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
You’ve seen the results of our new design process we call “collage felting.” This technique now enlivens our jackets, shawls and scarves. We are delighted to report that we are getting rave reviews from Handwoven Originals, website and Facebook visitors and those who have come to our studio. Recently, while Sandy was showing me her latest collage creation, I commented that it would look terrific in its entirety as a wall hanging. She then gave me that look says “well….?” It’s amazing how creativity just needs a little push!
We are calling these “Spirit of the Dance,” because they are so dynamic and bursting with lively energy! (So says Sandy. In my opinion it’s our movement around the designing tables when creating these collages that’s the real dance. We often register 10,000 steps a day on our Fitbits in the process.)
We will be unveiling our new Whispirit wall hangings at the Western Design Conference in Jackson, Wyoming September 8 – 11. We wanted our loyal followers to get a sneak preview. As always, we would love to hear your reaction.
On to the Western Design Conference…. wish us luck!! …….. Until next time from Jackson, WY…. Lee
After getting new product up on our website and putting the final touches on our new “Design Your Own” website feature (have you sent us your reactions and suggestions to that new feature?) by last Monday we turned our attention to finishing the new garments we intend for the Western Design Conference in Jackson Hole, WY, September 7 – 11.
WDC is all about what’s new in designs across many mediums (fashion, jewelry, furniture, home design, etc.). Most of what we are taking there, and certainly that which will be on the runway during the style show, is being revealed for the first time. Ten days ago we had a number of such garments and accessories ready for Jackson Hole and were feeling pretty good about being ready.
THEN, the phone rang. It was our most prolific (and fascinating) boutique, Handwoven Originals. A surge in tourism due to all the wonderful end of the summer activities in Santa Fe had left the Whispirit section of their boutique bare! With Santa Fe’s internationally renowned Indian Market occurring in just a couple of days, was there any way we could get new product to them? Let’s see, potential sales versus being ready for WDC with some breathing room? Hmmm? Right. Off went our planned WDC product to Handwoven Originals.
So, guess what we’ve been doing the last several days and nights and will continue to do so for the next two weeks? We’ve even recruited the dogs! Aww, we like to be busy.
Til next time, Lee
From last week’s blog you know that we were in Seattle for a few days. Returning from Seattle, we found our senses of sight, taste, and smell had been tickled to “overload.” We’re bursting with new ideas for designs and colors. Prior to departure we took several “sewing” machines in for servicing. They were to supposed to be ready upon our return. Of course, they weren’t. Acceptable reasons but, still not ready. So no sewing …
Probably just as well, it’s hot! Outside and inside. Unusually hot for the high plains desert of New Mexico. Too hot for hiking. Too hot for gardening. Where are the monsoons that kicked off July with breezes that kept day time temperatures at the mid-80?? In July when the sun goes down behind the Sandias, it’s supposed to be chilly! Instead the evening air is still and hot and we gather all the fans we own.
If the sewing machines were here and the FeltLOOM were running it would be even hotter in the Fabric Design Center. This is probably a good time to do a little maintenance such as checking needle boards and cleaning fiber dust from inside the FeltLOOM. Inventory needs to be checked to determine what is going with us to the Western Design Conference in Jackson, WY, along with our new creations. That’s not as hot as running the equipment, and you can sit right in front of a fan.
Sandy has been putting off trying some new hat designs, favoring new scares and shawls that sell so well at Handwoven Originals during the Santa Fe Opera season. Now’s a good time because making hat molds while sitting in front of a fan is a lot cooler than running around the FeltLOOM and “banging” out — literally — scarves and shawls. Only trouble with sitting in front of the fan while shaping a hat mold is that the Styrofoam blows all over and you get hot sweeping it up.
Or, maybe we should just follow our dogs’ example? It is after all their days. They run at night and sleep all day in the coolest spots they can find (often the Loom Room.)
Phone just rang — sewing machines are ready to be picked up. Sandy is already out the door. Oh no, it’s about to get hotter.
Until next time ……. Lee
One of the best things that has happened to me personally and to our Whispirit alpaca felted garments is the invitation to sell our creations at Handwoven Originals in Santa Fe. This year Handwoven Originals is celebrating its 35th year at the Inn and Spa at Loretto and the shop is filled with a constantly changing selection of New Mexico made wearable art pieces.
The unique gallery is the creative enterprise of three like-minded weavers, JB Pena, Ceil Swanson and Louise Lechner. For 40 years (they had an earlier shop before moving to the Inn at Loretto in 1980), they shared shop duties and responsibilities for keeping the shop open and helping each other keep space to continue their weaving. In the recent Essential Guide to Santa Fe & Taos article about this anniversary, JB Pena talks about the grit and grace of their enterprise.
“We lost our beloved Louise Lechner in 2013. Her spirit still lives in the shop as Ceil and I navigate with a lot of help from our terrific artists and associates that work with us. We still love to design and weave, create and paint. We are ever grateful for our loyal collectors and friends who have supported us through the years.”
Their team works throughout the year to showcase and sell their participating artists’ works. Their well-placed ads are beautiful celebrations of color and design. They work with returning customers, remembering what they like and suggesting new pieces to add to their collections.
What doesn’t show up in the ads or other publicity about this shop is their incredible contribution to the designing artists showcased in the shop. JB, Ceil and Louise have been wonderful mentors, nurturing creatives and demonstrating the balance between artist sensitivity and the marketplace. Alas, we never got to meet Louise.
When I feel that inevitable insecurity of new designs, a visit to JB or Ceil and any of their associates is in order. JB is great about pinpointing the solution to my prototype versions of jackets, wraps, scarves: “Make it longer, women like to cover their butts. Red, black and white are favorite color combinations. Can you put a closure on this? Make the sleeves wider. I like the lining in the sleeves.” Their feedback fills me with the exuberance of knowing that I am onto something. I always leave the shop with ego reinflated and filled with new inspiration.
Everyone working in the shop is knowledgeable about each artists’ work and can tell their customers what goes into the labor intensive handmade creation. They know what makes each work special and worthy of collecting. Because of their passion for each artist’s work, their customers return every year to see the new creations. The shop is a happy, contented place filled with smiles, good will and celebration.
One of the busiest times for Handwoven Originals is the Santa Fe Opera season, which begins July 1st. Lee & I have been busy creating new wraps for Santa Fe’s chilly summer evenings, which we will deliver to the shop this Thursday. If you are in Santa Fe, be sure to stop by this very special shop. If you can’t make it this summer, take a look at their beautiful website and online store and plan a visit on your next Santa Fe trip.
Til next time. Sandy