Journal


 

              

              

 

https://www.vogue.com/article/gary-graham-422-joyce-hong-kong-collaboration-embroidery

What a wonderful story about our Joyce Hong Kong collaboration. I have been working on these tapestry pieces for over 5 months, from gathering the tapestries and sourcing the army surplus pieces in Grand Gorge,NY. Peter Soronen again helped me take these to the next level. They are completely bound(you could wear these inside out) with the back side of a civil war reproduction print I bought yardage on a couple years ago. I would do the patching- mixing and finding the right combinations- and he would expertly put together, sometimes we would come across a snap or missing area form the tent or surplus item and figure out a way to incorporate it. We used the collar from a flight suit for one of my favorites, actually every time we finished one we would say- that’s our new favorite! Each one took around two days to complete.

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July 14th, 2020
We've been working on a series of tapestry and army surplus cocoon coats and I kept thinking of what to do with all of the faces in the tapestries. When I would work with Gina on new prints from artwork we would inevitably edit the human forms because they would naturally draw so much attention. besides the pastoral scenes most of the faces are from conquistadors and or men with rifles. I asked Vera Powley to embroider something..possibly a flower over their faces and she looked at the embroidery from William Morris and stitched these beautiful flowers.
Of course now I want them over everything.
I can't help but think of the statues being removed and pulled down and all of the amazing new artwork that could be created with them.Maybe some of the original foundries are still around to help deconstruct/reshape them into new pieces.
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May 21st,2020
I was finally able to complete the first Lillian Sumer work shirt using the civil war reproduction prints I bought last summer on my birthday at Fieldstone house in Sydney.Although the sleeve is much puffier than I had planned I think it expresses a sense of optimism and alertness we all could use to get back into the swing of things. We are planning to open on May 30th.The sleeve also has a super wide facing to enable a double roll up of the sleeves while exposing another color or print. I'll be making some of these using antique prints as well.
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May 15th,2020
This is an image of Rabbit retying a broken warp thread on the jacquard loom. I was worried the warp would have to be completely re done because they kept breaking but along with her husband John they kept tweaking and adjusting, even adding a small humidifier next to the warp side of the loom to moisten the cotton threads. These old machines need a lot of patience and it was nice to witness two adults working it out together.
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May 9th,2020
I am now working towards a May 30th store opening.I've been working remotely with Rabbit Goody at Thistle Hill Weavers on a new Lincoln jacquard for late summer/fall styles. One of the most satisfying processes is when I get to "felt up" the jacquard so we decided to run merino wool(wool felts) )for the weft in combination with various cottons and linens for the weft.
 
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April 30th,2020
I've been working towards a May 23rd store opening but who really knows until we get the ok from the governor. The thing is I have to plan for something otherwise nothing will happen. There are many projects in the works like the Diana's garden screen printing project I tried to do last summer and a new lighter weight Lincoln Jacquard with Thistle Hill Weavers. After the author Dan Poblacki comented on one of my recent IG posts "folk witches" ...I thought it was a perfect description and so I googled "folk witches of the civil war" .Since the spiritualist movement really came after the civil war and the en masse desire to speak to the deceased I thought maybe it could be a great "origin" story. In the mean time I draped this top and trying to use up this beautiful lace I bought from Spain 10 years ago.
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April 24th,
I completed a top with more stitching over my drawings of magnolias that started blooming here in Franklin. We brought them inside and the next day it snowed..they only really half opened and were a bit droopy. The top is called stolen magnolias even though we took them from a yard whose owner is never there. The coming of spring always gives me a sense of anxiety.I've been working out what to make and what to have for the store in this intense and confusing time.
stolen magnolias
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April 18th,
There is a scene in Celine Sciamma's gorgeous and brilliant Portrait Of a Lady On Fire where the young woman who plays the cook is embroidering while studying from a vase of flowers.Its so incredible and in an instant takes the act of embroidery and levels it up to that of the painter painting from life. I decided to try it myself and it became this free style riff on a faded embroidered stitch. I am not calling it embroidery but I think its a nice detail.I am also adding the customer's initials.
Its also the first time I have completely sewn a production run myself... very humbling to say the least!
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April 16th,
I finally got to use  the piece of embroidery I bought a year ago on one of Sean's buying trips. It's a butterfly embroidered scarf... its very seventies feeling but I could be wrong since I can't find a date. It does mention Ivory soap.
"Folk Witches" seem to come to mind as I begin the second piece, a dress that utilizes the bargello and organza bias fabric I had asked Wendy to put together last summer.
a couple sewing "firsts" to note, my first bias inside the armhole and a really tiny collar on the shirt jacket.It would be great to shoot this at the abandoned train tunnel in Sydney.
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April 8th , 2020
Oneonta
The garment a day challenge went terribly, so I took a break and went to our storage unit in Oneonta. I love out door storage units because they are usually near industrial parks. The one we use happens to be along the rail road tracks in Oneonta.
I saw this structure in the distance and thought it might be an old estate but as I got closer I realized it was a cement silo/water tower (?).
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April 5th,2020
Garment a day challenge/7 day goal
For the next seven days I'm going o challenge myself to make one garment a day and post for sale by 9 am the next day. The only rules are
  1)It must be completely sewn by me (no other option)
  2)it must be completed in 8 hours
  3)must be for the current Spring/Summer season
I made this circle dress below completely by myself but it took three days! My first invisible zipper. I am only charging for labor at 40.00 per hour.
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April 1st ,2020
Conjuring
The second time I visited Franklin was when Sean and I first started dating and we visited Blue Farm Antiques here on Main Street. I bought this Victorian Ginger Jar that I then created a print from. It was for the last collection I had designed before I closed the old business so it never came into production, not even sample production. I did however get a few yards printed and have been saving the top until I could photograph it with the jar. The other day A.J.Mason photographed it on Hollie Witchey who owns this incredible store in Mountain Dale www.wictheyhandmade.com. It seems perfect that Hollie would have worn this top and have played Marianne Howell who's character used the ginger jar and both are alchemists.
          
