In December of 2014 my husband and I went to Portugal and Spain. We saw tiles everywhere. The blue and white tiles are called Azulejos.
We saw tiles on walls.
and on the ground.
We saw tiles with animals and birds on them.
and tiles that were pure pattern.
When I came home I did some paintings that were inspired by the tiles and other things I saw on that trip. Many of those paintings were used to make a new line of fabric for In the Beginning Fabrics. The new line is called Azuli. The word sounds like Azulejos and the word azul which means blue in Spanish. It is fun to say, but doesn’t have a true meaning.
Here are some of the paintings that didn’t become fabric.
And here are some paintings that did become fabric!
This pomegranate pattern became an allover repeat (and I added a few seeds).
This allover pomegranate pattern was printed in a blue or burgundy color way.
Here are peacocks we saw in Portugal.
and fabric inspired by their feathers.
A rooster from the trip…
and a rooster that flew into the fabric line..
Azuli is available now at fabric stores such as Gathering Fabric in Woodinville, Washington, Pacific Fabrics or online at Winter Creek Cloth.
Putting together this blog post has made me remember the trip so clearly. I think I might need to go back and get inspired all over again.
Oh, birds. I love to see them, listen to them and draw them. Birds can be real or symbolic.
A bird can be conveyed in a single line, as in this French fabric from 1886.
Or in many lines, as in the Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur from 1815:
I have a flock of bird images pinned up in my studio for inspiration. Here are a few of them.
Owls by C.F.A. Voysey from England (1897):
Peacock from a 1920’s Japanese Matchbox:
Gluckwunsche from the Wiener Werkstatte:
I put birds in my paintings, fabric and books. These birds were from my first fabric line, Folklorica.I painted these Golden Birds for my sister.And designed a line of fabric called Chickadee.But after the terribly apt Portlandia episode (Put A Bird on It) I felt ashamed of this love. I must be able to think of something else to draw!
Of course I found other subject matter.But birds flew back into paintings –and paper cuts:and onto quilts:
Birds are all around us, real and imaginary.
I think that if you feel like it, you should put a bird on it. Why not?
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Tagged bird imagery, birds, chickadee, fabric, folklorica, fraktur, Julie Paschkis, matchbox art, peacock, Portlandia, Voysey, Wiener Werkstatte
Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, my family spent part of each summer at a little cabin called the izbushka. The cabin was part of Russian Village, (also known as Churaevka) a small community of Russian expatriates in Connecticut.This illustration by Feodor Rojankovsky (from Goldilocks) gives the feel of the izbushka. Rojankovsky was also a visitor to the village, although I never met him.
Maybe because of those early experiences at Churaevka I have always loved Russian illustration, light and dark.
Vasilisa by Ivan Bilibin
Last year I designed a new line of fabric for In the Beginning called Kalinka; the fabric is out now. Kalinka is the name of a Russian song and it means little snowfall. I’ve also read that it refers to a sour red berry. The fabric is for winter so it includes snowflakes, a lot of white (and red berries) . Here is the main panel:In the designs I referred back to Russian folk tales like the Firebird and Kolobok, the story of a small bun that doesn’t want to be eaten. This ceramic fox and bun posed for me.I also looked at the leaves and berries in Russian lacquer ware for inspiration.This is my painting for an all-over fabric design, which I called Kalinka Meadow.Here’s how it looks as fabric with a cranberry colored background:Of course Kalinka needed a Matrushka. Here is my painting, and the resulting fabric with additional border stripes :
In Kalinka I barely dipped my toe into the rich river of Russian stories and imagery. I want to go back and paint more.
p.s. If you would like to buy this fabric, you can go to Gathering Fabric, Pacific Fabric, your local shop or buy it on line at Hancock’s of Paducah.
What to wear? That is the question asked and answered by this paper doll (made by my niece Zoe Paschkis, many years ago.)
Recently I came across an article about Paper Dolls by Francine Kirsch that I had clipped from the magazine Folk Art in 2007. She talked in the article about some paper dolls that were made professionally to show certain styles of clothes, and she also showed these lovely handmade ones.I like the way that every outfit has to confirm to the posture of the model.I like the materials used to make the dresses:As in almost everything, sometimes what is revealed is not what is intended to be revealed. In this paper doll family from 1907 the creator reveals racism: the black doll is made to be somewhere between a child and an adult in size.Some paper outfits are nearly abstract, like these from the blog Accidental Mysteries. Here is a mermaid by Deborah Mersky.Lately I have been making big paper dolls. Here I am with a new friend, made with no tape, glue or staples. One of my goals is to use all of the paper in different parts of the doll. Here are the pieces of a doll called Paper Howdy, cut from one sheet of paper.
Here is what remained from that 12″ x 18″ sheet of paper.
And here is the assembled Paper Howdy.I hope this post will inspire you to make some paper dolls of your own.
Stripes are simple and satisfying. They speak for themselves, so there are very few words in this post.
Russian machine woven stripes from the 19th century:
Hudson Bay stripes:Characters in my paintings often wear striped clothing:
They are in good company.
It is as satisfying to wear stripes in life as in art.
Babe Ruth (photo by Nickolas Muray):
Jean Paul Gaultier:
and finally a prisoner in the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, St. Gabriel photographed by Deborah Luster in 1988:
I wish I knew her name.
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Tagged Babe Ruth, Deborah Lester, guatemalan fabric, Henri Matisse, Henri Rousseau, Hudson Bay Blanket, indigo, Julie Paschkis, Kuniyaki Sumo Wrestler, Mary Cassatt, Nickolas Muray, Pablo Picasso striped shirt, russian fabric, stripes, uzbek fabric