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Fibers Open Studio 2011

Well, hello there. The past 10 days sure have been crazy. Let me tell you why.

Every year the Fibers department puts on a big show in our building showcasing all the amazing work our students have produced. Usually, each room/studio corresponds to a class, and seniors get display priority throughout the building and all the responsibility that comes with it. So as a senior, this was kind of a big deal. The show was this past Friday, and I spent much of last week setting up the building alongside classmates and faculty. And, you know, it was stressful and time-consuming, but I secretly loved every minute it. Fibers Open Studio really unites our department in a unique way, and I love being a part of that. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to help set up not only my work but the work of others.

Alongside all the work, we had demos going on throughout the evening: weaving, spinning, indigo dyeing, screenprinting and more! What’s nice about the demos is that people get the chance to interact with us and learn about the processes we’ve used to create our work.

I even volunteered to do a print demo on Olga during Open Studio because I really enjoy talking to people about what I do. Even though I’m not a public speaker by any means, there’s just this satisfying thrum that happens when I can connect with people about the things I am passionate about.

At the end of the night we raffled off a quilt made by various members of the department. All in all, we had a great turn out, and it was a really fantastic event. I am so proud of everything we do!

Oh! And here is some of the work I had on display! That crazy red one is mine.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is great because it’s pretty much an excuse to celebrate pretty much everything cute. Cupcakes included. I made these Chocolate and Blood Orange cupcakes from Love and Olive Oil yesterday for a Valentine’s Day party, and they were definitely a hit! Every last one was eaten by the end of the night, which sadly meant no leftovers to feed my insatiable sweet tooth.

Be Linen

 “It’s always better to work with noble materials”

  Here is a lovely little documentary about linen that really emphasizes the importance and beauty of the fiber. Some of the shots inside manufacturing facilites, spinning and jacquard weaving especially, echo much of what I saw a few weeks ago at ITMA, but mostly I think this is just a stunning look into how fiber interacts with world.

Translucent

Today I have for you some water colored inspiration and motif ideation for my portfolio’s  contemporary collection. :)

After quite a few samples and test prints, I printed my first yardage print on Olga today! This photo was taken before steaming and washing of course, which means my colors have gotten crazier and brighter. All according to plan. Hopefully, I’ll have some nice finals photos to put up after critique tomorrow!

ITMA Tour

This past week I had the opportunity to attend ITMA (International Textile Market Association)’s educational industry tour that they hold ever year. Basically, they bring a bunch of textile students from all over the country to High Point, NC to show us mills and meet home furnishing industry people. Immediately after classes on Tuesday us fibers girls hopped in the car and drove for 5 hours to get there! Well, More like swam since it rained so much!

Wednesday, the first day, we toured Se7en’s  jacquard weaving facility in the morning. These are the giant warp beams that go on the back of the loom.

Since we have a jacquard loom in the department, seeing the technology of the weaving wasn’t so radically different, but the mechanization of it was. The looms went so fast!

Also, we went to visit a yarn dye facility owned by that same company that owns Se7en. Here they are winding the yarn onto special perforated cones.

The holes in the spools are what allows the dye to penetrate the yarn completely, assuring one shade throughout. The second day was definitely my favorite! We toured the P. Kaufman printing facility that catered almost completely to the home goods industry. We saw the whole process from mixing up the dyes to printing and finishing. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the printing (to keep the patterns confidential), so you’ll have to believe me when I tell you it was really neat!! We got to see rotary screen printing up close and personal. They have these metal rods inside these metal cylindrical screens (which are bigger than I am) that squeegee out the ink. You guys, it’s all done with magnets! The whole things was extremely quick and efficient, no waiting patiently with your hair dryer for things to dry before moving on! Here’s a pattern-free picture of the giant barrels of dye that they use for printing.

Later that night we also had a portfolio review with some people we had met on our tours and other home industry people. Even though it was nice to get feedback on my portfolio from a home standpoint, what I loved most about that night was seeing how other schools structured their programs and the type of work they produced.

Friday, our final day in High Point, we went to Pearson’s furniture making plant, and they showed us how a piece of furniture gets made from building and staining the frame to upholstering the body and packaging the finish piece for shipping. All the carpentry, sewing and upholstery is done by hand. The biggest piece of machinery is computer-controlled pattern cutter that could cut pattern pieces out of fabric, except only plain fabric since each type of patterned fabric requires precise matching. They had racks and racks of red pattern pieces.

The seamstresses weren’t working that day, but this is where they sewed together the upholstery. The finishing area. And lastly because I can’t resist, I present to you the Muffin Ottoman. I think it’s cute.

Olga

Internet, meet Olga. (And please pardon the very candid photo of her.)

I’ve spent the last week or two learning all about her, and today we finally were able to spend some quality time together, just the two of us (and the lab tech). It was pretty great, and I am completely certain that in 8 weeks time we will be the best of friends. Here’s what we made today!