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.
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.
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.
December 10th, 2019
Perpetua shot by legendary photographer William Abranowicz in the GG422 store.
October 5th 2019
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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.