Friday, September 28, 2012

Design Outside the Lines, Day Two

Along the lane to our lodge.

According to my camera phone, I took 430 pictures today.

So many garments were shown, so many samples passed around, I thought my head might explode. And I wasn't alone. One of the first things Sherry said to me when she stood up after the presentations was "I think my head might explode."

I wish I could mind meld with you and convey the events, visuals, and information of the day. Since that isn't possible, I will give you a few pictures, but just a few.

Marcy talked about t-shirts, tips for sewing with knits (especially thin knits), pattern alterations and manipulations, and developing patterns for Vogue.

Diane talked about collars, cording, and all sorts of embellishments and garment manipulations.

Besides the excellent lectures today, and the demos, I ran into town for a bit. Downtown Taos is really nice: the views are amazing, the shopping is good, and the restaurants are great. Taos is 7000 feet above sea level, much higher than I realized. They experience autumn, complete with fall colors. The boutiques in Taos are currently selling heavy wool coats and sweaters, which makes sense, I guess, since people come here in winter to ski, but it surprised me.

The weather right now is completely gorgeous: sunny, breezy and in the low 70s. The sky is an intense shade of blue and the cloud formations are both unusual and beautiful. Plus, the crickets chirp in the early afternoon. What is that about?

Stepping Out, a very nice shoe and clothing store

Uncommon Thread is a very interesting, very unusual fabric store. They love the folks from Marcy's retreats.

A few more photos from downtown Taos.

Because I spent an hour or so in town and then walked around taking photos, I had very little time to do much hands on work today. After returning from my outing, I decided to try painting on fabric with my hand made brush using Dynaflow paints, which was one of Diane's demos. My table partner, Diana, had dumpster dived and found some old mesh screen to fashion her paint brush. I borrowed her idea and used the same material to create my own brush, though my stick was much longer and the "bristles" on my brush were longer and more uneven. I discovered that it makes a great spatter brush.

Diane's painting with Dynaflow demo.

The beginning of my effort, using my brush fashioned from a window screen.

Marcy's demo for sewing a neckline in a thin knit, assisted by fabric glue.

Today's painting effort started out better than yesterday's stencil practice, but, in the end, the fabric is much larger than yesterday's samples, and pretty darned ugly. It didn't bother me as much this time. I can tell I need a lot more practice to get somewhere good. That's ok.

Maybe part of my lack of self confidence is that many of the people here are very artistic. The more I speak to them, the more awed I become. More than one have pieces, of various kinds, in galleries. More than one run businesses based on fiber art, or other kinds of art. It's quite impressive and, just maybe, it gives me permission to create infantile artwork, since I don't have that sort of background. I'm the slow kid in class and need to repeat the third grade. Today, I'm ok with that.

I haven't taken many photos of people, but let me share a couple, both of whom read my blog. Have I mentioned that I love to meet folks who read my blog? :)



We are staying, and working, at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House inn and conference center. This inn is so historic, with such unusual architecture, that it has a palpable presence. Georgia O'Keeffe stayed here for awhile, though she had issues with Mabel, and she ultimately found other Taos accommodations.

The dining room, where we are fed, though I eat outside in the breezy courtyard as much as possible.

Breakfast and lunch is included as part of the retreat. This is today's lunch.

One of my blog readers said, don't forget to check out the Solarium! So I did. This room, where Mabel herself slept, is perched at the top of the main building, and has a 360 degree view. You climb a ladder to ascend. Nope, no curtains.

This bathroom is available for those staying in "Tony's room", just below the Solarium. I think Tony was Mabel's husband.

The staircase to Tony's and Mabel's rooms.

And here's wee bit more eye candy.


  1. I have to say that I am so enjoying the snippets of the Design Outside The Lines that you are posting... It has always been one of my someday if my ship comes in dreams to go there, and thanks to your posts, I can see it in my imagination so much more clearly!

    I am also so very impressed at your stepping outside your comfort zone - I think of you as a very creative person, one of my sewing heros, and certainly not a "slow kid"... but then I remember how I feel when I try something that I have never done much of before, like dancing, or music, where I am definitely at the back of the class...

  2. You are having so much fun! Thank you for sharing all this with us. The photos speak for themselves!

  3. I'm so enjoying your posts on the retreat. Did not know something like this existed. I' m one of those staying too much in the comfort zone. Admiring you to go outside that and experiment.

  4. WOW. I knew that Taos was a special place, but these photos are showing me a lot more than I realized. It seems magical - a great place to cleanse ones palate from day-to-day life.

    I love your commentary and I, too, am surprised that you are a newbie? You always strike me as so creative and adventurous. It follows logic that this workshop is the perfect thing for you. Thanks for taking the time to share are you go along!

  5. Well this is going to sound like a broken record on my part, but I love the flavor of what this retreat is about from these posts. It's bound to help those of us considering spending the money to go. I suspect these few days will be percolating for a LONG time in your brain.

