Welcome to The Phoenix Files!

This blog is a collection of papers and how-to articles I have written over the past 25+ years, as well as my travel journals and announcements.  Scholarly works from "The Library" on my old website, are labeled here as "Historica Tractatu." 

My travels have had heavy influence on my work and are the 'back story' behind many of my designs. Some of my older journals are revised from the original, and most link to photo albums on Facebook.  

Block Printing and its impact on textile and book arts

Posted by Gordon Ellis, also known as Gordon Redthorn on 8/13/2017 to Historica Tractatu
A playing card woodblockThis article was written by a friend of mine who recently passed away (July 2017).  It was originally self-published in "A Boke of Dayes: A Journal of the Festival of St. Hildegard" (1994)  I have augmented this article with photos from a photo essay and a catalog of his works that were part of his estate.

Gordon not only carved blocks, but taught carving and printing as well, and volunteered much of his time to the furtherance of this art form.  I hope this article will inspire others to continue on that path.

A Few New Works

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatmaker on 8/31/2016 to News & Miscellanae
A few new works ... 

Some of these you may have seen at the Beppa show last weekend, others you will see at the upcoming Arts North Studio Tour September 10-11.

Follow me on Facebook to see new works and some of the process that goes into making them.  There may even be a little something for the person who becomes Fan Number 501...

Mood Indigo at SAAM

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatmaker on 8/27/2016 to News & Miscellanae
I took a break from hatmaking earlier this month, to visit "Mood Indigo - Textiles from Around the World" at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. 

This exhibit was highly recommended by Jean Hicks, a fellow hatter and feltmaker, and it did not disappoint...

Any Day Hats at Beppa Studio

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatmaker on 6/1/2016 to News & Miscellanae
For Immediate Release:

SEATTLE, WA – June 1, 2016 - Seattle artisan hatmakers gather at Beppa Studio this weekend to bring hat culture into the Emerald City.

“Any Day Hats” brings six of the city’s finest hatmakers and artisans together for a show and sale of  handcrafted hats, fascinators and headwear.   Each one will bring their own distinct style to this event, and will set out to dispel the myth that not everyone looks great in a hat.  “Saying you don’t look good in hats, is like saying you don’t look good in shoes…”

The Four Intelligent Creatures of China

Posted by Heather Daveno, ©1988, revised 2004 on 2/17/2016 to Historica Tractatu
The Four Intelligent Creatures of China

"What are the Four Intelligent Creatures?

           They are: the Unicorn, the Phoenix, the Tortoise, and the Dragon"

                                          from the  Li Ki (Book of Rites and Ceremonies)

So it has been said that these are the four spiritually endowed animals sacred to ancient China...

The Stitchery Series: Part V - Applique and Other Decoration

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatter on 2/14/2016 to Textiles & Wearables
The Stitchery Series: Part V - Applique and Other Decoration

This is the last in this series, which has focused on (mostly) Chinese embroidery as a surface embellishment.  This segment will cover a few other forms of surface decoration that can be combined with embroidery to bring new color, texture and uniqueness to your own textile projects and wearable art pieces.

 

The Stitchery Series: Part IV - Symbolism in Chinese Embroidery

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatter on 2/10/2016 to Textiles & Wearables
The Stitchery Series: Part IV - Symbolism in Chinese Embroidery

Every symbol in Chinese textiles had significance and evolved from several philosophies and concepts.  The Chinese enjoy puns and plays on words, and often designs were used if their verbal sound or written character was similar to a quality or virtue.  Hence, because the words for bat and happiness sound similar, the bat became the symbol for happiness. 

The invention of the draw loom and the development of jacquards and brocades allowed patterns to be woven into the cloth. Common patterns included checks, diamonds, zig-zags, coins, clouds, dragons, lions, horses, flowers, birds and fish. Brocades were often over-embroidered to augment the woven patterns (a technique I now employ on my hats…)

The Stitchery Series: Part III – Embroidery Stitches

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatter on 2/7/2016 to Textiles & Wearables
The Stitchery Series: Part III – Embroidery Stitches

Textiles from Han Dynasty tombs in China show that the embroidery used during this time period incorporated Satin Stitch, Stem Stitch, Peking Knot, Chain Stitch and Couching. 

