Saturday 25 June 2016

So long and thanks for all the fish!

You might notice there is a new tab on this page. Up there, top left - Shop StudioSvenja. It has been a long week of data entry to get to this stage, but now that the bulk of my work is in there, it should be easy to add new pieces as they come in. And really, it has been a relatively easy process. So goodbye Etsy, I'm independent now!! No more renewing of listings, no more long-winded entries. Just a permanent extra page on my blog. There is also a Shop Now button on my StudioSvenja faceboook page, which directs to the page here. Easy.
So, after doing the domestics today, I would like to get back to work in the studio, although I might need to rug up a little for that! Brrrr, winter has arrived! I've started work on a headpiece inspired by the gorgeous kanzashi (traditional hair ornaments) of Japan. I did see some there, but alas, they were very precise and traditional, so I'm doing one with that organic, more-is-more  Svenja touch! Not sure if it will end up in my shop or on my head at the races, but I do know it won't be tame! And there may be tiny bells.......

Leggings worn in Japan!
Our TAFE fashion parade, Operose, was on the night that we returned from Japan, and it was great to see the semesters work paraded on the catwalk. Sadly, my selection of Svenja shooz didn't fit my model, but that was not a huge issue.  Unfortunately, I had to make my felt jacket model size, which I am not, so perhaps that too will appear in the shop! So check it out, please let me know of any issues you come across, or of any general feedback.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

From Issey Miyake Exhibition to TAFE Brisbane show!

Monday morning dawned wet and windy, and I set off through the oh-so-green park one last time for my coffee from Starbucks and Family Mart sandwiches. Great sandwiches - crusts cut off, awesome eggs - gonna miss those! And the rockmelon buns. Our luggage stored, we went to get our airport bus tickets before catching the train from Shiunjuku to Roppongi - luckily we could walk undercover most of the way. Not so much when we got to Roppongi, where the weather got a bit wilder, and we got pretty damp! 
The first two sections of the Issey Miyake exhibition, I was more fascinated with the cardboard and perspex mannequins than the clothes, but when I rounded the corner into the large room - WOW! It was huge, there was stuff everywhere, and the first major display was 'Pleats Island', with the most spectacular shibori pleated sculptural pieces! There was a display of the pleating process, with the actual machine in operation. Hanging from the ceiling were huge rolls of his APOC dresses, which roll of a machine only needing to be cut out, for minimal wastage. There were amazing sculptural pieces in horsehair, wool, jute, ramie - I circled the room many, many times. It was so sad not to be able to take photos, but you can imagine the chaos it would cause! So I've nabbed some from the internet.

Tokyo National Art Centre

I resisted getting the exhibition catalogue, as I had already bought another excellent Issey book at Bunka. Most of the others I can get online too - so didn't risk the extra weight! It was a cold walk back - the first time I have felt cold here! My sneakers were absolutely sodden! We had a little time to kill in Shinjuku, so walked through one of the station malls, and back down into the food hall - a more upmarket one than the one we went to at Halc, where the food looked like works of art - and oh, the patisserie!! I succumbed to a cheesy roll, and then a box of crab leg meat and rice - sadly, the crab leg pieces had been marinated or dressed in very strong rice wine, I suspect, which completely disguised the lovely fresh crab taste!! Sad face. I consoled myself with my cheesy bun - cheese is a rare and expensive beast over here!

We were back at the hotel in plenty of time for me to change out of my damp clothes - thank goodness I had planned that - and to weigh our suitcases in the foyer - ALL hotels should have this!! I originally came in at 29.85kg, then just over that - pretty happy with that! The walk back to then New Washington Hotel to get the bus to Haneda airport was excruciating, as I had my suitcase, hand bag full of books, and backpack with laptop, and of course, heeled shoes. The bus trip was shorter than expected, although I did manage a sneaky nap, and we arrived at a very quiet Haneda airport 5 hours early!! I enjoyed my book, and a little walk around, finally getting into a Lawson's kombini (I have been quite loyal to Family Mart in my time here) before checking in (31.2kg, no problems!) then queuing up to go through the departure gate, which consisted of passport and boarding pass scan as well as the usual palava of laptops and cosmetics out. Of course, they wanted my shoes off, and twice offered me some sandal/thong things to put on for the few seconds they were off - errrr, no thanks!! Although I passed through the scanner with no beeps, there seemed to be some problem, and I got the pat down. Of course.  We then walked seven miles to our terminal to dump all of our gear, then back another five to find the bar. And here I sit, plugged into electricity and bubbles, about to board in half an hour! Sayonara Japan - see you very soon, I hope! Haneda to Sydney went fairly well - we had great staff looking after us (onya QANTAS!) and after watching 'Carol' and 'Dirty Harry', I felt tired enough to nap a bit. I had two spare seats next to me, but no matter what I did could not get comfortable - bits of me kept falling out into the aisle! I awoke to the smell of coffee and breakfast, and enjoyed watching 'Red Dog' until landing. We electronically scanned our passports, but when we got to the gate to be recognised by the camera, it couldn't recognise me - apparently my new cat ears threw it somewhat! After clearing through the human gate, it was customs clearance - I was a bit concerned when they directed me towards the side of the search aisles, but it was because I had ticked that I had spent more than $900, and after admitting to buying fabric, shoes and kimonos, no electronics, I was free to go. We then had to catch the shuttle bus from the International to the Domestic terminal, just in time to board our next flight. Again with QANTAS, we had awesome staff, who let me change my seat from my worst nightmare (very back row, middle seat!!) to an aisle seat next to no-one, and spoiled me by giving me the only two bottles of bubbles on the flight! It went quickly, and we were touching down in next to no time, and I was so excited to see my boy! I got straight into the mission of unpacking, and boring Matt with hundreds of photos! It was part of my ploy to keep myself going until the TAFE fashion parade, and it worked.  

