Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Millinery: Rose Paper Hat

"Seeking symbolic meaning of the rose from an esoteric perspective, in which the rose is considered a symbol of balance. 
Here the beauty of the rose expresses promise, new beginnings, hope."


Many years ago, I created a rose band for a wedding "veil" made of paper...

I started with a collection of papers including Japanese mulberry papers, Tyvek, and tea bags.
From there I bleached the tea bags and cut them into petal shapes.
I used a Japanese scrunching technique to give them just the right flower texture.

Here is the finished piece with the flower groupings placed on a band and secured with a satin ribbon that would crown any bride's head comfortably!

Close up noting the various papers, pearls, feathers, ribbons...

It was a fabulous exploration of seeing what paper could do!


Spring forward to this year and I decided to expand by combining my paper skills and  my dying skills together in to one glorious piece.

I had recently been creating Paper Hats using Italian 180 weight crepe paper and thought to create a fascintor (small hat) using this particular paper that I hand-dyed.
 I created a poppy....

...while beautiful, it wasn't quite was my soul wanted to express for this piece. I wanted something softer and more fluid....

Part of creating a new life for soul...has been working on the process of slowing down and being mindfully (and delightfully) present with myself and therefore my work.

I am able to hear my soul's inspired feelings-words on which direction I want to create my clear voice.

So pulled out my Japanese papers and started dying using Procion dye.

Now I knew I was headed in the right direction! I knew these would make the delicate soft petals  feminine I was looking for...

Now for the centers...
I had dyed this crepe thinking it would make beautiful stamens.

Here is a Rose with this was wonderful but not quite right for this project...

I found my pearl stamens...

Bingo- exactly where I wanted to go with this...delicate and very feminine.

Now finding the right foundation to set these beauties upon...
We are fortunate to have a millinery shop here locally..many of their items are handmade and vintage. I found the perfect foundation of vintage "chicken" wire.

The edge binding was of a cotton and I decided to add this beautiful vintage kimono fabric...after all when you are dying and creating each flower, it suits to follow through in every detail!

Here is the final piece!
I am very happy with the way this turned out...feminine, easy to wear, and comfortable in any weather.

This Rose Hat is available!! 
Contact Leslie here if interested 
or wish a custom paper hat of your very own.

If  you would like to see it in the round
click here to see a video of the finished piece!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mind, Body, & Soul

Some of you have asked...I know that you went through a tremendous life change...

I know to many of you it seemed quite quickly but it was years in the making with hard work and great help to find my true self... more in that here.

I have discovered that it IS all about working on yourself as a whole- but not all at the same time- that is way too overwhelming.

My hope is that I can share my life walk to help  you in some way. This is how my path went and yours is your own to discover. We are here to become our best whole selves.

Here are my thoughts on what worked for me- you can take the basic concept and create your own version...if you so choose.
This was the hardest and incredibly deep step for me...but it is what gave me the clarity to set up my whole life as it is today. Yes, I am very fortunate that through my intense life challenges, it was the help of a really good therapist. She was able to help me understand my behavior and coping patterns with solid support and safety with in her. I know that it is very very difficult to face your own self head on and work through these to become clear...and it is not for everybody, but for me it worked (and still does). It does save time but for many of you, you may be able to work through your challenges on your own...but for me I needed all the help I could get. She saved my life. period.

I am now able to see very clearly who and what fits into my finally be my true self without restrictions.

During and some still today, I experienced very real anxiety. For me, I needed to physically move.
I started with walking...walking. I still hold this practice every morning. I use it as a meditative time to notice the beauty around me- to get out of my head- to get out of my own way. I set a fairly slow pace (for the fast walker that I am.) It is not about exercise, it is about being in the fresh air and nature...and just being.

It is definitely a self care practice...and if I don't do it, I notice my whole day is off. I will get up at whatever time or weather (my cut off for cold is anything below 9*F) to make certain that I have that time for myself...and I do it by myself- for me. I walk everyday.

From there I was able to start practicing yoga. I don't hold the religious beliefs but do hold the exercise and mindfulness beliefs. I do yoga at least 4 times a week. I need the movement.

Finally, my darling man, started my love with kickboxing. It is a bad a** practice and yes, it stretches you not only physically but for me mentally since I live in my right brain, I find boxing very mathematical and very left brain. Balance. I box once to twice a week.

Another benefit from having a strong body it gives you a strong mind
Since I push my physical strength, it can't help but push my artistic strength!

For me daily movement is very very necessary. I do something everyday. That is my balance.
You will find the right one for yourself.

I feel that a spiritual belief is very important...and over time, I have found that your own belief will speak to you.
For me, I have found that when I am in conflict with my thoughts, it is my soul (my God, my Universe) that is telling me that I am not in connection. My soul wants only the best for me and if I am not in alignment (that uneasy feeling) it is time that I take a step back and look at what IS the best direction to take. I know when my soul settles and there is a very real peace.
This is where my walks help my soul...the benefit of walking it out relaxes my body to give my soul the quiet it needs to be heard.

