January 14, 2014
Who wants to take my class The Art of the Fashion Collection at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts? It starts on the 29th of this month and meets Wednesday nights from 6:30-9:30pm until 4/2. It’s such a good time!
Here’s your chance to take your great style, your countless ideas, your basic understanding of sewing and patterning and bring them all together in a disciplined framework. You will leave knowing who YOU are as a designer, you will leave as a LEADER of ideas, you will leave with the ability, know how and confidence to build a collection of any size, you will leave with everything you need to start a line. You will leave my class in tears, having experienced all of it coming together for the first time.
This class is an educational version of what I do every single time I start a collection.
January 11, 2014
This is a well rounded moment. It’s a Saturday, half way through. I’m out of bed after a week of fever. It’s true no matter how old fashioned that sounds. The day is the color of wet cement with high winds and rain. But I am safe and sound because I’ve got Kevin. We both wore burgundy for the drive to the hardware store. The Grateful Dead marathon continues even though the errand has ended and so I ask Kevin to keep er’ playin for a bit longer before I go back inside.
Guys, Kevin is the new Bello.
Or at least he’s doing a damn good job trying to be.
January 6, 2014
Obviously I am not writing very often. There are two reasons for this.
One, my trusty lap top, the one I bought when I started Filly, is now so old that even if I wanted to replace the hard drive and free up more space, I couldn’t because one that old can no longer be found. And so, like a good but tired dog, it tries to respond but its reaction time is not fit for earth life. By the time the beach ball has stopped spinning and that sentence is highlighted, I’ve left the room and gone to the store. It’s hard to edit a blog post in this fashion.
Two, I’m leaner. When I left Santa Cruz I stepped out of an old skin. I left that suit crumpled on the ground and headed North with a fresh self. That fresh self made two fresh decisions. I am collaborating on a kids line and getting ready to launch a women’s line of suits. These new endeavors steal my time away from Filly. For now. Until they’re old enough to walk on their own.
I am still here, still in the studio, still finding my way, still doing yoga and eating apples and missing Bello. More soon and soon there will be more.
January 1, 2014
Happy Birthday to me. Us December babies complain about having a birthday so close to all of the big holidays. It’s not great, I grant us that. But because it’s not great and everyone knows it we actually get to make a bigger deal out our bdays then we would as June babies, for example.
So once again everyone efforted a celebration despite collectively feeling burned-out and crabby. And once again I felt overwhelmingly loved. It wasn’t until the next day that I fell pray to the crabby epidemic and spent the next five days sulking. On New Years I purposely went to bed at 11:30.
November 27, 2013
I was going to come to Portland and try on a fancy lady character. I would have clean nails and silky hair and wear a button up shirt unbuttoned half way. I turned from Santa Cruz fully burnt out on building. And then two weeks ago I couldn’t stop myself from peeling back a corner of the kitchen linoleum. By the end of the night I had officially started refinishing the kitchen floor and replacing the countertop all in time to host twenty people for Thanksgiving.
If I weren’t myself I’d think I’m crazy.
November 13, 2013
I made a list. It attempts to answer the question “ok, what do I do?” Whatever it is, I want to be sure to do it.
What do I do? In Santa Cruz it was obvious. I was there to make the Riverside property something to be proud of. That meant a lot of physical labor and a lot of driving Kevin here and there fetching materials so that others could labor. Out small collective muscled our way through it.
Now I am back in Portland. I don’t have silent partners helping to finance this house’s much needed repairs. It is a single parent kid, big for her age wearing tattered clothes she outgrew years ago. I feel singularly responsible and singularly overwhelmed. Ok, so that’s something I do here… I write it on the list- House. House. I go over it again to make sure I really get it.
Next up… Designing. I write Filly on the page. I feel good about this one. There is always a lot to work but it’s work I know and understand and feel satisfied by.
I am also designing two additional projects which I am not at liberty to write about yet. They go on the list as incubatorial thoughts. New and fun and harmless and indulgent. I write “make stuff” under the header. Cool, I will.
