Check out this site I created for the American Fine Crafts Show in Hartford! There are great pics of my new work.
"In the past five months we have discovered a whole new world of science and fashion through our series of Descience articles. We have been exposed to unique scientific research, abstract yet fascinating images and most importantly, we have had the opportunity to see flourishing the collaboration of 60 contending teams that, through their interpretation of science and cutting edge research, have pulled together beautiful and functional garments. They are now ready to be exhibited and judged on the Descience Runaway 2014 providing the perfect platform for two worlds that have been successfully fused to synergise the efforts of these talented artists and scientists.
Descience Runway 2014 will take place on 29th September 2014 at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Each team's design will be featured in a live runway show. Fifteen of the looks will be chosen as finalists and then be featured in a final runway walk. Models will then display these looks for guests and judges during a glamorous reception."
I am thrilled that the lastes issue of Fiber Art Now includes an article about my entry into the Descience Design competition at the MIT Media Lab.
Here is a picture of one of the pages. You can link to the article by clicking here: http://fiberartnow.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Poole_Web9_8_14.pdf.
Also vote for my entry at: http://goo.gl/MLaR2d.
I need more votes to win!
Follow this link to vote for my design: http://goo.gl/MLaR2d
This if for the "People's Choice" Award. Here is a picture of the gown that I have entered.
I am competing in the MIT Media Lab's Descience Fashion Design Competition. Descience is a project in which the world of scientific discovery offers inspiration for the innovative minds of fashion designers. Descience creates collaborations between designers and scientists and brings scientific research to the runway, providing a platform for the creative collaboration between scientists and designers. The competition culminates with a runway fashion show in Cambridge at the MIT Media Lab on September 29th 2014.
For this competition, I was paired with Amanda James, a PhD student in environmental sciences at the University of California. Amanda researches plant species that are successfully competing and destroying native ecosystems in Southern California. Plants introduced in the early 18th century by Spanish explorers have slowly replaced the native coastal sage shrub land with plants that choke and kill the lovely native flowering plants. The invasive species are fast growing and fast dying, leaving a sea of dead plant material.
The artistic collaboration between Amanda and me began with a series of coast to coast Skype conversations. Right from the start, we were of the same mind - designing a garment that transformed from the golden yellow flowers that decorated the California landscape in the past, to the killing grey invasive species that are now seen across the California landscape.
I started with drawings that envisioned my model walking down the runway in a flowered gown with a towering headdress of spikey vines and beautiful yellow flowers. The garment's bodice and skirt would be festooned in yellow and orange flowers and a train of flowering vines. At the end of the runway, the model transforms the garment by lifting the overskirt to her shoulders to cover and choke the flowering plants. By covering the native plants, the model animates the effects of the invasive species. Both perspectives on the landscape effected by the invasive species are beautifully depicted in the gown.
The many components of the garment created an engineering challenge. Barbara created a scaled version of the dress to work out the structural problems. She hand dyed the silk for the dress using a modified Shibori technique known as Arashi. All the flowers and vines were individually created by felting merino wool. The flowers were dyed twice, once for the dark colors and the second time for the lighter shades. In total the project took 2 people 3 weeks of work using 15 pounds of merino wool, six yards of silk, 4 spools of thread, 5 machine needles, one lamp shade, 10 yards of wire, 2 days of dyeing and 3 days of photographing.
Currently the designs of all 50 contestants are in a "People's Choice" competition on the Decience website. Fifteen of the designers will be chosen to participate in the runway show. You can vote for Barbara Poole's design by sending a text to 313131 and typing the word "gown" in your message box. You will get a return message immediately with a link to the Descience voting page, where you can vote for Barbara and Amanda's garment.
Here I am getting ready to open my studio at Western Avenue Studios for First Friday. This morning I decided "life is too short to wear boring clothes"!
I hope to see you in Lowell... Please drop by.
Second round of voting and then the floors.
Some of you may know that I am competing in a contest to win
the spot on the cover of the magazine The Craft Report" it is an industry
magazine devoted to all business concerning art and craft shows and it is distributed
throughout the USA. The voting is being conducted through Facebook in
elimination rounds and I won in my "heat" with (drum roll) 491 LIKES!!!!! The next round of elimination voting
is tomorrow. for 24 hours the polls are open and if I win, I will go on to be one of the four finalists competing for the cover. This whole experience
has given me a little insight into what it takes to get elected. It is not
enough to have friends, you have to have friends who vote and who are willing
to help you win by sharing your message with their friends. The sharing is key.
Not all friends will vote, but by sharing you can get other peoples' friends to
vote and hopefully create a tsunami, a ground swell of support to push you to the
top. I have been humbled and I am grateful for all the support I have received
thus far and I hope you will continue to support me by going to the link www.facebook.com/CraftsReport.
Tomorrow Friday, June 29, after
11 am and "Liking" and "Sharing". Look
for my image, of my lovely assistant Monica in the Red Micro Coat.
This is a seamless nuno felted, coat, hat and gauntlets. I used vintage silks and silk chiffon. The collar is a piece of lace from the lingerie designer Damaris Evans.
