I made several hand knotted rugs and wall hangings about 9 years ago; they were useful but seemed to be more artful than utilitarian. In my sewing studio I had accumulated many fabric scraps, organized in bags by color. When I looked at the pallet of colors and textured textiles they seemed like pots of color ready to be woven together to create something beautiful! I was never able to accurately calculate the number of hours it took me to make one 1m. x 1m carpet but I’d guesstimate around 20 hours to cut strips of fabric, knot them onto a plastic grid and trim the fabric.
Because of my earlier foray into textile carpets, the Ryijy (rough and shaggy pile) Rug Exhibit in Budapest last summer interested me. The early Ryijy carpets (as early as the 9th century) weave alternates a knotted pile with a tapestry weave; these carpets are the most famous Finnish textile. Ryijy carpets started as black, gray and white, later plant dyes were used to add color and it was only in modern invention of synthetic dyes that the carpet colors became brightly colored. Ryijys carpets were originally made for a brides trousseau, as coverlets, bedding, prayer carpets and pieces for special occasions that were later hung inside the house. As the carpet evolved it’s beauty and artistry brought it into the realm of home decor. The carpets are works of art, detailed, tactile and colorful!
Early Ryijy carpet
The folk art and Geometric patterned themes of Ryijy carpets of the 1920’s and 30’s was changed by several innovative artists. Eva Brummer was originally a painter, she made water color paintings as preliminary designs for her carpets, she chose the threads and closely monitored the carpet weaving by professional weavers. Ms. Brummer wanted to show feelings and sensitivity, she used soft forms and colors in her carpets. Long and rough piles helped to give the carpet surfaces softness. Her favorite subjects were hour glasses and crosses. Another style changing artist was Uhra Simberg-Ehrstrom, in her artistic infancy her carpets evoked dreamlike feelings, later she wove large strips of rich color, she used many shades of a hue which made the weaving difficult. The artist Ritva Puotila also changed the look of Ryijy carpets by using new materials in her weaving such as paper string, silk and metal. Ms. Puotila often used Finnish folk designs as a motif but made them look very modern, she designed for the Finnrya company who used machines to weave Ryijy carpets. My favorite fact about the Ryijs carpets stated that the longest of the carpets were often hung on the wall, overlapped onto a sofa and continued onto the floor; an interesting look!
It’s time to talk about costumes again; one of my favorite topics! I haven’t made many full costumes lately, but a friend of mine Sara Rabinovich is a master seamstress and is creating some wonderful Halloween/Holiday get ups! The wonderful thing about Sara’s pieces is that she designs them, makes the pattern for each piece and sews them together with finesse. I used to buy store-bought patterns for sewing, until I moved to Israel I was unfamiliar with the pattern-making process. If you can make your own patterns (as well as sew your own costumes) your creative possibilities double! Two of my favorite costume accessories are the crown and the Ruff. Sara’s black crown is based on the Gothic style: tall and pointed; this crown works well for a Halloween Goth princess but I also think it could be worn by the Evil Queen for an Alice and Wonderland themed costume. A Ruff (short for ruffle) is a piece to cover the tops of the gathered shirts worn in the 16th and 17th centuries. Sara’s Elizabethan ruff sits like a cloud around the neck; it’s made from black organza trimmed in exquisite lace. The ruff is adorned with hand-sewn white beads and the neck band is made from satin, so as not to irritate the skin. You can see many more of Sara’s fine handmade ruffs on her Etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CostumeRenaissance?section_id=12065759.
The rest of this handmade costume make it suitable for a Goth Princess, a masquerade ball as well as elegant Vampire attire! The skirt is made from organza with layers of tulle to give the skirt a “lift”.
See more of Sara’s creations at Costume Renaissance: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CostumeRenaissance?section_id=12065759
I’ve been super busy the last year….crafting. I guess you could call crafting for a living one of the best jobs ever; I think of a craft project, design it, photograph the tutorial steps, lay it out in a design program to make the tutorial and photograph the product photographs. Tiffany and I have been developing our company Lullubee , adding craft of the month categories for pattern kits, needle felting kits, dolls and puppet kits and teddy bear kits. We’ve been working on marketing the business and getting the word out about Lullubee, sourcing cool craft materials and making product videos and video tutorials.
We’re focusing on the teen and adult market, including seniors. We know that adult children are looking for activities for their elderly parents and we believe crafting is a great outlet for everyone.
