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
Made in New Mexico
Sandy’s favorite holiday (Thanksgiving) is over. Our phone and website are heavy with special order requests. It must be December? On the strength of our “Best Artist – Art to Wear Fashion” award at last September’s Western Design Conference and being added to a new boutique (Sacramento Mountain Weavers) there has been an up-tick in orders. Such that our hours at respective production stations are getting much longer and we are pressing both two- and four-legged residents into service.
If you’ve been thinking about adding our award-winning, limited-addition, Fire Nymph to your wardrobe we have enough material to make one more in any size. This is it, last chance – don’t be disappointed by your procrastination.
So, as you can see, Osita is ready to wrap, our sewing machines are sewing, the FeltLoom is looming, Atticus is ready for a run to the Post Office and it is December. No better time to place your special order.
Thank you …. Until next time…….. Lee
Did you miss the October issue of Local Flavor Magazine? This dynamic publication features the eclectic mix of life in Northern New Mexico. October was the Farm and Ranch issue, and featured us, our alpacas, dogs and the variety of Whispirit jackets, hats and other accessories.
Take a look:
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
One of the things I love about Fall is being able to wear hats again. I have always been a hat person, weathering through DC winters with my Bella Abzug hat. (It got chewed up by an airplane propeller one blustery wintry day when I was traveling.) Still have not come up with a good design to replace that one.
I love wearing our stylish alpaca hats and my personal favorite are the Downtown Abbey hats, inspired by, you guessed it, that great series. A particularly hat-rich episode for us then spawned a couple of brimmed versions.
Each year we add a new dimension to the hats. This year is no exception. We are working to incorporate our delightful (and award winning) Cacophony of Colors designs into hats. They will be available in about 2 weeks. Keep an eye on our website.
P.S. Lee is wearing a joke hat which definitely WILL NOT be in our new line.
Until next time ……. Sandy