THE YEAR OF THE ROOSTER January 2017
Although there are many interesting tales explaining the start of the Chinese New Year festival, the main three reasons are to celebrate a year of hard work, relax with family AND to wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year. Chinese people believe that a good start to the year will lead to a lucky year. In order to learn more bout the origins of the Chinese lunar calendar, we visited the Chinese Historical Museum...an amazing zen oasis situated in the middle of downtown San Diego. Complete with a Koi Pond and impressive display of artifacts, we came away more prepared for the upcoming New Year festivities.
This year the Chinese will celebrate the New Year on January 28. 2017 is a year of the Rooster; the animal that is the epitome of fidelity and punctuality. For ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing was significant, as it could awaken people to get up and start to work. We love the tie to 1849 and the Gold Rush boom in California when people around the United States (mostly men) borrowed money, mortgaged their property or spent their life savings to make the arduous journey to California. In pursuit of the kind of wealth they had never dreamed of, they left their families and hometowns....the original Entrepreneurs in California!
Dixon Rand celebrates the Year of the Rooster with a special collection of Chainstitch embroidered Rattlesnake Ridge Shirts and Patches. The Range Tailor went all out with this one creating a very realistic version of the Rooster with intricate shading and added texture. Check out the latest HERE.
LAGUNA MOUNTAIN HAVEN HEAVEN January 2017
Sometimes we just know a collaborative effort will lead to something great. A mutual love of Men's Heritage fashion and a passion for Artisan-Crafted products made in the USA led to discussions resulting in the creation of a few limited edition items celebrating the iconic American boot brand, Red Wing Heritage. That's how the Dixon Rand x BootHunter collectible capsule of products came to life. But probably the best part of the collaborative journey was our visit to and photo shoot at the historic Laguna Mountain Haven compound. Traveling about 45 minutes east of San Diego, we took Sunrise Highway to the small mountain town of Mt. Laguna. A couple of quick blocks past the Pine House Cafe & Tavern , Mountain Haven sits tucked in the pines at the edge of the Cleveland National Forest.
The Haven facilities (3 separate buildings including a converted church) are just a stone's throw from extraordinary trails, spectacular views and pristine wilderness. Mountain Haven is positioned as an Events & Education Center just waiting to host a camp retreat or bohemian wedding. Of course our host had a collection of drool worthy Red Wings displayed prominently in the 'Cottage'....better described as a getaway destination to unwind, relax, and enjoy the natural surrounding beauty. Tricked out with antique leather chairs, beacon blankets, and decades old artwork on the walls, it was as if we'd entered a vintage hunters paradise.
Ending the day, we hiked to the lookout vantage point of the property; the vistas of the Salton Sea and California Desert were spectacular. We ended the day back at the Pine House Lodge, where the owner/operator Nica Knite treated us to a meal of upscale bunkhouse cuisine. Our only regret was that we hadn't scheduled an overnight stay....but there's always next time! Thank you BootHunter for sharing a bit of heaven with us at Mountain Haven.
CHAINSTITCH EMBROIDERY August 2016
The DESERT GARDEN defines the Fall 2016 Dixon Rand Collection. Exploring the contemporary application of an ancient technique, Garments and Accessories are decorated with direct and appliqued patch Chain Stitch creatures. From Bees to Snakes to Moths, the garden comes alive with multiple chain stitch applications that create a 3D textural composition.
Dixon Rand embroidered embellishments are created with Rayon and Wool blend threads. Using a refurbished vintage Cornely machine, the ability to create flowing curved lines results in an effect that mimics 'drawing with thread'. Known as a chenille machine, the artist is typically able to produce two different stitch formations, the moss stitch (which is a loop stitch) and the chain stitch. Moss stitches are most often used to fill in areas and create depth, while chain stitch is used to outline, monogram and can be used to produce a more delicate look. It's the use of both in one design that produces a truly unique result.
SEEING RED July 2015
My obligatory drive from my studio to Downtown LA is pretty typical. Freeway traffic, street traffic, wayward pedestrians, the fight for a parking space that is convenient. And just so many RED lights; Taillights and Stoplights fighting for my attention.
RED, there it is again that color. I traveled to Santa Fe, N.M. last summer to get away from the heat and take a break from the daily grind. I needed some inspiration, something I thought I would find at the International Folk Art Market and in the architecture of Governors’ Square. But it was what I hadn’t planned for that would come to define the experience.
There was a small exhibit tucked in the back of the Santa Fe Folk Art Museum, where the Story of Red in the New World was being told. Of how the true riches the Spanish took from the Aztecs wasn’t gold or silver, but a tiny little beetle, and that beetle would transform the world in vivid shades of red.
That beetle was the Cochineal. The native Aztecs had been using cochineal and indigo for their red and blue dyes for millennium. One of the items the Conquistadors brought back with them to Spain after the Aztec conquest was fabric dyed in rich shades of crimson. This red was unlike anything Europeans had seen before and immediately fell into vogue and became the one of the most sought after dyes for the textile mills of Europe. Now this is where the story gets interesting. Spain, due to being at war with English, kept the production of this dye prohibited to the new world, more specifically New Spain, while the English were denied access to this commodity. And while gold and silver was by far the more glamorous of of the wealth poring from the new world, it was cochineal which Sir Frances Drake recorded as being his large hauls from the Spanish ships he raided in the Caribbean.
RED….it was everywhere. It was in a little village on the outskirts of town where the most amazing posole was made from the Red chilies of the area, and the Tesuque Flea Market where beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry was sold next to strands of dried Red chilies and rich crimson RED Navajo weavings. It was found on the open road, through the high country where the massive Red Rocks stood like giant monoliths raised by some forgotten civilization, and the shear vastness of landscape would bring a feeling of the sublime, stronger than any mix of drugs, that must be seen to be believed.
Before I knew it, the trip was over and it was time to head back towards the Coast. Driving west, a monster storm raged around the car, raindrops pelting the windshield like the fists of a boxer upon his bag. My eyes strained, trying in a most desperate attempt to see the yellow line that disappeared mere feet from the front of the car; and in a moment it was gone. I was swallowed into a world of grey. Desperately I tried to turn the wipers to max, they were already there, I slowed the car to a crawl, and peeled my sight for that yellow glimmer of hope. Then, all at once it stopped pounding. Looking backward I saw the sky clearing and there it was again…the entire landscape was RED.