28 April 2009


i just spent several hours last night with tracy draping her dress on her body. this is my preferred method of working in some cases. the elements of the design get to be tried out on the body, and we are guaranteed a perfect fit. i started out with some of the pieces cut out, some put together: the sleeves, the skirt. we spent the better part of the evening pulling and pinning, her trying out some movements very carefully (so she isn't stabbed with pins) and chatting while i stitched the pieces together after we had them worked out. all that is left to do is make a couple of alterations, and finish a few edges. everything else is almost done.

after a while, meshi showed up with some beer and snacks, and we worked out all of the last minute details before tomorrow's tech rehearsal. it is always a relief to get to a point where we know things are coming together, and the finish line is in sight. here's hoping that there are no wardrobe malfunctions tonight; although tonight is the best time for anything that might go wrong to show itself so that it may be corrected before opening night which is thursday:

a new dance work by Theory 1:Dance
Disjecta, 8371 N. Interstate
April 30th to May 2nd at 8:00 pm, and
May 3rd at 2:00 and 8:00 pm.
$14 at the door, $12 in advance. to purchase tickets

Desire….it’s a word packed with emotions, good and bad. Desire shapes our interactions with those we love, it endlessly drags us into the past
and unknowingly shapes our future. It propels us into action, and grinds us to a halt. “I want to stop Wanting” is an exploration of desire: how we hold it, how it burdens us, and how we let it go. Created by Tracy Broyles and Meshi Chavez with musician lyd and dancers Lucy Yim and Mark Kline, the piece makes physical reality out of the ideas of desire, burden and grace. Raw, visceral and psychologically charged movement is matched by a hauntingly beautiful electronic score that will be mixed live. Costumes will be made by Kirsten A. Moore of Piper Ewan, set design by Bill Tripp and lightinng by Dug Martell.

Hope to see you there!

24 April 2009

my hierarchy of procrastination

on monday the sun was shining, so i wandered the opposite direction to the mountain to sit under a tree.

on tuesday i knitted, because i didn't feel like making hairpins.

on wednesday morning, i made hairpins to put off going to my studio to inventory garters and hem pants.

on wednesday afternoon, i made garters to avoid hemming pants. then i hemmed pants to avoid making dance costumes.

on thursday morning, i typed on the computer to avoid making flowers. then, i made flowers to avoid going to my studio and drafting patterns.

on thursday afternoon, i made garters to avoid drafting patterns.

today i MUST draft patterns; that was supposed to be done right now.

i write lists and lists in an attempt get everything done. in the past, i would procrastinate by having another cup of tea, running off to happy hour or just staring out the window. now i am procrastinating by doing things that are lower on my list.

05 April 2009

recession hairpins

i have been spending quite a bit of time wrestling with myself lately over this idea of the economy, and my lack of place in it. this is nothing new. i have been flying under the radar forever; doing my own thing, not paying much attention, until lately when no one will allow me to leave it alone. it is no secret that my life is a world of feast or famine; i put on the best face that i can at all times. i am always working no matter what, so the so-called ravaged economy shouldn't make too much of a difference, but everyone is talking about it, asking about it buying into it. there was never any question in my mind that the idea of exponential growth and living on credit was totally unsustainable. so is the whole globalization model; i am all for doing as much local trade as possible, but there is a need and a use for international trade. where else would we get our coffee, tea (or the silk and ribbon) that we can't grow in our backyards. it is really a question of balance.

in my own little world, it is all anyone ever asks me anymore: "how is your business doing in this economy?" what does one say to this?

ACCESSORIES: accessories sales have been steadily rising since the economy has been going down.

WEDDINGS: weddings are always steady. i am lucky to have a line of timeless flowers and garters which have always been popular. no matter how many times i think that i will give weddings, i always have a few custom weddings each season. this year, i get to make dresses for friends.

SUPPLIES: the cost of supplies have been going up, with some materials being pared down or discontinued. one of my main suppliers discontinued three-quarters of their colours. this almost sent me into a panic. but then i had to remember that nothing i do is static; there will be new designs and product lines to replace the old ones.

HAGGLING: this has been an unfortunate aspect of my business since the get go, but it has been much more prevalent lately. i suppose i can just chalk this up to ignorance. this runs the gamut from being compared to big box stores or similar products that aren't similar. for instance, my flowers are fabricated completely by hand v. gluing a craft store flower to a pinback. i hand set my swarovski crystals, hand strip my feathers, and hand sew the beads. i have politely explained this way more than usual. there is much more to consider about the cost of an item beyond its price tag. how well is this made? how long will it last? can i fix it?

RISING PRICES: i have done everything in my power not to raise my prices as my costs have gone up. i am holding out as long as possible.

INSPIRATION: i have been more inspired lately to make more elaborate things. another thing i have been finding unsustainable is speed and immediacy. there once was a time when i would go home and check my answering machine for messages. now society and circumstance has me trained to have a panic attack if my phone is more than 3 feet away from my body or i go for more than a couple of hours without checking my email. my work is slow work. it is work of carefully designing garments, and making embellishments from scratch and hand-sewing them on. i like hand quilting and cooking elaborate food and knitting and walking to work and talking to people in person. these are not fast things. we have been taught to be impatient. waiting is a dirty word. in my journeyman phase of learning my craft, i have learned the importance of not skipping steps. it is those little details that make something fit properly, move properly, last a long time, and it is those little details that make things beautiful. but it is also those things that make the upfront cost expensive. but in the end what is more expensive? one thing that lasts a really long time or a lot of cheap things that you throw away after 6 months, because you didn't really like them that well, they fell apart and you couldn't repair them, because they never really fit properly?

so in this swirl of recession talk, i get asked if i have a recession product. and the answer is yes and no. yes, because i had thought that it was important for me to have some little bits available if you wanted to take something away, but couldn't afford that custom gown today. no, because i have always had some version of this for that very reason. we may have to lead somewhat austere existences due to financial circumstance, but that does not preclude us from little luxuries while we save our pennies for a rainy day. i have made hairpins here and there. it was just time to bring them back. i always make them every year. if you see me around town, it is rare that i am not wearing one. usually i end up making several sets for wedding parties, but i don't always have them available for sale. since there has been a demand or them, i am presenting them again. this one is a little rosette, about 1" in diameter. i could have made them cheaper if i didn't use the swarovski crystals in their centres, but they are so much prettier this way. wear one or several. a little spot of colour to make every day a special occasion.