My mother, sister and Bunneh Jenelle were also there, and I think they really enjoyed the show! What an amazing way to end an incredible semester at TAFE! I was very proud to see my work and that of my colleagues strut down the aisle. Congratulations all!
This is the wee video I took, and I hope to share the professional photos soon.

Monday 13 June 2016

Japan Part 5 - The Weekend

Fridays' draping class was interesting. Our lecturer took us through the process of making an Issey Miyake style origami dress. The pattern was already printed on to it, and we just had to iron the folds in it. It doesn't sound like much, but it helps make the process easier to 'get'. 

After lunch, when I bought 5 metres of beautiful purple/gold shot material at the Bunka fabric shop, it was time for our yukata lesson, where we learned how to fold, put on, and sit and rise correctly in the traditional yukata and obi. What a process! We all enjoyed the time - it was kind of fun to be trussed up like a very beautifully wrapped package! 

After our graduation ceremony, we came back to the hotel for a freshen-up and a dumping of goodies, and Alex, Axel, Bec, Brodie and I headed off into Harajuku. We split up for a while, and it was great to wander alone, before meeting back up at the  Kawaii Monster Cafe - what a crazy place! We had chips with 5 different coloured sauces, and a Danger Cocktail, which really was just champagne in a test-tube, which you broke a capsule of sprinkles into! Axel and Brodie went home, and Bec and I partied on, having far too much to drink! We ended up having a late night of it, having a midnight picnic from Family Mart in the park across the road.

Brodie left about 9:30 on Saturday morning, and I enjoyed a slow start, having a grapefruit Kirin in the bath, washing my hair and getting myself back into human form! Bec, Axel and I went back to Nippori, where I had a wonderful time making many purchases! I bought another kimono, and scarves, my fur bunny, a great piece of fabric with lots of Svenja's on it..... We had to race to get back to Bunka in time for the show, which was not of graduating students works, but had some really interesting 3D printed pieces. After the show, the group planned to have dinner over the road and go to the Park Hyatt, but I was done in by then, and excused myself, and had Axel walk me home! I was in bed by 7 with my Family Mart sandwiches!

I had to sleep in on Sunday, as Starbucks doesn't open until 7:30am. As I crossed the road, I saw two guys asking a girl if she spoke English, so I stepped in to help. They were heading for coffee too, so we had a chat - they were French, with one of them (absolutely gawdjuss!) an accountant at Louis Vuitton in Paris! Conversation started to become awkward as we ran out of things to ask each other, so I excused myself, and caught the train to Otemachi to see the gardens of the Imperial Palace. It was a really nice change from being on the busy streets, and I took many, many photos. The remaining walls were massive, and I love the typically 'Japanese' trees. I think my favourite part was coming upon the little grotto with an amazing display of different Irises, a waterfall, and koi carp. I was glad I had walked through early in, as the crowds were pouring in as I was leaving. 

I thought I'd stop off at Tokyo on the way back, but after taking 10 minutes to find my way out of the station, I found myself in a pretty nowhere area, so got back on the train. Brodie and I had been in touch, and I agreed to meet her at Harajuku again, as she had found some more kimono stores as well as buying more at the second hand market. I spent another 10 minutes lost in Shinjuku Station trying to find the Yamanote Line, but thanks to instructions from Brodie, finally got there! And got on it going the wrong way. Realising my mistake, I fixed that, and finally met poor Brodie! We wandered about, ending up once more at the second hand market, where I was very interested in some heavily embroidered obi at a great price, but managed to restrain myself to one more, much lighter, metallic one. I was starting to get pretty concerned about my luggage weight by now! Brodie had many bags, and I was starting to fail, so we headed back to the hotel. Sadly, the shuttle bus was not running, so we had to walk home, but Brodie had discovered an air-conditioned tunnel with travelators which got us half way there - nice work, Brodie! After a quick Family Mart stop, we indulged in a room picnic and recovery, then some preliminary packing, and could easily have stayed in, but decided that was no way to spend our last night in Tokyo, so headed back to Harajuku!  A few more small purchases were made - somebody stop me - then Brodie suggested we visit the Cat CafĂ©! I'm so glad we did! The cats were SO soft and fluffy, with many that were what I call 'lowered' cats - very short stumpy legs! Then we decided to walk into Shibuya, thankfully a downhill 15 minutes. I think it was the craziest place I've seen in Tokyo, with of course the thousands of people on the crossing, crazy buskers, and lights everywhere. Then it was back to the dreaded Shinjuku Station, the hotel shuttle, and a quiet night, ready for the big journey home tomorrow after seeing the Issey Miyake exhibition.