Monday, June 30, 2008

meet pete, chapter 4

meet pete. (portrait courtesy of richard)

pete is the brains and the brawn behind MAIC, and our host, field guide, safety monitor, coconut cracker, story teller, conch shucker, and sea turtle authority for the visit to andros.

he lives in this pink house, which he graciously vacated (in favor of his sailboat) while we were there so we could stay in it.

he erected this windmill, which generates some of the power for the Forfar field station, which is sort of the mother organization behind MAIC. Forfar was our base station, and where we ate most of our meals.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

meet george!

i know i am always mentioning my awesome friend george, and now you can meet her too! she is the subject of the first three (maybe more) installments of a documentary series about artists and their day jobs, entitled Keeping the Lights On. i find this a fascinating topic, as most of the people i know have constructed alternative ways of life to support themselves, so i eagerly anticipate all of the future segments.

here is the first episode, in which ms. ferrandi tells the story of how she came to work as a saviour of statues...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Maritime Arts and Inspiration Center, chapter 3

the reason we were on the island of andros was MAIC, the Maritime Arts and Inspiration Center, which is the vision of george and scout's friend pete (who i will elaborate on later). MAIC is meant to be a place where artists, students, teachers and local Bahamian artisans can cross-pollinate and 'promote ideas of sustainability in rural island communities'.

to get to the center, one must cross the 'swash', a vast pool of water that ranges from ankle to knee-deep, depending on the tide. at first, visitors are confused about how to find their way through the swash. but slowly, you realize that all you must do is follow your guides...

pete sculpted these giant sea turtle heads and submerged them in the sand. i think we counted 14 of them, leading the way through the soft sandy sea water...

...and this humble former schoolhouse is the heart of MAIC. it feels like a deserted desert island, and we camped in tents here for two of the seven nights we spent on andros.

Friday, June 13, 2008

ready for renegade!


oh yes, try as i might to hold back time (i want to make more stuff!) it is here, the big mama, the one that started it all, the 4th annual Renegade Craft Fair! if you are anywhere within range, you simply MUST come and support your local indie makers. this is what it's all about!

i would love to wax poetic, show you a preview of what i'm working on, list all my fave vendors that will be there, and so on, but alas there is still much sewing, crocheting, printing, dying and tagging to be done! see you in the pool!

oh yeah, and i'll be honoring my traditional 10% discount to anyone who brings me a lemonade, an (unsweet) iced tea, or a treat!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

field trip to androsia batik, chapter 2

on our first full day in andros, we visited androsia, a beautiful workshop that produces batiked fabric and clothing. george and i fell in love with the place and hope to figure out how to work with them on a project in the future. oh yes, did i mention the plan is to visit andros every year?

the first in a series of workrooms was the wax room, which had a lovely zen quality to it... the lighting is very dim, just some sunlight filtering through a few cloudy skylights. but then the only artificial light is placed under the tables, so the batikers can see the placement layout under the cloth. we were fascinated with the wall full of handcarved sponges that are used to print with the wax. i loved the absolute lack of color (even the women working were mainly in white) in contrast to the rest of the place, and how everything in the room was covered in layers or splashes of white wax.

in case you're not familiar with batik, it is a process where wax is printed or drawn onto cloth, then the cloth is dyed with the wax in it and the wax works as a resist, keeping the dye from penetrating those areas. then the wax is removed, leaving the print on a colored ground.

next came the dye room, where the cloth is submerged in vats of dye, and then gloriously hung out in the sun to dry. the indoor/outdoor quality of the work environment was very inspiring; i dream of having an outdoor dye studio myself someday soon!

last came the cutting and sewing rooms, where the riotous colors were all around.

and then of course there was the shop, where i bought 3 pieces of batiked cloth. it was hard to choose, but i restrained myself, since it was only our first day! (little did i know yet that there would be hardly anything else to buy the rest of the trip... whew.) the funny thing was that from that day on, we saw androsia batiks everywhere we went, as curtains, tablecloths, jellyfish tentacles... but wait, i'm getting ahead of myself!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

andros at last, chapter 1

ok, so yes i'm way behind on posting lots of things that have been happening around here, first and foremost of which was my vacation back in april to andros, the biggest and least populated island of the bahamas. i have 9 posts planned out (i took LOTS of photos) so will try to get them up over the next couple of weeks...

these are all just some of my scenic postcard shots to capture the tone of the place. there is very little tourist industry on andros, so it was a really pure and beautiful experience. i've never been anywhere tropical before, so i was pretty bowled over with nearly everything i saw!

my traveling companions were george, scout and richard, whose gorgeous photos can be seen here. you should also read george's accounts of our adventure here (scroll down a bit). scout fished every day, and one night he grilled up some of the barracuda and jacks (above) that he'd caught. most of his catches were given away or thrown back.

moonrise over the 'swash'...

the photo on the right is a mass of thimble jellies, which were everywhere, but didn't seem interested in stinging us.

we ate a lot of conch (cracked, fried and in salad), and even 'caught' some ourselves and made a conch salad one day. i put the word 'caught' in quotes because it almost seemed unfair; they are essentially giant snails and therefore have no defenses against us who have two hands and opposable thumbs!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

built by you!

there are still a few spots left in the next session of sewing 103/Built by You Tunic at Brooklyn General! this is a great project to move your sewing skills forward; it's a bit challenging, but oh-so-cute! i'm working on my fourth one now...

check out some of the inspiring combos people have made! i just recently discovered (and promptly joined) the Built by Us flickr group and it makes me urgently want to try all the patterns i still haven't gotten to yet.

Sewing 103 (Intermediate)

Four 2-hour classes $150 Wednesdays 6:30 to 8:30 pm, 6/11, 18, 25, 7/2

A tunic, top, or dress Built By You! The class will use Simplicity's Built By Wendy pattern 3964. This class is a perfect next step for the intermediate seamstress or someone interested in brushing up on their skills.

Materials: BBW/Simplicity pattern #3964, fabric (1 and 3/8 to 3 and 1/4 yards, depending on which variation of pattern, and width of fabric-- see back of pattern for details), optional: 7/8 yd of contrast fabric for yoke, thread to match body fabric (and contrast if using). Basic sewing supplies (see Sewing 101). *some variations also call for one pkg of 1/4" elastic