Block Printing

As the temperature rises, I’m reminded it’s Summer.  A linen blouse, crop pants, sandals and a ponytail pretty much describe my look for the season.  Comfortable clothes combined with the heat, and last but not least, barbecue ignite an intense creative curiosity leading me down an unknown path.  Perhaps I’m nostalgic for Summer days gone by when, as a young girl, the end of the school year meant staying up late and sleeping in, swimming all summer, making lanyards at my local Parks and Recreation Department or hanging out in the mystery section at the library.  Along the way, I loved biking through fields of flowers, racing with dragonflies, and collecting rocks.  A time and place I created for myself, the freedom to explore without any encumbrances.

My current Summer journey leads to an intense study of block printing.  Recently, I attended a block printing class at A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA with Rebecca of Rekh & Datta. Rebecca shared a video of India, describing a brief history of  block printing along with the individual family that translates her designs to fabric.

Block Printing #1
Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

Here is my first carved block .

Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall
Block Printing #2
Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

I decided to separate the block into individual segments to experiment with pattern and design.

Block Printing #3
Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

Much to my surprise, some interesting patterns emerged.  I feel fortunate to have the “time” to let my curiosity soar to new heights and discover amazing possibilities.

I used to think reminiscing about the past was not healthy, but I now believe my past is my present.  Looking back is not past history, and according to Sadie Stein, “As the deep vaults of history are made accessible to everyone via technology, the past has become an alternative present.”  Ms. Stein’s article appeared in The New York Times Style Magazine, entitled, We’re Living in a Copycat Culture, dated January 31, 2017.

“The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”    William Faulkner







Encoding Modern Fashion

The February 14, 2016 issue of the New York Times Style Magazine printed two very interesting articles, The New Power Dressing by Sarah Nicole Prickett and Under Appreciated photographed by Charlotte Wales and styled by Elodie David-Touboul.  Both articles visually appropriate patterns/motifs and dance from ancient history, in order to encode a message.

The looks are from the Spring Collections for 2016 from Gucci, Celine and Versace.  I am intrigued with the skirt from Gucci.

Decorative Patterns of the Ancient World 001
Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos, Marcus Tondo, Modica Feudi/Indigital Images, for The New York Times Style Magazine 2016.

Immediately, the skirt reminds me of an Etruscan Pontic amphora vase painted by the Paris Painter of four women. The waistband of smaller narrow triangles separated by a formal border delineates a register of a combination of marine life (snakes, frogs, and fish (egg layers all are also thought to bring wealth and fertility to the household, in various parts of Europe), rosettes and a heraldic pose of perhaps lions/lionesses. The Lion Gate, a relief sculpture of two lionesses or lions in a heraldic pose symbolizing guardians of the gate were discovered at the main entrance of the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae in southern Greece.  The middle register enclosed  by a border of palmettos supported by spirals and a border of small triangles contains fantastical creatures and a serpent/snake and the background is ornamented with rosettes of various sizes.  The bottom register depicts what could be a collection of two-headed griffins.   Cerberus, the two-headed dog guarded the entrance to Hades while griffins guarded treasure and priceless possessions.  The larger narrow triangles create the hem of the skirt.  The woman that wears this skirt possesses divine power, guards her treasure and and decides her own destiny.  Fertility, prosperity and protection.  The fabric design of the skirt reflects ancient costume too.

Ancient Patterns and Modern Fashion 001
Detail of the Francois vase, showing goddesses attending a wedding.  Note the dress friezed with scenes.  Image from Prehistoric Textiles by E.J.W. Barber, Princeton University Press, 1981.

Two photographs taken by Charlotte Wales and styled by Elodie David-Touboul also expertly adopt and adapt ancient celebration/dance for modern day fashion.  What do you think?

Ancient Patterns and Modern Fashion 002
Photo credit: Charlotte Wales, Styled by Elodie David-Touboul for The New York Times Style Magazine 2016.
Ancient Patterns and Modern Fashion 003
Photo credit: Charlotte Wales, styled by Elodie David-Touboul for The New York Times Style Magazine 2016.
Ancient Patterns and Modern Fashion 004
Tarquinia, Tomb of the Jugglers, 520 BC.

“The New Power Dressing” coined by Prickett, “Breaks with conformity and “unisex” no longer means “mannish” but rather glamorously bisexual in a fin-de-siecle way.” I argue, cloth conveniently expresses a silent social message of  female individuality, culture and status.

Know first who you are, then deck yourself out accordingly. – Epictetus,Discourses, 3.1



An Abundance of Flowers

We exist in a kind of brand mania that asserts that everything from your razor blade to your public library to the I.R.S. needs to have a relatable personality.

The above quote was taken from a New York Times Style Magazine article dated October 25, 2015, written by Michael Rock entitled, Hooked on a Feeling.  Rock mentions, “Through the use of the various social media platforms everything and everyone has its own brand, lacking human emotions.  Why are we all so susceptible to manufactured emotion.  Why are we so needy?”

I argue, throughout history people have always coveted “objects of desire” to define a public persona.”Conspicuous consumption,” the public display of economic power has been around since the leisure class. I believe branding only suits largely distributed objects and not individuals.  Social media has corrupted the “one-on-one look me in the eyes conversation,” creating a lack of empathy.

Michael Rock’s article reminds me of Cicero’s famous quote, “Times are bad.  Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”

Here’s what defines me:

Cottage Garden 2013 #4

The vibrancy of colors in nature.

100 Flowers of Crochet

The memories of crocheting 100 flowers for an art class, while the remaining students used technology.


Conversations with my husband.

Noro Taiyo Sock Yarn Jacket_1

My latest knitting project.

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