Category Archives: Art

Bohemian Flags

I came across these recently on Pinterest. Putting aside any patriotism or nationalism, for me these flags demonstrate the essence of a bohemian outlook on life. They embody the philosophy of recycling and reusing materials, and I love their spirit of insouciance and their hint of rebellion. 

Plus, of course, they are just so darn pretty. 

Bohemian, crafty, artisan, shabby chic, patriotic, prayer flags, banners, Ibizan flags, country, homespun, handsewn, ribbons, lace, pom poms, feathers, sequins, embroidery, beads, tassels.   

Miniature Marvels

I came across this image on Pinterest, which piqued my interest:

I found the whole idea, of miniature terrariums filled with crystals and things found in nature, rather intriguing, so I quickly created a Pinterest Board with the title “Miniature Marvels”. 

And rapidly started filling it up with images of the most sublime, beautiful pieces of miniature art. The year before last, I went through a crazy phase about Terrariums, and last year I obsessed about collecting crystals. Now these miniature marvels married both concepts brilliantly.

I may even try my hand at making my own wearable miniature terrariums. I know I can get the miniature bottles/vials etc at any discount shop, as I’ve seen plenty, and I have several miniature quartz crystal points already. So, I just might create my own miniature marvels.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on these beauts. If you need more information, please go to my Pinterest Board “Miniature Marvels” and click on the relevant photo.

Lagenlook : Moyuru

I seem to have been sleeping under a rock, or something. How could I have missed this latest Lagenlook fashion trend? (Well, maybe not sleeping, but preoccupied with other crafty projects and personal improvement practices 😊). 

So, who’s this latest new kid on the block? It’s a Japanese fashion designer called Moyuru. Try as I might, I’ve not been able to track down one specific website for them. Moyuru appear to supply several independent fashion retailers in various countries. Rather than me trying to list the retailers, and missing out several or more of them, just Google “Moyuru” and your own country, and find out for yourself if there’s a retailer near you. 

I’ve also found several listings for Moyuru on eBay. Perhaps there are some sellers in your country too? Good luck!

A few words to describe Moyuru: edgy, monochromatic, contemporary, futuristic, cutting edge, muted colours, sculptural, boots, linear, geometry, trend, quirky, wool, linen.

Pinterest, as always, provided me with the most pictures and links. I’ve curated the following Moyuru from my own Pinterest board “Tunics & Lagenlook“, so if there’s one or three that particularly catch your eye, do take a look at my Pinterest board, click on the photo therein, and you’ll find more information about it. 

Enjoy Moyuru Japanese Lagenlook! 



Artist Inspiration: Akiko Ike

Akiko Ike of Niigata, Japan, is a gentle, unassuming lady with immense talent in the Japanese art of Sashiko embroidery. Her technique is not strictly Sashiko, it encompasses and incorporates the principles of Boro, and the stitches she uses are identical to Indian Kantha, or running stitch. 

Akiko teaches workshops around the world and is happy to share her knowledge and expertise with a growing number of devotees. I’ve never met Akiko myself. When she was in Australia last year conducting workshops in Brisbane, I hadn’t yet discovered my love for Kantha. But I would love to meet this Master of the art someday soon, and if she ever comes to Western Australia, I’ll definitely sign up for one of her workshops.

My own embroidery technique is what I myself have termed “Kantha-Boro”. It uses scraps of fabric, in line with the Boro ethic of reusing/recycling/no waste, or “Mottainai“. Some of my pieces are patchworked in the Western sense, but most are more accurately described as simply appliqued over using running stitch, without being sewn onto the backing fabric beforehand. This is the technique Akiko Ike uses.

Maybe someday I’ll be famous, like Akiko Ike! 

Anyway, I couldn’t find a website dedicated to her, but I did find Akiko Ike’s Facebook profile. Within this are 2 blogs showcasing her work…but they are both in Japanese, and I don’t know how to read Japanese 😕.

