When I first saw the logo for Denver’s Marczyk Fine Wines - a black and white 1950′s photo of a woman guzzling wine from the bottle, I thought, “Wow! That image would be great on a cycling jersey!” I imagined the woman picnicking by the side of the road with her baguette and cheese, cheering “allez! allez!” to Tour de France riders as they whizzed by.

One thing led to another and I ended up designing two limited edition cycling jerseys for Marczyk’s; the “Drinking Lady” being the first off the sewing line, just in time for the USA Pro Challenge where racers will ride laps around Marczyk’s this Sunday, August 25.

It turns out that the woman in the picture is the mother of the wine shop’s owner, Barbara, who describes the origin of the photo, “When we were little, I was not yet a year old, my father decided it would be cool/fun/crazy to live in Italy. So he and mama packed up three little kids and took an ocean liner, the Christopher Columbus, to Italy and found a place to live in Rome. From there they would travel out to the countryside and bring a picnic.”

“So when we were opening the wine shop, we had already made many of their pictures of life in Italy part of our brand. Our logo designer asked to see the book of photos again, and there it was, the perfect image! I think my mother would be pleased to be part of our world.”

OK, so Barbara’s mother was whooping it up at the Giro instead!

The jersey shown here is a woman’s fit. The men’s version has the same graphics and colors. White side panels read “The Best Wines You’ve Never Heard Of” and the back has the same photo image as the front. To enquire about the jerseys or to place an order email barbara@marczyk.com.

“LIKE” Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook here.

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I’ve always liked to mine vintage garments and interpret the designs into something fresh. This is especially true of athletic and sporting apparel. So when long-time cyclist Bill Humphreys published “The Jersey Project” I nabbed a copy for my design library.

The Jersey Project is a visual tour of bike racing in the U.S. and Europe over the past few decades through hundreds of images of club and team cycling jerseys.  Each page is filled with jerseys and bits of racing history. From page one I was hooked as I was swept back into the era when I first discovered bikes and the world of bike racing. I would never have dreamed then that the wool jerseys worn by the U.S. riders I rode hip-to-hip with on training rides would end up in a historical compilation!

I’ve been working on my own jersey design project for a client this summer and this wonderfully rich book has been a source of endless inspiration. (I’ll show my work when I get some decent photos!)

For a sneak peak of my most recent jersey design for Marczyk Wine & Spirits check out Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook here.

 

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In my last blog post I shared design inspiration and storyboards for my Chalet Collection knit pillow project. (see them here) After a year in the works the pillows have come to life! They were a resounding success at their debut at the Chandler 4 Corners showroom at the AmericasMart Gift, Rug, and Home Shows in Atlanta last week.

The pillows are knit of the softest wool (like your favorite old ski sweater but not itchy) and backed with cotton velveteen. Some are also hand-embroidered. The pillow inserts are filled with down. A Norwegian style pewter button is sewn to each corner for a distinctive touch. (Do you think the button adds to or detracts from the overall effect?)

Evoking winter’s romance with their traditional alpine motifs, the pillows will start being shipped in November – just in time for the first snowfall! For information about ordering pillows contact Chandler 4 Corners. Or stop by the Chandler 4 Corners booth at the New York International Gift Show next month.

There are twenty-one Chalet Collection pillows. These are some of my faves. Which do you like?

To see more of my portfolio click here. To connect with Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.

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I’ve been working on an exciting and hush-hush design project for the last year and I’m now finally able to reveal it!  When the owner of Chandler 4 Corners (who has known me since Mountain Ladies & Ewe days) decided to add a knit pillow collection to his already wildly successful hand-hooked wool pillow business, we got to talking. Although I don’t know much about the home furnishings business, I do know a thing or two about knitting and how to get things made, so our collaboration was a no-brainer.

Chandler 4 Corners’ pillows designed by Laura Megroz are well known for their folk artsy motifs of bears and moose and Labrador retrievers. My knit designs would need to complement Laura’s, yet not duplicate her themes.

The first step in the process was to craft the story and to define the collection’s themes and look. Designing pillows both nostalgic and fresh would be paramount to its success. My creative juices really started flowing during a hut-to-hut ski trip in the Alps.

