Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Raven Part Two

Recapping from last week's Part One of the here to read

My Notes on the Raven
This piece was created as my tribute to the Raven as my favorite Animal Totem. We are not just black or white we have various shades within each of is a balance.

As we go through life we have many trials and successes…each of the feathers I used in this piece is a badge of a well earned honor in the growth of life.

Mind & Soul Process
Part of my process is working things out in my head before I create a piece...and for me an incredible path to this is my morning walks...there I am able to walk and work things out in my turn things around in a three dimensional form to visualize the piece before it comes to a physical form...I realize that my walks are a very important mindfulness in my creations. 

It calms my over active mind and connects with my sou so I can hear what its voice wants to say...

Side note: On all my art, somewhere I hand sew an "X"...this is in memory of my Dad...

More Notes on the Raven
Initially, I knew that I wanted this piece to have a Japanese inspiration. I envisioned using the sheer fabric as a long kimono with a cape of wings.

As I dyed the body and made the pants, I realized how much I love that white turning to black in her body and wanted it to be shown.

I decided to change the kimono front to a pleated peplum so the pants would show. Her sleeves became her wings  and the back of the kimono her tail.

Physical Process
In this Raven piece, I decided that I wanted to use my vintage kimono linings as the linings for the kimono and the pants.
I draw out my pattern in a template form and then dye by hand the areas that I want to hold color.

Below, each area has two layers of fabric. The bottom layer is the loosely woven silk and the top layer is the vintage silk kimono with the template drawn.

The pants were sewn and then dyed to enhance the body dyed area...

The drying process takes overnight to thoroughly dry and then I heat set the dyes.

Since every part of the costume has been drawn and dyed specifically for the piece, I can start to sew the kimono...

I sew each layered section of the costume by machine.
Then turn, hand stitch the opening closed, press, and top-stitch by machine each section following the pattern piece design. 
Kimono wing...
 Interior of Kimono tail area...
 Kimono tail outer area...
Final Raven costume pieces hand sewn together...
Both lining and out shell where hand dyed then 
I did a bit of touch up with the dye to make 
a constructiveness in its entirety.
Next week:

The final touches!!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Raven: Part One

I have wanted to create a Raven for many many years..and finally my soul is at a place where I believe the true essence of what I held in my heart could be created.

Mind & Soul Process
After deciding on the piece I want to create, I do extensive research not only on the true subject, in this case the raven bird and it's characteristics, but also on the symbolism...

  • Ravens are considered the most intelligent birds, displaying high learning ability and use of logic for solving problems, in some tests bypassing the chimpanzees.
  • Raven's calls can express tenderness, happiness, surprise, emotion or rage. Ravens can imitate birds with the same vocal note.
Kovacs Anna Brigitta WATERCOLOR

Raven: Balance
Raven color change lore is when Noah sends a raven first to confirm the receding floodwaters. When the raven did not return, it was said its feathers turned black from sorrow - a heaviness in its heart to witness the floodwaters were still too high to accommodate the drifting ark.
Raven symbolism represents the shadow self, or the dark side of the psyche. By acknowledging this dark side, we can effectively communicate with both halves of ourselves. This offers liberating balance, and facilitates tremendous wisdom.
Artist unknown

My Notes on the Raven
This piece was created as my tribute to the Raven as my favorite Animal Totem. We are not just black or white we have various shades within each of is a balance.

As we go through life we have many trials and successes…each of the feathers I used in this piece is a badge of a well earned honor in the growth of life.

Physical Process
Knowing that I want to create a piece with a Japanese influence, I started with choosing my fabrics- thoughtfully...each fabric needs to speak of this Raven...

I chose all silks...I wanted the kimono to have an airiness to it so the first one was loose linen weave silk for the kimono, then vintage kimono for all the linings, and of course a crepe silk for the body.

For her pants, I had one piece of coveted vintage silk with phoenix birds on it...perfect!
I so love using the vintage silks- they have an incredibly soulful feel to them as you work with can tell that they have been well loved and used in a precious manner...

Now sculpting and sewing begins!! She will be jointed in head, elbows, and knees.

I decided to start the dying process on the fingers and toes...I wanted to express that she is turning from white to black...and added a bit around her collar line.

My next step is to paint and tint the face. I wanted a feathering effect around the eyes...something I have not done before!

face painting completed... 

In this process, I consciously chose to slow my self down, to be in each moment, giving myself time and space to take in where I was in this piece and was it expressing what was coming from my soul...

 Next week COSTUMING!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Millinery: Rose Paper Hat

"Seeking symbolic meaning of the rose from an esoteric perspective, in which the rose is considered a symbol of balance. 
Here the beauty of the rose expresses promise, new beginnings, hope."


Many years ago, I created a rose band for a wedding "veil" made of paper...

I started with a collection of papers including Japanese mulberry papers, Tyvek, and tea bags.
From there I bleached the tea bags and cut them into petal shapes.
I used a Japanese scrunching technique to give them just the right flower texture.

Here is the finished piece with the flower groupings placed on a band and secured with a satin ribbon that would crown any bride's head comfortably!

Close up noting the various papers, pearls, feathers, ribbons...

It was a fabulous exploration of seeing what paper could do!


Spring forward to this year and I decided to expand by combining my paper skills and  my dying skills together in to one glorious piece.

I had recently been creating Paper Hats using Italian 180 weight crepe paper and thought to create a fascintor (small hat) using this particular paper that I hand-dyed.
 I created a poppy....

...while beautiful, it wasn't quite was my soul wanted to express for this piece. I wanted something softer and more fluid....

Part of creating a new life for soul...has been working on the process of slowing down and being mindfully (and delightfully) present with myself and therefore my work.

I am able to hear my soul's inspired feelings-words on which direction I want to create my clear voice.

So pulled out my Japanese papers and started dying using Procion dye.

Now I knew I was headed in the right direction! I knew these would make the delicate soft petals  feminine I was looking for...

Now for the centers...
I had dyed this crepe thinking it would make beautiful stamens.

Here is a Rose with this was wonderful but not quite right for this project...

I found my pearl stamens...

Bingo- exactly where I wanted to go with this...delicate and very feminine.

Now finding the right foundation to set these beauties upon...
We are fortunate to have a millinery shop here locally..many of their items are handmade and vintage. I found the perfect foundation of vintage "chicken" wire.

The edge binding was of a cotton and I decided to add this beautiful vintage kimono fabric...after all when you are dying and creating each flower, it suits to follow through in every detail!

Here is the final piece!
I am very happy with the way this turned out...feminine, easy to wear, and comfortable in any weather.

This Rose Hat is available!! 
Contact Leslie here if interested 
or wish a custom paper hat of your very own.

If  you would like to see it in the round
click here to see a video of the finished piece!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mind, Body, & Soul

Some of you have asked...I know that you went through a tremendous life change...

I know to many of you it seemed quite quickly but it was years in the making with hard work and great help to find my true self... more in that here.

I have discovered that it IS all about working on yourself as a whole- but not all at the same time- that is way too overwhelming.

My hope is that I can share my life walk to help  you in some way. This is how my path went and yours is your own to discover. We are here to become our best whole selves.

Here are my thoughts on what worked for me- you can take the basic concept and create your own version...if you so choose.
This was the hardest and incredibly deep step for me...but it is what gave me the clarity to set up my whole life as it is today. Yes, I am very fortunate that through my intense life challenges, it was the help of a really good therapist. She was able to help me understand my behavior and coping patterns with solid support and safety with in her. I know that it is very very difficult to face your own self head on and work through these to become clear...and it is not for everybody, but for me it worked (and still does). It does save time but for many of you, you may be able to work through your challenges on your own...but for me I needed all the help I could get. She saved my life. period.

I am now able to see very clearly who and what fits into my finally be my true self without restrictions.

During and some still today, I experienced very real anxiety. For me, I needed to physically move.
I started with walking...walking. I still hold this practice every morning. I use it as a meditative time to notice the beauty around me- to get out of my head- to get out of my own way. I set a fairly slow pace (for the fast walker that I am.) It is not about exercise, it is about being in the fresh air and nature...and just being.

It is definitely a self care practice...and if I don't do it, I notice my whole day is off. I will get up at whatever time or weather (my cut off for cold is anything below 9*F) to make certain that I have that time for myself...and I do it by myself- for me. I walk everyday.

From there I was able to start practicing yoga. I don't hold the religious beliefs but do hold the exercise and mindfulness beliefs. I do yoga at least 4 times a week. I need the movement.

Finally, my darling man, started my love with kickboxing. It is a bad a** practice and yes, it stretches you not only physically but for me mentally since I live in my right brain, I find boxing very mathematical and very left brain. Balance. I box once to twice a week.

Another benefit from having a strong body it gives you a strong mind
Since I push my physical strength, it can't help but push my artistic strength!

