I have been spending much of the past year working on fabric design. Lately, I have been focusing on the fractal geometry and digital collages that drew me to the Spoonflower website last year. I had a few earlier works printed on delicate cotton voile fabric. I’d been working on these large prints for a few years, but at a bit at a loss on how to finish them, make them something more than light on a screen or flat digital prints. Fabric flows and moves and allows light to pass through it. It is dynamic and alive where paper is static. Since the early tests, I dived in pretty hard, researching ornament and pattern and retuning to a process that has rekindled my creativity. Spoonflower hosts a theme contest each week and I have approached them as a learning opportunity. While not all of my contest designs have been successful, they’ve all challenged me in different ways, getting me to draw again and explore the commercial side of fabric design.
This is my first try at a cut and sew pattern. Since my sewing skills are minimal, it needs to be something I could actually make. Spoonflower, where I have been selling and sharing fabric designs, has a weekly theme contest and many designers participate. This week the challenge is to create a cut and sew pencil case. I thought a variation of a drawstring backpack sized for pens, pencils and a small notebook and phone would be a fun thing to have.
I’ve been walking through the Tufts campus near my home – for the exercise but also because the pay off is so worth it. Tufts is built in a hilly area that straddles Medford and Somerville. Once at the summit, you can walk out onto the roof of the library and be greeted with an expansive view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines, some of the biggest sky to be found in the area.
Normally, the winters in Massachusetts are quite cold and snowy but this year, despite an early snowfall at Halloween and a few isolated show showers, winter never really arrived. Tufts Hill is also the prime sledding hill for the neighborhood. Bales of protective hay carefully placed in front of each large tree by the ever-busy Tufts maintenance crews just served as a reminder of how unusual this winter was.
The The Tisch Library rooftop garden and open lecture space is called Alex’s Place, named for a student who committed suicide in 2003. It is not an accident that the views from there are soul renewing and awe inspiring. The plantings and structures are simple and manage, at least in my opinion, to deftly tie this special place to the original brutal architecture of the library in an understated but perfectly conceived way.
Most of these images were just taken with my phone. I did bring along my new Nikon a few times. As this mild winter turns to spring, I will continue to trek up that hill and capture the changes. Maybe next year I’ll get to sled down.