It was then that I decided to focus on alpine-inspired designs influenced by the traditional motifs and colors of vintage ski sweaters, and to incorporate patterns true to mountain traditions into the pillows. It would be a coup if they were equally at home in a hand-hewn chalet AND a light-filled Scandinavian-modern mountain retreat.

I usually start my design process with storyboards – images and colors that spark my creativity and give credibility to my ideas. Storyboards are a good tool for allowing clients to get a visual look at what’s inside my head. The storyboards below are from my first presentation to Chandler 4 Corners and give you a peak at the design process.

 

The Chalet Collection was introduced last week at AmericasMart Gift, Rug, and Home Show in Atlanta. Next stop: the New York International Gift Show August 17-21. Look for future blog posts highlighting The Chalet Collection. In the meantime you may follow Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook by clicking here.

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As the 100th edition of Le Tour de France  rolls through the French countryside this month I’m paying close attention to what’s on the rider’s feet. (Product research, you know…) I thought I’d share with you a few of the men’s ultra-light cycling socks designed by Poppy Gall Design Studio for Darn Tough.

To see more of my portfolio click here. To connect with Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.

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This week while rummaging through my cabinet of sewing patterns I discovered an old Simplicity pattern for neckties. I hadn’t seen or thought of the pattern for decades and it instantly brought back memories of the ties I sewed my dad each year for Father’s Day.

Fabric via Etsy

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vermont town I grew up in had a shop that sold hand-screened Lilly Pulitzer fabric by the yard. As a girl I was crazy about the wild animals, bright colors and bold flowers of Lilly’s designs. Making ties with neon pink tigers for my father seemed as reasonable to me as surprising him with a breakfast-in-bed of cornflakes topped with chocolate ice cream. He adored both!

Happy Father’s Day!

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Who woulda thought beer came in so many colors of yellow and brown? It took two beer-loving creatives from a Swiss ad agency to catalog the subtle shades of 202 of their local brews into the Beertone Guide, a color guide for beer lovers.

Alexander Michelbach & Daniel Eugster analyzed each beer to determine the exact color value with a spectro-photometer. The result is a fan book (similar to a Pantone guide) ordered by the different beer colors, from lightest to darkest, complete with RGB, CMYK, and HTML color codes for each beer. Brilliant!

The Beertone guide also gives a brief profile of each beer listing the beer style, alcohol volume, beer label, food pairing and more.

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Photo: Jordan Doner -  Courtesy of Avery Marriott

 

These vintage Eame’s chairs, wonderfully and imaginatively collaged by artist Phillip Estlund, would be perfect for my studio!

In Estlund’s own words:

“These chairs were realized, rather fortuitously, while working on a series of collages in my West Palm Beach studio. I often work with imagery from field guides and books containing detailed images from nature. As I was organizing cut out images of flowers I laid them out on several surfaces, including on the seat of my Herman Miller, Eames molded fiberglass chair. The otherwise stark surface became immediately activated in a way that I hadn’t considered and after arranging and adhering the flowers to the seat the result was the Bloom Chair.”

At $3,600 each, I’ll have to let them pass, alas!

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Sold via: Grey Area

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Two hundred and forty two Vermont fine artists and craftspeople will open their studio doors to the public over Memorial Day weekend – May 25 & 26, 2013,  as part of the Vermont Open Studio Weekend, a statewide celebration of the visual arts and creative process.  I always look forward to the weekend and try to visit a number of studios each year.

I target an area with the free map distributed by the Vermont Craft Council (also on their website) and plan my route – usually by bike. Finding the studios is always an adventure on roads I’ve never ridden before. It’s difficult to get lost as all studio locations are marked with bright yellow signs.

Meeting painters, printers and potters, catching a glimpse of how and where they work, and being able to ask them questions about their art always energizes me. Artist’s studios by nature are inspirational and I love seeing work in progress. There is always the opportunity to purchase or commission art.  Not being able to tuck a piece of art into my jersey pocket and pedaling home with it  buys me time to ponder a purchase. If I still really want the piece by the end of my ride, I can always pick it up in my car.

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If you like my blog, you’ll love the vibe of AlpineStyle56 - a blog devoted to alpine heritage, lifestyle and fashion.