LOWELL LOFT UPDATE
In a recent conversation with daughter, who lives in
Montana, I was discussing the trials and tribulations of loft living, my
daughter chastised me, "Mom, ( be sure to draw the syllable out when repeating)
you were supposed to experiment with the bohemian life style when you were
young, brilliant and energetic" To which I responded, "I know, now I am doing
it when I am old, bordering senility, and exhausted" Yes, there is a reason for
youth. Despite the constant feeling of
living in the midst of a yard sale, I am making progress and making felt. The image on the left is two new shawls drying on top of my new felting table, complete with a gutter to drain excess water. The table was created by Andrew Courtney of Red Hammer Builders. I love it and it is working very well.
Upon moving into our new loft it became apparent quickly that something had to be done to the floors. They are in deplorable condition and an endless source of rusty dust! It gets on and into everything. Though we were assured that the floors were sealed, it seems that washing and vacuuming accomplishes nothing. SO we begin the saga of "How do you refinish concrete floors?" Not cheaply it seems.
After many meetings, and back forth e-mails between tenants, the consensus, was scrub with a wire brush, till your back and arms ache, add water, wet-vac, and then paint or stain using an acrylic product. You then stand back and watch patches detach themselves, because you didn't get up all the grit. The good news is that the peeling paint lifts the grit and the subsequent touch up holds up nicely.
I decided to use a pale gray, to brighten up the space, as
the only light source is from the windows at the front of the space. I love the
color, it is called Arctic white and it is a Behr product. Our space is very
large a little of 1600 sq ft. and because we have to move all our stuff around
to accomplish the herculean task, we broke it up into thirds. Of course, most
people would have logically started with the area that was furthest from the
door and go forward from there, but remember I am bordering on senility, so
naturally we started with the third that is closest to the door, the kitchen
A weekend of scrubbing, two coats of paint and suddenly I realized that this gorgeous light color was a dirt and stain magnet. Rather than totally repaint I thought I would try my hand at a little decorative painting. I got the idea from my good friend Andrea Garr who owns a delightful store in the south end of Boston, Bead + Fiber. This look is accomplished by taking a painting roller and wrapping duct tape at intermittent intervals. I am rather pleased with the result, but I am going to confine the technique to just the kitchen area as I will be putting out area rugs in most other areas, with the exception of my studio, where I work with water, I will leave the floor as is.
Thank you to all who read this blog and thank you to all who vote tomorrow.
A friend has a fridge magnet inscribed with Einstein's wonderful quote 'In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity'. I've been thinking about that a great deal. My studio move has been put on hold (for a few days) as the management company deals with last minute permit wrangling.
As my business is currently in boxes (I moved out of my old studio last week and will post about my new studio space next week) I am bereft of work. I have discovered I do not like this, that it is very distracting. I fill my days with what I regard as my non-productive activities, trying not to get frustrated. I have done the ironing, gone to the cinema, stayed up late, got up late but despite my best efforts feel only agitated as a result. I've also been looking back over some recent work, images of which are posted throughout this blog, modeled by Rachel Worrall.
BUT I have not forgotten my Einstein, the bits I can understand anyway! Not working physically has given me a chance to do some thinking about my work going forward. It's time to talk about inspiration.
Here is a thrown together list of felt artists to whom I look for inspiration -
Ricarda A�mann - Ricarda has wonderful photos of her resist dyeing work and is incredibly experimental and prolific.
Elina Saari - Elina uses mostly pre-felt, she does not use a great deal of roving and she does some sewing. Her work is hugely inventive.
Thomas Horst - Thomas used (he is no longer felting) all wool in his amazing work, and very thin wool at that. He uses the washing machine method of felting. His practice was to begin with white wool and to dye everything when the piece or pieces were completed.
And off the top of my head, other fiber artists -
Nick Cave - I love his whacky and outrageous work!
Andrea Graham is a fiber artist who I much admire.
In general I love the whimsical and avant-garde - Carol Eckert, Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy. I am also deeply inspired by nature, for example, when I look through Seeds: Time Capsules of Life by Rob Kessler and Wolfgang Stuppy, all I see is felt. In terms of color, my go-to is Van Gogh.
For great inspiration closer to home, Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown have just published a wonderful felting e-book - called simply Felting E-book. The book is available for download on Blurb and if you wish for patterns the authors will supply you with them via email.
The authors met through the cyber-sphere via their own (independent) blogs, Chrissie being British and Nicola, American. The book is organized into two parts with each author taking one half to outline their work and methods.
It is always interesting to see different approaches to felting, (there really do seem to be as many ways to felt as there are felters) the book is filled with beautiful photos that filled my mind with wonderful ideas.
One of Chrissie's first projects - felting a lattice (ponge or china silk) shawl - would be fabulous for someone setting out. And one of the great things about Nicola's section is that she uses and explains how to use a sander as well as the washing machine method of creating felt. And she does so unapologetically, describing the use of these tools so you can add them to your felting kit to help solve a problem or create a sought-after effect rather than avoiding the mention of them as if they were underhand methods to apologize for ;-)!
A couple of practical points about the book - the suppliers' list at the back is one of the best I've seen. Despite what I've said about Chrissie's shawl, I would argue that the book is more suitable for advanced felting practitioners. Also, as both artists make use of the sewing machine you will require some knowledge in that area.