Friday, February 5, 2010

Rabbit Whiskers: handsmocked, handembroidered, dresses

In her own words...

I am judy & rabbitwhiskers is the name of my shop and my creations. Thirty-three years ago when my daughter was born I taught myself hand smocking so that I would be able to dress her in smocked dresses. I enjoyed making smocked dresses so much that I didn't want to stop once my daughter could no longer wear them, so I decided to make them and try to sell them.

I was never particularly crazy about sewing, it was the designing part that I enjoyed. I quickly tired of doing the traditional smocking designs & began it imagine elaborate scenes that I wanted to add to the smocking designs. It wasn't long before I began to embroider little figures, like flowers,or butterflies & incorporate these into the smocking. I loved doing this and the combination of smocking & embroidery worked very well. I find that I love the designs that smocking creates, but I prefer the scenes embroidered for the depth of detail that embroidery allows as well as the 3-dimensional effects that can be obtained with embroidery.Over the years, the embroidery increased to the point that it's at today, where entire scenes are hand-embroidered into or over the smocked designs. The addition of embroidery to the smocking has given me so much freedom to create the pictures that I imagine will look cute on a little girl's dress, that I feel more like an artist, with the dress front being my canvas, and the embroidery floss, my "paint." While I'm still not crazy about sewing, I'm very motivated to sew these little girl's dresses so that I can see my creations materialize.

Each dress I make is a unique project that I see through from the beginning- choosing the fabric, to the end- hand-hemming the finished dress. My scenes are all hand- stitched free-hand as I go along. Making each dress is a total experience in which I become immersed, my mind being totally occupied with that particular creation. Every dress that I make is one of a kind. I don't use patterns for the embroidered scenes, nor is anything pre-drawn on the fabric. I look to nature for my inspiration, as well as nature pictures sometimes for ideas & guidance. I never think about the next dress until I am actually ready to begin making it. It usually takes me about two weeks to make a dress as the hand-stitching is very time consuming, the embroidery much more so than the smocking.

About two years ago I was given a camera for a birthday gift and immediately discovered my love of photography. I live with my bedlington terrier, Pascal and together we take long daily walks. I began bringing my camera with us on our walks and very quickly built a collection of wonderful nature photographs. In looking at them I thought it was a shame that I am the only one able to enjoy them, and then it occurred to me that I could make them into notecards to sell and in that way, the pictures can be enjoy by lots of people. I absolutely love making note cards. My only regret is that I don't have two sets of hands, one to be working on dresses and the other to be making notecards!

No comments: