Monday, January 30


I want to clarify that the intent behind my post about plagiarism was not to make anyone paranoid, but to bring up my feelings about the issue and to discuss the idea of the authentic response. Thank you all for your ideas, comments, suggestions, words.

The internet is huge, and there are, as the proverb goes, a million monkeys making a million things all at once. Someone is bound to write another Twelfth Night/Henry V/Hamlet, right? But I still feel unsettled about it sometimes--about myself, too, because sometimes I feel so inundated by information and ideas that I am paralyzed, partially by worry about not being good enough/not having my own ideas, and partially by the sheer amount. Back to that old "authentic response" chestnut, I guess.

Normal posting to resume soon. No more of this serious stuff from me.

(And--the author of "The Work of Art in the Age of Manual Reproduction" is Vic Muñoz. AND, you had better jump over here and check out Cécile-Bonbon.)

Sunday, January 29

plagiarism, part 2.

I'd like to say everything is fine and I am comfortable enough with the quality of my work and my ideas that someone copying them--often exactly--doesn't bother me. But it does. And it bothers me that this person goes beyond copying just my work.

It makes me feel I can't be honest here. Can't post photos of work in progress. Can't tell you what I'm working on, excited about--because there's precedent for my projects being swiped right out from under me.

So I'm going to reconsider for a couple of days. In the end, there's nothing I can do about this: my ideas are out there, and so in some ways they're fair game. In the end, it comes down to craftsmanship and material quality.

In an essay ("The Work of Art in the Age of Manual Reproduction"--can't recall the author) I read for printmaking last semester, there was a bit about how all artists copy; that is how we learn. But the true 'art' or work comes after the artist leaves off copying and develops an authentic response to stimuli. I think a lot about the idea of the authentic response. How to incorporate all the things I see & like--how to make those things authentic to my vision, my aesthetic, and not just make them to make them. I'm especially wary of making things "because they'll sell," rather than because they are a fitting expression of the feeling I'm trying to create through my work as a whole.

The photo is what I see when I sit at my drawing/work table.

Friday, January 27

thérèse in venice

shrine in venice
Originally uploaded by ohbara.
When I was living in Venice this summer, one of my favorite things was that everywhere I went there were tiny shrines built into the walls. People would leave flowers, candles, etc. at them, and some were very old and neglected--as a Catholic, it was a touching experience. I liked that people felt that saints were part of their daily lives and that it wasn't overblown or sentimental or manipulative.

This one is along the Grand Canal, across from the train station (Ferrovia). It was the second-to-last day of my stay in Venice and I had lost my resident transit permit (which allows residents to ride the vaporetti for 30 euros/month, rather than 5 euros/ride), so I was walking as much as possible--the guards don't usually check for the permits, but it is a large fine (200 euros, I think) if they catch you riding for free, and even though I was mistaken for Italian all the time, I am pretty sure I could count on my Italian to fail completely in the event of illegal activity--and in this case, I was walking to the COOP (a grocery store I liked to go to--the other one, BILLA, was near school but dirtier and more crowded). The day was so clear and fine--not too hot--and because it was near the train station there were many people walking around and a lot of street vendors. I came upon this shrine to St. Thérèse of Lisieux just before I crossed a tall bridge.

I have just recently begun missing Venice.

Thursday, January 26


It's a little blurry, because it's already almost dark right now, but I wanted to squeal a bit to people I know will understand about these finds: almost 100 (some I haven't unpackaged) vintage Czech glass buttons, unused replacement belts for my Kenmore, and about 40 skeins of unused vintage embroidery floss. Village des Valeurs forever.

Some of the buttons will be going onto handprinted cards and selling in the sewing section of the shop. Some will be going on pouches. Some will be going on a Super Top-Secret Project that I am working on. (!!!)

Off to class, now. Cheers!

Tuesday, January 24


(the pod-casing that holds the seeds)
shop update february 1st
ipod cases, pouches, pomflowers
* * * * *


Originally uploaded by ohbara.
Thanks to Anke, I am now aware of Noa Noa and I am in love. This is the company (along with Magnolia Shoes) that I want to design for. Wow.

So here is another of the photos. I love this one. We just happened to find this bicycle and used it. As you might know from reading my old about page, I do love umbrellas and bicycles. And apartment buldings.

Monday, January 23


Originally uploaded by ohbara.
Here's the first of three photos from a shoot I did on Saturday. The lovely L. models for me. She looks exactly as I want people to look in my clothes--romantic, yet modern; playful, but grown-up. I love the light here.

Saturday, January 21


I'm obsessed with sewing little strawberries right now. Also with making wallets and iPod cosies. I made one for a coworker (iPod shuffle) in red corduroy and bright blue fleece. This was meant to hold an iPod mini, but it is a little short. I don't have one, but I want to borrow one so I can make windows in the correct places. Wallet: 100% wool. Strawberry: velvet, netting, wool.

