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Toile La La is a research blog for fashion design, ART, history, and creativity in every shape, form, and fashion. stitcht collage, jennifer hawkins hock - june 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rescued Sewing Pattern

Proof of my sewing pattern fondness - this scruffy, bandaged old Simplicity:
rescued sewing pattern - Toile La La

Yesterday, I once again professed my love of old sewing patterns - for their illustrations, instructions, and too - little bits of the human touch, such as the handwriting on this one. Notice the consistency of the letter "t" - uncrossed, at the end of the words "fit", "skirt", and "it". And aren't those shoes rather appealing... but the main reason I purchased this pattern (for 10 cents!) was the collar - described as "Italian-type". So feminine, like leaves framing a flower bud. Ironically, the formerly most-coveted component of the pattern - the skirt, is gone. You'll see the pattern owner's writing which says, "Very good skirt. I think you will like it! Easy to make! I want this back when you are through with it." So, perhaps either the original owner or the borrower decided to keep just the skirt pattern pieces.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Exercise in Spontaneity

I'm writing about spontaneity today - as it came to mind in my observation of what I know at this moment due to life and memory, compared to what is known due to googling, reading, or research. I emerged from deep thought regarding my love of research regarding garment construction and fashion history - which resulted from an overheard conversation in a used bookstore. (I wasn't trying, they were talking very loudly.) Two ladies discussed their luck in avoiding the donation of boxes of sewing patterns - saying where would they have stored them and agreeing they're no good after someone's cut into them. Regarding their space, the first comment made sense. However, I truly LOVE examining a used sewing pattern - and know there are multitudes of other people who sew and feel the same. Here are the reasons: the illustrations are fashion history documentation, the instructions very often impart little sewing tricks many people have forgotten, the garment pattern shapes also document fashion history - such as collar shapes, pant widths, and dart location. Which leads to my theme of spontaneity: I began to wonder if there is a museum somewhere dedicated to the commercial sewing pattern - and namely, a museum not affiliated with any particular pattern company...but, first I wanted to think these thoughts without googling the answer - to relish in the spontaneity.

Another cheer for spontaneity: I've switched my exercise routine to focus on dance and spontaneous movement in response to music. Following many many years of teaching various forms of fitness, there are a lot of movements stored in my kinetic memory - my own written and memorized libraries of routines set to music, as well as collected information from other proponents of fitness. However, after all those years (including several spent enthusiastically immersed in kickboxing, yoga, and Zumba), I've made the most important discovery about myself - music is my ultimate motivation. Fresh sound prompts fresh movement.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Little Flower Garden, Autumn Evening

To pull weeds, cultivate dirt, plant new leaves and flowers - I find very relaxing. My favorite gardening tool I call Chicken Foot - is shaped like a big claw and is perfect for digging and scratching out weeds.  Next favorite looks like a large fork and is good for poking all around, loosening dirt and making space for roots. 

My gardening has gone through phases: First, along an old stone and concrete wall, I planted a very large packet of seeds specially mixed to attract butterflies, bees, and birds. I never weeded the garden because in the beginning - I couldn't discern between weeds and wildflowers. The mix did attract a lot of butterflies and also I remember the birds liked the sunflowers. 

Second - I planted a little herb garden, with dill - for tuna salad, and oregano - for spaghetti sauces, and I had spearmint, and apple mint and chocolate mint. Several times I've planted lavender, but it never returns. 

Next, I tried a rock garden - which was on a little hill - very hard, sweaty, sunburnt work! I noticed the slope had several rocks jutting out of the soil and so dug out around them to emphasize their structure. Then I scouted the property for more rocks, big ones, which I carried in both arms or hauled uphill in my wheelbarrow - huffing, puffing, grunting, and hoisting them into the perfect place. Then, big mistake, I planted some cactus - which took over - and will very carefully someday have to be removed.

One year I planted purple and pink morning glories everywhere, giving them sticks and twine to climb. They're beautiful, but quickly take over a whole flowerbed.  The mint does the same thing, so I learned things of that sort are better in containers.

