Monday, September 27, 2010

Studio LaScarfa

Hello all, it has been quite a while since I have posted something... oops.

Here is something I've been working on for school along with a few classmates of mine. It is a joint project called Studio LaScarfa. It is a "store" for our Professional Practice class.

Studio LaScarfa is a collaboration of work and ideas that will come together in a Trunk Show in a couple of weeks.

Check out our blog at


Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Beginning: The Piece Before The Thesis

I created a small handbag to illustrate the time before the handbag was seen as a functional object. Before the early 1900s, the handbag was merely an accessory. Women only needed to carry limited objects, such as lipstick or a compact mirror. It wasn’t until the 1940s that the handbag was seen as more than just an accessory to an outfit. When women became vital to the workforce, the handbag transformed into a functional object that was much larger than the accessory-type handbags of previous years. I have illustrated this with a very small handbag that is quite difficult to fit anything into.

The outside of this small handbag is a lacy fabric created by machine embroidery. It is delicate and fragile, which is how women were viewed for most of history. The inside of the bag has images of some very important Canadian female figures that broke through this stereotype.

I found images online of these women and altered it slightly in Photoshop to give them a vintage feeling.

Nellie McClung was crucial to the women’s suffrage campaign in Western Canada. She helped women in Manitoba win the provincial vote in 1916, which was the first province to achieve it.

Thérèse Casgrain was the first female leader of a political party in Quebec. She lead the twelve-year fight for women to gain the provincial vote, which was finally granted in 1940.

Agnes MacPhail was the first woman to enter the Canadian Parliament in 1921. She remained its only female member for seventeen years.

Emily Murphy successfully lobbied the attorney general of Alberta in 1916 for a women’s court to be established and she was appointed as police magistrate, the first woman to be given the honour.

Emily Stowe is the pioneer of women’s rights and suffrage in Canada. She founded the Toronto Women’s Literary Club in 1876, which was the birth of the women’s movement in Canada.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

White Roses

I have created a ceiling/wall piece of white fabric roses to hang in the cloister at Knox College. Knox College is part of the University of Toronto but is also affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Because it is part of the church, many weddings are performed in the chapel. There is a lot of traffic in the cloister: students, faculty and churchgoers. I hope this piece will have an impact on these passers-by but also those attending weddings.

In a typical North American wedding, a large amount of money is spent on flowers. They are a major motif in weddings, but they only last for that one day. They wilt and die and lose their beauty, becoming another disposable object. Fake flowers tend to be very tacky and therefore not used even though they are more practical because they don’t die. With my piece I hope to remind people of the disposability and waste of real flowers and prove that fake flowers can be beautiful.

I created the flowers with a fold of white cotton broadcloth that I twisted and sewed together to create the rose shape. I went through a few different methods and this was the most efficient and cost effective method of creation. I also tested a few different sizes of roses to see which would have the most impact in the space. Once I had created a large amount of flowers, I began to sew them onto a piece of netting. This was for stability and for hanging purposes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I'm busy busy busy with school, but I thought I'd post and let you all know what I'm so busy with.
On Tuesday I have my Statement of Intent due for my Thesis, which takes place all of nest year. I'm busy working on that and the visual response that goes with it. I will have a full post on that when I'm done and have photos and a finished statement. But here's the gist of it: I'm going to be talking about the Canadian Women's Suffrage Movement and how it influenced the handbag and how the handbag influenced the movement. For my visual response I am creating a handbag that, on the outside talks about the stereotypes that men believed of women in the time before the movement (eg. weak, over-emotional, not worthy of the vote or of education) and on the inside of the handbag I will talk about what women really are (eg. smart, strong, caring, deserving of education and the right to vote and make decisions, etc.).

For my Advanced Fibre Studies class I am creating a huge wall installation that will hypothetically be installed at Knox College at U of T. I am creating hundreds of white fabric flowers to talk about weddings and how flowers typically used at weddings become disposable objects.

Lastly, I am working on a project for my business class. We have to create a business plan and a prototype. I am working on a business plan for a company that makes handbags out of pre-loved clothing and fabrics. For the prototype I am making an envelope-style clutch out of pre-loved handbag and men's dress shirt.

As you can see I am extremely busy for the next few weeks. I will try and post when I have new photos to show.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Garden Bags

I made this series of garden bags for my Printmaking class last semester. We were supposed to make a line of functional objects with screen printed fabric. I decided to make bags that can be used in the garden, mostly for transporting seeds and tools from the house or shed to the garden. My inspiration came from these images from a vintage "how-to" book on drawing birds.

My parents have 2 or 3 bird feeders in the backyard so we always have lots of birds hanging around. I felt the bird was a perfect motif for this series.
I came up with the pattern, shot it on my screen and printed it onto a nice cotton canvas. We also had to use the digital printer for half of the project. I manipulated my image on Photoshop and added colour. Then it gets printed out on the printer (sort of like the printer you have at home for your computer except that its HUGE and prints on fabric instead of paper). Then you have to steam the fabric for about an hour to fix the dye (that way you can wash it and not lose your image). I wanted a third fabric so I dyed some white cotton with Tetley tea, the result is a lovely mottled caramel colour.

When all that was done I sat down in front of my sewing machine and began to make! Here is the result:
All four bags!

The digitally printed lining

Tea-dyed cotton lining

Knitting Bag

Good afternoon!
I made this knitting bag for my mom for her birthday. I used a floral canvas for the outside and a yellow cotton broadcloth for the lining. The inside of the pockets are a teal broadcloth, for a little surprise! I also made the handles, with the canvas (lined with interfacing to give it strength) and a yellow satin ribbon sewn on top to hide the seam.
The bag has plenty of inside and outside pockets, perfect for her knitting needles and supplies.
Here are some photos:

This was my original sketch.

The bag!

Detail of the fabric and the inside of a pocket.

Here is the inside of the bag, showing 8 pockets (there are 4 on the outside also).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Birthday Dress!

It was my birthday last week and as a tradition I buy myself a new dress. This year I didn't have a lot of extra cash so instead of buying myself a new dress I decided to make one. It was a pattern from Burdastyle and fabric from Fabricland. It was pretty easy to make, but the final product isn't perfect. I just threw a belt on it and I was happy!

The straps are a little crooked...