27 November 2013

too much fun .....

........... yep, that's the gist of it ... I'm just flat out having way too much fun - sewing.

It's not as easy as it used to be.  Because of our tiny kitchen/dining area, we replaced our dining table (aka the most perfect sewing table - ever) with a tiny kitchenette version.  So now I lay out patterns on the bed and the fancy cutting matt on the floor, set up the sewing machine on my worktable and ironing board in the laundry room.  I basically take over the whole 2nd floor of the house.  Ah well, it is what it is.

But just look what I've been making!  I've decided to cut and sew up a significant quantity of my treasured vintage homespun linen and I'm going to share!  So there's going to be a bunch of these - Itty Bitty Ditty Bags in a variety of shapes and sizes ...

The front one is about 5" x 3" and the back one is about 6" x 4".  These have dark brown Euro flax linen pulls, the front one with a stack of fine silver beads, the back one with a steel nugget.  I'd have a whole slew of these, but I only bought two zippers ... gots to get more zippers ASAP, 'cause the possibilities are endless not to mention I'm utterly obsessed with these enormously precious little bags.

For branding, I'm using a KVK stamp with my Chinese chop red ink ... really like the look of the red ink on the old linen.

Love the way the bottom is sewn ... Okay, so it's not an original design, but I am putting my spin on it.

So I've got more!  Here's a couple of bags in progress ... this one's got inside and outside pockets and will have a leather shoulder strap.  The front flap just laps over with the leather scrap and steel discs to weight it down - the Trad Messenger.

Then this one's kind of a tube that will have a fold-over top and linen shoulder strap, mostly machine stitched but with patchwork/sashiko deets - the Boro Bag.

And last, for now, but certainly not least ... this is the Super Jumbo Tote, 19" x 18" with a front pocket.  I used waxed Euro flax linen to whip stitch the selvedges for the side seams and left the raw edges at the top and around the front pocket.  I'm going to run it through the wash to get those raw edges more ragged.

So that's it for now.  I'm really enjoying all the pattern making and sewing, figuring out all the different elements and accents - my design palette if you will - and how to make the best use of this precious resource, 19" wide, 100 year old (or thereabouts) homespun linen from eastern Europe ... enjoying, that's the understatement of the week ... like I was saying ... obsessed. 

Stay tuned for the finished products ... I'll be listing them on Etsy for sure.

So you folks in the United States ... have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving / and the rest of the world - thanks for stopping by. 

with deep gratitude and Thanksgiving blessings .......
l i g a - kvk

18 November 2013

of gratitude, collaborations and grace

In my life, well in everyone's life, there are a couple of key players, game changers ... people we look to and can see how they've impacted our trajectory and very ways of being in the world.  Probably the most influential person in my life has been my older brother Gene (by seven years).  It started when I was very young.  I can remember when I was maybe six or seven, Gene giving me drawing lessons ... showing me the similarities between a human head and an egg, beginning a lifelong tutorial of helping me to see things differently. 

I watch and continually learn from my big brother through his heart centered interactions with people from all walks of life ... a genuine greeting for the clean-up guy in a fast food restaurant, working with prison inmates to give their lives more meaning and a spiritual direction, spirited dialogues with a millionaire businessman and ongoing out-of-the-box ideas for my own work.

Gene's path has been one filled with extensive study into the workings of the universe from the perspectives of both science and religion.  Along the way, he has been gifted with some profound insights and is passionate about sharing what he's learned.  He's created a website as the starting platform for expanding this conversation about what he sees as The Footprints of God

Gene's also a gifted musician and filmmaker.  After all his years of study and reflection and sharing his innovative ideas within a small circle, he's decided it's time to offer those ideas to a larger audience.  To that end, he's put together a proposal for a film and launched a Kickstarter fundraiser campaign ... which is what I'd like to present for your consideration.


Right now, our numbers are few and the challenge to fund our project seems daunting.  If this film trailer piques your curiosity and inspires you to want to see more, please consider making a contribution and sharing the links ... Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" deal, so please know that every dollar is vital.

Our lives continue to speed up and we are endlessly bombarded by fear mongers from the gloom and doom squads, people trying to convince us there are no miracles and no unifying life force.  But I know better ... everyday, if we know where to look, we're presented with compelling evidence ... this unifying force exists and rather than being on opposing sides, there is much common ground between science and religion.  I believe we are in the best of times to increase our understanding of how the universe works and expand this conversation.  Authors like Richard Dawkins speak for one side, I would like to help Gene contribute to the other.   

I can honestly say that during my especially dark high school years, by including me in his music and art, Gene pretty much saved my life.  I owe so much to my big brother and I'm always looking for little ways to show my gratitude.  For my small part, I've designed a medallion with the Footprints of God avatar which will be included in some of the Kickstarter premiums

This film is all about open arms, inclusion and spreading the grace and brilliant light of what's good in our world ...

... and Gene and I are deeply grateful for your consideration.

l i g a ... kvk       

14 November 2013

woke up this morning with this question ...


