Fabric Shopping at Bassetti Tessuti, Roma

It was a brisk evening in early November and the streets of Rome lead to churches and ancient ruins. I just left the Vatican, which holds the largest collection of art in the world, and only had one more box to check off my list of things to do. Fabric shopping at Bassetti Tessutii-the famous fabric store in Rome.

The sign at the bottom of the stairs inviting you up.

The sign at the bottom of the stairs inviting you up.

Book cover of Fashionpedia. Buy this book!

Book cover of Fashionpedia. Buy this book!

I found out about the store a few weeks before leaving for my trip. In a book, I suggest everyone within the fashion industry own, Fashionpedia by Fashionary. It touches on every single topic within the fashion world. On page 294, there is a map of all well-known fabric sources around the world and I was lucky enough to be near one in Rome.

I took a cab from the Vatican and the driver dropped me off in some random location where I still had to walk another 5 blocks. Finally made it, but I couldn't tell if the address was correct. To my surprise, the street level part of the store was home decor goods. Once my confidence was high enough to walk in and explore, I was told to head upstairs. When I got to the second floor (in Italy and most of Europe it is called the first floor), I was a bit concerned.

A bit bewildered.

A bit bewildered.

It wasn't what I expected at first but I quickly realized how cool the place was. There was wall to wall fabric, 12-15 foot (or 5 meters) walls with every fabric type you could ever want. I walked the whole flat and was overwhelmed because I knew I was buying something and now I had to make a decision. I was a kid in a candy store and found that the wool suitings was my chocolate section. 

 

 

 

 

My guy, the cutter and expert.

My guy, the cutter and expert.

 

 

Italians take pride in their fashion, so I had to kind of work my way into their queue and stay there. I only found one man that was well-versed in English and he was my guy. He took me to back rooms to check out cotton for overcoats and wools that were not out yet. 

The hand of a fabric is how it feels to the touch.

The hand of a fabric is how it feels to the touch.

My purchase reciept.

My purchase reciept.

 

 

After about an hour or so of touching and designing in my head, I collected and chose my purchases. It was high quality and not cheap. The least expensive fabric was 25 euros a meter and the most expensive was 45 euros a meter.

 

 

I spent 414,16 in euros which is about $493 US dollars. I am happy with the opportunity to travel and visit places that I am so passionate about. These travels help me grow as a professional designer and as an individual.

 

 

 

Keep an eye out for what I make with these high quality and beautiful fabrics.  More to come!

Fabric cut and bagged in Bassetti Tessuti bags.
Happy to have visited such a place

Workshop For Young Artist

Felt Creatures Sewing Workshop

An example of what could be created in the workshop.

An example of what could be created in the workshop.

Close your eyes and imagine....It's nearly 12:30pm and class started at 11am. I am all set up at Sol Collective on 24 St near Broadway in Sacramento. There are five tables set up in the shape of a Cyclops smiley face. The fabric is laid out neatly at first, but we all know that isn't going to last long. This is an important step in the creative process, a lesson in fabrication and color theory.  Spin around and pre-made patterns, inspired by the '90s cartoon Aww! Real Monsters, are available to provide a starting off point for the young artists. Pattern paper is also available for the adventurous ones to draft their own creations. Chalking and cutting station is next; age-appropriate scissors are available sprinkled with fabric chalk pieces just big enough to fit their little hands. Then comes the most time consuming and arguably most fun station, the station for decorating and hand-sewing materials together. We are all set up, let's go! 

Deep in the creative process. These kids are all thinking of the possibilities and beginning their creations in different ways.

Deep in the creative process. These kids are all thinking of the possibilities and beginning their creations in different ways.

First, a young girl walks through the door. She is shy at first but is intrigued by the piles of stuffing, roles of fabric and variety of buttons strewn about.  More are arriving, three more kids show up. Before you know it, they are instantly elbows deep in creation-cutting strips of fabric, threading needles and hot glueing eyes on. More kids trickle in and before you know it, the workshop is in full swing and at capacity! With fabric flying and scissors being passed back and forth, chaos swirls around the work space sprinkled with          laughter and personified stories of wild characters.  