                   
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March 30th,2020
I've been sketching and cutting circles for this dress idea I had and also to practice my bias skills. I cut into silk organza and used this cotton civil war reproduction print I had bought last year. Some circles were quilted and tea stained.
               
                  
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March 27th,2020
Somehow after watching the Taylor Swift documentary I decided I really want to keep my journal up.(there was a technical glitch of uploading the photos that I finally pushed through) Of course this isn't an actual journal where I write stream of conscious or describe the days events and my subsequent feelings.
I have been practicing my sewing skills for many reasons but mostly just so I can feel independent of needing a professional seamstress. Peter Soronen has been teaching me how to sew bias, how to sew a men's shirt, pockets, and how to put in an invisible zipper. I did however teach myself this mitered bias corner for the Prairie gown we're shooting this Sunday.
Sewing is very much like carpentry in the sense that cut goods must fit together a certain way and there are tiny details and complicated techniques that make up the whole. I think in clothing the technical battles that are won are often less obvious than say in a piece of furniture or the molding in a room.
bias on the prairie gown
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March 26th,2020

Slip dresses seem like the only thing to make right now. It's a very confusing time in terms of what to make, what seems appropriate and the need to earn a living. I've been learning how to sew certain things myself, like invisible zippers, pockets and seam binding.

January 25th, 2020

I've been patching together these 19th century Indienne prints from France and cutting them into a shirt dress version of the Lillian dress from last Spring.The dress can also be worn as a light weight coat dress and layered over the Lillian dress or other slips or pants.

 

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December 17th

The blanket dress became the cocoon top. Sometimes you have to destroy  things you love and sometimes commerce just guides the way. I had some of the dresses left and decided to flip them upside down and make them into tops after felting the dresses. The model Monty is a web design student from Delhi.

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Paul lives in Franklin and has one of the most incredible antique rug collections in the area. He has been dealing in antique rugs for over 40 years. He came up to the studio to show me a piece of homespun he's had and I asked him to model.He then asked me if I knew who Wilhelmina was...I was like..uh yeah.. and he told me she scouted him on the street in the early seventies. 

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December 10th, 2019

Perpetua shot by legendary photographer William Abranowicz in the GG422 store.

 

 

 

October 5th 2019

New Hampshire

I drove up to New Hampshire last weekend to meet Melanie who has been collecting 19th century European textiles for over 40 years. This is the collection I put together. I'll be continuing the big shirt as jacket theme with these in preparation for the October 9th shoot in Hudson.

 

September 18th

This heather brown weave in the Sampler top woven by Thistle Hill and designed by Rabbit Goody. It was developed for a pair of pants in a Tom Hanks period film in production now. When I was at the mill working on "the ultimate flannel" for this Holiday season, she generously gave me a piece of the test and I had just enough for two tops.

 

 

 

July 5th,2019

sun bleached ticking

Last month on my birthday I went back to Fieldstone House and purchased a bolt of sun bleached ticking I had been thinking about. It seemed fitting for the longest day of the year and its one of my favorite places to visit. I made one of these dresses (size 8) using the bleached stain section and I will be making a second in a size 6. It wasn't as sun damaged as I had hoped once the bolt was opened.I think of the character in My Antonia, Lena Lingard who opens a clothing store and Willa Cather describes the sun damaged notions in her store window.. also of that tv on the radio song..staring at the sun...cross the street from your storefront cemetery...