Another year, zinnias and sunflowers were my fascination and they are both adored by bees, butterflies, and birds. The sunflowers like to have support, so I loosely tie them to tall sticks. 

Roses I haven't much experimented with - imagining them to be difficult, but I did transplant one from another location where it would have met its demise. It seems to be happiest when I remove its blooms - and produces even more. It's a beautiful creamy orange color, with a soft and sweet fragrance.

Gladiolas are some of my favorite flowers, but this year I didn't have many. They're another flower that sometimes needs a stick to prop against. They grow quite tall and have a multitude of blooms which get heavy with rain. 

This year, I'm off to a late start in tending the garden. Sometime, when I wasn't paying attention, my mother planted bee balm in my flowerbed. It has become one of my favorite additions - as it attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. And, it has an interesting, sharp, herbal smell. This year, since it's so late - the flower options are limited, so the garden has to rely on strong perennials which are still appearing - and the few things I recently added: dark pink Gaura, yellow mums, purple aster with yellow centers, and some pale pink dianthus with a magnificent, soapy, rose-scent.

Some photos from late in the evening - after adding new plants. You'll see the lily-of-the-valley, red bee balm (mostly seed heads now), purple spike, and a pale frosty green foliage with light orange flower (name forgotten). Also, a few photos from this morning - including a grumpy Number One after I warned a bird of her presence.

pale pink dianthus - soapy, rose-scent

purple spike

dark pink Gaura - bumblebees love this

purple aster

dark pink-red bee balm - beloved by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds

orange butterfly weed, wild

aggravated expression of tabby, bird warned of its presence

Friday, July 29, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Stitcht, zoom.

A zoom-in detail of the stitched wordsmithing within the letter "C" of my header:
stitched wordsmithing - toile la la, jennifer hawkins hock
stitched wordsmithing - toile la la, jennifer hawkins hock
Stitcht is a concept magazine I created for friends during the past year. It consists mainly of collage art of inspiring or humorous fashion imagery, but I decided to include some machine-stitched wordsmithing in its title header. I named the magazine Stitcht because its pages are stitched in assembly and because many of the collages are stitched to the page.

Monday, June 20, 2016

19th and 20th Century Artist Interiors: Painted Documents

2D to 3D: Artist Room Studies by Jennifer Hawkins Hock are gimlet-eyed views of 19th and 20th century interiors painted by artists.  2D to 3D: Artist Room Studies presents assemblages of 15 paintings featuring as their subject artists' portraits of their own studios or domestic interiors.  Group One includes three-dimensional assemblage studies of room portraits by Henri Matisse, Gwen John, Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Rene Magritte, Raoul Dufy, Gustave Caillebotte, Frederick Childe Hassam, Vincent van Gogh, and Vilhelm Hammershoi.  Group Two of 2D to 3D: Artist Room Studies is currently in progress and highlights room portraits by Frederic Bazille, Odilon Redon, Vanessa Bell, and the artist's own studio.  Additional rooms by artists featured in Group One will appear as well.

View of a View of a View

Quai Saint-Michel as 2D to 3D Artist Room Study of 1916 Atelier, Quai Saint-Michel by Henri Matisse, followed by a view of Quai Saint-Michel from the Seine:
Artist Room Study 5 Matisse - Jennifer Hawkins Hock, 2014/2015

Artist Room Study 5 Matisse - Jennifer Hawkins Hock, 2014/2015

Atelier, Quai Saint-Michel - Henri Matisse, 1916

Quai Saint-Michel viewed from the Seine, photo - Jennifer Hawkins Hock

Saturday, June 18, 2016

2D to 3D: Artist Room Studies - A Preview

Exhibition premieres at the blog Art Fashion Creation 6.20.16. Read the Artist Room Studies exhibition notes at this AFC link. Here's a peek at one of the 15 Artist Room Studies:
Artist Room Study 3 Matisse - Jennifer Hawkins Hock, 2014/2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Musee de la Toile de Jouy review

My favorite museum among the many visited during a 10-day trip from London, to Ghent, Bruges, then Paris and around Versailles - is the Musee de la Toile de Jouy.  We traveled via bus (a trip of less than a half hour), found across from the train station - very near the Palace of Versailles entrance.  