... in my work and in my life.  I don't have a ready answer and that seems odd.  So today, taking some time to ponder ... continuing E Squared experiments ... cleaning and then smudging the house ... replacing cleaned crystals with fresh intentions ... being open to what comes along.

onward ...
l i g a - kvk

13 November 2013

lush ...

... colors, smells, light, tastes.

Deliciously fragrant beeswax candles have been burning all day along with intermittent sticks of nag champa.  A fresh batch of eco-dyed lengths of silk hang along my studio shelving unit, the colors deep and rich, punctuated by dark marks from rusty bits and blushes of pink and orange from onion skins and copper pipe. 

These lengths were all overdyed.  I started with yellows from a natural dyeing workshop back in the spring and olive to celery from last years not particularly successful evergreens experiment.  So I really had no idea what the finished colors would be ... not that I ever have any idea what the colors will do.  This time it was even more unpredictable ... which I dearly love.

I'm trying to decide if I'll list them on Etsy.  There's a couple I might be hard-pressed to part with.  I just like looking at them hanging all in a row ...

This one's kind of subtle ...

as is this one ...
this one's got some lovely flashes of yellows, greens, magenta and orange and nice marks from rusted wire ...
this one's not really colors that I wear, yellows and oranges ... but I'm tempted to keep it
and this one's my favorite ... it's got some really exceptional marks from rusted bits of bailing straps and the colors are, in a word, lush ...
I think I'll leave them hanging for a bit longer and then we'll see ....
The day was full of lush tastes ... a tall jar of fresh green juice, homemade scones - vegan spelt, blueberries, oats, sunflower seeds, flax seed meal and maple syrup, lunch of basmati rice topped with nuts and dried fruit, cinnamon and soy milk (a splurge instead of my usual almond), an afternoon snack of toasted almonds and Earl Grey tea.
It's been the coldest day of the season, brilliant sunshine but frigid with blustery winds, so I've been hunkered down ... clad in a toasty warm ochre lambswool sweater and fleece pants, thick socks and slippers.  I fired the kiln this morning, which, along with the afternoon sun pouring in, warmed the upstairs nicely. 
I've been reading E Squared by Pam Grout. and today's experiment was about seeing what we don't normally see ... today I was supposed to be on the lookout for yellow butterflies.  Considering I wasn't planning on going outside much and even if I did, it's butt cold and there aren't any butterflies around, she assured me there are other ways of seeing butterflies.  Okay, I decided to give it a shot.  But I decided that I'd be open to any color butterfly.  First one I saw this morning was deep blue on a book cover by my side of the bed ... good start.  But after that, I couldn't imagine where I'd see any more. 
After morning tea and a bit of web surfing (no butterflies), I headed to my table to start work for the day.  I got the urge to do a bit of cleaning and de-cluttering and as I was putting things away and dusting, there on my table was a whole flock of butterflies ...
I completely forgot that I had all these lovely little hand-painted silk butterflies in my desktop potted plants ... and for the most part, they're yellow.  Needless to say, this brought a large smile to my face and pretty much set the tone for the rest of my day .... lovely. 
Planning on the evening being just as nice ... hoping yours is as well.
l i g a - kvk

11 November 2013


This comment from Diane got me to thinking that I could add a bit more background on my recent collaboration adventure, "Gilder's paste, who knew? looks great! How did you like the collaboration? Did you find yourself making pieces you might not have conjured without prompting as you melded your style with their requests, and did it blow open some creative doors that might take you down new roads?"

I'd been seeing gilders paste around ... it's amazing on potter's clay - check out Grey Bird Studio on Etsy - and I had seen that it could be used on metal clay on the Cool Tools and Rio Grande sites.  So it was definitely on my radar.  It turned out to be just the ticket for my faux silver jewels.  Like I was saying, there's definitely a learning curve, but I did buy a few different colors from this Etsy seller and I'm hoping I'll have a chance to play with it some more. 

The Cool Tools video how-to suggested using blue under silver for a patinated look, so that's where I started.  Unfortunately, it was not the look I was hoping for.  So I took a closer look at my own pieces, hoping to see the layers of color more clearly. What I ended up using was plain old black under the silver and I'm happy with the look.  If I do this again, I want to try more layering of color, maybe with the Damson and the Iris Blue under the Silver.  BTW, I used Vintaj Glaze to seal the finished pieces. 

As for the actual collaboration ... it was about as perfect as I could hope for.  To start with Fabio and Rebecca are incredibly nice and very accessible.  Next, I love their aesthetic and day to day out of the box thinking.  Seems to me if you're going to collaborate with another artist, the process should uplift everyone involved and the finished work should be greater than the sum of the collaborators ... does that make sense?  The finished work should meld everyone's aesthetic to create something new and unique. 

Working with them challenged me both technically and creatively.  I rarely make work that is referential, not that I haven't, but I just don't go there very often.  So looking for a way to reference a specific object from a particular period and have it still look like my work took some time.  I've gotta say, I do love how the keys turned out!  They are very definitely KVK pieces, but the silhouette is still very Gothic. 