I’ve created a Pinterest board dedicated to Akiko Ike, called “Akiko Ike – Chiku Chiku“. Chiku chiku is an onomatopoeic word coined by Akiko herself, which emulates the sound made by the yarn she uses going in and out of the cloth. You will notice that her stitches are bold and huge, and she uses thick yarn to sew her stitches. (I myself use crochet or embroidery thread, and a darning needle).

Here are just a few examples of Akiko Ike’s Chiku chiku work, taken from Pinterest:

 

Kantha + Patchwork Quilt Project

Here’s the result of my latest sewing efforts. I’d found someone’s unfinished patchwork project in one of my local thrift stores. It was basically just some square patches sewn together, without a backing. I liked the uneven, slightly wonky, amateurish feel to the piece and knew I could do something with it. At just $5, it was a real steal. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right?

Inspired by my fascination with Indian Kantha quilts, which are fashioned out of layers of vintage sari cloths sewn together using simple running stitches, I decided to try my hand at making my own Kantha + Patchwork quilt. 

I had amongst my fabric stash a Queen-sized duvet cover in a lovely blue stripe, which would work perfectly with the patchwork piece.

First, I lay the duvet cover right side down on my bedroom rug. (This unassuming rug, a recent purchase, is around 6 x 8 feet and has become my workfloor for my bigger sewing projects, as well as providing a handy template for sizing quilts). 

Next, I lay the patchwork piece right side up, on top of the duvet cover. The duvet cover is larger than the patchwork piece. After making sure all the sides were equally balanced, I trimmed, folded and pinned the excess duvet cover fabric over the patchwork piece.

The laying out and pinning took a long time to get right. 

Next, I took the pinned piece to my sewing machine and sewed along all the edges, to secure both pieces together. Then I pinned the patchwork piece to the duvet cover at regular intervals, to prevent it slipping out of place when Kantha stitching.

The reason I chose the striped duvet cover as the backing for this project was so I’d have a handy guide to sew the running stitches along. 

I decided on a 4+3 pattern, i.e I’d sew along 4 rows of stripes and skip the next 3, then sew the next 4, skip 3 and so on. I used white crochet thread, which is strong and smooth at the same time. 

3 weeks of nights spent “watching” TV while sewing, rolling and unrolling this humongous swath of fabric on and off the sofa, et voila! I give you my first Kantha + Patchwork Quilt!

(Showing the front)

(Showing the back)

Now to show this off outside, in natural sunlight! The previous photos were taken at night, indoors, and don’t do justice to the vibrance of the colours in this quilt.

I draped it over Meep, my little Kia Cerato here, so you can see just how big a project this turned out to be!

This photo shows the rows of stitching and how they simply go over the patchworked squares on the other side. I just love the crinkly effect Kantha stitching produces!

Now for some close-ups:

Here’s what it looks like folded up. I love it! ❤❤❤

I intend this year to sew up a whole batch of Kantha-inspired items, ranging from little to large. These will be my inventory and stock for when I start selling my crafts later this year.

So, watch this space for more Kantha-inspired projects!

My Valentine

To those feeling lonely because you haven’t got a Valentine date, I say: Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Love yourself first and foremost, and if you love your own company, you will never feel lonely or alone. You don’t need some consumerist faux celebration to appreciate your own company or revel in your own awesomeness. 

Yes. 

YOU. ARE .AWESOME. JUST. THE. WAY. YOU. ARE.

I bought this white painted rattan heart decoration at a local thrift store for $3.

I found these skeins of feathered pom-pom yarn while clearing out my junk room. I remember buying them cheap, about $1 each, from a discount variety shop many years ago. I love the bright colours and the combination of different textures.

So, with Valentine’s nearly here and no beau in sight, what’s a girl to do but weave and wind some colourful yarn around the rattan heart and make her own heartfelt present to herself.

I started out weaving the yard through the gaps in the rattan, using a dowel. Then I realised I didn’t really need to do this at all. I could just wind the yarn around the heart, covering up all the white.So much easier! And at the end, I just had to use the dowel to push the end of the yard through one of the gaps, to bury it and secure it.

Et voila! I tied the ribbon back and now it’s hanging from a drawer in my bedroom. 

A soft, fluffy, vibrantly coloured heart ornament, perfect for Valentine’s Day. ❤

Valentine Hearts

Valentine’s Day is coming up next, but rather than exhort the virtues of a consumerist festival, I thought I’d share with you some curated Heart-themed ornaments and Art instead. 

The following have been made by craftspeople and artisans, lovingly shaped by hand, fired, soldered, carved, sewn, assembled, sculpted, painted. Valentine’s Day or not, the Heart symbol is iconic and evergreen.

So, if you’re looking for inspiration this Valentine’s Day, take a look at these ideas:

(Images sourced from: Pinterest)

Floral Block Print on Saffron: a Kantha-Boro story

This item can be purchased from my Etsy store through this link.


Description: This item is entirely handsewn, using fabric remnants and other recycled/reused/repurposed elements. My Kantha-Boro pieces can be used as scarves, table runners or wall hangings. Owing to the nature of handsewing and the Japanese Mottainai principle of “Waste not, want not”, each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, with any imperfections in the fabrics or stitches forming part of the Wabi-Sabi ethos of being perfectly imperfect.


Colours: I found the backing fabric as a fat quarter, which I cut in half and sewed together to form a long and narrow piece. The other side is a beautiful vintage piece of saffron fabric, the colour of which attracted me from the start, and which is echoed in the floral fabric. Owing to the vintage nature of the saffron fabric, there are a couple of tiny tears in it, which I find adds to the beautiful Wabi-Sabi nature of this style of slow stitching. I have used an off-white crochet thread for the Kantha running stitches, to unify the whole.


Dimensions: 60 x 19.5 inches (152 x 50 cm)


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Bird On Saffron With Purple Pompoms: a Kantha-Boro story

Another of my Kantha-Boro projects, which is available for purchase from my Etsy store here.

Description: This item is entirely handsewn, using fabric remnants and other recycled/reused/repurposed elements. My Kantha-Boro pieces can be used as scarves, table runners or wall hangings. Owing to the nature of handsewing and the Japanese Mottainai principle of “Waste not, want not”, each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, with any imperfections in the fabrics or stitches forming part of the Wabi-Sabi ethos of being perfectly imperfect.

Colours: Predominantly magenta, orange, medium blue and green. The design consists of stylised birds around stylised flowers, possibly Indian or Middle Eastern in origin. The piece comprises 2 pieces sewn back to back, the front being the fabric with the Bird motif – a scarf in its previous life, the back being a piece of vintage saffron-coloured fabric. Edged at both ends with royal purple pompoms. Kantha running stitches are embroidery floss in various different colours, complementing the colours of the Bird fabric. This piece is super soft and tactile.


Dimensions: 56 x 23 inches (142 x 59 cm)

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Dreaming Tree on Black Velvet: a Kantha- Boro Story

​”Dreaming Tree on Black Velvet” is available for purchase from my Etsy store here.

Description: This item is entirely handsewn, using fabric remnants and other recycled/reused/repurposed elements. My Kantha-Boro pieces can be used as scarves, table runners or wall hangings. Owing to the nature of handsewing and the Japanese Mottainai principle of “Waste not, want not”, each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, with any imperfections in the fabrics or stitches forming part of the Wabi-Sabi ethos of being perfectly imperfect.

Style: Kantha-Boro. Indian Kantha running stitches in parallel rows, embroidered over Japanese Boro-style fabric remnants, which are simply pinned in place before oversewing.


Colours: The backing for this piece is a thrifted Oriental black velvet scarf. Oversewn Boro fabric remnants in shades of red, dark and light blue, yellow and cerise and white with sweetpea floral elements. 4 light brown Chinese knots edge the ends of the piece.


Dimensions: 54 x 10 inches (138 x 26 cm)

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