It’s difficult to juggle a start-up business and our daily mother jobs, Tiffany and I often hear complaints of “Mom, we have no clean clothes” or “there’s no food in the house!” We clean Nutella off of shower doors, pick up clothes and shoes that have been left all over the floor, feed and walk our pets as part of our morning routines to prepare for “work”: a day of post office runs, packing kit boxes, meetings and internet work. We often work strange hours to be able to do both jobs; I work late and Tiffany works early and we often work the same hours even though we’re in two different countries! Did I mention that Tiffany runs our business from NYC and I do my thing from Tel Aviv? Take a look at our social media sites and some of our new products and if you’d share our information with your own networks, it would really help us out:) Thanks!
The ancient, Biblical port city of Jaffa
One of my newest artistic projects is restoring, designing and furnishing an 150 year old-historical piece of vernacular, Ottoman architecture. Basically, we bought a fixer-upper! We’re moving “down the street” from Neve Tzedek to Jaffa (a 15 minute walk) where we will adjust to the very different sea-side city, it’s inhabitants and all Jaffa has to offer. I’ll be documenting the 2nd floor, one story residence through it’s restoration. We’ve hired the architects Paritsky and Liani because we like their clean, modern style; together we will design the house to highlight the original shapes and materials of the structure and combine modern architectural elements that will blend with the ancient. After a brief history of what best illustrates Ottoman architecture, you will see the interior of our new-old house before any work has started.
Turkey ruled the area that is now Israel from the earyly 16th century to 1922; we can see numerous example of vernacular Ottoman architecture throughout Israel. Ottoman architecture can be recognized by a few basic characteristics common to the style: vaulted ceilings, domed ceilings, semi domes, pointed arches, columns, inner and outer courtyards and ornate tile decorations. Ottoman period courtyards were influenced by the Paradise of the Koran; so the garden (courtyard) or Earthly Paradise was designed to represent heaven, a serene place. Decorative motifs were based on nature. Vernacular Ottoman architecture retains the basic Ottoman style but the residential architecture is built with native building materials, forms, and spatial arrangements.
Positive elements of Ottoman architecture are:
- Thick cement walls to aid in resistance of the vaulted ceilings (arched).:
Non-combustible, low heat transfer in fires
- Does not rot, termite-proof at prescribed densities
- Non-toxic, insulating, creates a healthy micro-climate, feels warm
- Sound absorbing, neighbors cannot be heard through the walls.
I miss the black, shiny Raven that always sat on my gate; he and a few of his friends were always sitting on the gate or the phone wires or the branches of the big tree that spilled into my yard. As I entered the big metal gate to my courtyard, he would cock his head to the side and look at me, as we looked at each other I always had the feeling he watched over me. I came to look for this guardian of my “castle” as I came and went; his familiar presence gave me a peaceful feeling. We were friendly acquaintances for 13 years; I recently moved and I contemplate if he wonders where I am.
I have recently become familiar with the Steam-punk style and while searching for a subject for my first Steam-punk inspired sculpture, my friend the Raven came to mind.
Steam-punk-“Steam-punk is a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where STEAM POWER is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date.” Wikipedia Steam-punk elements include: gears, watch-parts, watches, velvet, cameos, wings, aviator goggles, Victorian clothing, top hats, hot air balloons, locks, keys and metal parts.
The Raven is a needle felted shape, with shiny black satin quilted on top of of the wool. His eyes are a blue, blinking-doll eye and a red, glass taxidermy eye. There is a wind-up key on his back that serves as the handle to a lid, the lid covers a hidden compartment which contains the typical watch parts and gears of the Steam punk style. The Raven’s sharp talons are tiny watch hands, His pivoting neck is encircled by a thick row of black feathers and over the feathers is a stiff cardboard collar, collaged in vintage Italian train tickets. He sports a Victorian Saks-style collar that makes him appear a gentleman, as I imagine him to be. His large beak is waxed to make it very hard and a different texture than the rest of his body. The head rotates and tilts so he can be positioned as a real bird, his legs, wings and tail are poseable.
I learned a bit about watches while researching Steam-punk, like the little sapphires and rubies in the watch movements are real (also some watch crowns for winding contain real sapphires! Vintage watch hands can be very ornate and beautiful and some watch movement parts are intricately engraved.