Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ever since creating a block set for my 2 year old neighbor one year ago i have been imagining a follow-up of smaller blocks from a collection of enchanting woods, more like gemstones than woods. Super heavy, hard and dense... the black black of Ebony, the warm red of rosewood, and the prominent grain of bocote. All finely sanded to the smoothest tactile finish. Delicious, giddy feelings every time i think of the opportunity to work with these exquisite woods. Hard to stop myself from the purchase of more varieties (olive, lacewood...) all with their own a personality and attitude. But for now... "trying to savor what i have". A mantra echoing well beyond my exotic woods : )

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter!

All here in my laboratory is sweatered and warm.

Soaps aplenty and jars awaiting candles to light the longest night.

Not sure if i will ever run out of things to sweater : )

Dolls, jars, soap...what's next.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Black and Live oak acorn caps seem so abundant this year and my daughter and i have been having fun filling them with various things. She is the true think tank when it comes to all things miniature but i love to explore along side following her lead. She could truly sell some of her arts and crafts on etsy but she thinks her art would be so sad to be without her. She keeps everything, and i mean every scrap and wrapper, which find their way into her dollhouse world in some miniature kind of way. Most recently she showed me christmas chocolate wrappers from years past that are now rolls of dollhouse wrapping paper. She is so good at seeing the potential in the discarded.

My next adventure will involve a glorious gift of100 grams of copper metal clay and the amazing opportunity to have it kiln fired since copper metal clay cannot be fired with a torch like silver clay. Metal clay is fast drying and super tricky but i will plunge forward and make some copperware for my dollhouse. I hope to make utensils to go with the copperware but i am not sure what happens to something that tiny in firing. Will post pictures.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Delivery date for Miss T's winter collection of 65 pieces is set to happen the 24th of November. In my attempt to save myself from testing all the paints and beads for lead on all my ready made flowers from China, i created a collection that i could count on being pure by making my own flowers and/or using vintage laces. This winter collection feels wholesome and warm to me as a result and i am hoping everyone feels the same : ) i have lots of wooly sweaters and the Salvation Army to thank for my supplies this season. And thank you to all the talented unknown people that crocheted the vintage handmade laces that i used to try to convey the delicate filagree that winter does so well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Posting more pictures of Salaam in full dress, including his book and a friendship bracelet my son made for him out of glow in the dark thread he got for his birthday.
My son recieved many a glorious gift for his birthday, including "3 Cups of Tea" (young readers addition) from my sister (a truly magical creature). The introduction of 3 Cups of Tea begins....."as-salam alaykum"
What?......how could this be?
A huge birthday coincidence. My sis lives in Seattle and had no knowledge of my doll making/naming adventure. Still pondering this phenomenon. Big goose bumps on the connectedness of things.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

i must give another plug to sweatered soap mentioned in previous posts. Last week was week 4 and still no mildew or smell there of on my sweatered soap. After being gone from it on vacation for 2 weeks it melted into a goo and absorbed into the sweater envelope, which after one week home was forever sudsy. A miraculous curious phenomenon. It is not much to look at now though so i am posting and unused version of sweatered soap.

Returning home to handmade lotions and soaps feels like luxury. I love my softly scented world at home. My trip abroad was very scented (perfumes, diesel emissions, cigarettes, hand sanitizers and quite often sewer). Home has such a sensory quiet. I love home.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thank you Sono-Ma for your beautiful article about me and my daughter Maddy. It is really magical for me to watch Maddy's creativity unfold. Her competance truely delights me daily.

As requested, a larger current photo of Miss Teapot's current style of work from my Autumn collection of 2009. My Winter Collection is still in the works and has yet to be photographed. And besides ....no peaking :

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Presenting... "as-salamu Alaykum". Meaning "Peace be upon you" in Arabic.
I so still wanted to call him "Souq", so fun to say. But i found the souq in Alexandria a little...well... scarey. So as-salamu Alaykum it is, a beautiful sentiment the Egyptians use as "hello". Or "Salaam" meaning "peace" for short.

Salaam has quite a story knitted into him. His first 18 stitches were cast on while in an airplane 35,000 ft above Greenland going 743 mph, part of his neck was knitted while cruising on the Nile river, his right leg in Istanbul Turkey, his right arm on a beach on the Greek island of Mykonos....etc.

I am making him also a small book, mapping his unfolding which i will call, "The Life and Times of as-salamu Alaykum" and will include extra pages for my son to add to his story.

The pattern for Salaam is from a book i love called "Knitted Babes" by Claire Garland. So many inspirational patterns for dolls and their clothes, though there are no boy dolls within so i modified. I was unable to find appropriate, inexpensive textiles for him during our travels as planned, so instead he will have recycled sweater clothing. I will post a picture of Salaam in his full regalia next week, today he sports only his undies which i made from an old cotton t-shirt.

My son was aware of my knitting a doll on our trip but he has no idea it is for him. I think. He is used to my creative meanderings. In fact... we bought an extra camera on our trip and i quickly knitted a cover for it to protect it : )

Such a delight intricately pouring (or knitting) myself into a few of my children's gifts every year, leading them by example into the realm of living and giving from the heart.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bon voyage!

The question is, "How will i cope without a creative project while away".
The Answer, "i won't have to" : ) i will be taking a project with me. i plan to knit a doll while on my journey for my son for his October birthday. A doll for a boy you ask? My answer...yes! and i am reminded of "William's Doll" a story by Charlotte Zolotow. So sweet.

i will knit the doll and buy textiles for clothing as i visit Turkey, Egypt and Greece. And come up with a proper name for him. Perhaps "Souq"? the name for an Egyptian market? When i return home i will stuff him with "Charlie the Llama" fur (pictured), a generous gift from my wonderful neighbor Holly (and Charlie the llama of course).

Will post pictures when finished.

Monday, October 5, 2009

i counted the number of crowns i've created over the years via old invoices. 1709 crowns is the running total i came up with after 10 years of crowns and/or 40 seasons. Incredible. i have pictures of crown evolutions over the years. Pictured is one such early model. It is the first. Where it all began more than 10 years ago. Fairy crowns for my daughter's fairy party when she was turning 4. It came complete with a handmade, floaty fairy skirt, one for each party guest. My son's comment today on this rather old school miss t crown, "It's so plastic!" : )

i have used some really great ready made flowers over the years but now i prefer mostly to make them. Knowing that "ready made's" place of origin is usually China, i began to feel uncomfy using them, not knowing the safety of the paints and glues. And the waste that comes with tearing down a ready made piece to get to the flower etc. is huge, forever sitting plastically in the landfill. That part of my work felt really hurtful. I will still occasionally use the ready made pieces if i find the glorious, but i much prefer the waste management and biodegradable nature of natural and vintage materials.

i use recycled wool sweaters a lot now. Every bit and scrap gets honored and appreciated and used. i don't like to make garbage. My twist and turn into a more eco friendly miss t is for the care and keeping of our beautiful Mother Earth.

This Winter Collection you will see recycled wool sweaters, hand crocheted flowers in wool, vintage crocheted lace and trims, needle felted birds and vintage and new beads. My Winter Collection of 60 pieces will arrive at The Ark a few days before Thanksgiving and i am so excited to share it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

i know...i know...."Peace", but i just can't help myself : )
my latest sweatered soap.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Soon i will be departing on a little trip abroad. i've never been out of North America so i am freaking out inside though excited. My dolls of my dollhouse will be departing with me on this particular trip. Always, as a child when i left on a trip, i thought my dolls and toys would be so sad and miss me terribly when they were left behind. My daughter and i usually take a collection of dolls on our trips for just that reason and the security of something sweet and familiar.

