Monday, August 29, 2011

Where Did the Summer Go?

It just went too fast this year - but it was long enough to realize it was a really good one!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Woad to France

After the success of our last Woad Workshop here in Los Angeles in April, we knew we had to do it all over again. So...this coming October, we will be hosting dye master, Denise Lambert, who will be traveling from France to the States, again, to teach a handful of lucky students the art of dying with the ancient plant of woad. Although we are sold out of our special workshop in Los Angeles, we are happy to announce we have collaborated with two groups of textile enthusiasts who will be hosting their own Woad Workshop in September.
Old friends Colin Cooke and Ellen Silverman will be offering the Woad Workshop on Sunday, September 18th at Colin's home just north of New York City. If you are interested in participating in this special day, please e-mail Colin at to sign up.
The weekend after, September 24th, Denise will be traveling out west to Northern California where she will be offering the Woad Workshop at the Civic Arts Center in Walnut Creek. Sign-ups for the class are here and read more about the day in the Civic Arts Education Catalog - just click on the catalog button in the left hand menu and then scroll down to page six.
If you are still on the fence as to whether or not you should experience this magical class - you can read more about our adventures with woad here, here and here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Open Craft Day

Erica Wilson's Stitch Sampler seen on Cathy of California

Well, we are still at it...French General is open the last Thursday of every month (except when we happen to be in France!) for our open craft day. So far, we've had a great mix of quilters, collage artists, jewelers and stitchers...all who come to spend the day working on their craft. It's a fun day filled with a wide assortment of people from all over Los Angeles who set aside the day to work on a project or two. Feel free to come on by if you happen to be in the neighborhood tomorrow, Thursday, August 25th - more information and sign ups here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day of High School

It's happened, the day has come...yesterday was Sofia's first day of high school. All dressed up in her uniform, Sofia was ready for her 7:30am (!) carpool pick-up. It might have been a bit dramatic when I told her "today is the first day of the rest of your life!" Bonne chance Sofia!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Small Details, part trois

Spent the day at the Huntington Garden last week with four teenagers: Sofia, Willow - her good friend from Los Angeles, India - her old friend from New York, and Sara - her second cousin from the Basque Country. The girls were visiting and moved in to the house for two weeks - when they weren't swimming or working on their tans, we tried to get them out for a bit of culture in Los Angeles.
We sat for a couple of hours at the Huntington Tea Room eating scones, cucumber sandwiches, sipping on Earl Grey tea and making friendship bracelets (yes, I have a new hobby!). Afterwards we walked through the galleries and noticed all the beautiful details in the paintings. I sometimes forget we have such great art - right here at our fingertips!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Document: Close Up

There is something about finding an old textile and then getting other people excited about it.
Years ago, I bought an old pincushion from my friend Polly Lyster in England. It's simple design and old faded red color have made it one of my favorites. This past Spring we decided that the lady depicted on the toile scene would make a great design for a rubber stamp, so we set to work dissecting the textile. We needed to separate the front of the cushion from the piping so that we could get a good flat image. We had no idea how old the piece was and soon realized that it was practically shredding in our hands. It literally took two people, mom and brother John to hold the piece together while one of them carefully unstitched the seams. In the end, we ended up with not only a wonderful 18th century rural countrywoman design, but an elegant flower design as well.

Then there was the quilt we bought in France this summer- I say we because a group of us went in on it and decided to cut it up! After much head shaking and many ghasts, I convinced four women that we should cut it into fourths and each take a small piece of this amazing print. Nilda set to work cutting it up and decided she needed two pieces, so Alyse was out, and Cathy and I each got our quarter...although I had to promise Alyse I would send her a few yards once I reprinted the design!

Once we each had our own piece, we realized that the backing, the blue and red paisley was just as beautiful as the front of the quilt. So, once again, many hands set to work dissecting the quilt - we literally took out each stitch to remove the batting so we could get the better side of the paisley - which had probably been block printed over 200 years ago - but looked as if it was printed yesterday - it was so bright and vivid.

Sometimes I think we could all be textile conservators if we had nothing else to do - document textiles, when looked at closer, tell such good stories!

Monday, August 08, 2011

And the Living is Easy....

Nothing like spending a week on the lake with your whole family....we swam, we rode, we ate and drank, and then we slept - a lot!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

50 Years and a Log Cabin

We've loaded up our cars with inner tubes, backgammon boards and bug spray - we are headed to Yosemite for the week to celebrate my mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary. Twelve of us will be living together - telling stories, laughing and cooking up a storm. No cell phones, no internet connection - just the great outdoors and a log cabin filled with family! More when we return....

Monday, August 01, 2011

Lost and Found

1925 Margaret Preston

I loved reading about all the great finds - it seems, if we are looking for something, whether we know it or not, we may just find it! Gina's comment really struck home with me as I loved the idea of following through on a hunch. Gina wrote:

'This one is easy. I found an autograph book from a young woman in a Swiss university from the 1920s. On the page opposite the autograph is a small photograph of the person. The book fell open to a picture of a beautiful woman sitting on a big old couch covered with tapestries sitting on an oriental rug. It looked straight out of Sigmund Freud's office. On a whim, I googled the woman's name. It turns out that she and her husband were both psychoanalysts who studied WITH FREUD, and that they emigrated to the United States before WWII and had a son. The son is a professor of psychiatry at Tufts. I emailed him the picture and the autograph message and it was his mother!'

Thank you all for playing along - next time I will have to ask for pictures to go along with all the fun stories! Gina please e-mail us your address and we will send off a box of treasures found in France!