Lately, Morgan Culture blog posts are all the rage. Well, I’ve been published a few times recently, anyway.
Some of these you may have seen before, and some may be new to you; give them a look-see! And at the bottom, find some links to places my stuff is now carried at!
Not one but TWO Morgan Culture hand-painted wedding gowns (ok, actually my gowns and my wedding, full of DIY goodness) featured on one of my favorite sites, Offbeat Bride,
A post I wrote about the homebuying process and what we can learn from disappointment, on Offbeat Home,
LAYGS hand-painted leggings in a new iteration (actually painted with a brush) on Specks and Keepings,
And, find Morgan Culture and LAYGS products at the following venues!
–Clear Gardens Yoga Studio, Inglewood, CA
–Hawaiian Total Fitness MMA, San Pedro, CA
–Nutshell Clothing Co., Twin Falls, ID
–Specks and Keepings, Los Angeles, CA
–Inked and Sexy, Warwick, RI
–The Road Less Traveled Store, Santa Ana, CA (coming soon!)
Last year, I spoke at, taught a hands-on class at, and danced my booty off (see below) at a conference called Craftcation.
Craftcation is an Indie Business and DIY conference in Ventura, California. What does that mean?? Basically for me, it meant learning a bunch of stuff about how to run a small business, plus some cool hands-on creative workshops. Actually, Craftcation is what pushed me to start blogging (i.e. the thing you’re reading now) and doing more social media stuff. I still have a few things in the works from last year, so stay tuned as they develop! Also, Craftcation is where I met the people who run CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles- you know, the place with the Morgan Culture store that sells LAYGS leggings? Yeah, that marketplace gave us tons of swag and, well, now I’m there!
I HIGHLY recommend this event for anyone with a small creative business- even if it’s not crafty. The speakers are from tons of diverse backgrounds in things like SEO, web design, marketing, accounting, journalism (LA Times, people!!), manufacturing, franchising, and so much more. And they’re awesome.
Last year, I taught one business workshop, entitled “Breaking into the Art World”, showing people more on the craft side of art how to enter the fine art world, and one hands-on workshop, entitled “Textile Surface Design”, where I tried to teach WAY too many things at once. I had everything from the basics of screenprinting, block printing, Simply Spray fabric spray paint, and discharge- all in one 1.5 hour block! I was racing for time and barely got to answer questions. Here are some images of me teaching!
One amazing thing I experienced at last year’s Craftcation was the amount of people who came to my workshops with questions already formed. One woman came from Washington state and brought fabric for me to look at to see if her printing technique was ok. Another woman completely inspired me with her desire to start an art gallery and shelter for underprivileged children in Compton and Inglewood, and she came to me for advice and support.
This year, I’m teaching only one workshop since I’m actually one of the event managers. I’m in charge of all the craft workshops/speakers! Hooray! However, this new role means I’m less able to teach while being accountable for the rest of the workshops. I’ll be teaching a Block Printing demo on Sunday in the very last presenter spot. For more info, go to http://www.craftcationconference.com and search for Morgan Culture under the “presenters” tab. This year, I’ll also have some LAYGS in the pop-up shop available for purchase!
If you’re considering attending this amazing conference but the price tag seems a little high, I have some news for you as well. Since I’m in charge of a bunch of volunteers working with me, I pretty much get to choose them. If you volunteer 2 days, you get to attend the other 2 for free. And you’ll be in the workshops the 2 days you volunteer, too! Contact me for details.
Craftcation is March 24-28, 2013.
2012 has been a great year so far for Morgan Culture stuff ! One of the main things that’s kept me busy is the Brancott Estates World of Wearable Art show in Wellington, New Zealand. WOW doesn’t allow any photos to be released before the final judging takes place the night of the show, so I’ve been sitting on these pictures since we first entered, agonizing about not being able to release them! But now they are available for public consumption 🙂
You might remember this piece as my finalist piece in last year’s show…
This year, the WOW factor was taken to a whole new level when I collaborated with costumer Laura Brody. Laura has years of experience in the professional costume and fashion industries and is someone I admire greatly- so I was ecstatic for good reason when she agreed to work with me for WOW 2012! After reviewing the show’s entry sections for the year, we started our collaboration with some reference material from authors and artists we liked,
and then created the following sketches together.
