Saturday, May 11, 2013

Where I got my first design inspirations in the 70's


No this is not me....but this woman's  satin stitched emboirdered shirt inspired me as teen.........I have been thinking about this blog post for a while…actually over a year now.  It is about going back to my ”roots” for creative inspiration.  I think about "What is my look"? "Where do I get my ideas..?"  "What draws me to certian styles?"
I was a teen in the 1970’s.  I had a mother that taught me how to sew really well and a couple older sisters that were pretty crafty with a needle.  My oldest sister was a flight attendant for United and crossed over the continent hoping another high-jacker would not get on the plane again….she passed her time on layovers with embroidery.  The surface was usually a denim shirt.  After living on the east coast for many years, she had met a man that exposed her to the San Francisco Bay Area, where we were from, in a very different way then she had experienced when she was a teen in the 60’s.  The Bay area in the 70’s was about music, art and politics.  The non-working drugged out  hippies moved on and the thirty something’s that were still there and liked the organic or hip way of life realized they still needed jobs and ways to support their families.  They still drank and partied but they had to make a living.  Anyway what I saw come out of this was some pretty incredibly creative people doing their art and crafts, starting businesses, becoming graphic artists, publishing books, designing and making a big impression on me.  My closest friends were graphics artists starting to work for small electronic companies with fruit as a logo, doing posters for local radio stations and starting skateboard and art magazines.
I was listening to Ridgetop by Jesse Collin Young this morning and it brought back memories of hanging out in San Francisco at my sisters apartment a block from Haight street.  We would be sewing or embroidering things to wear or put on our backpacks. 
I embroidered this patch that went on an old green surplus knap sack I carried in high school.  My sister had turned me on to this book, Native Funk and Flash. 
  I loved this book, as well as American Denim. 
I loved to sew and knew I wanted to be a clothing designer, photographer or artisan.  I continued to make things over the years.  Here is a yoke of a top I made in the 80’s , I never made the shirt but can’t part with the work.  I only have a few things left…these two things are a few survivors.  I hate I have rid myself of some of my handy work…. denim skirts, vests, bags, leather patch suitcase.  I am sure I can dig up old pictures of myself, but I was usually behind the camera.


I bought this cool book at the quilt show a few weeks back by  Sue Spargo I loved the look of her work…reminded me of  what we loved back then.  A little Bohemian. As I looked through the book it was all the same stitches I have in two other little stitch books my sister had given me back then for reference that I still have…but I like Sues colors and ways she used the velvets in layers.  So it will go into my library with all my other little stitch books I have collected.  As I collect reference books over the years, I have found some books I would have just died for as a teen.  I loved anything that had design references.  Art Deco, Art Nouveau ,  flowers, anything I could put on my clothing or bags. 
 
Which brings me back to  searching for my look, my artist way.  I keep thinking I have to have a look, something that is mine.  I am a very good crafts person, I can swing a needle and thread or put together a garment with the best of them, but I never felt I had a specific look…too many ideas and too many directions.  I am working on narrowing this down I think……go back to my “roots”  the look I love and still gravitate to now….that look of the 70’s beautiful embroidery, patch work, denim, tapestry.  I came from a great area of the country, in a time when music and art were flourishing and I was around it, it influenced me to go into the clothing industry.  I just need to re-ground myself to what my dreams were.  Now I have the money, studio, stash of fabric, beads, floss, books, tools and knowledge.  I have learned so much in the past 30 years except how to trust my ideas and design skills.  I will continue to sew my way through the studio and make up my ideas inspired and updated from the 70's that influenced me.  

1 comment:

Laura Huey said...

Hello! I know this is a pretty old post but just found my way here looking up old embroidery designs and I wanted you to know I was here and I quite enjoyed your history telling. I love your patch and wonder how amazing you've gotten in your stitching so many years down the road! Thank you again :)