Art As Inspiration

After introducing you to Florescence, I cannot resist showing you more of the incredible floral arrangements interpreting the show’s challenges.  Before going on I should tell you that Florescence is one of the largest competitive national flower shows sanctioned by the Garden Club of America in the U.S.  

It is impossible not to be awed by these creations

and seeing them displayed with the art that inspired them makes them even more dramatic.

I was blown away by creations inspired by  couture dresses from the Museum of Fine Art’s collection.

As I look again at this photo, I notice that the arrangement mimics the flow of the dress…..absolutely stunning!

Here a styrofoam head wears an elaborate headdress made primarily of natural plant material.  What sea goddess wouldn’t love to be so adorned?

Many times I see wooden boxes used on tables as centerpieces. Unique here is the mix of succulents, roses, lilies and tropicals that demonstrate how anything can work together provided the choices are selected with a critical eye.

Particularly interesting were arrangements incorporating abstract qualities inspired by pieces in the Museum’s contemporary art collection.

The varied materials used with flowers and plant materials was wonderful,

and I will be keeping my eyes open for elements that add interest.

 Though I marveled over over the elaborate creations, I could not see such in my future.  I was attracted to the ikebana technique because it seems a little more doable,

 and I like the simplicity both of the containers and the flower design.

If I were to step a little out of my comfort zone, however, it would be to do something like this, so full of color and whimsey.

Oh, there is so much more I could show you, but hopefully, there is enough here to encourage your own creativity.  It would be wonderful to see the results.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Getting Back to Normal

After a couple of months of doing nothing much except laying in bed with my foot elevated, it felt good to get back to normal activity like cooking  and setting the table.

Mind you the effort was minimal, but it doesn’t take much to make a happy table especially when there’s already something there from which to work.  The handblown vases that have been  on the table for weeks gave me a starting place.

I started with pink placemats, but the turquoise ones insisted on being chosen.  Since I like color I had no problem letting them have their way.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChoosing the napkins was a piece of cake as these multicolored ones from Anthropologie play off  both the vases and the placemats.  No fancy folds required because the fun napkin rings continue the colorway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was tempting to add more color with the dinner plates, but I opted for white ones

and added salad plates with playful patterns and complementary colors.  They were pleased to be included as they have been hiding in the cabinet for far too long!

Finished with the ever faithful Fostoria thumbprint stems, a gift from my now hubby several years before we were married, the table is done.  It is a first step that makes me feel that all is right with the world!  The hubby is even happier as he has had enough of kitchen duty and is glad to welcome me back to the business of preparing meals.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

A Happy Accident

My drawing skills are nil, but I’ve always enjoyed blending colors and thinking in terms of design possibilities.  It took me many years, however, to find my creative niche and that was thanks to an industrial psychologist for whom I was doing temporary work.  It was he who said my underlying need to be creative was going to be the source of much frustration if I didn’t yield to it.  “But,” I said, “I’m not creative!”  By walking me through a series of questions, he proved me wrong and from that day forward I feel that life has been one great exercise in creativity.  

WeavingHow weaving came into the picture is a happy accident.  At my girls’ elementary school auction someone donated 6 weeks of weaving lessons which no one bought.  Somehow I ended up with those lessons, and they opened the door to a whole new world.  I never dreamed anyone would want to buy anything I made, but from the beginning that proved not to be true.  

Early on, I concentrated on wall pieces and created large installations for several Houston office buildings and banks.  I won’t go into all the reasons why, but it didn’t take long for me to figure out that wasn’t going to be my direction.

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While trying to determine my next step, I remembered that as a child I loved designing paper doll clothes, mixing patterns and colors in unique combinations.  That led to weaving cloth for garments, and I was thrilled by the results. My first piece was a vest which I sold right off my back.  That led to years of designing one-of-a-kind wearables for clients who valued my work as a means of expressing their uniqueness.

flowers/tablescapeThere were many wonderful moments during that period, but several years ago I burned out on cutting and sewing and began working with designers to create blankets, table linens, accent pillows and yardage for dining room chairs, piano benches, stools, etc. Such work gave me incredible design freedom.

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At the same time, I began focusing, too,  on fashion accessories such as scarves and shawls.  

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These have allowed me to satisfy clients who appreciate having a distinctive piece.

caleb-1-2I never would have dreamed that weaving would become a vocation.  It is certainly not one that ensures upward mobility or a hefty salary, but it feeds the soul and becomes a means of self expression.  For that I will ever be grateful.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Lulu’s Studio

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow that you’ve shared a bit of the history of weaving and been introduced to a variety  of looms, come on into my studio where there is quite a sophisticated setup.  The loom is a 16 harness, 60″ production loom designed by AVL in Chico, California.  With it, the design possibilities are limitless.

img_8625After years of struggling with graph paper and colored pencils, I now do all the preliminary design work on the computer which allows me to glimpse what the fabric will look like no matter what its color combinations and treadling order.  I can spend hours testing the variations and determining the integrity of the cloth.

img_4963When I am ready to weave, I choose colors from the vast array of fibers in the studio.

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I use primarily silk, rayon, perle cotton, bamboo and chenille threads because they are lightweight and drape beautifully.  There was a time when I dyed many of the fibers, but once I found a resource (Silk City Fibers) that had not only the ones I desired but a rainbow of colors, that step was eliminated.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce a design and colors are determined the hard part of preparing the loom begins.  First,  the warp threads are wound and placed on a warping board.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen  they are threaded on this device

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand wound onto the beam.  These are the easiest steps.

img_4956Now comes the hard part of threading the loom without making an error in the threading order that has been designed on the computer.  Not only does this take a lot of time, it requires intense concentration, no conversation or TV watching!  When I need a break, I’ve learned to be very careful to make note of the spot where I quit.

img_4421With the threading done, checked and rechecked, the warp is tied onto an apron and the weaving begins.  The computer is connected to the loom and a little black box reads the treadling order as I work the foot treadles and throw the fly shuttle.  In just minutes, I can see the results of all the preliminary work  which gives me such instant gratification.  And you can’t imagine the sigh of relief when I see that there are no threading errors.  Believe me, they show up quickly and after saying a few colorful words, there is no choice but to correct the mistake!

Many yards of fabric have come from this studio, and I haven’t even touched the surface of  creative possibility.  If you will come back one more time, I’d love to tell you the story of how I got into weaving and show you some of what has come off the loom.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Having a Bit of Fun

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Funny, I’m rarely at home on the days surrounding Halloween which makes it rather interesting that so many Halloween things have made it into the house.  While not everything may come out of the closet, Hildy, Henrietta and Helga always find a way to make an appearance.

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These guys, well, their smiling faces indicate they might have already had their happy hour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis one, well he’s just content to be out of the closet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, there are some fun things for the table, too,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand with their lively colors, they make choosing tableware pretty easy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, fold the napkins, add a few pumpkins and the table is set.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I like about such a simple table is how easy it is to make a few changes and have a new look.  It should come as no surprise that I like getting as much mileage from the same things as possible.  That’s part of what takes the pain out of creating a tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd isn’t this just the perfect bottle for Halloween inspired tables?  I’m just hoping what’s in the bottle is as good as its outside!

Here’s hoping you are having fun with your Halloween decor!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Never Too Many!

Beth's/pumpkinsNo question about it, I’m crazy about using pumpkins and gourds this time of year, and there’s no such thing as too many.

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Wherever they are used, they add such color and texture, two of my favorite things  when it comes to setting a table.

img_7671Those elements make it very easy to put everything else together,

img_7676especially during this season when the colors are so rich and warm.

img_7668As important as anything on the table is the humble napkin.    For me, it’s always the final touch that keeps any table from being ordinary and there are lots of options.  The above fold is one you might want to try.img_7662With the napkin laid flat, fold it on the diagonal.  

img_7663Fold from left to right to make a smaller triangle.  Repeat.

img_7665Fold each side accordion style, starting at the middle.

img_7666Hold the napkin tightly about 1 1/2″ from the bottom and tie with twine or ribbon.  Adjust the folds.

Folding the napkin is not difficult.  Where it gets a little sticky is holding it with one hand and tying it with the other.  That’s when an extra pair of hands come in handy!  Next time I do this fold, I’m going to add a leaf or a herb sprig or a flower or a cinnamon stick….well, you get the picture.  Napkins are just another way to express your creative self.  Have fun!

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Hydrangea Inspiration

hydrangea_macrophylla_-_hortensia_hydrangeaI am amazed by how the colors on this one hydrangea bush change from first blooms to last.  They start out pink, change to blue and by now they become a showcase for a plethora of wonderful hues.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was impossible to resist cutting some of the blooms and arranging them in square vases lined with hosta leaves.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey were perfect backdrops for a few of my cranberry bells and on the table they, of course, became inspiration for a tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt started with  lovely Johnson Brothers plates, but there was something that just wasn’t right which is a sure signal to look in cabinets for something else that will work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese square cranberry plates provided the answer and fit perfectly in the middle of the patterned ones.  You just never know how different pieces become complements.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALaundered napkins from last week’s table were laying on the counter, and it hit me they had the same colors as the hydrangeas.    On the table they go!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo far this table defined itself in a nontraditional manner so it made sense that the flatware placement not follow rules either.  With the addition of cranberry side dishes and King’s Crown thumbprint glasses, a table setting was created, a very fun one for sure.  Then the question became will it be just the hubby and me who gather here or should I issue one of my last minute invites for someone to join us so that we all might enjoy what the hydrangeas inspired.  Guess the decision!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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