All posts tagged: design

New tool in the studio

Over the holidays, the studio welcomed its newest tool, a plotter (cutter). There are many on the market, each having their own pros and cons, but after having done some research, I found the one for me. I have always had a love for words.. quotes and sayings… and being a font addict with a reasonable handle on graphic design and a love for Adobe Illustrator, the possibilities with this machine are endless! It cuts so much more than vinyl… cardstock, fabric, stencils for glass etching and fabric stenciling, heat transfer for clothing.. and I have even sourced reflective heat transfer for clothing. That may sound crazy to most of the world, but living in Norway, the dark season makes wearing reflects mandatory. My son has decided he wants to start a business selling his own reflects designs.. and he is only 8! Time to make space in the studio. Yesterday I made my first wall piece from vinyl. Well beyond the standard size of the plotter (the wording is just over a meter high), …

leather handles on felt bags

A while back, I blogged about the raw wool felted laptop bag (see post) that I created for myself, and I thought I would show how the handles were made. Store bought handles of all shapes, sizes and colours are available in most craft stores (or online), but in my opinion, nothing beats a good quality, handmade, adjustable thick leather strap with solid brass fittings. I have not used a pattern for doing this.. I simply gauge the size based on the bag and what feels comfortable. The only factor to consider is the width of your buckle. I cut five pieces of leather, one for the strap, and two shorter pieces that are doubled over and secured to the felt itself using chicago screws (leather bond optional), and two narrower pieces that are looped to keep the strap from flailing about. The side pieces are very simple.. an oval hole in the middle for the buckle to pivot, and in this case two holes matched up on each side.  Punch matched holes in your …

felted laptop bag – using raw fleece

Forever inspired by my dear friend Elis Vermeulen of Holland to work with raw fleece (see my previous post on working with Texel with Elis), I decided to make myself a laptop bag a while back using my favorite medium. I have yet to add the straps (really need some studio time this week), but will be using some good quality leather with a buckle to make it adjustable. The base is made using norwegian C1  (I planned for a shrinkage of 30%). It is the perfect wool for sturdy bags. It produces a nice firm felt that hardly pills and wears well.  Now to pull out a hide of leather and some brass findings. Oh! by the way, if you are interested in learning more about how to work with raw fleece, Elis will be teaching a bag class at the Creative Felt Gathering in Michigan this september. See her website for more details, or contact her to arrange a workshop in your area.

cochineal and shibori

but where does it come from? Bugs. Yes, little scaly bugs that live on prickly pear cacti in the desert. Once dried and ground up to a fine powder (I use an old coffee grinder). These little critters give off the most stunning colours from the palest, softest pinks to the deepest crimson. I ground my bugs a few days ago, and brought them to a near-boil then left to cool for 24 hours. During which time their colour releases to create a deep crimson liquid. I strained it through a silk lined sieve and saved the ‘pulp’ to try and use again. Cochineal will produce a variety of colours dependant on the mordant used. In this dye bath, I used Alum. I tossed in a few silk cocoons, as they make such a lovely colour reference, and will surely be used in a project one day. Once I had the colour I was looking for, I rinsed and centrifuged the silk and let is dry. After drying completely, I undid the resists and carefully …

bomaki shibori – tutorial

Lately I have had been reading everything I can get my hands on regarding shibori, the japanese art of creating texture and colour on cloth. There are an incredible variety of styles and techniques that are encompassed in the Shibori classification. Here are some photos (and a quick tutorial) of a piece I made using the bomaki shibori technique.

Designernes eget Julemarked – DogA

This weekend I participated in the Design Fair at DogA (Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture) It is one of Oslo most anticipated annual christmas markets. Around 10,000 people attend this event annually, queuing up outside in all sorts of weather to be able to get their hands on some of the latest in Norwegian Design. I am genuinely pleased with my weekend, and learned so much in the process. Prior to attending the event, I gave myself a goal for sales and I must admit, I exceeded my expectations. I went through 750 business cards, and realize that next time I need to bring more! The chance to get ones work seen by so many in such a short period of time is a fantastic opportunity. But most of all I met some lovely people in the process, both in the way of designers who were selling their work, as well as customers who left with smiles on their faces. One young lady in particular stands out in my mind… she returned three times …

Art?.. Craft? – a rose by any other name…

The concept of Art vs Craft has been an ongoing debate across a broad array of media. It is a debate that will likely never be resolved. I have always been uncomfortable with labeling myself as anything – designer, craftsman, artist etc.. does one preclude the other? For years now, I have been honing my Craft – learning and experimenting, improving my skills. Art per se – was never on the agenda yet somehow, it seems to be pushing itself to the forefront of my thoughts. To create works that are not purely functional, yet have a story, a meaning – give pause. Can one create Art without Craft?.. yes.. but would one really want to? I cannot imagine why – yet we see it everywhere. Can one create Craft without Art?.. absolutely.. yet – there is an ‘art’ to creating well crafted work. Art AND Craft – I cannot imagine a better combination. I have been reading up on the debate – here are a few links: Art v. Craft – Bruce DeBoer – …

Tutorial – handmade felt covered buttons

Felters who make handmade felt all have felt lying around that was either a sample test, a project that just was not right or simply bits left over from larger projects. There is nothing like handmade wool felt, and event the smallest pieces never get thrown away, after all.. each piece was lovingly made by hand! For those of you who are not felters, follow these directions using just about any fabric.