We first introduced you to Ashley in the Fall. She’s had a pretty fantastic year, including being one of our scholarship recipients.
Cañada Fashion Department (CFD): What certificate are you working towards?
Ashley Kan (AK): Still going for the costuming certificate. I was fortunate enough to grab Costuming for Theater Production this Semester which doesn’t come around too often and am super excited to take Historical Pattern Making this Summer. There isn’t a definite ETA on certificate completion and I did start work again part time so things will move a bit slower.
CFD: What are your ultimate goals with fashion?
AK: I’m not pursuing fashion in the strictest sense. It just so happens that fashion offers a very interesting set of skills that can be directly and indirectly applied to things I’m interested in making. I enjoy the process of construction and building of sewn items, be it clothes, bags or puppets, etc.
CFD: How have the courses you’ve taken this year helped you get to your goals?
AK: Flat patterning skills in particular have been super helpful, especially when modifying or creating new patterns. I’m really looking forward to taking draping in the Fall. Both illustration classes have also been excellent in helping me conceptualize ideas.
CFD: How are things coming with puppetry?
AK: I haven’t been building as many puppets lately. I’ve primarily been concentrating on building content for the puppets. I’ve been writing a series of musical numbers for the puppets to sing and the song writing/orchestration process is very time consuming. I did recently put up my first music video featuring Sam the puppet, titled Am I So Different? It’s a highly personal piece that just about anyone can relate to. It’s been many months in the making and is a continual work in progress. I’m proud to say that people have actually requested to perform it!
A little about Sam. I didn’t build him, he actually belongs to a very dear friend of mine and was a big catalyst in getting me interested in puppets. We’ve been on many adventures since.
CFD: Can you talk a bit about your work with vintage sewing machine repairs?
AK: This is an odd one. I took a Sewing Repair course with Ray White over in Orangevale last year and have been tinkering in my garage since! I now have over 40+ vintage sewing machines and the collection continues to grow. I service machines and also resell restored machines out of my garage. I ended up servicing a few machines over at Lamplighters as a result of taking Judy’s Costuming for Theatre Production class!
My blog is starting to pick up. While it was originally intended as a showcase for the puppets, it has kinda become a vintage sewing machine review site. I often review machines that I service and then sew school projects on them to test them out. It basically gives me an endless stream of material to write about.
And, while I’m no longer working at Ricochet, Jill and I are still in touch. I actually have a handful of vintage machines for sale at her shop which she lets her students use for class.
CFD: Looking back at the past year: What has surprised you? What have been your favorite accomplishments? What have been some of your obstacles and how have you overcome them?
AK: This is a big one. Basically everything has surprised me. It’s been such an organic process. So I came to Cañada to study costume design and thought, wouldn’t it be nice to sew historical costumes using vintage machinery? That path has basically spiraled out of control into my sewing machine obsession. Additionally, I took the internship because it could be used as a substitute requirement for the Theatrical costuming class which isn’t offered very often. That led me to Jill who in turn introduced me to a puppet maker. So as you can see, none of this was planned.
I’ve been a musician and composer all my life but my relationship with music took a big turn a few years ago which left me musically bereft. I’ve only recently re-kindled my voice, so it’s a very exciting time for me. The timing couldn’t be better because I’m finally getting to the point where I’m comfortable enough to leverage all the skills and techniques I’ve learned at Cañada. This is when creativity can run wild.
CFD: Thank you for sharing with us, Ashley. We can’t wait to hear what you will be up to next!