good morning! i’m really excited to bring you a guest blog post from andrea of the blog fly, who also happens to be the artist behind our hand drawn floral converse! read on to learn about where she drew her inspiration for the shoes.
When I was approached by Free People to use my doodle-style illustrations for a small run of sneakers I immediately thought of flower gardens. Aside from the feminine elements that can be associated with Free People and flowers, I really liked the idea of an eclectic garden of quirks and fun, much how I see the brand.
Over the years I’ve collected tons of vintage fabric swatches and ephemera (like magazine clippings and wallpaper scraps) featuring various forms of floral designs. I particularly like to use Secondhand Rose wallpaper swatches and William Morris’ floral designs for references. Using all these elements for inspiration I developed little clusters of tiny flowers, abstract roses, and dingbats to create the doodles for the shoes.
one of my friends here at the office told me about the artist kia neill, who makes these amazing installations of environments that are mysterious and magical. using found materials, and lots of glitter, she creates worlds that you thought only existed in your imagination. if you’re in the austin, texas, area, i highly recommend checking out these incredible environments at her show “terrain,” at the women & their work gallery january 16 – february 25. kia was also kind enough to answer some questions for me about her work:
what was the inspiration behind the installations in the “terrain” exhibit?
“‘terrain’ is actually the continuation of a series of previous installations. with each installation the environment grows and is reconfigured. most previous to ‘terrain,’ i created ‘grotto’ at lawndale art center in houston, tx. the installation was a sparkly cavernous environment the viewer entered immediately upon exiting the elevator on the second floor. it was as though the viewer was enclosed in a gigantic geode. A geode is actually a good analogy for my work as with my synthetic versions of nature i want to create the experience one hopes to have. for instance if you’ve ever gotten one of the ‘break your own’ geodes, it’s a boring rock on the outside and you’re told it’s full of sparkly crystals on the inside. you fantasize about what’s inside, then you open it, and it’s never exciting as you imagined it to be. my work is what you imagined.”
“here’s a bit of my artist statement, which explains more:
i am drawn to extraordinary, almost extraterrestrial landscapes, such as caves and coral reefs, as well as the diorama of miniature collectable counterparts that serve in household aquariums, gardens, souvenir cases, etc…with my installations, i attempt to produce an environment that reifies metaphysical association and fantasy that such spectacular and bizarre landscapes can induce. my aim is not a realistic replication of nature, but to place emphasis on gaudy or absurd embellishment so to render an enhanced synthetic ideal.”
what materials do you use to create the installations?
“cost effective and found. mostly paper mache, holiday lights, and i construct the crystals from cds i’ve cut and glued together. and of course, glitter, amongst other misc. craft material. i love hobby lobby, i really should be their spokesperson.”
you also do intricate graphite drawings…what is your favorite medium to work with?
“hmm….that’s hard. i’ve worked with all kinds. drawing, painting, ceramics, digital imaging, animation, etc…i think no matter what medium i work in, i always have conceptually sculptural approach, even if it’s a flat 2dimensional image. though, i do love glitter, i love how it gets all over everything! it’s like residue or evidence! i also like working with flocking, which is a short thin fiber that when applied gives a velvet surface. that’s very fun.”
what artists have inspired you?
“so many different artists have influenced me over the years, but i mostly look to everyday culture for inspiration. for years i have been fascinated by holiday decorations, kitsch, and all kinds of gaudy fake flower arrangements and home décor, especially those covered in glitter. my attraction to the aesthetic continually increases, i wouldn’t be surprised if my skin started to take on a gold plated tinge one of these days!”
if you weren’t an artist, what would you do?
