April 11, 2006

Kimberly Lyford -- Handbags and Kimonos

"Fan" handbag and Kimberly with inspiration
from nature

All images by Kimberly Lyford, copyrighted --

Here is a story about a friend (Kimberly Lyford) of a friend (Kris Lanzer) who I met this winter at artstream. I was so taken with her work and her past projects (and very excited to see her ideas for the future too!) that we invited her to join us at the Art to Wear/Home Decor show this coming Saturday! She will be bringing her one of a kind handbags and for the runway show a kimono and possibly quilted velvet great coat! So on with the story of Kimberly Lyford ... "Once upon a time, there was a young girl and her sewing machine..."

I have sewed since I was 7 or 8 (on a mini singer and then an antique one as a teenager) and was largely taught by my grandmother, as my mother doesn't sew. I have always designed and sewn clothes, I'm sure I always will. I have done batik and shibori pieces. I also paint and have had one show of figurative oil paintings and reverse monoprints about ten years ago. I plan to explore and push textile design using kimonos as a common medium. I hope to paint again.
Being creative is about a lot of things for me. Whether it is designing and sewing a handbag or a dress or kimono, or painting a figurative work, I want to evoke the essence of something in the beholder. It could be an emotional experience I found quite poignant or a favorite fruit or vegetable, even a place that is meaningful, like Japanese garden. I love how nature puts the most outrageous and perfect colors together. Have you ever cut open an artichoke or a blood orange and gone weak in the knees from the hues hidden within?
Process is also what I seek. I enjoy the
problems and challenges that designing allows me to solve, and I absolutely love the happy accidents along the way. I learn something new every time I create. If I don't, then I'm not having fun anymore. Many of the steps in processes like shibori and beading, all those little stitches are quite meditative and symbolic for my soul, a quiet time to sort and pull everything together figuratively and in reality.
I crave the colors and textures of fibers, the thrill of getting just the right material or better yet being shamelessly seduced by some spectacular or unusual cloth so it rather than a set idea drives the design. In a broader sense, it has that magic: it occupies me completely and so satisfies me completely too. I have a passion for things which make a farce of time: love in all it's shapes and sizes, creating art, listening to excellent music, and of course, experiencing a great story.

I will leave you with another image of my favorite bag yet by Kimberly Lyford called "Artichoke" This is just the tip of the iceberg ... er pass the hollandaise?

The word for the day is ... lively ... as in your imagination, a way of living and a conversation which engages you.


Left-handed Trees... said...

I found this discussion of creativity and nature more inspiring than I can say. My only "art" is writing--but, I see the parallels Kimberly Lyford mentions with the process of "happy accidents" and the meditative quality of small fine-tuning. Thanks for sharing this post!

andrea said...

I am in awe of anyone who can successfully negotiate a needle and thread. Her work is so creative!

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

well put and well said, I like the artichike purse! How clever is that!

Andie said...

Fantastic purses, Kimberly! LOVE the artichoke! Yum! I'm intruiged by the "velvet great coat"!