Mind Body Soul. 

I found that to do this right for me, I needed all three to be pushed hard to get to find my true self and now with this I can create a beautiful life with my love, my cherished friends and cousin, and my soul being able to speak clearly through my art.

I wish only the best for all of you in finding your true self. My heart is with you all.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Motivation, Inspiration & True Self

As I have traveled my journey in creating my new life, I found that it was the conflicts that helped me to define my focus. I am grateful for each and everyone of them...

...and as I walk upon this new path I am discovering many things about myself, understanding and being comfortable in my flaws, as well as being comfortable in my abilities and my talents.

As I thought back about my art career to date, I see as I changed so did my reason for my art. As I discovered my true self so did my art and I am now on the verge of being able to really express this in my work.

Which brought me to being inspired yet motivated.

Many people use the words “motivated” and “inspired” interchangeably. But I’ve found something quite different to be the case.

Inspiration makes you create, dream and innovate. Motivation empowers you to execute.

Inspiration comes hard, it's often found in suffering. When people see bad times they're inspired to solve problems and make the world a better place.

Motivation makes them work to make that dream come true.

motivation is a pulling or pushing force 
Whether you use the word “motive” or you use the word “reason”, motivation needs to come from that source. Without having a reason or a motive, it will be hard to come by.

inspiration is an inside to outside force
The word “inspiration” comes from the late Latin word “inspirare” which means “in spirit” or “divine guidance”. Inspiration connects with you on the inside to a state of being more excited, productive, and/or purposeful.
And now I realize as I look back that I was extremely- maybe even obsessively- motivated with my art. Not to say that I was not creative or capable but my reason was from being pushed (as I was taught) to please others- yes, highly motivated.

We could go into my years of therapy to find the deep courage to find myself. I can tell you that I do know now that it is about balance of mind, body, and soul. I am truly and mindfully convinced of this and know that if you are on your own journey, you will need all of these to be examined and brought to their highest potential to bring you to your own highest potential- your true self. It is a hard but extremely fulfilling and eventually, a peaceful path. You will be able to see things and people more clearly and know how and if they fit into your life.

In that the realization, I am now being in my true self I find that I am now able to step into inspiration and I feel that my best art is about to be fully expressed! To finally shed my cocoon and spread my wings into full flight...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fabrics from around the World!


Many of you ask where I get my fabrics...and yes, part of it is all about connections!

But not any ordinary connection...

As we grow as artist, we become very particular in our supplies that we use...your eye becomes more defined as your work progresses...

...I have noticed of late that I am on a spiritual path with my work. The beauty of art is that there is no limit you are always growing!

I have long surpassed the "10,000 hours" to gain your "masterdom" in technique and it is very important to me to share my spirituality in my pieces with you.

Out in the World

I have my “international buyers – Asian division” that traveled to India and to Malaysia this year. This year, I wanted fabrics that were more subdued for the linings on my new line of handbags. Other fabrics are purchased locally, as I travel, or online - which can sometimes be tricky navigating a Japanese website!

So this could be a daunting mission to send someone out into the world and bring back something that is workable! Luckily, I have found the understanding/connection with Julie and Kirk. They have a great eye and are spot on with my requests!

Last time was brights with metallic threads in India read more here

I am well known for my Asian influence in my work...but I do mix culture's fabrics depending on what speaks to me for the piece I am creating...for I am not replicating but being soulfully inspired.

Julie and Kirk are great travelers and bring back not only great fabrics, but also photos of the places where they purchased these wonderful fabrics.


Photo is where they purchased the Indian fabrics in Cochin:


I wanted subdued tones of blue and grey- this was a great accomplishment from a tropical climate!

Photo of Julie doing batik.

Fabrics in Malaysia.

It is with great gratitude that these two actually travel to the places to buy some of my fabrics!!

And now..what will become of these fabrics??? 

They will find their place...their my creations!!

find me daily bringing beauty to you on facebook

find my art on my  facebook page

find me on pinterest

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cranes 1 to 1000

1 crane

I find that nature brings such incredible inspiration to me...and usually on my morning (meditation) walks. 
I use these walks to get out of my own head and listen and look at the beauty around me...and sometimes post of my fb page of my sightings...sometimes it is such a brief moment that all I can do is enjoy that moment.

This past week I posted photos of a stick that was center in my path. I thought it looked like a crane...
inspiration for dolls with bird totem symbolism that I will be creating for a show at the Art Gym  in July-Aug...then onto NIADA Conference.
"There is a Japanese idiom that says, “tsuru no hito koe“, 鶴の一声 or つるのひとこえ, which literally translates as, “one word from the crane’, meaning the “voice of authority”, the one who has the final word that isn’t challenged. 
That is how high the crane is regarded, no one questions his opinions."
the crane stick
the first morning it was a crane "standing" nobly in my path...
the next morning walk...the crane was with mouth open speaking or singing...or giving his opinion...
this past morning the crane was "flying"...

