In my senior year of high school I was voted “Most Artistic”.
At first I was embarrassed by the fact that I would never be recognized for my scholastic achievements, but then I learned to accept and embrace the fact that I was “the creative type”. I had a gift and I knew I would use it to the fullest for the rest of my life.
When it came time to start applying to colleges, I had only one that I wanted and that was the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC.
Fortunately I was accepted and estatic. (That was my one and only application!)
Because I lived within a certain distance, I was not eligible to stay in the dorms, but I did not want to be a commuting student.
Through the school, I found an ad for an apartment right across the street. Two girls were looking for a third roommate. I called, met them both, and before I knew it, home was now apartment 6B on the corner of 28th and 7th!
I entered the school as a Fashion Illustration major. At the time, a lot of ads for major department stores were done with drawings and not photographs, so it was an industry that was lucrative and not over saturated. The top Fashion Illustrators were icons in the industry.
After months and months of drawing the human body and trying to put my own spin on it, I got really bored. These are my two favorite drawings from that time.
One of my roommates was a Textile Design major and I remember her being able to do the most creative projects. I soon changed my major to Textile Design.
I loved every aspect of it. Color Theory was so interesting. Weaving class taught us about WARP and WEFT. It was so hands on we even had our own loom to create fabrics. Class would be held in the Guggenheim or MOMA. Inspiration was everywhere and I started to view the world as a potential design everywhere I went.
An antique dish my beloved grandmother gave me inspired one of my very first projects.
The challenge was to take an existing design and reinterpret it into a usable fabric or wallpaper.
If you notice, the pattern is the same, but in different colors. When a manufacturer makes a product it almost always is available in different color schemes. The square boxes at the bottom are all the colors used and usually are printed on the edges of the fabric or wallpaper as a reference.
I still have my portfolio from school and thought I would share a lot of my vintage designs.
This one was to be a nautical theme…. even today would fit right into a beach house.
This project was to design a set of bedding. The stripe is the flat sheet and the other is the fitted. Coincidentally, over the years, I have seen very similar patterns to this.
If you are old enough to remember Sanitas, this one needs no explanation! For the younger crowd, Sanitas was a very heavy, fabric backed wallcovering that usually had a very shiny background and came in very large bright colors…Think of your Grandmother’s kitchen or bath!
This design was an assignment using toys. I chose a Victorian theme. I researched the toys, did the renderings and placed them on a background hand painted to resemble lace. This was a lot of work!
detail of a rocking horse-
The classics never change as my interpretation of argyle-
and another version of a classic simple feminine floral stripe-
Although I was not aware of Jimmy Buffet at the time, I am sure he would love this print which was meant to incorporate my version of fruit.
Long before wallpaper borders were in fashion we were asked to create one using Graph Paper. (White paper with blue lines that create 1/4″ boxes) I thought an Egyptian and/or Aztec type of look would work.
This next project really tested my creativity. I had to take a photo from a magazine and create a basic stripe from the main colors. Then, cut the stripe into four different sections and create four new designs. This is the result-
This one I did for fun
After two years my roommate, Linda started working for a fabric converter. One day she came home and said he was searching for fabrics with frog designs and asked if I would be interested in submitting some. So I made a design and he bought it! He manufactured it and for the life of me I couldn’t imagine someone wearing it. But the Preppie look was huge then and it was made into ladies golf skirts. One day I saw them hanging in a Marshall’s and I was so proud. In the photo is the original design, the color samples and a cutting of the actual fabric.
It has been over thirty years since those days and my roommate Linda and I are still in touch. She has kept up her creativity in the field of textiles by sewing works of art/ collages using mixed media and textiles. This is a sample of her work.
It is called “Dreaming of Fashion”. The following is a collage of her work.
I asked Linda to describe what influences her and this was her response;
“So what inspires me? random things…a tile on a restaurant wall, shadow on the sidewalk, color combo on a photo in a magazine, clever use of fonts and graphics in ads. I use a lot of recycled items so I look at trash or discarded packaging and think…hmmm, that looks interesting. I recently printed (with stamps and white printmaking paint) on top of a flattened kleenex box and a gum package and it came out great. I doodle constantly, and save the ones I like in a journal, then turn the ones I like into designs. I guess maybe doodles are the main thing, letting the crazy out of my brain and turning it into some kind of art. I know a lot of people are journal crazy, doing creative stuff in beautiful journals that are really works of art, but for me, my journal just caputures rough ideas and are a jumping off point, a collection place, not an end product. I seem to be making a lot of art paper dolls lately–combines my love of textiles, interesting faces, printmaking and sewing, and maybe my deeply rooted, little girl love of dolls.”
Feel free to contact her for any custom work.
Needless to say, FIT was a great beginning for both of us and we both took what we learned and used it to the best of our ability. Besides the wonderful nightlife and clubs (disco!) we managed to get home at 5 a.m. finish a project and make it to class for 9 a.m.
Those were the days!!