The Mildew's (Whimsey, Fancy, Bendy, Bendita and Bendu), my dollhouse dolls, will be taking their first airplane. Fancy, (pictured), was my grandmother's. She used to have open and shut eyes until i dropped her accidentally when i was 10 and sadly her eyes fell into her head. The doll doctor fixed them permenantly and put way too much hair on her and fancy clothes (thus her name). She went in as a baby doll and came out as a fancy little girl. I think i cried. Perhaps a little too much creative license? My sister kept her safe for years in a little plastic box and now she has a family and proper house to spend her days. She would have quite a story if she could tell it. She is probably 90 years old. But she doesn't look a day over 2 : )
Yesterday, the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio in SF. 10 galleries of artifacts from the life of Walt Disney. We entered at 10:30 am and exited at 2:15. Almost 4 hours of observations?. There is that much to take in!

Still pondering his creative needs to keep moving forward. (i can relate)
But his connection to people who could provide his creative movement...even more of a ponderance. His animators et. all...what an amazing connection to possibility.

Photo of Walt with Sergei Rachmaninoff and Vladimir Horowitz. Photo of Salvidor Dali riding in Walt's backyard model train. What did they chat about and discover of one another?

By the time i reached the last gallery, which mentions his last months...i choked back tears (and still as i write this). His visionary magnificence has inspired my lifetime. His old animated films still delight me in their innocence and happiness. Disneyland is still my favorite place to be. The sweetness, beauty, comedy and musicality of his incredible creations fill my heart with joy and possibility.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yes, another peace sign....This one, sewn on a birthday card for my best friend from high school who lives in Vancouver WA and who recently turned me on to this magical medium called metal clay. The peace sign was once a little grey blob of clay, and after firing with a propane torch, became almost pure silver. Oh, my goodness all the details i could create with metal clay. There are classes on working with metal clays but i prefer to plunge in and learn by doing anonymously with a good library book on the subject. My choice is "New Directions in Metal Clay" by Cece Wire. Nothing like mistakes to help you learn well about a medium but Cece Wire really helped me understand visually how to fire and not melt my piece and other important details that i just didn't find in other books.
Anxious for another successful attempt at metal clay but at the moment i am in the midst of my Winter Collection and there is no room for my imaginings of a tiny silver goblet for my dollhouse.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In the midst of intense months of production for my seasonal collections i find myself distracted and head off in these other creative realms, totally unrelated and setting me behind in my schedule. Currently helping my sewing students come up with holiday gift giving ideas. My latest is pictured. My handmade soap is tucked inside recycled (100%wool) felted sweaters. I am trying one in my shower and it is like.... washcloth and soap rolled into one. And no, it does not smell wet animalish when wet as one might expect. It produces such a lovely lather and continues to felt itself with each use. Still waiting to see if it begins to mildew over time. Wool is supposed to be naturally animicrobal and i am keeping my fingers crossed that this is the case : )

Friday, September 25, 2009

The peace symbol has become one of my new interests. It used to seem so righteous and hard and now it seems so whimsical and graceful. Hoping i will find a way to use it in my work more often that will meet the graceful way it feels to me. Pictured is a crown from my Summer Collection.

My delivery of my Autumn Collection went smoothly yesterday on Fourth St. in Berkeley. 44 pieces. i am always torn between shipping USPS and hand delivery. Hand delivery always seems to win. Packaging and question of handling always detour me from USPS. i spend an incredible amount of time with my work and i just can't let it go into the sea of the unknowns.

A meeting with soft and nurturing Ashley at the Ark and a first time meeting of the beautiful new owner, Gerald, grounded me once again in my 10 year connection with that amazing store. And Fourth St., oh my goodness, is such a playground visually for Miss T. The Ark Toys, Castle in the Air and Anthropology fill me up inspirationally before my return to little, humble Sonoma County where nature is my inspiration. And the thrift stores....provide!

Hoping to post weekly to this blog to offer a place to ask questions, get news about the timing of release of current collections or just sneek a peek into the World of Miss T.