Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cilla Ramnek is on my mind

Somewhere I came across her book on knitting and crocheting. The Swedish title sounded really intriguing, like an incantation: Sticka Virka. I liked her stuff so much that I even ordered the book twice. Could I have expressed my interest more explicitly?

The interesting part is that I only saw one picture from the book, the title one, and I knew it was something that I had been waiting for. My liking went even further when I read in the two books that she has never finished a single piece and she has a stack of knitted and crocheted front parts of sweaters still hiding somewhere in her house. Yes, knitting is often very boring to be concluded as a sweater or something reasonable and I also have unfinished parts at home (but I am more practical then her, I often rip them off). And she doesn't like following the pattern, so don't I. (Necessary to say, she definitely is more creative then I am).

One thing I wonder, would she ever wear the clothes that she included in her book? Some of them, why not. It is a pure inspiration, like a certain type of a fashion show that is supposed to blow your mind. It is actually based on one idea that I dare to describe, with all the respect to the artist, as composing different textiles and texture unpredictably, yet logically, following the postmodern sense of mixing old and new ideas, low and high art. Someone said quite perfectly: there is a sense of the ugly made beautiful in this book.

The book doesn't have pattern manuals, which is expected, and the models are people like me or you. That really enhances the feeling that it won't be difficult to follow.My favorites are knitted aprons. And as a bonus to illustrate a similar craziness I am adding here pictures of knitted bibs that I have seen on Flickr (they must be hard to wash...).

The English editions is called Knitprovisation and costs ONE dollar!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

More knitting

I am not a specialist into this kind of a pattern, I guess it is what they called an Aran, but on my husband's request to make a sweater like this for him I struggled and started. So far I like it, I just follow the written pattern to make sure it will turn out well, no experiment this time. The pattern comes from the Czech mutation of Verena 2007/2008.

My son is getting a positive attitude to knitting.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reverse painting on glass

The last picture is my mum´s piece. Kind of a tricky technique in which you divide the picture into imaginary vertical planes and you start to paint what is on the very front one. And this way you continue to the furthest back. Might be appealing to try, I don't know what I am waiting for. I like how she actually simplified Klimt so that it is closer to naive art pieces in its rough and bit shaky lines, definitely because it's hard to do when you paint this for the first time, and also because you need to simplify with this technique. I am mentioning naive art because this is where the reverse painting on glass belongs to by its tradition in Central Europe. The first two pictures are examples from Slovakia and another nice example hangs on a tree in an open wild nature of the mountains where my parents live, I am sure it was a sacred tree and it had its reason for the painting to be there. It depicted Virgin Mary and the fact that I don't remember anymore where I saw it, somewhere in the middle of the wilderness, adds to the overall amazing feeling I got from it.

About the technique here and examples here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Life before Dominik

My room in this rather new building on the edge of an old historical center was furnished sometime in the 60s, just when the apartment building was built. Most of the original furniture and equipment stayed in its place even when I was living there and I added few more things to it, not because I would like to enhance the "feeling" of the 60s but because I just happened to like design of the same time period, and what´s more, I dug those things in my parents house when I was looking for some utility equipment before moving in.

From what you see in the pictures, the TV (from the 80s!), the coffee set and the black and white curtain reaching the floor are mine. The experienced design viewers definitely recognize IKEA rugs and the lamp, both pretty new. The painting above the table was by my friend who I shared the apartment with, she studied at the Academy at the time. The coffee set was actually a recent find in the thrift shop and later it turned out that it was a unique piece and I had been more lucky than I could have thought (I will come back to it one day).

The furniture in the apartment wasn't anything special, what can one expect from the socialistic industrial producing that was far behind the current stream and not only that, materials and quality of work weren't anything great either, but it had some hallmarks of design of that time period and I also liked the pale green color of PVC on the floor that went well together with red and white stripy rugs thrown over the armchairs, that were made of 100% chemical yarn.

I like the photographs but I don' t miss that time really that passed between those four walls, it was nice but... Anyway, it's a deep history now.

Friday, March 14, 2008

We used to have a piano

It was in the way.

Then we made a good use of it, first as a diaper holder, later a toy storage.

It was not ours. So one day it set out on its own life journey. Despite it was old it still had a good way of life in front of it and it was time to move. It left for downstairs and we will keep in touch through our cellphones. Good luck, piano.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sea Wave Part II / Knitting after a Batik

This sweater comes from a period of my "slow motion knitting". It was few years ago and I didn't knit so much for different reasons that I don't remember very well now. It took me about a year to finish just this one side. The sleeves never saw the light of the world because it turned out that the beige yarn that I used was quite old and started to fall apart. Or some invisible animal just liked to eat it. Why this needed to happen right with this piece, that not only took lot of work and time but also looked quite nice? Maybe it has an existential meaning and it is a message that everything knitted will turn into dust. Or it is more simple: don't save money and buy a new yarn.

Anyway, I attach a photo with a pattern for this sweater. The most complicated part, in orange and blue I didn't make up myself, it comes from an old Verena magazine from 1989, its timeless. As the title suggests I wanted to make a sweater that would take after my batiks, but I used this other motif and a horizontal lay out because I still wanted it to look like a traditional sweater. Anyone who wants to try to knit it and thus overtake this job that I will probably never finish is welcome to use my pattern.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sea Wave / Batiks part II

Sea wave was one of my favorite motifs, I don't know exactly where I took it but I remember myself at the time staring amazed at the mosaics of the basilica of San Marco in Venice, at furniture veneered with gems and rich jewelery composed of precious stones in the nearby museum. The blue and green one definitely has something out of that whereas the one above has more dynamics (in private I call this one a grater). What I like about the marble mosaics in general are crackles which are also natural part of the batik technique resulting from hot wax crackling after it cools and lets the color beneath.
Nice mosaics from Venice are here, here and here.

The scarves look O.K even crumpled up like this but when you tie them round your neck, the effect somewhat disappears, the painting is too large to be wrapped and still be seen. So I decided to design cloths only and make summer dresses out of them. Like I said in the previous entry, the dyes got bad and there it all ended up. Anyway there is a new possibility in natural dyeing which I come across on flickr and blogs all the time. Of course I knew they dye naturally in India and other countries where batik comes from but never had any instructions or idea how to do it. God bless the internet and this blog world.