Monday, June 24, 2013

from the archive: Smirnoff International Fashion Awards

When I was sorting through boxes of old stuff while visiting Finland, I came across this wearable arts creation from my design student days... 
It might have been 1995 when I drew three sketches to enter the Smirnoff International Fashion Awards and was one of the ten that got accepted to the national final. The jury chose this design out of the three (it actually wasn't my own favourite) and I had a couple of months to make it. I called the ensemble Verso (Sprout) and made it out of little wooden pegs. I spent my summer holidays drilling a hole in each peg lengthways, stained them darker and then threaded them together into a net-like structure... 

I loved the way the structure made a wooden "textile" that draped well. By the time it came to making the metallic undergarment I had run out of steam and never really liked the way that part turned out. I still love the wooden shoulder piece and should really keep it and maybe take some photos of it worn with a simple dress.

The whole competition was a wonderful experience in itself, with trips to the capital with a wonderful fellow student Tytti Thusberg who I still count as a good friend and who ended up winning and travelling to South Africa with her felt creation to represent Finland in the International event. The jury included some well known journalists and other fashion folk, including the then Marimekko CEO Kirsti Paakkanen.
I was already upcycling and made myself a dress out of an old curtain found in a Kuopio charity shop. For some reason it ended up as part of our graduation show in Helsinki about a year later, where someone from the audience bought it. I wonder if the pattern in still lurking in my stash, as I made a nice job with the neck/shoulderline!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My oh my it's been quiet here this year. Not a peep since January *blush*.

To bring the blog to up to date I'll have to start by a little follow up on the Black Nightshade experiment, where I used ripe berries to dye a fine silk scarf. The good news is the scarf has had quite a bit of wear since then. The very pale pinkish colour from Pineapple Sage got a deeper slightly bronzy hue, which happens to go very well with my natural hair colour. I've seen that many times before: when plant dyed garments match your own colouring, they can be unusually flattering and very easy to combine with other colours in your wardrobe (providing they suit you too). It's quite baffling how a basically boring beige scarf can do anything for you, but you never know until you try it on!

I was taking a short leave from blogging, but I totally dropped the habit when my previous laptop gave up the ghost. It's amazing how you can keep yourself connected on a little fruity gadget, but eventually I was very relieved to move on from mini-size.

Another distraction was going for a quick dash overseas...
To visit family in Finland. It had been almost 5 years from my previous visit and the jump from late summer straight into a snow flurry was quite an experience. I picked up a rental car from the airport and headed straight into the traffic on snowy roads, on the other side of the road... Thankfully I wasn't particularly jet-lagged, so I got myself to the destination all safe and sound.
During my brief stay I feasted on sights of Marimekko and Arabia designs, planning what to purchase on my next visit, which will be very soon! There's so many cool colours to choose from (Iittala Kastehelmi)...
Not only revisiting the design heritage I grew up with, I had many boxes of things from my design studies to go through. Sketches, cloth, garments and patterns got sorted and packed and what wasn't thrown away, I shipped here! More on that later.

After travels I've been busy with preparations to buy the house I've been living in for a couple of years. Ooh I love making plans for improvements! After lots of budgeting and getting reports and quotes the process finally reached the settlement day, which means we've got our house! The kitchen upgrade plans have come along nicely. I look forward to showing you some before and afters in a couple of months!