This one's my fave ...

But looking back, I think the biggest challenge was taking the two elements and combining them in a way that immediately said, "lock & key," but looked a bit more interesting then just a plain old lock and key.  There's a ton of steampunk jewelry out there using keys and keyholes, mostly in classic Victorian silhouettes.  The final configurations came to me the morning before one of our Skype calls and I'm still quite pleased with the finished look ... especially that they hang kind of wonky and are far from perfect.

I've no idea if we'll work together again and I'm not sure if or how this experience will affect my own future work or if anything else will come of the pieces that were created.  Will I be compelled to make more keys ... maybe.  Will I refer to ages past for future inspiration ... pretty much a given.  Will I be open to future collaborations ... absolutely.

Whatever follows, all I know is this particular project was near perfect and will be hard to top.

onward .........

l i g a   - kvk

07 November 2013

p.s. close-ups

Got to thinking it would be nice to show off close-ups of the finished pieces ...


Thanks for sharing my journey and for the generous support of my work!
with deep gratitude and heartfelt blessings ...
l i g a - kvk

catching up

Hard to believe it's been almost a month.  Actually, my Portland trip seems like such a long time ago ... almost a dream.  The whole adventure was a beautiful lesson and an ongoing reminder about trusting and being my authentic self.

So here's the story ...
I got an FB message from Fabio mid-August.  He and his design partner, Rebecca Diele, wanted to see if I'd be interested in collaborating with them on jewelry and accessories for their Spring/Summer 2014 collection.  After doing a great big happy dance around my studio, I wrote back with a hearty affirmative. 

The collection would be inspired by an avant garde interpretation of Alice in Wonderland with a nod to Gothic/Victorian ornament - that's where I came in.  They wanted my take on locks and keys ... shapes and profiles that referenced the period, but with a KVK spin.  We had several Skype calls, which at first seemed surreal, but were always productive and remarkably easy.  Let's just say that Skype-ing with someone I got to know first on TV is a very strange thing.  I'm really glad Rebecca was there ... I think I would have been much more nervous if it had been just me and Fabio.

They wanted stand-alone pieces but also elements that could be sewn onto the garments.  We started off thinking of using silver, but soon realized the high cost didn't make sense, especially since the price of their garments are a long way from high-end and the budget of their fledgling brand was pretty tight.  They wanted the look of silver, so I decided on using bronze with a faux finish of gilders paste.

Here's the un-gilded bronze pieces ...

There was a bit of a learning curve with everything I was doing.  I'd never worked with such large bronze pieces and my initial prototypes didn't fully sinter.  I ended up firing everything twice at higher temps and for twice as long as normal.  Then there was the challenge of learning how to use the gilders paste and then throw in long distance communications and a fast approaching deadline. 

So I had all the components ... now how would I fashion them into jewelry?  They wanted things to connect with long draping chains, which could be crazy expensive.  I found a nice silver plated rolo chain that had a good visual weight and was reasonably priced. 

Here's the direction we decided on ... 

Then it was just a matter of finalizing how we would use the components ... we had five keys and eight locks.  They decided on two necklaces with the lock/key combinations, one with just a key.  One key would be on a 60" length of chain to drape and wrap around a shoulder, one would be on a shorter double chain that would drape from the waist to a pocket, like a watch chain.  The remaining six locks would be stitched as accents onto the garments.  I'd also made a bunch of rectangular rings that would be used as buckles. 

Somewhere in the final call or two, Fabio asked if I was coming to the show ... Huh?  Well, I hadn't really thought about it ... I mean, really.  Portland ... for the weekend ... really?  That's where many of you come in ... THANK YOU for participating in my sale and making this trip possible. 

Hanging out backstage before our runway was a blast.  I sat on the floor sewing on snaps, repairing seams that split after a model tried to squeeze into a dress, stitching up blind hems, wiring a key to the back of one of the men's pieces, eating gorp while chatting with another PR alum, Giordana, watching Seth Aaron put finishing touches on his editorial collection, meeting Season 11 winner Michelle Lezniak, watching other Project Runway designers Michael Costello and Joshua Christensen getting ready to show collections and Becky Ross and Gretchen Jones cruising around and just being part of the chaos and magic that happens backstage before a fashion runway show.   

So here are the finished pieces on the runway of FASHIONxt in Portland, OR.  Images are by Hal Harrison of Rose City Photography and Sara Thompson.  You can see the full collection in Fabio's S/S 2014 FB album here or on this FASHIONxt Galleries page.

After the runway, there was a "meet & greet" market hour.  Here I'm helping Rebecca close up this crazy invisible zipper.
Fabio was grabbing all the necklaces off the models and putting them on.  Add that to the sterling versions I made as gifts for him and Rebecca and you've got some serious layering of KVK jewels ...
And finally, the best team of collaborators a designer could ever hope for ... Fabio Costa and Rebecca Diele of NotEqual (apologies for crazy lighting and blurry image)
I am one lucky girl ... blessed beyond measure. 
l i g a - kvk