I teach again in January at OCAC. The class is about meeting your creative self and designing a collection. It’s part fashion, part therapy and it’s awesome. I write OCAC on the page. I also write “keep it in mind” which means I will never be able to cross this one off the list.
And lastly, there’s me. My body, my social needs, my temperamental mind. I’m sick. And it sucks. I feel unattractive, for every good reason, and frustrated at not being able to hike or swim or go dancing. I hover over a hot tea jar and provide dating advice to those in need. I’ve been wearing the same outfit for four days. All black.
I write on the list- Body/Mind/Sprit. Because I do this too. And I treasure this entry because it makes everything above not only possible but more enjoyable.
The list is complete, my tea jar needs to be refilled, it’s time to do the work. Goodbye for now.
November 11, 2013
November 8, 2013
It’s a grey day, let me establish that right off the bat. Still, a hot toddy at 3:30 is unusual for me at any hour let alone the middle of the day. The cafe has vintage Tom Petty playing- Here Comes My Girl, sigh. I’ve got the beginnings of a collection before me. Heat, either from the whiskey, the Petty or the color cards and remedial sketches has my cheeks flushed. My heart has a crush on this moment.
November 8, 2013
Hello again old friend. I can now call you that because I have left and returned and you are still here. So now you have become a steady, with your muted cloud and industrious neighbors and ramshackle house holding five lives. You are Portland. A town made big, a place to live as good as any other. Here I am, doing just that. Just living.
August 23, 2013
July 28, 2013
July 28, 2013
July 6, 2013
When I bought my house in Portland I had romantic fantasies about becoming one of those old men living in the mountains who steadily, over the years, at night with an aluminum work light,
silent, odd, meticulous, fixes his old house little by little until he is surrounded by a masterpiece.
But I was too afraid of fucking up to even start.
Now I have a second chance at the fantasy and I’m giving it a real go. I’m not silent and I’m certainly not odd by Santa Cruz standards, but I am “working on my house” except that my house is multiple houses and now, with the start of a demo job, two more.
One three bedroom turn-of-the-century house
Two two bedroom stuccos
One longhouse (community kitchen and bath)
One A-frame cabin
One square-frame cabin
The demolition of an old barn and house built with square nails and sided in vertical 1×12 redwood boards.
My hands are so sore at the end of the day that I let them dangle off the chair arms like rubber gloves.
July 4, 2013
June 14, 2013
I got these pants at an antique faire.
They are my go-to. Ample and billowy, elastic waist, subtly gathered cuff, floral and soft.
At the end of a work day I unlatch my overalls and let them fall, unimpeded, down to the floor. I step out carefully. They are stiff and coated in toxic dust, patches of paint, oil and sunscreen.
I like to stand naked in my work boots and spin around. An air shower.
I then reach for my go-to: the pants paired with a transparent yellow tank. I ride away in my civilian disguise.
June 12, 2013
June 11, 2013
The last time I noticed this was when I dropped out of law school and became a bike messenger. “I’m happy” I wrote in my journal with a star at the top of the page and a reference guide inside the front cover “You are happy, 6-15-99″
On that day, it says, “I rode all day”,
When I left law school I ceased to worry about returning an email or writing a paper or standing (sitting most likely) helplessly by as my body spread and softened. I ceased to worry about deadlines and pleasing people and making money. I have never been a good employee- too opinionated, too concerned with my own pleasurable experience. I am a better boss. And ideally I am a boss of no one but myself. No one above, no one below, just my body and a task.
How similar these days feel. Richly physical, mentally challenging, creative,
practical- important. My famous to-do list contains one word: work. At night I lay down with tight muscles and a slack mind. I deserve to rest and sleep soundly.
I love moving my body. The more I move the happier I am.
Star this page.
I was happy on 6-11-13.
I sanded the floors all day.
June 7, 2013
Pull up the carpet. Remove the carpet strips, little rusty nails and industrial staples. Chisel free the old tiles. Scrap, scratch and pry off the fossilized black glue. Rent a sander so heavy that only a body builder from the fifties could comfortably wield it. Sand until your lower back seizes up.