I had a really nice 4th of July with Sean and Rocco and some nice customers came into the store.

July 2nd, 2019

bargello

I've been working with local quilter Wendy Swears on some bargello designs using my prints and some I bought at Fieldstone House in Sydney,NY. The swatches below are in process for the Fall Victorian Bargello dress. Yesterday I realized I made it way too complicated in order for it to be somewhat affordable. I'm going to have to revise the idea but at least there will be one. Process and technical solutions often define the final design and some of the most spectacular dresses are the ones that give the good fight. 

The sky in Franklin last Saturday night

The Quilted Spire Bargello jacket

 June 27th, 2019

Moving Blankets

I've always loved moving blankets. My very first collection was inspired by moving blankets and made from quilted silk organza.These shown here from Margaretville, NY will play a key role in this summer's West Kortright production of MacBeth. I'll be teaching a costume workshop beginning July 22nd and working towards the designs for the production on August 1st and 2nd.

 

 

May 15th, 2019

It has been a while since my last journal entry. I am happy to be finally writing from my new studio above the 422 store, set to open in 10 days. (!!) Below are some images of the new studio and some things I've been working on.

The image of the woman is a detail of a group photo of The Twilight Club, a sorority in Franklin which disbanded in the sixties.The image below is of Frank Taylor running the Spring herringbone at Thistle Hill weavers.

Studio pre-hooshing

The Twilight Club

 November 10th, 2018

Delhi, New York. I was lucky enough to shoot in this abandoned second story bank in a building on Main street in Delhi. Naomi Yang, Susanne Sasic and Laura Kenner and I shot a short film with some inspiration I provided about this guy who lived in a crawlspace unbeknownst to the tenant below him from a radio program I had heard. Laura who plays the “crawlspace ghost” wears two dresses I made from antique tapestries, unused upholstery needlepoint and burlap needlepoint artwork.

Naomi shot and directed and Susanne (lighting designer legend) designed the lighting. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished result. I’m thinking of using the incredible Castle wall paper as a print for this Spring and need to go back and document all of the wallpapers before they disappear.

Film to be shown in December        Photos by Susanne Sasic

 

 

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October 28th, 2018

Almost All Hallows’ Eve. When I was four years old, I owned a Wicked Witch of the West doll. At some point in the 1970s, figurine editions were made of all the characters from the Wizard of Oz. I only wanted the witch, and for some reason, my Mother indulged me. I remember we were living with my grandmother in Cedar Hill, Wilmington Delaware, and I can still feel her disapproval. 

I was a witch for Halloween for many years. Later in high school, I found one of the costumes my mom had sewn for me at the Family Thrift Center in New Castle, DE. There it was, draped on a mannequin in the days leading up to Halloween. I knew it was mine because of the bullion fringe my mom used around the hem, and the polyester with the simulated home-spun linen texture. It was 1986. I was a Goth and was really happy about who I was for the first time.

Two months ago I asked my dear friend, Naomi Yang—collaborator and designer of some of my favorite album covers and books—to design a Goth-worthy graphic tee for me using the photograph from 1909 that Sean and I found of 422 Main Street. I love how the three women look right into the camera; the story is writing itself. They wanted to do something really great on their own and, as is the case with anything worth doing in life, faced much resistance. From there, the story unfolds through many decades. 

Happy Halloween. T-shirt available this December.

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October 10th, 2018

I spent a wonderful day at Thistle Hill Weavers finalizing yarn qualities and colors for the Lincoln Jacquard. The Mill is owned and run by Rabbit Goody--a weaver,  historian and founder of the Textile History Forum. Her husband John operates the jacquard loom, and together we finalized five different yarns for the weft. This means I will have a limited series of cashmere, camel and alpaca shirts. I was thinking I would use the Big Shirt pattern to make the pieces feel like a really luxurious flannel shirt.

The design is taken directly from a surviving sample of Damask curtains found in Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois that Thistle Hill Weavers replicated and produced. The fabric was originally woven in gold and red, but we are running it in a black cashmere with other colors and qualities. Just in time for the Holidays!

 

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October 8th, 2018

Last Winter I traveled up to Thistle Hill Weavers in Upstate NY to go to their annual fabric sale. I fell in love with these Ingrain Carpets from the first half of the 19th century and bought 3 yards of each which was as much as I could afford at the time. I went home and washed them,they shrunk (a lot) and got very soft. It took me until this past September to cut and sew them into a favorite shape of mine.. the old man coat..inspired by that famous Amy Arbus photo of Madonna in the tattered over size coat. I made one in the red..Maple Leaf from 1850.. and the other in the beige/orange color way. The sleeves use the very first jacquard I designed with Gina Gregorio that we had woven at Raxon Fabric Mill in Pennsylvania.

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