07.09.2016 § Leave a comment
I have always admired the serenity and pureness of nature. As soon as my husband and I were finished with our schooling, we immediately moved to the quiet, spacious suburbia; never understanding ones desire to move to the big city. Many years and experiences later, my perception of city life began to shift and eventually (to my surprise) began to influence my work as a designer.
On one particular sales trip to Manhattan, I walked…a lot. While traveling amongst the noisy hustle and bustle of traffic, I stumbled upon a little wild flower rooted next to a wrought iron gate. The graceful flower was rising from a crack in the concrete, pushing its way toward the clear blue sky. The juxtaposition of the cement, the wrought iron and the plant created a texture that brought a smile to my face for the rest of the day. The peaceful experience made the echoes from city streets dissipate; leaving only the beautiful composition in my memory. From that day forward, I gained a different perspective of the urban environment and the magnificence held within it.
Then I began to travel. I was able to travel longer and more freely after my obligations of parenthood and elderly care were fulfilled. I discovered the joy of experiencing different cities, architecture, bridges, public transportation, vegetation, people, as well as cultures from around the world. I took photos, doodled, sketched, took notes, and made plans to enjoy outings with friends from different cities. I now fully understand the attraction society has to live within a metropolis.
Drawing inspiration from the energy and graphics of the urban landscape, the 18 new patterns in the fall 2016 Cityscape collection depict my experiences from the eccentric life of the big city.
Metropolis 4569 – Cityscape 4564 – Boulevard 4568
Boomtown 4564 – Metropolis 4569
Junction 6531 – Lexingtion 4221 – Lumen 1305 – Essanay 8220 – Selfridge 8940
11.06.2015 § Leave a comment
How fun! These fish were swimming all around Sturgeon Bay when I visited over Memorial Day weekend. I had to take pictures.
Perpetual Art Student
03.03.2015 § Leave a comment
The Studio Collection acts as a reminder that there is a host of great art where we can experience the sublime beauties created by many different souls. To go into the deep hearts of those who felt compelled to communicate with their colors, shapes and spaces.
As we age, our perception of visual phenomena changes, actually rather I should say it broadens. When I was young, I could not understand Van Gogh; his swirling texture and thick paints used to scare me. Now he makes many of his contemporaries look pale and unworthy, especially Gauguin.
It’s this broad experience that Brentano’s designers and I used to shape our spring, artist-inspired collection. Some patterns were created for sentimental reasons. Like Moonrise, which I based on a motif created by my best friend in Chicago. She gave up her art career a few years ago to become a Buddhist nun. We can no longer talk intimately because 350 monastic precepts separate her life from mine. To have a reminder of her work in my portfolio comforts me.
25 Years and Counting
18.02.2015 § 1 Comment
During my adolescent years, there was a popular song with lyrics that went something like this:
When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, “What will I be?
Will I be pretty, will I be rich?”
Here’s what she said to me
“Que Sera, Sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que Sera, Sera”
In those years, I vaguely dreamed of becoming a writer (in Chinese, of course). I still dream of it, vaguely! I also loved to draw when I was young, but I never trained until college. I started ballet at age five, stopped for a while, and then spent almost all of my spare time outside of art class practicing modern dance during my college years. « Read the rest of this entry »
Discovery Collection Inspiration ~ 2
10.02.2014 § Leave a comment
Below are some more of the stories from my travels that sparked design ideas and eventually led to the patterns in our spring 2014 Discovery collection.
The National History Museum in Taipei is located in a botanical garden with a huge lotus pond, not too far from my undergraduate college, the National Normal University. My friend and I would go there very often, and after viewing the exhibition we would always buy a cup of tea and some sweets in the luminous cafeteria and look out on the ocean of blooming lotuses fluttering in the breeze. I can never forget that scene and the satisfaction that the tranquil environment gave me.
I saw many exhibitions there. The pottery in this picture is very similar to the ones in the National History Museum. It belongs to the so-called Cai Tao Culture from our history books. Cai Tao potteries are from 7800 years ago (Neolithic Period); this one and many of the others were excavated from the Silk Road areas in China. The primitive motifs, burned into my mind since my college years, have manifested many times through my work. Lumen is one such manifestation.
« Read the rest of this entry »
07.08.2013 § Leave a comment
As long as there is pattern, there is rhythm.
Color, space, composition, and structure all compose visual effects. Rhythm is the combination of some of these elements—and the focus of Brentano’s fall 2013 Rhythm collection. « Read the rest of this entry »
05.03.2013 § Leave a comment
During the New Year’s holiday, I visited the Smart Museum at Chicago University. There was a small sculpture by Isamu Noguchi entitled Iron Wash, a classic Noguchi piece which made me feel as if I were meeting up with an old friend.
Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) was one of the twentieth century’s most important and critically acclaimed sculptors. He is my role model for artistry. His work, at once subtle and bold, traditional and modern, has lyrical and emotional expressiveness with an aura of mystery.
I have visited his museum in Long Island City, bought books about him and read about his life. The knowledge that such a great artist once existed is an ecstasy that brings tears to my eyes. « Read the rest of this entry »
Affinity with Music
01.02.2013 § Leave a comment
Symphonic Collection Inspiration
I volunteered to be an art teacher at day camps quite a few times through my youth and during my children’s adolescent years. Besides typical art projects such as still-life painting or going outside to paint landscapes, I later decided to inspire the children to experience the artistic elements. One time I had them draw the feelings aroused by touching contrasting materials, such as hard angular rocks compared to soft cotton or fur. « Read the rest of this entry »
Is Fashion Art?
17.01.2013 § Leave a comment
In October 2011, at the ACT New York conference, I heard Dr. Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, present the subject “Is Fashion Art?” The presentation was very interesting and has gotten me thinking more on this subject every since. I think if anyone should be called an artist in the fashion field, Alexander McQueen would qualify. His work is definitely a statement of his self and his view.
I made these sketches on the same trip, I believe. I visited the Museum at the Fashion Institute, and they happened to have an exhibition with quite a sample of McQueen’s work. Suppose I make a fabric with all that hardware (buckles) dangling? What kind of response would it receive?
More of Japan’s Manhole Covers
19.11.2012 § Leave a comment
I sent a link to my last post about manhole covers to my Japanese friends, and they directed me to this website, which got me wildly excited. I selected a few of the manhole covers that have Japanese woodcarving interest to share here.