  6. Great picture of you and Emily!!

  7. You know this post makes me want to head to DFW and hop the first plane to join ya'll.

  8. Shams, thank you for taking the extra time to post these DOL observations. I am soaking them up and appreciate them . Have a lot of comments, but won't.
    Mostly, don't be discouraged about your painting skills or your knowledge of surface design. you are there to learn. its so easy to be intimidated by others. just follow your own sense of style and interests and try to shut out what you think you are expected to do. just try try try. that's why you are there. to learn! you'll eventually find what works for you.

  9. This sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  10. You're right where you're meant to be. First steps in new directions are always awkward and then step-by-step we learn to walk then run. You're experimental already and that makes it easier. You understand learning curves.

    When I was in Sisters in June, I thought this workshop would be perfect for you and I'm so thrilled that you are there. I can feel the energy in your words. My mind hasn't stopped swirling in the three months since and my work is going in new directions because of what I learned and a lot because of what I felt in that room and the inspiration of being with people who were "more" than me - you know what I mean by that.

    Next week, I plan to play with paints which is mostly new to me too. Could be I'll be making bias or maybe it'll turn into something "real" but either way I'll be learning. VERY fun.

    Thanks for writing about your experience. See why I said you'd want to take lots of pictures and make notes?

  11. Would love to hear more about Marcy's technique with thin knit neckline and glue. Love the photos. You have an excellent eye

  12. Oh Shams...your post today did so much for me! You, Jilly and Carolyn are my favorite bloggers. The 3 of you are talented and inspiring. I love everything you make, especially the way you combine different fabrics/prints/colors. Because of you and Jilly, I even stepped outside of my comfort zone to make a skirt with a gusset and sheer vest using 3 different fabrics (prints)from Marcy. Fun!
    I know what I make isn't nearly as good as yours! For YOU, of all people, to say you lack self confidence...oh gosh! But I'm glad you said that because you aren't letting a lack of confidence stop you and neither should I. Thank made my day!!!!

  13. Sounds like too much fun for one oerson! Thanks for sharing.

  14. No need to feel a lack of confidence! You rock, in my book! I also felt that I was way, way inexperienced as compared to my classmates, but I was exposed to, and learned so much that I am still feeding off the creativity. DOL is a real head-exploder, but remember that your discomfort means that you are learning. If you are not a tiny bit uncomfortable, you are not learning anything new.

  15. Thanks so much, Shams, for taking the time and energy to post your travel and creative adventures!

  16. So great that you're there....

    Over the years, I've thought a lot about "learning how to learn"--what works for me, what doesn't. In my case, if I'm going to be experimenting with new techniques, I need familiar tools. In other words, I would have wanted to bring my own brushes. (My inner 4-year-old is still alive and well, and when she's overwhelmed, she shuts down...)

  17. I'm just soaking up your words, your (many) talents definitely include an ability to convey the experience of being there - I SO appreciate your honesty in sharing your journey on different levels.

    This workshop is certainly on my dream list of experiences I would like to have, and Taos would be my #1 choice of locales too. If I ever do get the chance to take this, I will relish your sharing, because I know that I would feel like I were stepping over the edge into a scary place, especially if surrounded by talent like that!

    Cannot WAIT to hear about it in person!

  18. I want to add that I'm also really loving the comments that others have been making - it seems like magic is being unleashed...... :)

  19. I am really enjoying experiencing this retreat through your posts. Like Jilly Be this is one on my dream list experiences. I love your honesty about the creating but IMHO you are an extremely creative person who expresses herself in a different medium. I look forward to seeing all the percolations of the ideas through your brilliant mind showing up on your wonderful blog.

  20. Thanks for sharing your experience - I have done three DOLs and really enjoyed them. The great thing is that it doesn't matter if you don't produce much - I just feel like it is summer camp, and I have met some really great people. Just wish we all lived closer so we could really get together. Maybe I'll try to go to Santa Barbara next time..... Thanks again!! Sheila Rideout

  21. Such a wonderful event in a magical place. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  22. I am enjoying your posts so much. I simply must put this on my To Do list--after all, Taos is just up the road from here. It's great to see a couple of my favorite places through your eyes, too.

  23. Thanks Shams, its been great reading your posts! Such a wonderful experience, it will be fun to see the influences emerge in future projects. I've so enjoyed the daily glimpses of Taos and presentations by Marcy & Diane. Appreciate the effort involved to blog each day as well :)

  24. Ah, Shams, welcome to the DOL sisterhood! I love hearing about your experiences - I too felt the way you're feeling when first I went to DOL, but DOL gave me more permission to see myself as an artist and to learn and grow more in those gifts. DOL was so much more than a workshop for me and I'm guessing for you and many others than attend, it becomes like a fountain of art and talent and sisterhood that you draw on for inspiration. It gave me so much more that still fills me. I'm excited for and with you. Thanks again for sharing your experience with all of us.