Perfect Match

A beautiful display of umbrellas.

A beautiful display of umbrellas.

Yes this is Asian yarn, although it is Japanese, not Chinese, like the photo that inspired the pairing.

Yes this is Asian yarn, although it is Japanese, not Chinese, like the photo that inspired the pairing.

I just finished a big project for a friend over the weekend, plus a sock. My reward to myself was to go through my yarn, magazines, photos, etc., and find inspiration for a new design. I didn’t have to look very long or hard before I realized that I just posted LA County Fair inspiration a few days ago, and have yarn that relates perfectly to one of my favorite photos from the fair. What better day to begin work on a new design project than Monday!

By the way, if you find yourself in the same position of finishing up projects and not quite sure what to work on next, I highly recommend taking a few hours to pull out your stash, look at photos or magazines, and see if you find yourself making a match you might not have thought of otherwise! Just make sure you are in a relaxed state of mind and give yourself a little time to play. Have fun!


LA County Fair Surprises

Typical SoCal view: mountains, pine trees AND palm trees.

Typical SoCal view: mountains, pine trees AND palm trees.

Whenever a famous designer or artist is interviewed, it seems like the interviewer always asks them where they find their inspiration, and they always say the same thing: “Everywhere!” I went to the LA County Fair last week on a field trip with my son’s class. I am not really a fair person, especially not on a week when Los Angeles was having 105+ degree weather. I don’t particularly enjoy walking around eating junk food in the heat, and I always think of fairs as dirty places with lousy food and rides where the safety is in question. So with that mindset, you will appreciate from these photos my pleasant surprise at finding quite a bit of inspiration! Plus, even when it’s obscenely hot, can you ever really have too many photos of baby animals? I think not!

We walked through the barn so the kids could pet the animals and I could take photos of sheep and baby calves to add to my collection. :)

We walked through the barn so the kids could pet the animals and I could take photos of sheep and baby calves to add to my collection. :)

The Chinese Flower Garden, Pavilion, and Atrium would have been worth the drive to the fair all by themselves. I could have stayed there all day long taking photos. Asian art has always been a fascination of mine. I love the style, the use of color and of course, Westerners have spent lots of time trying to capture the distinct look of it.

Painting of a peony - these flowers are so lush!

Painting of a peony – these flowers are so lush!

I tried to capture the overall view of the atrium when you walk in.

I tried to capture the overall view of the atrium when you walk in.

Another view of the atrium. I love the dragon. Dragons are used alot in Chinese art, and I love the way their artists depict them.

Another view of the atrium. I love the dragon. Dragons are used frequently in Chinese art, and I love the way their artists depict them.

I loved the textures of this engraving.

I loved the textures of this engraving.

This atrium was filled with so much lush color and foliage, artwork, etc, I had to keep taking photos!

This atrium was filled with so much lush color and foliage, artwork, etc, I had to keep taking photos!

A beautiful display of umbrellas.

A beautiful display of umbrellas.

This 3-week old calf had the most beautiful face I've ever seen. I hope my photo does it justice.

This 3-week old calf had the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen. I hope my photo does it justice.

And last, but not least, for all my fellow fiber enthusiasts, yes, just for you, I took a photo of the sheep! I love sheep and alpaca, and if there had been alpaca there, I would have taken photos of them too.

These sheep were friendly - maybe since it was so hot, they were hoping one of us was there to shear them? :)

These sheep were friendly – maybe since it was so hot, they were hoping one of us was there to shear them? :)

Little side note to anyone who is in the LA area – if you are interested in going, the fair closes this weekend, but you will have GREAT weather! Whatever you do and wherever you are, enjoy your weekend!

 


Pantone on Fashion…and In General

If you haven’t figured it out already, let me just say, I LOVE color. When I was working as a graphic designer, color was always a major part of my work, and as a knitter/crocheter, it still is. Color is probably the first thing I respond to when picking yarn, and I very often find that even sub-consciously, color is at the core of my design work. Of course, I try to pay attention to line, texture, shape, etc., but color is the design element I always seem to have the most immediate and strong instinct about. It follows then, that I really enjoy Pantone. I enjoy their color forecasts, and my husband very kindly bought me this book for my birthday. Twenty years ago, when I was starting out as a designer, the Pantone books were the gold standard of matching colors in the printing industry and Pantone was strictly business. The swatch books were super expensive, but they practically guaranteed that your design would translate well from computer screen to the final printed item. I love how the company still produces useful things for design professionals, but has developed more products for the general public to celebrate color.


A Solution to a Common Problem

I LOVE these ideas for what to do with yarn scraps! Most of the time, I throw mine away, but I always hate doing it. It goes back to that whole, I-Hate-being-wasteful thing. Check out a tutorial, save your scraps and share your photos if you like. I’m going to have to find a special spot to start saving my scraps from now on. :)


Worth the Time

It always makes my day when someone buys one of my patterns or follows my blog or other social media. Hopefully I’m not the only designer out there whose biggest fear is that no one will like her work. Whenever I release a new design, I always feel like I’m putting a little piece of myself out there, and I am incredibly grateful and relieved when people like it. I am also extremely honored when a fellow artist or designer follows me and deems me worthy of their time and attention. Recently, Sue Wong (among others) followed me on Twitter, and when I watched her intro video, I had to share it! Her beautiful clothes and talent as a designer are on full display, but for me, it was worth the time to watch it because she also shares her joy in being creative and tells her story, from her life as a poor immigrant and how she grew into her success of today. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!


New to Me

As I might have mentioned in prior posts, I have a hard time dealing with clutter. The main reason for this is because I really hate being wasteful. I don’t like getting rid of things that I still feel have life left in them, but I’m not one of those people who has constant inspiration for how to repurpose stuff. I walk into thrift stores and immediately feel overwhelmed. One of my best friends is an extremely talented artist who can take a toilet paper roll and make fine art out of it. I admire this trait very much, and so when I was at the library last week, I was intantly drawn to this book. And of course, I went to this artist’s blog and found way more goodies than can fit into a book. I don’t know if it will help me get rid of all my clutter, but I am inspired to keep trying to look at old items in a new way.


Things I Learned About Andy Warhol

As mentioned in my last post, I just returned from a trip back east to visit family and longtime friends. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and now that I”ve been away for so long, I’m always struck by the beauty of  the city when I go back to visit. This year, I made it my mission to visit the Andy Warhol museum. I don’t know how I’ve loved Pop Art, grown up in Pittsburgh, gone to art school in Pittsburgh, and yet never visited this museum! I decided it was time, so my sister and I spent a lovely day touring all seven floors. It did not disappoint. Each floor covers a time period of his work – his film work was on one floor, the famous silkscreen portraits on another…

I also realized that despite all the references to Warhol’s work in today’s culture, I really didn’t know very much about him at all. Since the museum didn’t allow us to take photography anywhere except on the ground floor, here are a few of the tidbits I learned.

 

I couldn't resist. And this photo cost me a whole lot less than a bachelor's from Carnegie Mellon!

I couldn’t resist. And this photo cost me a whole lot less than a bachelor’s from Carnegie Mellon!

 

  1. He is not only Pittsburgh born and bred, he attended Carnegie Mellon University. This was particularly of interest to me because Carnegie Mellon has a prestigious art program, and was my dream school. I applied and was accepted, but unfortunately, I couldn’t afford it. I didn’t realize until my museum visit that this was Andy’s alma mater, but since the program is a tough one, I have to admire him for making it through and going on to become so successful!

    Andy Warhol Museum. Any art lover visiting Pittsburgh should go!

    Andy Warhol Museum. Any art lover visiting Pittsburgh should go!

  2. I read in his diaries (in the notes by his secretary, Pat Hackett) that Andy really loved his “weekday rut”. There is a stereotype out there that artists live wild, erratic lifestyles, and this may be true for some. However, in my own experience, and also in my observation of other artists I know, we need to have a routine and practice self-discipline if we want to maintain our creativity. Inspiration is usually something we have to actively pursue and work for. It was interesting to read that Andy stuck to his routine, despite being known for his intense social life with celebrities.

    View of Andy Warhol bridge. And all the crazy signs - Pittsburgh is not a city with square blocks. One way signs, bridges everywhere...I get lost easily!

    View of Andy Warhol bridge. And all the crazy signs – Pittsburgh is not a city with square blocks. One way signs, bridges everywhere…I get lost easily!

  3. But lest we all get the wrong idea, his secretary also mentioned that his Factory (which he later called his office) was always full of clutter. I related to this also, because I struggle with clutter. I need alot of images and stuff around me to refer to, but at the same time, if I let it get out of hand, I find myself becoming less creative. According to his diaries, alot of the items he kept went into his Time Capsules.

    If you love Andy's silkscreen portraits, there's a whole floor of them waiting for you! But this is the only one you're allowed to take a photo with.

    If you love Andy’s silkscreen portraits, there’s a whole floor of them waiting for you! But this is the only one you’re allowed to take a photo with.

  4. Andy was associated with many celebrities, but I didn’t realize until my museum visit, and then reading some of his diaries, that he was so far ahead of his time. He published Interview magazine, and his vision for the magazine was to have it filled with celebrities, ideally, with celebrities interviewing other celebrities. His diaries are full of namedropping and his interactions with celebrities. Today, these things are a dime a dozen, but at the time, he was on the cutting edge of the pop culture influence. If he was alive today, I wonder if he would now be veering in the opposite direction, taking interest in the handcrafted, artisan movement. Our culture is now so oversaturated with celebrities, it is a relief to escape it.

And now, just a note about his diaries. I expected to be reading about his work. The truth is, the diaries are more a record of his social life and how much he spent on cab fares and such than they are about what he did in the studio. I found this very disappointing, and did not even make it through more than a few hundred out of the almost thousand pages. There are descriptions of parties with drugs and drinking, which celebrities were there and conversations they had, so if you enjoy reading about 1970’s New York partying, you may make it through this book. However, I wanted to read about his working methods, his thoughts and inspirations, and he only makes minimal references to his artwork.


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