These sketches were used through every step of the process!
We then went shopping. Yes, shopping! We scoured our own fabric collections for appropriate fabric, then ventured into the thrift stores and a military-surplus-slash-hardware-store place.
Next, we draped the piece using two mannequins to simulate our models. Laura used her famous staple draping technique, which she later taught as a workshop in Wellington while we were there for the show!
We completed this piece’s actual construction in just 3 days. Originally, we created the piece for the “musical symphony” section of the show, in which each piece needs to also be a musical instrument. The design of the piece includes a rudimentary “guitar”, made from giant rubber bands and a plastic tote, which the models can play from the inside. However, the piece “wasn’t loud enough” according to WOW judges, so we competed in the American Express Open section instead. Also, our use of all recycled fabrics and items qualified us to compete for the Shell Sustainability Award (though we did not ultimately win it).
The two inner garments were made with a stencil made from hot glue on a mirror, plus some added texture on the garments with 3-D textile paint.
Assembly involved two sewing machines at the same time, lots of coffee, and fun. Lots of fun.
And of course, final surface decoration with Simply Spray fabric paint.
We nailed this piece in just a few weeks from original concept to final submission photo shoot (thanks, Relentless Cinematography, for the images)! It got in, so we stuck it in a box and sent it to the end of the Earth, where we then got to spend two weeks exploring after the epic show.
Working together was a breeze. Sometimes, collaborations can get icky and people compete for control. Laura and I have the perfect balance of skills the other doesn’t- not to mention our compatible design aesthetics, eye for final output (even when seeing scarves at the thrift store and deciding which would make the best tendrils when washed), and our equitable division of labor. We had literally ZERO disagreements during this whole process, and the entire experience was healthy and fun!
For those who don’t know, I’d describe WOW as Cirque du Soleil on steroids. Singers, children, ballet dancers, projection, live music, and crazy costumes.
So looking forward to next year! Laura and I will each be submitting separate garments, plus another collaboration. And we expect to come back to the US with some serious WOW awards in 2013, so get ready!
Oh, and in case you didn’t get enough… our hilarious dressing instructions for this piece!
Starting November 2, Morgan Culture will have a real-life retail location at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles!! From CRAFTED’s website: “CRAFTED AT THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES is a new concept for Southern California; a large-scale permanent craft marketplace. Our classic World War II-era waterside warehouses will grow to be home to hundreds of individual craft-artists, designers, and artisanal food makers. Each artist presents their unique handcrafted goods in a vibrant patchwork of market stalls. Visitors will be treated to a huge variety of one-of-a kind treasures and have the chance to meet the makers every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – that’s 52 weekends a year of handmade happiness! The marketplace will also be showcasing daily demonstrations, live music, special events, and of course delicious food from our fabulous food trucks.” The hours my shop will be open are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11AM-6PM. I’ll be offering sweet in-store discounts, doing demonstrations, and generally meeting cool peeps. The store contains my newest product, LAYGS by Morgan Culture (hand-painted leggings), headpieces, and – wait for it – a WHEEL OF LEGS. Yes, you read that right. A WHEEL OF LEGS! I’ll also be featuring work from a few other artists and designers here and there, including some amazing T-shirts from AffirmaTees, in the first few months! Stay tuned, and please come visit me 🙂 See you at CRAFTED!
As announced earlier this year, Morgan Culture and Headbands of Hope have created a partnership. In this partnership, 40% of the purchase price of a Morgan Culture headpiece is donated to Headbands of Hope, $1 is donated to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and one little girl with cancer will receive a headband!
I created a new line to celebrate the partnership and generate more donations for Headbands of Hope. This new line is a bit less overtly bridal, yet still fancy enough to be used for a special occasion (or of course for a colorful bride wearing a Morgan Culture gown!).
