Flourish, polls and other bits and bobs

First off, if you check out the Events page, you will notice a new event (in addition to my Pompeii to Paris talk): Flourish.

“To flourish is to grow, thrive and blossom.

To flourish is to develop succeed and prosper.

To flourish is to attract attention, make bold gestures, standout from the crowd.”

The textile design students at Massey University have been creating gorgeous one-off silk scarves as a fundraiser for Downstage Theatre.  If you are lucky enough to be in Wellington you can visit an exhibition of the scarves at Thistle Hall, and attend a fantastic evening at Downstage to bid on one of the fabulous scarves.

And the scarves are fabulous – I’ve been watching the students create them and drooling over the designs!  They have put hours and hours of work into the designs, and they can only get one true printing off of them.

Second, you may have noticed my new poll function on the sidebar.  I’ll be running weekly lighthearted polls about textiles and fashion and pretty much anything and everything else I can think of.  Except politics.  And probably sports.  But who knows.

And for the record, speaking of polls, I can’t believe that no one wants to be a zombie!  Just think of the lack of worries – the only thing on your mind would be brains!  Mmmmm….brains….

Mmmm...brains...wait, no, that's a tulip! It does look kind of brain-y, or at least organ-y, doesn't it?

Third, I’m dripping in commissions, and (luckily) also feeling fabulously productive, so as long as I can tear myself away from the dress form and the ironing board and the sewing machine, you should see lots and lots of sewing posts. If I can’t…well, then you’ll see lots and lots of cute pictures of Felicity.

Now that’s not a bad thing, is it?

Felicity pictures can never be bad

Finally, I entered four items in the Historical Costume Inspiration Festival, mostly because every time I’ve been bored and had internet access I’ve popped over and added another one.

Go and check out the other stuff on offer (I’m seriously drooling over the wire Royals Swedish crowns!), and check out the costume portfolios of the ones I have entered.

The waterlily dress

Textiles: where technology meets “you’ve got to be kidding me”

Due to the courses I teach, I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on technologically innovative textiles.

A lot of it is really neat, but also somewhat expected: making textiles lighter, stronger, or better at keeping you warm or cool.

Some of it is just neat, like invisibility cloaks, and knitted heart valves.

And then there is the stuff that is just…weird.

Like the Ebbra – an ‘emergency bra’ that doubles as a face mask in the event that you get caught in a sandstorm, develop an infectious cough in a matter of minutes, find yourself surrounded by people with infectious coughs, or forget to leave your building when the exterminator tents it.

And the best part is, you have a second half to give to a friend.

The bra in action

It goes from this...

...to this - in a matter of minutes!

Then there is the Hug Shirt – a wired shirt that uses electronic impulses to give the sensation of a ‘hug’ whenever a friend with a bluetooth or an iphone uses their ‘Hug Shirt’ app to send you one.

The best/worst part?  It was voted one of the “Best Inventions of 2006″ by Time Magazine.  Seriously?  The best thing anyone managed to invent in 2006 was another way to communicate without actually touching?!?

All this technology makes me feel like I need to retreat into my Luddite cave and do some hand sewing.

Cool new resources

I’ve discovered some great new or new-ish resources on the internet.

First, I’ve known about the Textile Blog for a while now.  It’s a fantastic resources, and all of the articles are well researched, with the sources listed (something I need to aspire to – the source listing, not the research)

The blog has had a recent upgrade, which includes a list of every textile related exhibitions on now at pretty much every museum, everywhere (OK, they are missing at least one that I know of).  I haven’t figured out a logic to the order yet, but it’s still a great resource.  Unfortunately, it makes me wish I could travel just about everywhere to see just about every exhibition!

Tschetschka head scarf, from the famous textile production village of Pavlov Possad, near Moscow, Russia.

Second, I’ve found an exciting new blog.  It’s the blog I want to write but don’t have time for: Historical Fancy Dress.  It’s still new, so we’ll have to watch and see how good it turns out to be, but so far the indications are very promising.

Two Victorian ladies and a child in a fancy dress. I recognise the little girl as a Spanish Lady and the Deck of Cards, but the central one eludes me.

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Meet the Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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