INDONESIAN Textile Odyssey

By suzi click on Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 in Featured, On the Road. No Comments

Travels to SUMBA, TIMOR, FLORES and SULAWESI
Another fabulous trip in search of textiles with Serena Lee of Textile Odyssey tours began in August 2016 from Bali to another Indonesian island –SUMBA.  We went to WAINGPU first and our guide, Freddy, was a weaver, collector and owner of a weaving workshop as well as a resort villa and restaurant.  He also had a shop with a great collection called Indigo Art.  We observed several men working on indigo ikats – drawing the designs on the yarns and tieing the designs with palm leaf fiber and weaving.  In his shop we saw wonderful examples with lots of motifs – crocodiles, roosters, cockatoos, horses, dancers, turtles, nagas, monkeys and lots of fertility symbols called mamuli.

 

Our next village visit was to KAILUI where the women make indigo dye and weave on a back strap loom.  They use lime and soda ash for a mordant and only women are allowed to make the dye which is a very messy process.  There were lots of kids and barn animals all round.

In MAULIRU and UMABARU we saw lots of large carved grave stones, people weaving songket (a supplemental warp) using bamboo sticks and reeds and people selling textiles at the King’s house where we had to sign in.

From SUMBA we flew to KUPANG, capital of TIMOR island.  We drove to BAUN province and met the King who learned complex dyeing techniques from his mother, some of which are secret.  We were charmed by him, his lovely wife and their granddaughter.  From there were went to a weaving village in Baun called AMARISI.  We were met with singing, dancing, and textile spinning, dyeing and weaving demos by the friendly people.  My favorite moment was when they sang “In those old cotton fields back home”  They are known for their morinda dye – a reddish brown from the roots of a tree.

Our next stop was OEBELO village of people from Roti island near Timor. They were known for making a musical instrument called a sasando – similar to a harp or lute in sound.  It is made from bamboo and palm leaf with 12 strings from goat intestine.   We were given a demonstration and a concert with dancing.  The men wore hats made from palm leaf like a cowboy hat with a horn on it.  They amplified the sasando and serenaded us with songs including Country Roads which we all sang along to – our group and a group of high school students there from Taiwan who knew all the words!  They also sold some ikats by the Ndao people on a nearby island.

From there to BENLUTU where we met a regal older woman named Fransina Baok who brought the Amunaban style weaving to the village.  We saw weaving demonstrations by her daughters and nieces.  This group of weavers is called  Kelompok Ora Etia Bora and Buna style – a discontinuous supplementary weft- is what they are known for.

Our next village was FUTUMNASI in the Molo Valley we were met by the king and his young dancers.  These friendly people gave us weaving and dyeing demonstrations.  They use indigo, cassuarina for red and turmeric for yellow.  They also had a gourd-like fruit they grated for yellow and ground corn for mordant.  Their textiles were called Bunak.

In KEFAMENANU we saw more Bunak textiles at the Papean Pak Coorperative – one of 14 weaving co-ops in the area started in 1989 by Ibu Yoirta Meta.  They support women and young girls by providing access to thread and dye, training in weaving,  dyeing and design.  We also saw a wonderful collection of traditional Boboki textiles

Our last stop in Timor was NIKI NIKI in Amanuban Regency and the village of None. The bare chested men did a warrior dance for us and told us about their history, traditions and their ancestors who were headhunters.

Our next island was FLORES where we went to the village of Bena where the Ngada people, a matrilineal society,  still practice animism in spite of the prevalence of the Catholic religion there. It is a national park and we saw some weavers and  indigo dyers.


Our next stops in Flores were Ende with the Lio people in an Ndona ikat village and the Sikka group. They both use morinda dye and do beautiful work. After that we saw the Watublapi women near the seaside village of Maumere where we stayed. They were my favorite – they did 4 dances for us plus spinning, dyeing and weaving demos and were beautifully dressed in their indigo blouses and sarongs. The Lamaholat village was our last one on Flores where they specialize in kwatek kinge – ikat with seashells.

The last island of the trip was Sulawesi. We landed in Makassar where we saw some dyeing. Then we went to Toraja land, known for their elaborate funerals which we were lucky enough to be invited to. They last for days. We went to the bull and water buffalo market first and then to the funeral. There were elaborate tents with textiles and the relatives were very dressed up in their best textiles and they even had costumed dancers.