By day three, I thought " the message...I will create you...
you must have a voice
you must fly!"

The crane is the symbol of longevity and good luck because it was thought to have a life span of a thousand years. Tsuru are also monogamous, therefore, often used for wedding decor."
I will definitely be creating a crane in my series of dolls!!
The crane has traits of peace, nobility, loyalty, and truth, as well as longevity. 
stay tuned for the upcoming postings of my work in progress...

1000 paper cranes

note: I have fortunate to have been to her shrine in Horshima...

Sadako Sasaki also became famous for her own attempt to fold 1,000 cranes in the 1950s. When Sadako was only two years old, she was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, in Japan. As she grew up, she developed leukemia. Suffering from the deadly disease, she learned the ancient tradition about the 1,000 paper cranes. Inspired to follow the legend, Sadako folded paper cranes in her hospital bed, praying for world peace. Sadako died when she was only 12, before she could finish 1,000 cranes. 

As a tribute to Sadako’s life and selfless wishes, her classmates folded the remaining cranes, and Sadako Sasaki was buried with the full 1,000 cranes. Her story stands as an inspiration to all, and a testament to the continued power of the paper crane as a compelling symbol for hope, love, honor, and peace.

I challenge you!

Start folding to create your own 
symbol for hope, love, honor, and peace.

Place one or two or a thousand anywhere
take a photo
post on facebook!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My Happiness Hat

As I travel my path as an artist and a person who is listening carefully to my soul, I found that I needed expand my art and share this journey...

So where would that take me and my beloved students?
I found that I had to stop, take a deep breath, and listen to my soul...and hear what it was telling me...

“Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul 
... and you answer.” 
~Terri Guillemets

It was telling me loud and clear to share my love of hats and the symbolism that communes with them...and with that I had to stop again, and ask questions and hear the answers...

“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, 
and the less the artist does the better.” 
~André Gide

It is in the stillness that the answers will come to becomes so obvious that you wonder why it took you so long to get it!

“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, 
while the art tells you to take your time. 
Always listen to the art.” 
~Junot Diaz 

As I shared the direction my soul was going with my students in CA last year, they were receptive of creating a hat for a workshop was there in that amazing connection that Kathy came up with the name "My Happiness Hat"!

Of course!!! My Happiness Hat.

I thought about which materials I would use outside of fabric but still having the "hand" of fabric. Paper...but no ordinary paper. It had to be as thoughtful as my fabrics I use. It had to have the quality that I am known had to be different from what is usual.

I consider paper to be a sister of fabric. I have created in both for many of my artistic life.

Now...which flowers to bring to life in paper...

Lily and Peony...soulful and delicate.
Here my Story Hats© in fabric.

Lily = Love

Peony = Peace

I was excited to create these for a class...

In creating this hat...from paper, I felt that the details where just as important and meaningful as in my one of a kind Story Hats©.

As you well know, I am about the details of my pieces. I find that each step is very important in creating a quality piece.

So I looked at each element of the hat. The Petals, leaves, hat base exterior and interior.
I thought about the design of each...with one focal flower as in my original pieces.
And of course how would each flower relate to my students or potential buyer of these beauties.

I chose my paper carefully and ended up with a heavier weight designer crepe paper. It differs from the usual craft store paper in weave, quality of paper used, and in thickness. I also decided to mix my papers using a fine quality card stock for the leaves. The Hat base exterior was made from easy accessible card stock paper that my students could find, this way they could add their own touch into it. The interior was made from nice thicker wrapping paper and/or museum quality papers I found online.

Closely related to my fabric petals, where I dye the fabric, with the paper petals I bleached the ends.
Fabric Petals

Paper Petals

Fabric Petals and Leaf
Paper Flowers and Leaf

Fabric Interior

Paper Interior

I feel as an artist that it is important to do things with the same intentions and care, no matter what your project is.
Here are the Paper Hats...My Happiness Hats I created!

* Love: Lily 百合
The Lily symbolizes “forever in love” and is often associated with summer, abundance and luck. Used as a lucky charm, the Lily is known to avert the effects of the “evil eye.” The Lily hat is blessed with love and the power of warmth.

* Peace : Peony 牡丹
The Chinese name for peony means “beautiful”. The flowers represent riches, prosperity and honor.

Peonies embody romance and prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage. They are also considered as a symbol for nobility and honor in full bloom, the peony symbolizes peace.

I will be teaching My Happiness Hat 
Piecemakers Costa Mesa CA
April 22-23, 2017

...and as a bonus if you take the class you will be able to attend my Story Hat Presentation with the price of the class...I will talk about the presentation in my next blog!
I'm also very excited to share with you my work through a 2 hour slide show presentation of my work. I will discuss my work in detail and answer any questions about my work!

Not able to make the class
Sunday April 23 will be the presentation

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