Sand some more. Keep sanding.
Now stop. Now stare.
2×6 redwood tongue and groove flooring so rich and straight and proud it makes your heart break. Welcome back to the light dear trees.
June 5, 2013
What is a Parachute Party?
Let’s go back to the beginning. Before I was a designer I was a scrappy, golden-hued, Mohawk-ed, pissed off bike messenger. I rode a bike for a living, I fought the good fight against cars and the ill effects car culture has on our daily lives and national politics, I ate stirfries with Braggs and didn’t wear underwear. I had a great life.
But no money.
No one had any money.
So when I returned to Santa Cruz after attending fashion school in San Francisco (thank you most generous father on this earth), I realized that in order to make Filly sustainable, I had to price my designs well above my own income level. I still can’t afford my own clothes and neither can a majority of the women I know. So I began hosting a Friends of Filly party twice a year where I sell previous season items at reduced prices. These parties are famous for their joy and chaos. Oh man! They can be crazy.
About six months ago I realized these parties could happen without me. And that would allow gatherings to occur in places too far for me to travel. And more often than just twice a year. I named these gatherings Parachute Parties to signify that I will not be present, as I am at a Friends of Filly, but the clothes will! Dropped from the sky in boxes too heavy to carry.
If you sign up to be a host you will receive three large boxes of Filly styles to lay out in your living room or hang up along the fence in your backyard… You invite your community of ladyfolk to come over and eat snacks and drink wine and share stories and try on clothes. You, the host, pick out a free item to thank you for your efforts.
It’s simple and streamlined and is going really well! There are boxes circulating in the Portland area and the Bay Area. Openings are available this month. Just let me know and I’ll get you signed up!
June 1, 2013
May 31, 2013
Word from on high is to rest until Monday. Gramma’s orders. I’m trying. No twelve hour painting marathons. But I did go pick up cedar and redwood planks from Scotts Valley. An acquaintance from high school saw my Needs post and wrote that her dad just replaced his fence and I was welcome to the old boards. God I love old boards. Have I already mentioned that?
And now it’s 2:30 and the sun is in full bloom. It’s bright on the patio. I don’t want to be done with lunch. But the post-meal cup of coffee sitting by my right foot tells me my time is almost up. Break’s over missy.
I have been drinking coffee with coconut milk. It’s oily but delicious.
What’s on the agenda? This, a Friday. This, a supposed day of rest. This day, half over and quiet.
May 31, 2013
May 30, 2013
Sarah has been in town for two weeks. Two weeks of heaven! In between family engagements she comes down to Riverside and puts in time. Some days she just scrubs, anywhere. It all needs a good scrubbing. Other days she takes up a brush and joins me in my seemingly endless quest to paint the stuccos. Last night she bought and hung Xmas lights, turning our patio hang into a twinkly party.
People keep asking me why she’s helping or what I am paying her.
But see that’s the thing. Sarah is the one to see that I need help and jump in to assist. As I would for her. She is yin to my yang. And vice versa. We dance around the room in a seamless symbiotic union of love and respect. Plus we just really like each other.
I don’t want her to leave. I really don’t. Don’t. Really. Leave.
May 29, 2013
May 19, 2013
I have a dilemma. I’m asking for help.
There are three rentable houses on the Riverside property. After a bit of work they will be ready to be lived in. The income from these three units pays the rent on the property.
There are three additional units that are not livable but once they are, the income from those spaces will fund needed improvements to the property. The only way I can make Riverside beautiful is by fixing up and renting the three outbuildings.
This is my dilemma. A viscous circle. How do I fix them up when I need their income to be able to fix them up?
I need to gather materials for free and learn how to build. I’m reaching out to household across the land- if you have any spare resources please let me know! Doors, windows, flooring, framing lumber, insulation, counter tops, wall paneling… old fence coming down? Shed, shelves, deck being replaced? I will work- I’m strong! Let my muscles be my money. Enough with this viscous circle, lets create a loving circle instead! I’ll help you, you help me, we’ll help Riverside and dance in the courtyard this summer.