For me daily movement is very very necessary. I do something everyday. That is my balance.
You will find the right one for yourself.

I feel that a spiritual belief is very important...and over time, I have found that your own belief will speak to you.
For me, I have found that when I am in conflict with my thoughts, it is my soul (my God, my Universe) that is telling me that I am not in connection. My soul wants only the best for me and if I am not in alignment (that uneasy feeling) it is time that I take a step back and look at what IS the best direction to take. I know when my soul settles and there is a very real peace.
This is where my walks help my soul...the benefit of walking it out relaxes my body to give my soul the quiet it needs to be heard.

Mind Body Soul. 

I found that to do this right for me, I needed all three to be pushed hard to get to find my true self and now with this I can create a beautiful life with my love, my cherished friends and cousin, and my soul being able to speak clearly through my art.

I wish only the best for all of you in finding your true self. My heart is with you all.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Motivation, Inspiration & True Self

As I have traveled my journey in creating my new life, I found that it was the conflicts that helped me to define my focus. I am grateful for each and everyone of them...

...and as I walk upon this new path I am discovering many things about myself, understanding and being comfortable in my flaws, as well as being comfortable in my abilities and my talents.

As I thought back about my art career to date, I see as I changed so did my reason for my art. As I discovered my true self so did my art and I am now on the verge of being able to really express this in my work.

Which brought me to being inspired yet motivated.

Many people use the words “motivated” and “inspired” interchangeably. But I’ve found something quite different to be the case.

Inspiration makes you create, dream and innovate. Motivation empowers you to execute.

Inspiration comes hard, it's often found in suffering. When people see bad times they're inspired to solve problems and make the world a better place.

Motivation makes them work to make that dream come true.

motivation is a pulling or pushing force 
Whether you use the word “motive” or you use the word “reason”, motivation needs to come from that source. Without having a reason or a motive, it will be hard to come by.

inspiration is an inside to outside force
The word “inspiration” comes from the late Latin word “inspirare” which means “in spirit” or “divine guidance”. Inspiration connects with you on the inside to a state of being more excited, productive, and/or purposeful.
And now I realize as I look back that I was extremely- maybe even obsessively- motivated with my art. Not to say that I was not creative or capable but my reason was from being pushed (as I was taught) to please others- yes, highly motivated.

We could go into my years of therapy to find the deep courage to find myself. I can tell you that I do know now that it is about balance of mind, body, and soul. I am truly and mindfully convinced of this and know that if you are on your own journey, you will need all of these to be examined and brought to their highest potential to bring you to your own highest potential- your true self. It is a hard but extremely fulfilling and eventually, a peaceful path. You will be able to see things and people more clearly and know how and if they fit into your life.

In that the realization, I am now being in my true self I find that I am now able to step into inspiration and I feel that my best art is about to be fully expressed! To finally shed my cocoon and spread my wings into full flight...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fabrics from around the World!


Many of you ask where I get my fabrics...and yes, part of it is all about connections!

But not any ordinary connection...

As we grow as artist, we become very particular in our supplies that we use...your eye becomes more defined as your work progresses...

...I have noticed of late that I am on a spiritual path with my work. The beauty of art is that there is no limit you are always growing!

I have long surpassed the "10,000 hours" to gain your "masterdom" in technique and it is very important to me to share my spirituality in my pieces with you.

Out in the World

I have my “international buyers – Asian division” that traveled to India and to Malaysia this year. This year, I wanted fabrics that were more subdued for the linings on my new line of handbags. Other fabrics are purchased locally, as I travel, or online - which can sometimes be tricky navigating a Japanese website!

So this could be a daunting mission to send someone out into the world and bring back something that is workable! Luckily, I have found the understanding/connection with Julie and Kirk. They have a great eye and are spot on with my requests!

Last time was brights with metallic threads in India read more here

I am well known for my Asian influence in my work...but I do mix culture's fabrics depending on what speaks to me for the piece I am creating...for I am not replicating but being soulfully inspired.

Julie and Kirk are great travelers and bring back not only great fabrics, but also photos of the places where they purchased these wonderful fabrics.


Photo is where they purchased the Indian fabrics in Cochin:


I wanted subdued tones of blue and grey- this was a great accomplishment from a tropical climate!

Photo of Julie doing batik.

Fabrics in Malaysia.

It is with great gratitude that these two actually travel to the places to buy some of my fabrics!!

And now..what will become of these fabrics??? 

They will find their place...their my creations!!

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