Monday, April 1, 2013

The Process of Design

It is very intriguing to observe how the creative process unfolds.  An idea will be born that consists of a design and  fabric. Once that begins to materialize it buds forth into something more exciting than first imagined. The end result is always far greater than anything I first imagined.

Today my is machine buzzing away securing miles of ruching to the neckline, sleeve hem and sending it cascading down the front of the gown.  My Singer sits at a south facing window where I have a view over the roofs and activity below. As spring comes forth, I look up from my work and see the jonquils open. The wind whips through the still barren trees as if shaking them awake to spring forth their greenery. Then I notice the long cry of a red tailed hawk. "Tseeeeeeaarr" it sings, over and over. It found a draft and spirals heavenward. 

Right now I am like that hawk. I am connected to my work, my world, my spirit.

I love the process of design.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Howie and I are settled again and I have a sewing studio where I can be creative. My  south facing window allows plenty of sunlight and inspiration.

Have you ever made ruching? It is such a fun addition to a colonial dress. Today I am sewing up 2" and 4" strips of ruching. The ruffly piles will look beautiful on a robe a'la polonaise designed for a garden wedding.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Faire Damsel from Main Street Exchange, Saranac Lake NY

Sarah is the faire damsel at Main Street Exchange. She is filling up her shop with a Medieval collection that is looking pretty good. I am excited to see how the designs are taking shape and Saranac Lake's Winter Carnival begins next week!

Here Sarah is wearing my black cotehardie with shimmering tippets and an extravagant hennin of purple and black!

Link to Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Building an Ice Castle

The excitement is mounting in Saranac Lake as the Winter Carnival approaches. In fact, this week they began building the ice castle, the symbol of the longest running celebration of winter in the Eastern USA. I am really delighted to be here this time of year. This is my first winter in the Adirondack Mountains and I have found that inspiration flows freely here.

Howie and I stopped by the construction site and snapped some pictures, like the one of the raw materials are cut from the lake.

A crane is used to carefully placed each block on top of the other, guided by a man perched on the top of the wall.

Chilling, half frozen, slush are brought in buckets and hand rubbed into the cracks. I imagine that when if drops into the sub zero temperatures, this works as good as any mortar can! A job I would not like.
Impressive walls of ice rising up off the lake to form the massive castle.

There was an article in the newspaper that talked about the construction of the castle beginning. It said that it will have some "suprises" inside...tunnels, dungeons? Read about it here:Ice Palace Construction Begins

Monday, January 17, 2011

Finding a Fashion Model in the Adirondacks?

I can still remember the feeling, as if it were last year, walking the runway at Parsons Fashion Theater in NYC. I was wearing the timeless design of Ursula of Switzerland, a knit set of a neutral color. The theater was packed, the lights were bright, the air was charged with excitement.

That was in 1978 and those days are past, as well as my slender figure. Now I am applying myself to my own creations.

In the fashion business, having a good model is very important. Back in the 70's I was the Assistant Director of the Louise Boyka Studio of Stage Arts in Schenectady, NY. Little did I know what I learned then in training young women I would use with my own line today.

My daughter was a great help to me. She not only challenged me with technical sewing abilities with her own designing adventures, but was a prize for modeling my Colonial line. She is build just as I was, minus a few inches in height, and could make every article of clothing look fantastic. Of course, she grew up under my tutelage and was trained from a young age to have correct posture and walk the notorious "Straight Line Glide", something the Louise Boyka and Ruth Tolman, founder of the World Modeling Association based in NYC, were known for.

You may find more about Ruth here on Gwen Ford's page.

Those were the good old days of fashion modeling. With the influence of great designers like Coco Channel, who promoted the beautiful elegance of refined womanhood...awhh, to find the likes now....

Sarah modeled for me while she could. Now miles separate us and I am left to search for a suitable gal here, in the Adirondack Mountains. I am blessed to have found a young lady that is a natural. She slipped on my Rowena Cotehardie and held her arms out just as if she had done this a thousand times before. I can feel that this is a start of something fantastic.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Medieval Tunics for sub zero

With the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival 2011 fast approaching, I am working to make clothing to fit the theme of "Medieval Times". Today I am creating tunics of a warm polar fleece to help out those who will be knights. I will post more details later, but for now I will say "good day" and must put aside the sewing to shovel some snow.