Wednesday, August 1, 2012

This Shawl Must Travel

Today's post is a victory for me. I completed my fist lace shawl.

Now, if that does not sound victorious to you, you don't knit. That is fine, I have nothing against non-knitters, it is just that for most knitters, a lace shawl is a project of accomplishment, a right of passage so to speak. 

My Maternal Grandmother modeling the
scarf for my paternal grandmother.
But for me this shawl means a whole lot more. Let me tell you a little bit about my family. My dad is from Beirut, Lebanon. It is a tiny and misunderstood little country with a huge heart and a ton of soul. My dad came to the US for college, met my mom at a huge party where they both went to school, Parks College of Engineering, where my mom was studying aerosace engineering, and they fell in love and got married (yes, it is a true story).

As a young child, the war in Lebanon made it hard on my grandparents and they decided to move to the US and live with us.  I adored having my Tata (Arabic for Grandma) amd Jiddo (arabic for grandpa) living with us. I loved watching my Tata cook and spent countless hours following my Jiddo around like a little lost puppy.

Every summer, while we were home from school, my Tata would work so hard to try to teach me how to be a proper lady and clean and cook and other things that ladies from good families did. She taught me a lot about tradition over those years, so much of it would take so long to settle in, but she planted the seeds in me then that are alive now (although I still am terrible at cleaning).

Fast forward and times got better and Lebanon began to rebuild. My grandparents moved back home. I missed them dearly. Soon we began to travel home every year or two to see them. I will never forget the first time I stepped foot in their home in Beirut, it had been too many years and I think I must have squeezed them so hard with my hugs it hurt. Those trips are worth more to me than gold.

War in Syria has made it hard for Americans to travel to the Middle East and it has been a few years since I have seen my Tata. But I have a shawl, and it will travel .  My very close cousin is going home to get married this August. With him, packed neatly away will be my shawl. It is for my Tata.

A bright white shawl, full of sparkle and life, just like her. I have knit thousands of stitches for countless hours, until my hands hurt,to compete this shawl for this voyage. This shawl carries in it my love for my Tata. It carries heart and soul. It is funny to think a simple garment can be all of that, but as I sat with my family and in the car and at the park and knitting meet-ups adding stitches, I gave some of me in each stitch and I hope that she will love all of me that is in it.



She loves the shawl!!!!  I am awaiting my cousin to send me some pictures of her in it where I will post here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Etsy Treasury - For the Home STL

This is a start for my series of treasuries.  I plan to give you all a wonderful treasury every Friday.

Today the treasury is a lovely one of home goods all from wonderful artists in St. Louis.  Please add them to your faves or maybe even purchase something!

For the Home - STL Treasury on Etsy

See the Treasury

Monday, July 16, 2012

So why Tangled Dreams?

Welcome to my first post as a blogger.  I am going to be honest, I have really never been a very successful blogger.  I am not sure if it is that I would rather create than write or what my issue is, but for once I am going to do this right and stick with it, so here goes.

This is my very first post as Studio Desiree.  I would like to take this chance to explain why this blog is called Tangled Dreams.  For those of you who do not know me personally, I want to explain my story.  I am a born fiber artist, its my mother's fault actually.  From the time I was very small, my mom read Vogue magazine to me.  She says I loved every page of it.  I am pretty sure that is how this whole thing began.

By the time I was six, my grandmother, a born seamstress, enabled me by teaching me to sew.  Each Saturday, I would visit her house and we would spend hours together, starting at the fabric store searching for patterns.  I could read through the pattern books for hours.  While other children fawned over items at the toy store, I fawned over patterns.  Then, after selecting just the right pattern, I would have to go searching through the drawers of patterns to find its number.  (For those who have never purchased a pattern, each pattern has an alphanumeric designation by company.  There are long drawers labeled by company and you need to go the correct drawer to pull the correct number, its kind of like the library).

After finding my pattern, I would have to search out the requirements for the yardage and other items needed.  My grandma would guide me through the store to find the right fabric for the pattern.  I loved to go up and down the aisles of fabric, touching and thinking about what I could make from each one.  We would take the fabric to the cutting counted and get our yardage.  Then it was back to her house to get started.

My grandmother taught me all of the fundamentals of fiber arts without ever really knowing.  She taught me about the hand of a fabric, about the grain, about the fiber content, about matching colors, and about editing my work.  She taught me to alter what I had to make it for me.  But most of all, she never forced me to follow the rules, instead she taught me to learn them and then learn how to bend them to my advantage.

At her house, we did not only sew.  We did tons of other crafts.  We made paper mache, candle, pins, hats, and pretty much just about every craft you can imagine.  She tried to teach me to bead, which is her calling, but I never had the patience for that.  At the same time, my great grandma taught me to embroider by hand.  We spent many a Saturday crafting and we still craft together. 

By the time I was a young teen, I knew enough about sewing and fashion to alter and create garments I saw in magazines for myself.  I would work for days just re-create one pair of pants from a Vogue magazine cover, altered to suit my lithe frame.  By the time I was an older teen, my life took over and my sewing sat back, not gone, just back.

In college, I took a job at David's bridal in the tailoring.  There I learned that there are some amazing and fast tailors out there, but I was not one of them.  I am a meticulous seamstress and spend hours on just a hem of one pant leg.  I had contemplated sewing for a business but learned quickly that it was not for me.  I took too much care in my work, too many hours, who would pay for that?

I did not forget about my love for fabric and fiber in college.  I took classes on art in my extra hours during my Computer Science degree.  I spent hours in the library reading books on historical patternmaking and corsetry.  I always kept up on fashion too and how it aligned to historical techniques.  Basically, the theater majors HATED me because I would check out huge stacks of books on costuming just for fun.

So fast forward and I got married to my amazing husband.  After getting married I decided to learn leatherworking.  I had fun, I love the way leather and fiber work, but it was just not a passion.  I went on to learn latex clothing making.  I did love that, but when I decided to get pregnant the chemicals were too dangerous and that was a dead end road.

After my son was born, I wanted to do something to fill my need to create.  This time, I chose to do something completely different.  I thought maybe my love for fashion might not be in the clothes, but in the photography.  So I jumped headfirst into photography.  My techie and art urges were quenched as I enthralled myself in mastering studio lighting.  But after a few years, I became tired of dealing with models that were not mature and saw a brick wall at the cost of moving myself to the next level.  I would need wardrobe, makeup artists, and professional models.  So another art form sat on the backburner.

Now, speed up a bit and one of my very first models had become a close friend.  She loves dreadlocks.  She knew I was crafty and shows me this tutorial on making wool dreads since she had always wanted a set.  I said I would give it a try.  I tried it and I loved it!!!  But what more could I do with this whole wool thing?

So I started researching dyeing wool and spinning and thought, why not try it?  So I became brave and dyed wool for the first time.  I was in love.  For the first time in my life I could create my own fabric, my very own fiber.  I could sew it and create even more with it!!!  I could spin yarn and make knitted goods with it!!!  I could weave it and make my own fabric.

So here I stand today before you, an overgrown six year old.  I am for the first time in my life an enabled fiber artist.  I can make my own fiber, twisted and tangled and just what I wanted.

So why call it tangled dreams?  After all of the tangles of my life, the fiber I create of felt is nothing more than tangled strands of hair from a sheep.  My creations are the product of a tangled and beautiful dream that continues forever.

So join me in this tangled dream and lets make some fiber!!