Our blog has been silent since before Christmas, as we decided we needed to take a break from our whirlwind fall. Lee and I settled in for a quiet non-travel Christmas and New Year’s. Alas, when we were ready to get back to work, Lee’s mother, Mary Ann Liggett, took a serious turn for the worse in her recent battle with acute leukemia. She lost that battle just weeks after her 93rd birthday. She was a determined woman who shared a love of fashion and colors with me. She spent her adult life in Lincoln, Nebraska and when the family and friends gathered to remember her, all knew she had lived a good life and fought the good fight. [Read more…] about Introducing the Earth and Sky Collection
I am not trained to do the design work I do for Whispirit. I wish I had gone to fashion design school or art school to understand the professional techniques of design. But I didn’t. I went to law school instead. Sigh.
But I have found that I love to create one of a kind clothing made from our own handmade alpaca needle-felted fabric. And, I have my own unique way of coming up with the designs, often with input from my husband Lee, Heather, JB, Sarah, Diane, Robin, June and others.
When I start to design something, I start first with colors. Multiple colors. Not a color chart, but instead something or some things that in combination make my spirit dance. It might be a beautiful silk scarf I already own or the wind blowing through our gardens pushing various colors together. Frequently, it’s a color combination that emerges from my flipping through the many magazine images I have pasted on cardstock (a practice I learned from Diane Ericson). It might be a beautiful basket of vegetables from the Taos Farmers’ Market. Or a rich sunset or stunning moon rise over the Sandia mountains. Or an artful piece of jewelry, such as the pieces I recently saw (and purchased — don’t tell Lee) at a jewelry party featuring artist June Rosen Lopez. Or the soft richness of Osita, our sweet New Mexico pup.
Often, particularly with my collage fabric creations, it’s a Perfect Button, created by Robin Pascal that pumps my color imagination.
Next, it’s to the “creation table” where I layout my pieces of dyed roving, fabric remnants, fleece batts, and go through my dyes. Typically, I dye the underlying fabric first, either cotton or silk, which will stabilize the fiber batt and infuse color into it. Sometimes I chose a fabric that has rich natural hues, and is on a neutral colored background and decorate it with the color du jour. For me the fabric is the work of art. Each sheet of fabric I make has unique qualities, drape, color, subtle or rich tones.
The fabric inspires the design of the jacket. Sometimes I will make my prototype and consult with Lee, who is really a great observer of balance and contrast. Seamstress Heather Briggs shares her inspirations as well, and has turned some one-of-a-kind fabrics into simply awesome jackets, vests, and hats. Seamstress Sarah Tafoya helped perfect the princess line jacket as well as our loose fitting comfort jacket/vest, the Hug.
But for me, my art of creation is first and foremost how color speaks to me. That makes my spirit dance.
Til next time. Sandy
Just as our New Mexico mountain temperatures are beginning to drop, we finished the first three ponchos for Fall wear.
When we were at the Western Design Conference, we were assured that folks who bought ponchos last year loved them. When Allison Merritt, the organizer of the event wore her poncho one cool morning, we had our first rush of special orders for these great wearables.
So, before our next trip out of town, we made the fabric, Heather made the lovely poncho with a sweet warm collar and two great loop closures so we could get them in the mail. We also took the time to post them in the Whispirit shop’s section Wraps and Shawls.
These one-size-fits-most cuddly designs make great gifts, for yourself or someone you love. And if you place an order by November 1st we’ll get them to you in time for Thanksgiving!
We think this design would look great in these Whispirit fabrics!
Featuring the award winning Fire Nymph jacket, this fall collection of jackets and wraps is full of bright colorful abstract designs to brighten any fall or winter day and evening. Each piece of this collection is one of a kind.
We can do special orders to make similar items, but due to the nature of our design we can never exactly duplicate this artful fabric. Just like our other garments, everything is handmade here in New Mexico from the luxurious alpaca fleece produced by our herd. Only the milling of our raw alpaca is done out of state, as well as the sheer silk foundation.
Until next time……… Sandy & Lee
As we wrote in this blog last year, the Fourth of July is Lee’s favorite holiday. Besides celebrating our country’s birthing process it’s that time when he reflects on the year just past. This year we are doing our reflection in pictures. It has been a year of great delight, friendship, health and gratitude. Happy Fourth of July to all of our friends, near and far.
Happy Fourth of July. Celebrate safely and please remember all of our men and women in active service. Sandy