Monday, June 23, 2014

Double Duty : Accessory and Art

Whidbey Islander Nan Leaman is the creator of stunning, one-of-a-kind textiles. If Rorschach had colorful dreams filled with gently repetitive shapes culled from nature, his tests might have resembled the gorgeous scarves that Nan recently delivered to Momo.

What began as an interest in textiles as a youngster evolved into a passion for the entire process — one that led to weaving and hand spinning her own wool, eventually from her own sheep! And although she no longer weaves and spins, she still maintains a flock of over 100 Old English longwool sheep.

For warmer weather, Nan switches to silk, utilizing various techniques to achieve a wide array of exotic patterns. All of her silk starts out white, a blank canvas to which she applies design and color with beautiful results.

Elegant pole-wrapped silk scarf.

Shibori, a Japanese term for a number of methods of resist-dyeing cloth, is one of Nan’s favorite techniques. Pole wrapping, an example of shibori, involves wrapping cloth around a rod or a rope prior to applying the dye. The results are almost tie-dye like, with a striping pattern.

Clamping and dyeing is another type of shibori, one which lends itself to a more geometric pattern — often circles or starbursts.

Clamping and dyeing can create circles ...
... or coffee beans!

Another approach to Nan’s art is the more organic deconstructed silk screen printing. Ever the adorable textile geek, Nan describes the rather involved procedure: “I mix dyes with sodium alginate thickener ...which I then paint right on to the silk screen. I add texture, such as string, wallpaper scraps, rubber gloves and other found items. I let the thickened dye dry on the screen. When dry, clear sodium alginate is squeegeed onto the screen to release the dye into the cloth.” From there, she steams the piece to set the color, washes it and voila! Her science project is ready to adorn the lucky wearer.

We love the vibrant and organic silk screen print. 

Nan’s enthusiasm for fiber arts is both inspirational and contagious. The next time you’re in Chinatown/International District, pop in to Momo and check out her work, we’ll have it through the summer. Perhaps you, too, will feel inspired ... and find yourself researching breeds of sheep (or silkworms)!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dear Daddy

Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught with me through the years. Like how to work hard and earn my stripes. 

And to posses resilient character and strong
moral fiber.

Yet retain the ability to be empathetic and not afraid
to show my softer side.

And for sharing me with the keys to success: humor, humility,
and true love and respect for others.

You’re the best Daddy a Momo Girl
could ever wish for. Happy Father’s Day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Out + About: Vif Wine/Coffee and Kanso Aprons

Lauren Feldman and Shawn Mead, owners of Vif Wine/Coffee
Bright. Lively. Spirited. Warm. These translations of the French word ‘Vif’ aptly describe the environment and owners of the so-named Fremont wine shop/café, opened last July. When Lauren Feldman and Shawn Mead received Momo Kanso aprons as gifts, little did they realize that the Japanese-style, no-tie bibs would become their daily uniform. According to Shawn, the comfort factor is high because “it disperses the weight across your shoulders instead of tying at the neck.” Adds Lauren, “and who doesn't love wearing a dress with their pants?”

The two first met while working at the now legendary Campagne — Lauren as the Pastry Chef and Shawn as wine director — crossing career paths many times before teaming up to open Vif. Together, they transformed a tired Herfy’s Burger and Teriyaki joint into the casual, comfortable atmosphere that reflects the refinement of their experience.

Specialty coffee from Olympia Coffee Company

Pastries are baked fresh daily, mmmmm

Neighborhood types stop in for homemade pastries and coffee-to-go, or linger over a morning entrée (Mr. Momo loved his salmon tartine, accented with shaved fennel), steamy bowl of soup, or after-work snacks accompanied by well-chosen wine, by the glass or bottle.

Take home a bottle of wine from a natural, hand-picked selection
You’ll find Lauren and Shawn wearing their Kanso aprons at Vif Wine/Coffee located at 4401 Fremont Avenue North, 206.557.7357, vifseattlecom. And you too can dress like the pros in your own Kanso apron, handmade by a bona-fide Japanese mom, available at Momo for $64.