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Durham

Katie Berman and her textile adventures.

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A growing collection of my musings including collaborations, thoughts about textiles and more.

Filtering by Tag: slow living

ON TRYING AGAIN

Katie Berman

My friends, it’s been one of those weeks. I feel like I’m in a creative slump and everywhere I turn I keep hitting a wall. This happens every time I finish a body of work. I’m on a roll, cooking up designs left and right and feeling good about by choices. And when I complete a collection and I shift gears to begin something new, I can’t seem to get it right. The ideas and visions that look amazing in my dreams don’t seem to measure up when the morning comes.

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I’ve spent most of this week ripping out stitches which has led me to meditate a lot on starting over. On trying again. On not giving up.

One of things that I love most about punch needle is that it can be, at times, quite forgiving. To be honest, I think that’s what drew me to textiles in the first place so many years ago. I originally planned on studying graphic design, but quickly changed my tune within my first semester of university. The forgiveness I experience in textiles is different than that of digital design. Sure, graphic design is extremely forgiving (praise the good Lord for Ctrl+Z….) but almost too forgiving. There’s no sense of permanency with my graphic design work. But with textiles, it’s different. I take things that are existing and somewhat more permanent and I shape them into something else. And the fact that I can take that solid material and morph it and change my mind and morph it again… and again… aaaand maybe just one more time is a fascinating concept to me.

In graphic design, my process can be erased completely— never to be thought of again. In textiles, there can still exist shadows of the journey. Memory of the path that led me to my final work.

My textile practice is a tangible, real-time experience of maturing. And not maturing from gathering a wealth of knowledge and fact. But a maturing grown through grace and forgiveness and hope. This textile practice teaches me forgiveness. It teaches me the inevitability of change. It teaches me patience even in the times when I just want the work. to. be. done. already. It teaches me gentleness with myself and my thoughts. It’s okay to have a not super great first idea. It’s okay to change it. It’s okay to try again.

Today I was struck by the beauty in the ghost of my original idea. The foundation cloth has such a great way of showing you the constellations of what it held. The beauty is that I can still use this piece of material and punch new ideas into it. The materials were not wasted. The original idea was not wasted. It was not a reflection of utter failure. It was just a first step and I needed to change directions.

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I’m not sure how many times I’ll have to go through this ripping out process before my new collection takes shape, but I’m learning to live with it. For those out there in a creative rut— your time in the slump is not wasted. We’re all gonna make it out and have new work to share with the world soon. I promise. And until then, I’m here for ya. If you need a cheerleader to tell you how awesome you are, come chat with your friend Katie.

To new things on the horizon.
- KB

ME-MADE-MAY 2019

Katie Berman

I think it’s safe to say that May is one of my favorite months. It’s usually beautiful weather here in NC and I get all crazy excited about planting flowers and gearing up for the warm summer months. It’s also the month dedicated to #memademay!

Me-Made-May is a movement started by Zoe Edwards which challenges makers to “wear hand-created clothing every day for a month. The aim is to encourage people to bring the DIY and handmade ethos into their everyday lives, and to develop a better relationship with your handmade wardrobe.”

This is strictly a gentle, personal challenge and not a photo challenge which I have to say I really appreciate. This year, I wanted to see how many days I could wear a me-made item without repeating an outfit. That in itself was a challenge as I repeat outfits all. the. time (sometimes in the same week, oops!). I was able to make it… 10 days.

Not too shabby, but I thought I had more me-mades! Where did they go?! I quickly realized that a lot of my me-mades are sweaters which are waaaay too warm for this time of year in NC. I also realized a few others things about my habits and wardrobe, so let’s head to the lessons-I’ve-learned-about-myself-and-life-and-stuff portion of this post (queue hyper speed whizzing noises):

Things I learned about myself:

I have a type.
The reason I repeat so many outfits is that I know what I like and what I feel good in. I’ve honed in on what cuts, styles and colors I like best and I’ve filled my wardrobe with those things. I tend to gravitate toward boxier tops and dresses and slim fit bottoms usually in a neutral and/or subtle stripe or polka dot.

I don’t have that many articles of clothing… and I don’t feel the need for more.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have my eye on a few new patterns that I definitely plan on making this year (I’m lookin’ at you, Wiksten Shift Dress). But as I examined my closet over the course of this month, I didn’t feel that I was truly lacking in any particular area. If I’m okay with repeating outfits, then I don’t need more things. I’ll just use what I have. As someone always looking for an excuse to make more things, I found this really refreshing.

I don’t do laundry all that much.
This is just another point to why I repeat outfits so often as items are always in my closet and not hiding in my laundry basket. That and I don’t always have the best memory. If I didn’t keep notes of my outfits this month for Me-Made-May tracking purposes, I would have repeated an outfit almost immediately. Did I already wear you this week? Ah, who cares! (convo with myself almost daily…)

So what do I wear? A list of my favorite go-tos:

Here’s a collection of my fave patterns:

 

Self-drafted boxy crop tops

I can’t link to a pattern on this one. I literally traced a favorite boxy top I had in my drawer several years ago and made a pattern for myself. No sleeves inset. No funny business. Just the way I like it.

Top is made with an organic cotton knit I snagged years ago from Spoonflower. Print designer unknown. Ps. I work part-time there, so snagging discounted, flawed Marketplace fabric is way too easy. So thankful that one of my job benefits is a monthly stipend to purchase fabric. #blessed

 
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Anything from In the Folds + Peppermint Magazine
I’m thankful every day for the collab between In the Folds + Peppermint that provides the best free (yeah, you heard me— FREE) sewing patterns to the maker community. My favorites are the Peplum Top and the Jumpsuit. I have multiples of each. I’ve got their Wide Leg Pants on my #makenine list this year too.

Peplum top is made from Spoonflower’s Retired Kona® Cotton featuring Micklyn’s Evening Proteas in Indigo Denim Blue.

Jumpsuit is made with a cotton sateen I scored from a closing sale at a local store (RIP Lumina….). I made some adjustments to the pattern by adding pockets and elastic ankle cuffs.

 

Sew Liberated Arenite Pants

Easy, breezy, beatiful… Arenite Pants. Plus, they’re created by a Durham resident, so I feel a sense of local pride when I wear them.

Pants are made with a cotton I picked up from one of my LYS, Downtown Knits. I can’t remember who makes it… It’s got some great texture though, with a subtle white stripe woven into the fabric. They are the most comfortable pants I own.

 
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Seamwork Aster

This is my ultimate go-to for a short-sleeved button up, though I’m also going to give the Closet Case Kalle Shirt a whirl this year.

Top is made from a Robert Kaufman Linen Cotton blend.

 

Grainline Studio Archer Button Up
My go-to for a long-sleeved button up. Solid and sturdy.

Top is made with Spoonflower’s Retired Kona® Cotton featuring Dina Ramay’s Handful small.

 
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Did you take part in #memademay? What did you learn this year?

 

LAYERS OF DIGNITY BENEFIT SHOW

Katie Berman

To Find a Quiet Place  Wool and cotton, 23in x 11in

To Find a Quiet Place
Wool and cotton, 23in x 11in

This year I’ve made it a goal to invest more time in creating fine art work. It’s crazy to think that it’s been almost 7 years since I submitted work into a gallery show. After graduating art school and in the throes of trying to figure out how to merge my art with a sustainable income, I immersed myself in trying to create a retail line and fit into the handmade maker/market community. I spent the next few years hauling my wares to local markets, trying to figure out a world I didn’t know and in the end didn’t fit into. Though I was having a blast getting to know folks in the community and talking to people about my process, my business was ultimately failing. The work I was producing was not what the local, handmade consumer wanted.

To Find a Quiet Place  in progress.

To Find a Quiet Place in progress.

But what did I want? I wanted to create functional art— heavy on the art part. So I closed the business and spent a year reflecting, researching and opening myself up to creating fine art once again. I wanted to return to creating from deep places with broad, organic, gestural, abstract strokes. To make for the sake of making.

Art serves a purpose. It’s necessary. And that’s something I didn’t quite believe once I left school. Who would ever want my art?

So this year, I’m saying yes. Yes to gallery shows. Yes to putting my self out there. Yes to putting my work out there. Yes to being open minded about future businesses and endeavors. Yes.

I’ve said yes to not one, but two(!), shows so far this year— one that I’m helping to curate! And it’s only April. Who knows what the rest of the year may hold.

The work pictured at the top of this post is a piece I submitted to my first show this year. It was donated to a benefit show for Layers of Dignity. Created by two nurses, the gals at Layers of Dignity strive to support and clothe the sexually assaulted in our local community— layering them in their dignity. What an honor it was to donate a piece to their show. And, along with all of the other amazing submissions, it sold! They raised over $2,000 in art sales through our show. I don’t know where my works’ forever home is, but I’m so thankful.