Wednesday, January 18


It's bad enough (I know from direct experience) when another crafter/maker/artist/what-have-you copies one of your designs. It's angering, depressing, frustrating. But it's got to be much, much worse to be ripped off by a corporation--especially one so huge that you really have no recourse.

Go here and give Johnny Cupcakes some sympathy + help.

Tuesday, January 17

oh, mail!

So Toni and I did a swap for a piece of fabric she had--and I got the box she sent today! (Mine is somewhere between here + her.) I knew she was sending some little treats with the fabric, but I could never have anticipated the sweetness I found inside! It was a kind of long, grey, snowy day for me here, and the first day back at school, so I saved this until after I'd done some work--prep for teaching, phone calls--and then opened it (before I'd quiiite finished all my chores). How did you know I was needing some bright yellows, some lively greens? (And chocolate, too!) Thank you so much, Toni. (And you can see what she did with the fabric here--just scroll down a bit.)
thanks again, Toni!


Back in the swing of it this weekend. Maybe it was the feeling of DOOM, knowing school begins today, but I got a ton done: about twenty new pouches, a skirt completely done and one cut and ready to sew, a shirt completed; I also did all the finicky things (like sewing in labels and finishing/fixing tiny mistakes) that have been needing to be done. So it looks like my 'winter' collection will be a late winter one, but it is almost ready to go. I want to have a couple of models so I can have photos of the clothes on real bodies (not just mannequins) before I turn them in.

And thanks to all of you commenters. I was shocked (shocked!) to see how many comments were here...and that was just the first five. So thanks for reading and letting me know you are. It's nice to know who is out there.

Now I'm off to work and school, and here we go again....

(PS: shop update with some new things [see: flickr] later this week.)

Sunday, January 15

hello there

So apparently it is something called "delurking week" at present, and this is a big chance for all the bloggy writers and pretty-thing-makers to guilt their constituents/audiences into coming out of the woodwork + saying hello.

Who would I be if I didn't join in? So delurk! If you're out there reading, say hi, and let me know about your place--where you post, where you muse, where you show off your stuff--and I'll drop by and comment there, too.

And--because this is what you come here for, after all--some of your regularly scheduled programming:

nengajou (new-year's card)

I made the 'mistake' of taking part in a holiday card exchange through a blog I read often. I loved receiving the cards last year and this year as well, but with thesis writing, fashion show participating, craft-o-rama coordinating, and life in general, getting the old "I'll hand print all my cards" bee in the bonnet was maybe ill-advised. But I did it, and they are out traveling the world at present. They show kadomatsu (pine branches + bamboo) and kagamimochi (stacked soft rice cakes and a tangerine with these folded streamers), which are traditional New-Year's elements in Japan. All 50 are hand-printed, double-sided.

Lots of sewing, lots of cutting, lots of planning. See you soon! And--delurk, already!

Wednesday, January 11


st. francis of assisi; st. therese of lisieux

I have a special affinity for these two saints. Francis is my patron (born on his feast day) and Thérèse's philosophy matches pretty evenly with mine in a lot of ways. Even though I don't tend to like the name Therese/Teresa/Theresa/similar, I would choose this for my confirmation name because of her.

A lot of cleaning going on over here, and a new design job, and preparing to begin teaching again, and very little else, alas. People over for dinner tonight and then hopefully I'll have a chance to make the screens and print my (overdue, oh well) New Year's cards.

I want to work with wool more, soon. My brain magically taught me how to purl and now I can do all kinds of fancy things. I'm really inspired by HUTUP (also linked in the sidebar), which is a German company/artist group making felt objects, shoes, and clothing. Ironically, when I'm on break I think I do less work--the structure of school keeps me pushing ahead with new projects. Looking forward to getting back into things.

Sunday, January 8


It seems a lot of people kind of have the January blues--out of energy, without the prompt of present-giving to push them onwards--and I've been feeling it, too. Add to that some rather disturbing findings about copycats and a death and that's a recipe for non-blogging! Alas. I try to keep everything here positive, but it's gotten recently so that I don't feel like writing a thing!

This is a shawl I knitted en route to NH. It's 100% mohair, two strands. Closes in the front with, as you can see, a big old brooch. It was fun to make--except that the mohair is a little brittle and filaments kept breaking off and leaving fuzz on my (red) coat. It was also a good conversation starter on the plane--such a big "scarf," everyone wanted to know what I was making.

Friday, January 6


The yarn I made in New Hampshire.
(four tiny skeins of white/offwhite slubby yarn,
one of red wool plied with blue mohair, and two of grey-green wool)

Wednesday, January 4

back home

knitting in new hampshire

Vacation was great, and I'm glad to be home. I learned to spin on both a drop spindle and a wheel, went to a bunch of yarn shops in Vermont, carded a ton of fleece, made some felt, and got used to the smell of sheep. I also (unsurprisingly?) knit up a storm. Above--some of my boyfriend's mom's Christmas animals take refuge in some vintage mohair.

In other news--the shop is open again, and updated with new things--go take a peek! I'll continue to update this week as I have time.

Happy New Year! Cheers!