Monday, May 31, 2010

goodbye louise bourgeois

I am not what I am, I am what I do with my hands.

Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois died today, at the age of 98. 'Amazing artist' doesn't really do justice to the work and the life of this woman, who did so much, and created so much, and had a larger than life role for a whole generation (or more) of women artists. If you are not familiar with her work, you may know her from her giant spider sculptures. But she did so much more--installations, works in many media at different scales. Printmaking and bookmaking and casting and sewing. In different styles and feelings, but together a massive body of work. I discovered her work in a museum in Madrid traveling by myself in the summer of 1998, and was amazed, had to just stop for a moment. She didn't have an easy life, and had perhaps more that her share of pain. She was terrible and difficult to work for. And her work often makes one feel uncomfortable. It is not pretty. She continued working even when very old, in recent years creating more soft sculpture and fabric pieces. She was a true artist, and a great woman. And she left us a lot to think about for a long time.

the guggenheim has an online retrospective here.

from a performance piece at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in philadelphia in 2006.
LB BOUR 10780 stretch of time, 2007 (CB) (150 dpi).jpg
this piece is a mixed media work from 2007, entitled A Stretch of Time. via art news

Sunday, May 23, 2010

keibunsha, a kyoto destination

today was rainy and grey, and after a nice yoga class this morning, i had a cozy restful day inside. but last weekend, i finally made it here, to the mecca that is keibunsha. keibunsha is an art and design bookstore, in a building with a lovely dark sprawling interier, with several rooms of zakka, stationery, accessories, clothing, and a small gallery space.
i'd read about keibunsha before, and its' wonderful reputation is completely deserved. i'll definitely be adding it to the kyoto shopping section of felt cafe japan, but since i've had to put that project on the back burner temporarily, i wanted to share it here.
the shop is a little out of the way and quite far north from the center of kyoto, a few blocks east of ichioji station.

their website is all in japanese, but here's the zakka page, from where you can click around (on the photos, or on the main menu on the left side of the site) to see some beautiful things.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

cute stamps, animals and letters

i was inspired by the stamps my friends got excited about (see the earlier post) to finally add alphabet and number stamps to my shop! can't believe it took me so long.
i love love love these cursive stamps.
and new baby animals

and new totoros!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

may handmade market

more photos from the may handmade market at chionji temple here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

goodies that my friends bought

last weekend when i was showing my friends around kyoto, we managed to fit in some shopping, (easy to do in japan). here's the haul. good thing they love tenugui towels, muji, stamps and masking tape almost as much as i do!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

what kitka brought back from japan

very pretty finds by kitka while they were in japan. via bloesem.

including a few of my favorite design goodies, and a few new beauties.

Monday, May 10, 2010

tabi patterns from sri threads

this images is a collection of tabi patterns from the beautiful sri threads blog.

i've had a few friends visiting from the states during the last few days, and all these pattern for shoes seem like a good representation of everywhere we've walked! i'm having a great time showing off my favorite places, and discovering some new ones. and of course adding to the list of things i want to share here--sights/shopping/crafts--when i can find the time!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

happy mother's day, and tiger babies

my mom is for sure a big reason why i love crafts. when my brother and i were little she always made sure that there were art supplies available to us all the time, and made us homemade playdoh and potato stamps. i learned many crafts from her directly, like sewing and knitting. my mom is the kind of crafter (and compulsive teacher) who is interested in almost any craft activity and wants to try it herself. from her, i picked up the idea i could replicate (almost any) crafty project i see, and that of course handmade gifts are best!
so when several of my friends became mothers for the 1st time this spring, of course i wanted to make handmade presents for their babies. i used japanese kimono tops (so soft, and so practical and easy to tie), and did a little handmade stamping. since these babies were all both in the year of the tiger (2010) i reused my tiger cub stamp from my new years cards, and added some bamboo.
the bamboo stamp was really fun to do, making different combinations of the leaves and stalks. of course i used the wonderful stamp carving material available here in japan, which i also have in my shop.
here's what the stamps looked like.

come to think of it, my mom was also a champion card maker with lino prints from back in the day. i bet she would enjoy rubber stamp carving.

what about you? what crafts did you learn from your mom or enjoy together?

happy mothers day!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

a new kogin embroidery book

i just added a new lovely kogin embroidery book to the shop. i've posted about kogin before, and i am still interested in exploring this craft more.
i like this book because the projects are simple and useful, and showcase the beautiful kogin patterns.
a full set is of photos of this book is on flickr.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

children's day and koi nobori

in japan, the 1st week of may is called golden week, because of all the holidays a row. school and business close, and it's a popular time for vacations. may 5th is children's day, and families fly these koi nobori or carp flags. cities also fly them in larger numbers, like the photo above.
and, if you want to make your own tiny koi nobori, craftershock shows you how.

elephant bib project in process

i've been doing some crafting for friends with new babies recently, and this project is something i've been thinking about for a long time--i love these tiny elephants and especially how they look together with multiple colors. also, i now have elephant fat quarter sets in the shop, which is something else i've been planning to offer for a while.

i made a simple paper pattern for the bib, using a 5 cm grid. unfortunately, all the babies i know are far away, and i just made up the pattern based on what looked reasonable to me. i tried one with pieced blocks of fabric,
and one with more strips of elephants in rows.
the bibs will be reverseable, and i'm thinking about using this cute mouse fabric for the other side, or using larger peices of the same elephant fabric. what you do think? which would be better?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

wake robin, and the power of paper textiles

velma bolyard is textile artist and bookbinder. she spins paper, along side many other wonderful and creative projects.
i saw her work via an article in handeye magazine, which is in itself an amazing publication, dedicated to the empowering role of craft and the handmade as well as design as development.

in the article, velma explains how one of her works, a handmade book, is being used by a therapist, and how people connect with the book. it's an incredibly touching story about the power of a handmade object. also it makes me cry everytime i read it. velma's paper mill is called wake robin, which is also the name of her blog. good stuff.