Assembled by a confirmed lover of snow sports, AlpineStyle56 is a delicious mix of what’s new and relevant in the on-snow and mountain lifestyle worlds, on two boards and one, both here and abroad, and laced with rare vintage surprises.

With a concise eye for style and trend, AlpineStyle56 is the Bill Cunningham of the alpine world. Here’s a little taste of what globetrotting AlpineStyle56 has been training her camera lens on recently…

Check out Julia Mancuso wearing a Houdini skirt after her World Cup run at Schladming.

OR more about this super cool Skunkfunk Jacket.

OR Bike commuting in style in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

OR her fantastic collection of vintage images collected from all over the world.

OR the section on Snow Machines where the image of this wonderful old blue Thiokol can be found.

But really, you owe it to hop over there now and scroll through its endlessly delightful images and commentary.

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Among the many alluring sights along the High Line, the celebrated park elevated above the streets of New York City’s west side, the zing of a citron chair surrounded by a congregation of grey ones captured my eye.

If you’re planning a trip to New York make time to get above the craziness and noise of the city and meander along the lushly landscaped restored freight rail line. You’ll find plenty of visual inspiration there!

Click here for more information about the High Line. For more color inspiration click here.

 

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From parades on skis, egg hunts in the snow, crazy ski outfits and sunrise church services at the top of the mountain, for me, Easter and skiing have always gone mitten in hand.  I’ve rarely missed being at my local ski area with friends and family on Easter and this year will be no different.

Bored with the pastel hues of Easter decorations I decided I’d bring out this colorfully saturated 1930’s St. Anton poster depicting Hannes Schneider, the legendary ski instructor who made the “Arlberg” ski technique famous, surrounded by a class of playful snow bunnies.

From: The Art of Skiing by Jenny de Gex

Could it be pure coincidence that bunnies, spotted in a shop window in Salzburg last month by AlpineStyle56, bear a close resemblance in color and silhouette to Schneider’s unruly pupils?

photo: ©AlpineStyle56

Happy Easter everyone!

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As a knitter and lover of Norwegian sweaters, I fell in love with Nike’s limited edition Pro Oslo Glow tights as soon as I saw them.

Nike designer Ryan Noon drew inspiration for these running tights from the classic Setesdal lusekofte sweater that originated in the Otra river valley in southern Norway.

By digitally mashing up the familiar knit and hand-embroidered design elements found on Norwegian sweaters, Noon pays homage to a traditional design in a thoroughly modern and delightful way.

For more about Setesdal Sweaters click here.

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I’m digging the unlikely and brilliant cross pollination of themes in the print on this Fall 2013 Quicksilver jacket with a vintage feel seen at the SIA show last month. Gondolas, pheasant and elk – who woulda thunk?

Click to see  Vintage Camper Fabric

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While roaming the aisles at the recent Outdoor Retailer Winter Market I had the pleasure of meeting artist Marina DeBris and Carolynn Box, the Environmental Coordinator for The 5 Gyres Institute. The two had teamed up to bring attention to the tons of waste dumped into the world’s oceans, mostly by maritime industries such as cruise ships, commercial fishing, oil platforms and the shipping trade.

They were bedecked in tangles of ocean debris that Marina found on the beaches near her California home. The trash beautifully entwined in their hair and around their necks made an effective visual statement and prompted me to stop and chat with them.

I learned that a gyre is a spiral oceanic surface current driven primarily by the global wind system and constrained by the continents. Plastic pollution gathers in the world’s five sub-tropical gyres.

Box explained that The 5 Gyres Institute’s mission is to conduct research and to communicate about the global impact of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and to employ strategies to eliminate the accumulation of plastic pollution in the 5 subtropical gyres.

DeBris collects ocean trash and converts it into art. She encourages the viewer to question the use of single use items and to consider ways to reduce waste so it doesn’t end up in our oceans or landfills. To see more of her work visit her site Washed Up - Pollution Reborn as Art. I encourage you to click through her portfolio!

I was inspired to take the Plastic Promise and encourage you to do the same.

I was just learning to use a new camera when I took this picture of DeBris (L) and Box – pretty awful! But I hope it gives a sense of Marina’s DeBris’ humorous artistic flair.

You might also like  “Re-cycle Runway”.

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