Lotus-silk weaving in Inlelake, Myanmar

Finally gotten round to linking my Instagram account to this blog!

This was something I saw back in April this year whilst travelling in Myanmar that quite frankly, blew my mind away. Lotus silk weaving is unique to Myanmar. At Khit Sunn Yin Hand Weaving centre in the village of Innpawkhon, Inle Lake, they do a live demo of this craft and offer an amazing selection of silk and lotus-silk scarves for sale. Khit Sunn Yin is a 4th generation family business and by far one of the most established ones in the art of lotus silk. Got a silk + lotussilk mix scarf for around 40+ USD. A pure lotus silk scarf costs 75 USD.

The arduous task of extracting silk-like filaments from each lotus stalk to spin into weaving yarn is simply mind-blowing. Takes around 4000 lotus stalks to make 1 scarf!

Marbling marbling

Marbling is one of the easiest print-making techniques that can also be a 'hit or miss' for beginners. Done well and inks will spread and interact to create some truly amazing forms, lines and colours. Miss a step and your inks will sink and you'll get absolutely nada after a day of preparation (marbling mix and paper/fabric need to be prepared beforehand).                                     

Black & White is closest to heart for me,  both in purity of lines and depth of expression. But I've since dabbled with colours to do some justice to marbling's ability to produce some truly amazing, and always surprising colour stories.  

My best marbling works to date were those which I had the least control over. 

The colour prints were marbled using marbling material and JACQUARD inks available from:  https://www.dharmatrading.com/    The marbling base (thick viscous solution on which to float your inks) I use is made with Carrageenan powder.

MAPS - image on the tray

MAPS - image on the tray

MAPS - print when pulled onto paper pre-treated with alum

MAPS - print when pulled onto paper pre-treated with alum

MONOCHROME series

MONOCHROME series

MONOCHROME series

MONOCHROME series

Welcome 2017! Centre of Innovative Material & Technology (CIMT)

First entry of the year, hola 2017! How swiftly you arrive, how foreign still it feels to write 2017.  

I made a trip to the Hong Kong Design Institute today for a talk on Bauhaus costume and was lucky enough to be given a tour of the Centre of Innovative Material & Technology (CIMT).

Loved the section with swatches of innovative material sourced from Material Connexion  https://www.materialconnexion.com/newyork/

LEFT: High density polyethylene (HDPE) monofilaments + aluminium. Reflective, weather-resistant and flame retardant screens. RIGHT: Lightweight bobbinet tulle fabric composed of 91% polyamide (PA 6.6) and pure silver (9%). Tear resistant, electro-magnetic shielding. Used in technical shielding and flexible electronics.

LEFT: High density polyethylene (HDPE) monofilaments + aluminium. Reflective, weather-resistant and flame retardant screens.

RIGHT: Lightweight bobbinet tulle fabric composed of 91% polyamide (PA 6.6) and pure silver (9%). Tear resistant, electro-magnetic shielding. Used in technical shielding and flexible electronics.

LEFT: Compressed lightweight panels made of recycled denim cut into small pieces and mixed with a modified starch 

LEFT: Compressed lightweight panels made of recycled denim cut into small pieces and mixed with a modified starch 

LEFT: Yarn in resin RIGHT: Knitted straw + yarn

LEFT: Yarn in resin

RIGHT: Knitted straw + yarn

Then there were these incredibly cool textile artworks made by a local student. Layers of organza intricately stitched and layered in a 3-dimensional way to create a layered hologram effect.

Hanoi

So, I made a short trip to Hanoi last week and 2 things about this city struck me: Fonts and Gates. There is an incredibly decorative element to Hanoi that is integral to its visual identity, a mix of Western art-decor (French influence?) style with Chinese finesse.

I was obsessed with the richness of decorative motifs in every corner...a breath of fresh air where fonts were concerned. No white-washing with ultra modern sleek fonts, but rather, improvisation and an organic hotchpotch of contrasting visual identities, old and new.

 

Hanoi 1.jpg

And I'm extremely happy with these BEEAUUTIFUL pouches I purchased from Craft Link! http://www.craftlink.com.vn/

 

Threads

I discovered this incredibly inspiring book at the Asian Art Archive the other day. From Vanuatu baskets to Pacific mats, these traditional textiles looked surprisingly modern. Loved the use of technicolored woollen yarn against a natural straw base...

Summer dress project!

I've had it at the back of my mind for the longest time to make a summer dress just for myself. Partly inspired by the Club Monaco style, it would be summery, easy yet feminine at the same time. The delicate floral jacquard cotton I bought awhile ago was perfect for this dress, but as it's rather sheer, I had to fully line it with a cotton lining, and use french seams throughout.

Initial sketch

Initial sketch

My first sketch (a very lazy attempt) was for something with a more waisted look with an elasticated waistband. Whilst prototyping however, I realised I preferred a more A-line look, with very slight elastication along the waist. It's a tremendously satisfying feeling to make something just the way you like it (and be your own fit model!). But given my slightly obsessive/perfectionist streak, this meant many edits along the way...

Floral jacquard cotton

Floral jacquard cotton

Preparing the hem gathered ruffle-panel

Preparing the hem gathered ruffle-panel

Finito!

Finito!

And yaay to my easy fit (perfect fit for me!) dress. It's exactly knee length. After some fussing, I finally completed my dress from sketch to finished product! The actual sewing wasn't difficult, but turning those 1cm wide straps inside-out was a test of my vast reserve of patience. 

I love making my own and the sense of connection/intimacy I feel that comes with knowing the WHOLE story behind my dress..