July 29, 2011

an afternoon break

It's been a crazy week getting ready for the Spring-Summer 2012 show that starts this Sunday in New York. I've been finishing samples, editing photos, making price lists... 

I still don't know how I managed to finish this afternoon and still had time for a much deserved rest and enjoy this yummy pomegranate.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I will see you again when I come back from New York next Wednesday.

July 28, 2011

spring-summer 2012 this weekend in New York

I'm off to New York this Saturday to show my Spring-Summer 2012 collection at the Children's Club. This is just a sneak peek of the collection.

July 27, 2011

natural dyeing workshop {part III}

On our last day at the workshop we labeled all our swatches, dyed some more fabric and yarn and shared our thoughts on the whole experience. I loved it!!

more yellow swatches

baby alpaca dyed with indigo and a piece of wool cloth dyed with quebracho and then dipped in indigo

this is an organic cotton scarf I knitted {originally it was ivory} and dyed with indigo. Isn't it just great?? Love the color!

some pieces made with the shibori technique

this one was made tying nails to the fabric

finished and labeled swatches

dyed wool ready to be spinned

our wonderful teacher Louise Wheatley spinning some yarn

July 26, 2011

natural dyeing workshop {part II}

On my second day at the workshop I worked a shibori technique on a linen table runner and then dipped it in the indigo.
I also dyed some pima cotton, alpaca and cotton yarn swatches in the different yellows we had. The intention was to dip the material in yellow and then in the indigo to make green.

yarns and wool fabrics

running stitch to make shibori

osage orange dye bath

my linen table runner dripping

swatches of organic pima cotton, tanguis cotton and linen after the osage orange dye bath

wool dyed with myrobalan, quebracho and weld

baby alpaca hat dyed with philodendrum

the drying line

raw silk dyed with pomegranate and philodendrum

July 25, 2011

natural dyeing workshop {part I}

Last weekend I braved the heat and spent three days at the Textile Museum attending a workshop on natural dyeing. It was led by artist, weaver, and independent textile conservator Louise Wheatley.
On Friday we focused on mordanting various fabrics and fibers, understanding the different possibilities with plants and powder dyes, and dyeing some of the materials we prepared.

 some of the materials we used

cotton, silk, linen fabrics to be scoured for dyeing

pots and pans for mixing and dye vats

scouring the materials


pomegranate flowers

other plants we used to make yellow

the indigo vat


some of my first pieces of cloth and yarn dyed with indigo

July 20, 2011

Bolivia and a tale of no access to education

For many years now I have been struggling with the education system in Bolivia which is in total disarray, but yesterday afternoon my manager in Cochabamba called me in tears to tell me that her two boys were rejected from two public schools.

Why did this happen, I asked?
Well... at both public schools ("colegios fiscales" as they are called in Bolivia), she was told that since she has a job and a monthly salary, the school must send someone to check her house and place of work to make sure she needed to have her kids at a public school. Only after the inspections the school board will determine if they accept the boys.
She was also told that they give priority to:
-Kids whose parents do not have a job
-Families with more than four kids
-Kids who are victims of abuse 

In addition, even though they are public schools, public education in Bolivia is not free. Parents must pay monthly for their children to attend school, in addition to uniforms (required at all public schools), books, supplies and materials are not provided by the state. 

Not many as private education is expensive in Bolivia.

Next step?
Wait for the "inspections" and hope for the best.
My feelings about this?
I come from Costa Rica where since 1869, the country became one of the first in the world to make the education both free and obligatory... so you guys can imagine how I feel about something like this happening to the person I see not only as my right hand but as my friend. 

I don't usually write things like this on this little space of mine, but this issue definitely deserves to be brought to people's attention.

photography by me

July 18, 2011

where I get creative {an interview with Kristin Loeffer Theiss}

Hello Monday!!!

Today I welcome Kristin Loeffer Theiss, an artist I admire so much. She creates beautiful creative toys, clothing and accessories through an intricate process that I admire so much. Check out HERE how she draws with thread.

Tell us a bit about your background
My mother sewed a lot of my clothes when I was a kid & I used to love going to the fabric store with her. I learned to sew early on – but really just made things up as I went along (which I still do). So my love of textiles started when I was small. I majored in fine art (painting & drawing emphasis) in college with a minor in art history & writing. I got my MFA in fine art from the School of Visual Arts in NYC & later taught painting part time at a small college in my hometown in Washington State (while always working various full time jobs at the same time). I taught there for about 12 years. I had an opportunity arise when one of my full time gigs changed dramatically in 2005- that’s when klt:works was born.

Describe your Creative Space
Our whole house is my creative space basically. My husband is also an artist so our home is our art project. Over the years we created a space that nurtured creativity- full of textures, colors, images, books, art, & nostalgic hodge-podge that inspires us. Because I work from home, I have literally used all of the spaces of our house to create in. However, my main creative space is in the attic of our bungalow. It’s a place that I spend A LOT of time. There is always music playing in my studio and I surround myself with things that inspire me. My favorite magazines, vintage toys, vintage and new children’s books, my favorite dance costume from when I was a kid, and a cozy sleeping nook. I also created a little hidden fort space for Sayer that he calls his office. He is up in my studio with me a lot so you can see that influence. I never know where my thread is because he squirrels it away somewhere.

Two things you can't live without?
This is sort of tough- but I would have to say my Ipod/Itunes & MacBook (these could count as one, right?). Then a second would be my camera (or “our” camera that I monopolize heavily). But then I would have to have some kind of drawing tool … so I would sneak that in my pocket.

Do you have any routine or rituals in your work habits?
I’m sure I do, but I’m not aware of them other than turning music on right away when I step into my studio.

How do you keep focused while working?
This isn’t easy on a real life level. I take care of my 3 year old and try to work – therefore “focusing” isn’t really that possible. Not to mention, I’m a one-person business. So, focusing is always a work in progress. But when it comes to ideas & creativity, I’m really focused and driven. I stay on task if I’m given time to myself. I generally have a memory like a steal trap, so I will always come back to my ideas if I stray during the day. Once I get in the creative bubble, I can focus for hours. It’s really a matter of creativity as a habit (I borrowed from Twyla Tharp on this term). I actually was a dancer from first grade – junior year in high school so I learned creative discipline at an early age. Many years of art school also helped with creative focus & discipline. 

What is your primary source of inspiration?
Life & my surroundings inspire me tremendously. I am really aware of everyday things like shadows, colors, textures, moods, and music. I revel in nostalgia & love vintage toys & children’s books- things that are peeling and that show character. Photography, music, movies & other artists/creative people inspire me. But I have to say my husband and my son are my major sources of creative inspiration. 

What part of your work do you enjoy the most?
This is another really tough question for me. I really love all aspects of creativity. I probably enjoy the process and the challenge of creating more than the finished product – which really is a reflection of my fine art background. I enjoy designing and making – but making for the first time- not making for production sake. I really love documenting creativity. The camera has been a favorite element of my process lately. I’m also a research junkie and like that part of the creative process too. I think that is why I enjoy blogging so much. It’s a way of documenting what inspires me along with giving me a quick, daily creative fix outside of my studio time. 

What are you working on now?
I’m always working on a million things! I have more ideas than time. I’m really just working on filling orders, expanding my business and product lines, trying to become better at what I do, learning more of what I need to know, along with creatively being a good mom, wife, and friend.

Thank you so much Kristin for sharing your creative space with us and for being an inspiration!!!

Kristin's Website
Her wonderful Blog
Buy Kristin's Amazing Products here!

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