      Peking Knot (da zi) – called seed knot in early centuries and came to be known as Forbidden Stitch, when it was outlawed from embroidery factories during the 1940’s because it was thought that women were going blind in their extensive use of it. Current literature attributes this to a very old urban legend.  I have personally lost more of my eyesight from working with metallic couching, than I ever have working with this stitch...

The Stitchery Series: Part II – Tools and Techniques

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatter on 2/3/2016 to Textiles & Wearables
The Stitchery Series: Part II – Tools and Techniques
Shown here is my collection of historical replica embroidery tools, which includes a bone needle, and two bronze needles.  The black packet is a vintage set of #5 sharps that are an inch long with round eyes. The oval object is a needle threader from my grandmother’s thread cabinet. Also shown here is my collection of thimbles – an embroidered silk one and another from jade are both of Chinese origin.  The other three are from Turkey, in porcelain, enameled metal, and granulated metal at the end, which has become my favorite... 

The Stitchery Series: Part I - History and Fibers

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatter on 1/31/2016 to Textiles & Wearables
The Stitchery Series: Part I - History and Fibers

Embroidery - to decorate the surface of a cloth with thread or yarn - is a process that dates back to very ancient times. 

The Bayeux Tapestry, shown here, is not actually a tapestry!  It is however, one of the most recognizable embroideries in Europe, depicting the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings and conquest of England in 1066 by William, Duke of Normandy, known as William the Conqueror. The work measures about 230 feet long,  and consists of several panels of linen, worked with a variety of stitches in wool threads... 

This series of blog notes will start with a brief and decidedly Chinese-centric historical overview, and then delve into materials and technique.  I will try to demonstrate how embroidery can be combined with other techniques to bring new color and texture to your own textile projects.

The Next Artisan Generation

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatter on 1/17/2016 to Textiles & Wearables
One of my personal goals is to further both appreciation for and teaching of American handcraft.  For a few years now, that has taken the form of selling my hats through schools such as Brookfield Craft Center and Peters Valley School of Craft, where a percentage of my sales is reinvested into a curriculum that introduces traditional American craft such as blacksmithing, pottery, weaving and jewelry-making to the next generation of artists and makers.

You may remember a blog note I wrote back in May, about teaching applique and embroidery to 20 members of the Seaview Weaving and Fiber Arts Guild.  That's where this next bit of networking begins ...

Building an Ulan Baator Boot

Posted by Heather Daveno on 8/24/2015 to Textiles & Wearables

The Ulan Baator Boot

Several years ago, a friend and I stumbled across these boots in a military antiques shop in Seattle  (now closed).  We recognized them as traditional Mongolian footwear, and were informed by the shopkeeper that they are still manufactured in Ulan Baator for the military. 

This article and pattern is copyright free. 

Teaching Applique at Seaview

Posted by Heather Daveno on 5/18/2015 to Textiles & Wearables
I was invited to teach the arts of applique and embroidery to the Seaview Weaving and Fiber Arts Guild this month. Little did they know how much trouble I would bring through their door ...

Once upon a time, near an imagined Egypt...

Posted by Heather Daveno, Artisan Hatter on 3/17/2015 to Textiles & Wearables

Once upon a time (about a decade ago), Lao Hats (now August Phoenix) issued Gift Certificate Number 5 to a lucky recipient, who, after having retained it all this time in its original envelope, presented it at my Phoenix Rising Event last August....

The Hat - the Rest of the Story

Posted by Heather Daveno, Hat Whisperer on 12/30/2014 to Textiles & Wearables

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful woven hat. It sat on a shelf of a religious bookstore in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, growing dusty as it waited for just the right person to try it on...

...a tale begun by Brian, interrupted by Tailor, and woven together by Heather ... (as told by Brian's wife, Joan...)

Something tattered this way comes...

Posted by Heather Daveno, hat whisperer on 6/17/2014 to Textiles & Wearables

Few people are aware that in addition to making my own hats, I have also redesigned hats from other people's collections, tearing a keepsake into its components and rebuilding it into a new piece, reminiscent of the original.

Today's mail brought a new challenge...

Replicating a Kingfisher Feather Hairpin

Posted by Heather Daveno, written in 1986, revised on 4/20/2014 to Textiles & Wearables
Replicating a Kingfisher Feather Hairpin
Kingfisher feather ornaments adorned the ladies of the Chinese court since the T'ang Dynasty. These brilliant blue feathers came from water kingfishers and wood kingfishers, which were common in China until demand for their feathers nearly caused their extinction...