Essentially, these headpieces are a one-of-a-kind couture option for patrons of Headbands of Hope who want more unique statement pieces while creating the same philanthropic outcome.
They’re not all headbands, but they are all awesome! Peruse or purchase at my Etsy shop HERE. Pro photos coming soon- I was just so excited to have them I wanted to share them immediately!
I’d love to see photos of your headbands in action- where have you worn them?
Recently, I was the featured designer at May Star’s Diamond Dust event in San Diego, California. Although it’s a mere 3 hours away from LA, I’d never been to San Diego. That also meant I didn’t know anyone who lived there (i.e. models, hair/makeup, lodging).
May asked me to show 15 looks, which is quite a lot! The last few runway shows I’ve done were around 8-10 looks. The difference between 10 and 15 may not seem like much, but for a designer is quite significant. Many designers do not like to show the same work more than once; they create new lines or looks for each show.
I started searching for models by sending out a model call to my usual Los Angeles model crew. Since I wasn’t paid for this show, I couldn’t offer any pay or even gas money for my models, but the opportunity was available should they want to join me. I also asked for recommendations for their model friends in San Diego. Although one of my models chose to come with me, this approach was mostly a dead end.
Next, I pursued friends. I messaged people in the fashion industry, other designers, and people I knew who’d lived in or near San Diego previously. I received a few referrals, but most of those models were busy and a few were already modeling for other designers in the show (we try to avoid having models double up for designers, since we keep makeup and hair consistent for each designer’s looks and since the logistics of having models switching outfits can be quite difficult to manage successfully).
I posted a model call on Model Mayhem and immediately received quite a bit of interest. However, I was informed that no models under 21 could participate in the show, and all the messages I’d received were from under-21 models. Boo.
I then checked in with the organizer of the show, May Star, who had offered her help finding models if I had any trouble (which I clearly was). She posted a model call for me on her facebook- just one simple post- and within an hour had around 20 responses from models or from people referring models to her. This was wonderful and landed me some solid models as well as a few cool connections who are now friends. However, I didn’t have nearly enough models. You see, due to the pandemic of Model Flake Factor, most designers overbook models by at least 1.5 times the amount we need (though I personally always bring enough garments for everyone, in the near-impossible event that all models show up). I didn’t even have enough for my line yet, not to mention the overbooks!
The Discerning Designer’s Last Resort: Craigslist. I posted an ad on craigslist and had dozens of emails roll in. I realized I hadn’t specified whether I was seeking male or female models, so I had to clarify the ad. I actually ended up having to pull down my ad because my overbook quota was complete as well!
Out of the 20 models I booked, 12 showed up. Though I got a little antsy about lacking a few models, our very cute and very adventurous HAIRSTYLIST happened to fit one of my gowns perfectly and decided to walk in the show!
All the images and the video, with a full description of the show, will be included in the next post, so stay tuned!
Jessica Ekstrom, a rising senior at North Carolina State University, recently visited my Los Angeles studio to discuss her new company, Headbands of Hope. She started Headbands of Hope after she found herself inspired by her Make a Wish Foundation internship. Headbands of Hope is an incredibly inspiring organization that provides cute headbands to girls with cancer. For each headband purchased, Headbands of Hope provides one headband to a girl with cancer, AND donates $1 to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds life-saving childhood cancer research.
I will soon be releasing a line of fashionable headbands specifically for Headbands of Hope! In the meantime, however, any purchase of a Morgan Culture headpiece will result as follows: 40% of the purchase price will be donated to Headbands of Hope, and one little girl with cancer will receive a headband!
I’m honored to be a part of something so moving and I look forward to your partnership as well. If you’re not the headpiece type, please pass this on to someone who is- or better yet, buy one for her!
My current headpieces and headbands include birdcage veils, colorful headbands, hand-painted fabric, and quirky additions of all kinds. They’re great for many types of events- not just weddings and formal affairs.