically important species - including banana and rubber - to household favorites and the world's largest collection of tender vireya rhododendron, originating from the mountains of New Guinea and Borneo.
A very cure area - Queen Mother's Memorial garden - was opened in the summer of 2006. Interesting fact? The bushes are cut in the shape of letter E. Take a moment to remember the much loved royal.
The gardens are free (with a fee to the glasshouses) so you will come across locals reading books on benches, chatting with friends, and families having picnics on the lawns. What a better way to honor nature and us being part of it?
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is located at Inverleith Row/Arboretum Place, Edinburgh EH3 5LR.
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!