“dance, cook, sing…maybe be a geologist. who knows, art is all i’ve ever done. my family are all artists, so i’ve been surrounded by art since i was a little girl.”
check out more of kia neill’s work on her website!
the new year is a time to make resolutions, and to think about your goals for the year ahead. one thing we’re thinking about here at free people are what causes we feel most strongly about and would like make an effort to support. there are so many important causes out there, ranging from the environment and poverty to animal and human rights. one of the girls here at the office told me about falling whistles, an organization dedicated to helping children affected by war in the democratic republic of congo and raising awareness to bring peace to the war-torn country. i was incredibly moved by the story… check out the video:
at the very least, we would like to help bring attention to important causes, and we hope to work harder to find ways to do more… and we would like to know what causes you, our readers, are most passionate about to make sure that we are aware. please tell us about it in the comments section!
hey everyone! you ready for the last thursday poll of the year?? last week i asked about your favorite winter whites, and the results were very close but the rows of ruffles dress just beat out the we the free little white tee with 34% of the vote.
i’ve been talking a lot about hair accessories this week, and how great they are to dress up a new year’s eve outfit. well we have some really great ones right now so i thought i’d ask which one you all like best…
i can’t believe tomorrow is new year’s eve! this year went by outrageously fast…i haven’t even had a second to really think about new year’s, let alone what i’m wearing, but luckily i’ve found some really great DIY ideas that i’m dying to try…
accessories are a great way to dress up a simple outfit on new year’s, so here are a couple of things you can do that will stand out, and probably start some conversations as well!
bleachblack had this brilliant idea involving fool’s gold (remember fool’s gold?) that would be a sweet new years eve accessory…all you need is an old cuff or ring, some pieces of pyrite (fool’s gold) and embellishing glue. check out the tutorial here.
and i got to thinking, if gold isn’t your thing, this would work with any kind of crystal or gemstones that you can by at a hobby or crafts store…
hair accessories are big right now too…we have quite a few awesome ones on our website right now…but i also love these “wild” hair pieces i saw on design sponge that you can make yourself:
these are made with items you can find in your garden or a store, or leftover holiday decorations- the top one is a peacock feather, poinsettia leaves and a sprig of evergreen wrapped in floral tape- i love it! check out their full tutorial here.
finally, if you’re looking for a great holiday makeup look, don’t forget about our how-to video… watch it here!
with new year’s eve just a couple days away, i decided to ask what some of our home office team members are doing to celebrate…if you’re still undecided about what’ you’re doing, maybe this will spark some ideas!
i’m taking my son to “new year’s eve with the kids” at north bowl in philly! it’s a family event where kids can bowl and jam out to some live music, along with other activities. it starts at 5 and ends at 8pm with a new year’s toast for the adults!
i will be ringing in the new year at the loews hotel downtown in philly!
i’m going to see the radiators from new orleans at my club in ardmore…its called the palombaro club and was originally an italian club to help immigrants get settled here…it’s almost 100 years old. today it is more of a social club but we do lots of charity work. last year our big project was raising money for the variety club freedom playground being built this spring.
i’m going to boston! a bunch of us will be there to celebrate on new year’s eve, and then we’re going to the winter classic hockey game at fenway park on new year’s day!
i am going to see my favorite band, the disco biscuits, at the nokia theatre in times square! i have been seeing them on new years for 9 years, it’s become a tradition that i share with many friends around the country. my boyfriend is the lighting designer and he’s amazing, so it makes it even more special for me- i can’t wait!
i’m thinking about checking out this warehouse/factory party in brooklyn that looks pretty interesting…www.newlostcity.com.
in germany, where i grew up, the tradition is to eat a marzipan pig with a four leaf clover for new years, for good luck – so that is “something” i will be doing!
so, readers, what are your plans for new year’s eve?
we have a new feature on our website! now when you review an item you have the option of uploading a photo with your review! this is a great way to see how other fp girls are wearing a product you’re thinking of purchasing, or just to share images of items you bought- click here and follow the link for the customer reviews for an example. i personally find the reviews to be extremely helpful when i’m shopping online, so i think this is a great addition!
merry christmas eve everyone! don’t worry, we still have a thursday poll for you today. last week i asked white item you wanted to splurge on and the winner was the leather bomber by giorgio brato, which i am sort of in love with.
so it is officially winter and today i want to ask about your favorite winter whites! you can never go wrong with white, and we have some great items to choose from…which winter white item would you wear the most this season?
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