For information about a similar trip check out www.textileodysseytours.com
For more info about these and other textiles check out www.thetextileatlas.com


Marimekko Exhibit

By suzi click on Monday, July 10th, 2017 in Featured, Reviews. No Comments

On a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest I visited the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. A small but worthwhile exhibit of the Finnish design firm, Marimekko, that was so popular and influential in the late 60’s and early 70’s, really was “a blast from the past.” The pop imagery and vibrant colors really evoke the exuberance of that time in fashion – still one of my favorites. The company was founded in 1951 and they are still going strong today. You can find out more about their heritage and where to find their products on their website click here


the Creative Couple

By suzi click on Friday, August 28th, 2015 in Featured, The Artful Life. No Comments

It was with great excitement that we went to interview Barbara and Wayne Chapman. Barbara has been one of the most iconic “adorned” women we have ever known and we were very curious about her environment. When we saw her home our breath was taken away at the fairy tale world she and her husband Wayne had created.

Their house in Solana Beach was originally a rectangular stucco box bought in 1957. In 1970 they hired architect Kendrick Bang Kellogg (recently featured in Three On The Edge at the Mingei Museum) to give them a very modern look.

They spent years filling it with wonderful treasures from all over the world. Among their favorites was their collection of Ikebana Japanese baskets.

A raging fire in 2001 destroyed much of the house and the contents – all their treasures up in smoke,the baskets tinder in the flames. But the Chapmans were undaunted and rebuilt the house with the help of the same architect. Being born collectors they ransacked importers, antiques shops and warehouses finding new arcana, while they painted the walls mad and improbable colors, filling the rooms with their own art.

For many years they have given tours of their home in conjunction with a boutique sale of artful clothing and jewelry and some of their own designs – Barbara’s extravagant jewelry and dolls and pottery by Wayne.

Both were members of the San Diego Allied Craftsmen, a small prestigious group of artists and crafts people very active in the 50’s and 60’s and recently featured in an exhibit at the Mingei Museum.

They met each other in that group. Barbara was working as a sales girl and would spend her lunch breaks shopping. One day she came upon a beautiful weaving in the San Deigo Allied Craftsmen gallery and that led her to meet Wayne.

On the first date they went to see the movie Camelot and she fell in love with the beautiful fabrics in the costumes. She met the woman who designed the costumes in Hollywood and who gave her scraps of some of those gorgeous fabrics – the beginning of an inspiration of lush style that characterizes all of her art. Today Barbara combines gorgeous fabrics and trims into imaginative dolls and accessories to wear. For years she taught doll making but recently retired from teaching giving herself the freedom to create her multi-layered and mysterious designs.

As she showed us her magical house she remarked on the disorganization especially in her studio but quoted A.A. Milne who said “one of the advantages of being disorganized is one is always making exciting discoveries”. She also lives by the adage that “never do when you can over-do”.

Wayne, one of the youngest marines in WWII was only 15 when he enlisted. He spent much of his duty in Japan. Wayne studied ceramics in his first year of college and became hooked. All during his long career in law enforcement he was making ceramics, and now his fancy has shifted to dichroic glass beads.

The Chapmans are such warm and gracious people, as well as being great artists, that our interview felt like a visit with old fiends.


People Magazine shows us off

By Gretchen Schields on Friday, October 17th, 2014 in Events, Featured, News. 2 Comments

We were in PEOPLE magazine

We were in PEOPLE magazine

 

We were featured in People Magazine’s Gorgeous at Any Age special Beauty and Style issue.  The article was about our darling, Ari Seth Cohen, and his blog Advanced Style, a phenomenally popular site which celebrates the magnificent, creative style of women over 50.  Like us!

Ari also has a book out with terrific photos of his subjects in all their glory.  Advanced Style is the name, what else.  And his new documentary, Advanced Style, features several of his most colorful subjects in NYC. and their daily lives.

We attended his premiere screening in LA with Lynn, the feathered and featured owner of Off Broadway boutique in NYC.

See us below, at the premiere.


Advanced Style Movie Premier

 

 

 


NEW WORK from Gretchen Schields

By Gretchen Schields on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 in Featured. 4 Comments

These and many more designs are available at my Etsy shop.  Take a look!