Teaching a young artist a few hand sewing techniques. You just have to dive in.

Teaching a young artist a few hand sewing techniques. You just have to dive in.

To my surprise, all of the kids are patient with us adults. Sharing and cooperation are in practice. Aside from some minor frustrations, of needles running out of thread or uneven pattern cutting, everyone is energetic and deep in the creative process. Two young artists stand out from the crowd, a set of twins - brother and sister. It is astonishing to witness such extreme learning styles and creative approaches. Olivia, the sister, is quiet and focused. She's fast and listens very well. She wants to compliment her Breakfast at Tiffany's inspired room, and chooses a cream textured fabric and sticks to a modestly-sized, traditional, rectangular-shape pillow. She sews quickly and forgoes any embellishments. Her brother, Oliver, on the other hand...He picks up the raw pattern paper and begins sketching his own creature. Before long, a dinosaur bunny pattern emerges. His imagination is running wild with excitement and possibility. He races from one table to the next, unaware and unconcerned with anyone in his path. His mother reins him in and keeps him focused. Two hours later, his masterpiece- a dinosaur bunny with a cape, sewn on buttoned shirt and mismatching eyes is alive. 

Embellishing a leopard print heart shaped pillow with gold buttons and pink felt before adding stuffing and finishing.

Embellishing a leopard print heart shaped pillow with gold buttons and pink felt before adding stuffing and finishing.

All hands are on deck, every adult in the house is diving in and facilitating. Music is blaring. Photos are being snapped. Videos being filmed. Social posts going live. Needless to say, this is quite the adventure on a Saturday afternoon. I aim to inspire the next generation in my craft. And am so happy to see young and old(er) coming together to create. Stay tuned for much more to come from collabs with Sol Collective and my youth engagement efforts.  

 

In case you don't know, Sol Collective’s vision is to create a safe, creative space for the next generation and leave a legacy of arts, culture, and activism both locally and globally by serving as an incubator for community artists, organizations, and programs. Check out their variety of workshops all year long - Solcollective.org

Tusk&Cardinal + SamuelRose

This first collaboration between Tusk & Cardinal and Samuel Rose is a perfect mix. Lindsey of Tusk & Cardinal creates works of art on fabric and her medium is thread, tool is a hand needle. She is a fiber artists and hand embroidery is her forte. All the pieces are cut and sewed by Samuel Rose in his classic linens and random finds. 

The construction is fine and the embroidery is finer. 

Needle is power

...well it can make cool stuff

Beauty emerges from the tiniest of places with the smallest details. T&C and Samuel didn't need to talk much about the initial designs, they just came naturally. The wolf on the grey linen hat, rabbit on green silk and the cactus on dull shades of pinks and green twill all have something natural exploding out of themselves.

Flowers, birds, plants + animals.

Linen, waxed cotton, twill + leather.   

1 grey linen 5 panel camper cap with hand embroidered wolf 

1 dark green linen 5 panel camper hat with hand embroidered rabbit

1 south western print 6 panel baseball cap with hand embroidered cactus

1 white cotton women's caftan with flower embroidered into the sholder

Moroccan Rugs Repurposed

One day my friend Ali rings the bell and lugs a large Kaleen on the table. He says it's made of cactus silk and shows me the details, which are lovely and unique. He asked what I could make and I told him I would start with a duffel. We recorded our first footage for a series I am working on where I film encounters similar to this one. 

However beautiful this rug would have dressed any floor we wanted to make something else from it. Ali has a store where he sales vintage and new (all authentic and handmade) Moroccan rugs. There are many types of Moroccan rugs but this particular type, a kaleem, is a great thickness and texture for baggage. Its both durable and beautiful. The main color is a light brown dirt color that looks silver in some lights. There are lines of different shades of yellow, a little orange and some teals.  

This first set is just the start of some fun projects ahead.

Let me know what you think of the set and contact me if you are interested in any custom baggage and other carry items for yourself.

Moroccan Rug Travel set

Durable

...and beautiful