During the latter part of the 18th century there occurred a trend  - people of affluence developed an affinity for rustic simplicity.  The Queen's Hamlet of Versailles exhibits this preference for nature and for the charming structures of Norman or Flemish design.  Likewise, many of the fabrics produced in Jouy-en-Josas at this time show a love of the countryside, depicting: orchards, ponds, mills, farm animals, meadows, birds, streams, cascades, flowers, and quaint figures in romantic poses, playing instruments, or tending to chores.

The toile de jouy cloth produced in Jouy-en-Josas by Oberkampf in the 18th century is a wonderful example of art reflecting its environment and of how art reflects popular culture.  To be able to observe the actual landscape which influenced so many of the toile de jouy scenes, and to learn the methods in which the cloth was printed was a true honor.  I hope to visit this beautiful setting again and spend more time in the museum.

Before visiting Musee de la Toile de Jouy, we did roam the Palace of Versailles to which we journeyed from Paris via Metro and then RER (train).  Observing the crowds at the Palace of Versailles, it seems the majority of people prefer to head directly into the sumptuous areas, but we enjoyed a lengthy stroll from the Palace to the Queen's Hamlet, appreciating the design of the grounds.  Earlier in the trip, I marveled at the Salle de Fetes (or grand ballroom) within the Musee d'Orsay - which I deemed comparable to what the Palace of Versailles might offer - extremely lovely and lavish:
Salle de Fetes, Musee d'Orsay - Toile La La photo 2015

Salle de Fetes, Musee d'Orsay - Toile La La photo 2015

Salle de Fetes, Musee d'Orsay - Toile La La photo 2015
But the Queen's Hamlet at the outer grounds of Versailles feels like a breath of fresh air in its sylvan simplicity.  Scroll near the end of my earlier Paris Exploration post - here - to see photos from both Marie-Antoinette's Hamlet and the Musee de la Toile de Jouy. 
toile de jouy - image Musee de la Toile de Jouy
image from Musee de la Toile de Jouy website
We visited after our Versailles exploration and allotted only an hour within the museum, which happened to be the hour just before closing.  I would like to spend at least two hours in the museum, studying the exhibits, the cloth - and spend additional time perusing the excellent gift shop.  I was sorry to have to leave, but returning to Paris was simple enough - a short walk to the RER.  More, here at the Musee de la Toile de Jouy website - or their document, in English.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stellar Respiration: Star Breath-Sound

Via asteroseismology I've been listening to the stars breathe today and they sound ready to perform Darude's Sandstorm.  Roaming and researching, I happened upon University of Birmingham studies of resonant oscillation - which reveal the noise or breath within a star, which reveal its age.  Sound and brightness of a star vary with age.  A star's oscillation affects its brightness and scientists are now able to digitally translate that oscillating breath.  Hence, the Moog sound.  Read more about stellar respiration here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A.L.T.: A Memoir

To achieve an apex of style requires cultivation of perspective and a honing of the intellect - more than lavish expenditure.  Simply, great luxury is to be found in a cultivated state of mind.

To merely listen or observe Andre Leon Talley, one senses cultivation - a cultivaton of tone, a regal bearing, a majestic presence which cannot be feigned - but which is a product of lifelong observation, education, and inherent self-awareness.

Reading A.L.T: A Memoir, we learn a determining factor in the A.L.T of today is his grandmother, who raised him in a strict, clean, healthy environment - free of artifice, but brimming with simple luxuries.  Talley recalls this way of life with heartfelt appreciation - his narrative tone a blend of reverence and tangible, viable pleasure in the senses.  His hard-working, church-going grandmother - Bennie Francis Davis - instilled in Talley, an only child, integrity, altruism, faith, and a loving respect for women.

Growing up, Talley witnessed the pride his grandmother obtained from her job, household chores, and a neat presentation of self (accented by the well-earned and deserved hat or perfect pair of gloves).  We learn she always wore a hat to church and "her shoes always matched her handbag".   Mrs. Davis provided Andre with what she knew to be the best environment a child can have - a safe, clean haven full of good food and good example.  "In our family, cleanliness was so close to godliness that we plain had no congress with grime..., " says Talley, "Through soap and paste wax, rags, mops, and muscle power, I learned that cleaning itself can be restful, and that a well-kept home soothes the mind and spirit, making it easier to contemplate things beyond the physical and the everyday."

And in this well-kept home, Mrs. Davis allowed and encouraged Andre to dream his own dreams and to observe what made their lives special and wonderful... to appreciate the ways in which they were blessed.  In Talley's description of a childhood electric storm - we sense the observing eyes which led to the fashion figure he is today:

"Life after a storm began again with the smell of nature washed clean, a smell as invigorating and reviving as any I have experienced... .  When the storm ended, drops of rain beaded against the window screens and left crystal pearls on the velvety leaves of the geraniums."
Talley's ability to sit still and absorb is also evidenced in his appreciation for books - he says, "I loved everything about them - the musty, disintegrating smell of volumes that hadn't been opened in years and the heady aroma of a brand-new art book with glossy illustrations; the brightly colored graphics on paperback jackets and the faded red, orange, or green spines of library bindings; the sticky-smooth plastic on the books one could take home and the rough, goatskin feel of the revered books in the reference section."

There, in his childhod observations and in his beloved reading, is where Talley began to detect what constituted elegance.  I love his discussion of the "luxury of high style" and his mention of cyclical creation:  "No one has to reinvent the wheel- you just keep turning it around and around, recycling the ideas, the couture that was born in 18th century France spread all over Europe and even to Russia, and affected the art of conversation, the art of food, the art of flirting, the art of living, the art of serving up coffee in a beautiful cup."

Another post - at Art Fashion Creation - with love for ALT and gingham. The pink link will transport you swiftly. Another link here - 2012 SCAD fashion show.

Friday, June 10, 2016

London Exploration, Art Fashion History

Fashion, History, and Art my priorities - a sample of my Fall 2015 exploration... discovered in less than a week's time via metro, train, bus, and on foot.  The London museums are incomparable - staffed with helpful and polite people.  This was a wonderful, wonderful trip with every minute full of art and adventure.  After visiting many of the London museums online and reading reviews, I selected the Victoria and Albert, the National Portrait Gallery London, the London Museum, and Tate Modern London - spending several hours in each.

Victoria and Albert, London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

small-scale shirt toile, Victoria and Albert, London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

paper dresses, Victoria and Albert, London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

deconstructed fashion, Victoria and Albert, London 2015 - photo Toile La La

Victoria and Albert - fashion, London 2015 - photo Toile La La

Victoria and Albert - fashion, London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London 2015 - photo Toile La La

Street Art, Trafalgar Square - London 2015 - photo Toile La La

National Portrait Gallery, London 2015 - photo Toile La La

detail, National Portrait Gallery London

reviewing portrait miniatures, National Portrait Gallery London

Museum of London 2015 - photo Toile La La

London Wall near Museum of London

1760 dollhouse, Museum of London - photo Toile La La

Queen Victoria's dolls, Museum of London - photo Toile La La 2015
Queen Victoria's dolls, Museum of London - photo Toile La La 2015

Queen Victoria's dolls, Museum of London - photo Toile La La 2015

Queen Victoria's dolls, Museum of London - photo Toile La La 2015

Museum of London, sixties film

Museum of London, sixties film

Rebecca Horn Pencil Mask, Tate Modern London - photo Toile La La 2015

Nicholas Hlobo, Lingcamango - Tate Modern London

Seen, Tate Modern London 2015 - photo Toile La La

Seen 2, Tate Modern London 2015 - photo Toile La La
London 2015 - photo Toile La La
London 2015 - photo Toile La La
 All photos - Toile La La, 2015