A hub for what's out there on the web worthy of love from great artwork to interesting people, cultural events to beautiful photography, good food, great music, good books, fabulous babies and more.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Researcher/Writer Amy Stewart

Reading this book is fascinating, informative and culinary.  Great combination, great book.  Highly recommended!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How to Clean House

I just spent an hour cleaning out my bathroom sink drain.  Thank goodness I had Cheryl Mendelson's great book Home Comforts, with good advice on safe cleaners, so I could finish the job.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Want a Book That Will Keep You Up All Night?

Check it out on Amazon, buy it at your local independent bookstore.

I love Gillian Flynn's books and was delighted to stumble upon this similarly dark thriller.  It literally did keep me up most of the night until I finished it.  Now I'm sad I don't have it to look forward to.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Alien Skin Exposure 7

 I don't know of any other software company that gives you freebies, called "loyalty gifts," like Alien Skin.  I love them! I just downloaded my April Loyalty Gifts presets, which are added to a great collection of filters I can use with exposure 7 in Photoshop to play around with. The photo below, left,  is with the Corbijnesque - Anton colour filter, based on Anton Corbijn's work with Time-Zero film.  Now I can look like a 65 year old Queen of the river (photo shot by sister Elsa on the Hood Canal, Washington, last summer) whose photo was captured with Polaroid film in 1964, instead of me (below, right) captured on digital film in August, 2014.

I also learned something.  Anton Corbijn is a Dutch photographer, music video director and film director.  Here's a link to an interesting interview with him from Interview Magazine:  LINK.  And Time Zero film, I believe, is Polaroid film, which Corbijn liked to use.  Apparently, Polaroid stopped producing it in 2008, according to this interesting 2012 documentary:  LINK.  A true Polaroid, faded with time, is below, shot in 1964.  I am in the backseat of a VW bug, with sister Jean in the driver's seat, in front of our old house in Santa Barbara, CA.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Anwar Khatri Batik Designer

Thanks again to Judy Frater (see prior blog post), we met Anwar Khatri, owner of Baa't "the soul of batik" in Bhujpur, Mundra-Kutch, Gujarat, India, at his studio/home in January on our self-styled textile tour of Gujarat, India.  Here, instead of stamping fabric with dyes (as Mohmad Soyab A. Karim Khatri does, Anwar's team were stamping fabrics with wood blocks dipped in hot wax then dying the fabric in chemical dyes (natural dyes can't stand the heat).  The wax creates unusual textures that crinkle and crack, adding a new dimension to the block designs.  Above are some of the fabrics (and details) of the items I bought and brought home with the intention of using them in future textile art pieces.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mohmad Soyab A. Karim Khatri Fabric Designer

I was introduced to Mohmad through a lucky encounter with Judy Frater on a recent trip to Gujarat, India.  Judy is an American textile expert, transplanted to India, where she is instrumental in supporting local artists through the Somaiya Gujarat Trust.  Mohmad lives and works in the village of Bhuj, Kutch, with his family (sister, mother and father).  Mohmad showed us his process, including designing original blocks (which are cut elsewhere), stamping fabric with natural dyes, often using a three-block process, and drying the fabrics outdoors.  Much of the dye making process was familiar, having taken an art class with Chester Arnold, where we learned to make black ink from boiled rusty nails and oak gall.  Mohmad explained his process in dye making, which includes making white with lime and gum; making black with iron water, sugar and the seed of some plant I couldn't identify; making red from mud and alum, etc.  His whole family is involved in fabric making and the experience of touring his work space, understanding his process, and finally buying his beautiful hand made cotton and silk products was a thrill!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Passion for Pashmina

The older one gets, the more pashminas are needed in one's wardrobe!

The best pashmina shawls come from India and are woven from fine goat wool.  Hand-made pashmina products are finer, tighter, warmer and more luxurious than the machine made products.  Generally machine made items can be identified by the unnaturally straight edge and fringe base.  Good quality pashmina wool shawls are very light and very warm, with the highest quality being 100% pure pashmina wool (versus blends with silk).   The “ring shawl” is a full-sized 100% pure pashmina shawl that theoretically is fine enough to pass through a ring.  Pashminas are not the same as Shahtoosh, which is woven from endangered Tibetan Antelope wool, and which is illegal in most western countries.  Pashmina shawls are often hand spun, woven and embroidered in Kashmir, such as the shawls on sale at Cottage Industries Exposition in Mumbai.   Here one needs to haggle with Kashmir salesmen, who like to start their prices high and negotiate down.   The lavender embroidered pashmina below is a Cottage Industries Exposition store's hand embroidered item.  Alternatively, the very nice Calico Craft Center Shop in Ahmedabad has the wool shipped to their exclusive weavers and offers unique designs in their store at more reasonable prices.  The pashmina below with the paisley design (two sided) was woven uniquely for Calico Craft.

People often assume the paisley pattern (seen in the Ahmedabad pashmina) is from the British Isles.  But this is false.  From the excellent book Textile Arts of India, published by Chronicle Books, the kalga, or paisley motif pattern, evolved from 17th-century floral designs created in tapestry-woven Mughal textiles in India.  By the late 18th century the archetypal curved point had evolved.  It was imitations of these patterns in shawls woven in factories at Paisley, Scotland, that gave the design its name.

Some nice links: