So yes, you last heard from me exactly 109 days ago. It’s true. I would say that’s utterly pitiful, but I’m working on this thing called positive self-talk. I’m working on accepting everything exactly the way things are. And well? Right now, it’s apparent that my blog has been neglected. It’s just the way it is.

But you know what? I have SO much to tell you all. I have almost two months worth of travel stories to share with you. I have sewing projects. I have hopes and dreams and business plans that I’m literally bursting at the seams to tell you. I’ve spent 109 days really living. Like, really living. And I want to tell you all about it. But first I want to tell you about this.

welcome-to-harvest-workroom

As you know from my late summer about-face, I was in need of some big life changes. I was in one of those inevitable weird, restless, overall-I-feel-like-crap places. We’ve all been there. So it makes sense that my best friend and I decided on a whim to take a not-so-little trip. We packed our bags, abandoned adult life responsibilities, and spent almost two months in the Southern Hemisphere; specifically Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. And the impetus for this trip was a screen printing workshop that I had been eyeing for years. Seriously, years.

If you haven’t heard of Harvest Workroom, you’ve been missing out on endless drooling over their awesome textile designs. You’ve really been depriving yourself of some serious, good ‘ol American material wanting. Good on ‘ya.harvest-workroomHarvest Workroom had just relocated when I took the Design and Screen Print Your Own Fabric workshop in early November. The teaching space was a giant warehouse in the Brunswick district of Melbourne. The natural light, white walls and concrete floors made it difficult for me to refrain from asking if I could set up a small studio here. I wanted to live in a corner of that warehouse and for a few minutes, I was seriously contemplating how I could make that happen.
harvest-workroom-stencil-cutting

Our instructor Sophie was incredibly adorable and kind. Like all Aussies, she would check in on each of us by asking, “How ya going?” I just loved that. She was a textile designer with a real talent for teaching total screen printing newbies. She led us through the process of printing using acetate stencils. I’ll be honest, at first I was a little disappointed we wouldn’t be burning our own screens. Then I realized how much easier and faster this method was. With the exact same results. I will forever be sold on screen printing with stencils.

harvest-workroom-test-print2

We printed several prints on our first day, testing out transparent inks and design motifs. I was literally in heaven. I wish I could take classes like this on the regular, because it is 100% my happy place. Harvest has the most amazing, waist high, 10 meter printing table (that’s, like, 30 some odd feet) where all ten of us could print simultaneously! It was every designer’s dream. We worked in groups of three to help hold each other’s screens and dry our prints with hair dryers.

harvest-workroom-test-print

The second day, Sophie taught us to design a Swiss repeat. I have seen several tutorials around the interwebs on Swiss repeats and have always steered clear of them for fear they were just too complicated for someone like me. Someone who doesn’t like to read instructions or really take their time with things. No Swiss repeats for me, no thank you.

Then I realized that it’s seriously the easiest way to create a repeat. Like…easier than Photoshop. Easier then eyeballing it and totally hating the outcome. And I’m pleased as punch at my result.harvest-workroom-swiss-repeatIf you find yourself in the sun-burned country down under, and you have a few days to kill in Melbourne, you’d be doing yourself a disfavor if you didn’t check out Harvest Textiles/Workroom. I mean it. Every person in my class was a printing newbie, and the stuff they were churning out was seriously awesome.

I’m sure I’ll be back to the blog soon with more content. Maybe I’ll share some travel stories. Maybe I’ll show you a few sewing projects I just finished. I might even divulge my latest entrepreneurial obsession.

But most importantly, I want to thank all of you folk who have been checking in on me, waiting patiently for my next post. And all of you who have come over from Pinterest. Welcome!

I have one single printing screen I made during screen printing class about a year ago. But let me tell you, that screen has gotten more play time than a bad Britney Spears song. I think everyone in my family owns something that is made out of my one single, print. It’s time for some new screens.

That being said, I can’t help but share with you a memorable evening spent with my oldest sister and a wonderful Great Falls potter and artist, Judy Ericksen Larson. My tired screen got to venture into new territory this night: printing on clay!

Instead of using fabric dye, glaze is applied to the screen in the very same manner. I used three different colors (black, a rich brown, and a chartreuse green) on large pieces of clay that had been rolled fairly flat. After I printed the clay, it was laid over a slump mold to form it into the desired shape.

Whitney helped me stabilize my screen. I forgot how labor intensive printing is!

Judy, being wonderful, as always.

Success!

I had to leave Great Falls before I could see what the final, kilned product looked like. Regardless of the outcome, I wouldn’t have traded this night for anything. A truly splendid, cozy creative setting; I wish I could spend all my time like this.

This weekend was deemed a “stay-at-home, be productive, and basically regroup” weekend. Eighty to ninety hour school weeks have made me…a little less than pleasant to be around. Some alone time was much needed.

I scored below average on the “be productive and regroup” part. But I scored above average, and some might even say excellent, at the stay at home part. Being a natural recluse played no part in this whatsoever.

I attempted to sew a dress and failed miserably. I designed a modern, felt legal pad folder for upcoming interviews that looked like a five year old was behind the sewing machine. (FYI: ripping seams out of felt is something I will now have nightmares about). And…I assembled my new screen printing table (finally, success!!).

But most importantly, I thrifted.

A local thrift shop was having a bag sale, where everything you could fit into one bag was $5. Obviously, there wasn’t a question about whether I would attend. I didn’t have any sort of project in mind for this thrifting adventure, which is usually results in a full on shopping spree, or a disappointing empty-handed trip home. This trip, I scored big.

Usually, I just browse the clothing racks. Yesterday, I left no stone unturned. Seriously, I think I was in the store for almost two full hours.

I picked up these beauties from the donated cards bucket. At .49 a piece I couldn’t pass them up. They’re brand new in the plastic! The designer is Sanna Annukka…my new favorite printer.

This one, especially, made me a little emotional. Reminds me so much of my cabin. We have a big Ponderosa Pine that sits on the point of our beach. This whole scene is a folksy little rendition of my childhood.

And it comes in a colored print!

I may have squealed a little when I saw this duo. I have a special place in my heart for ferns. My Nana’s name is Fern, and ferns line the perimeter of my grandparents’ cabin. At this point, I was near tears.

And this one, I thought was just adorable. I can’t wait for one of my friends to get sick.

This thrifting adventure was not without some store drama, of course. An attempted theft (of a $5 bag of goodies), made for a humorous addition to my afternoon.

Three pieces of clothing were also purchased, but are currently sitting (probably mildewing) in my washing machine. I should take care of that. They are all perfect as-is (no Big Love frocks this time), and you will certainly see them in a separate post.

Let the printing begin…