Back home now, wintery sleet outdoors, so I think I’ll reflect on those Florida rays for a bit.
Back home now, wintery sleet outdoors, so I think I’ll reflect on those Florida rays for a bit.
Reader, I will let you decide what it could possibly mean.
It looks like spring is making its way. I’m seeing signs in my garden and we’re noticing evidence of fauna as well – evidence of rabbits and my son captured some video of deer in my neighbor’s yard across the street recently. I had a feeling, as last year I noticed that some of my perennials were gradually losing their height (and they weren’t shrinking) and had a suspicion it wasn’t tall rabbits.
So, I’m visiting the vats, continuing at least with this one project. The color is slowly building on the piece and I’ve enjoyed seeing the hue changes from a pale green to a rich blue. I’m letting it tell me how far to take it.
A quick jaunt to Florida could take me to the gulf – color inspiration? One never knows – at any rate, it will be a visit with family, some sun and warm breezes.
* a note about the above haiku by Hattori Ransetsu – it was performed on NHK’s Nihongo de Asobo (Let’s Play with Japanese [language]) – no explanations or translations but did find something to help with that aspect. I also went to a couple of on-line dictionaries.
* and the photo of the plum blossom was taken at Shelley Lake, a local park.
It feels like spring for the moment after the past week’s weather drama. For a few days though, nature was in control, and things took on a quiet timelessness (if you weren’t watching the weather reports). The crisp, white of the silk organza I’ve been working with seemed also to reflect that aspect of the season. Consistent with nature though, things change.
A wreath was in mind; that shape and the concept developed before the winter holidays. I soon realized though, that this was going to involve more time, so things evolved as they do. The bound up forms are not all the same size, but they all fit into that circular form So, eventually when it’s unbound I’m wondering what will happen. I’m not an engineer.
My first thought was to leave it white after removing the sericin, but decided ultimately to move it into the blue. Progress on developing the hue value is slow, but it’s teaching me patience, as always.
Another aspect of the week has been some swatch dyeing – again, watching the value and hue changes in the vat. It’s also slow progress, but today we have mild temperatures, strong breezes and some sun. It should make for a good day before tomorrow’s rain.
Last month, I checked the Farmer’s Almanac and it suggested that we would have more “weather events” this month than last and I really questioned it. Last week we were moving into the “balmy” it seemed, making it possible to attend the opening of the Gregg’s Remnant’s of the Floating World installed at NCSU’s Chancellor’s Residence (their future site). There’s much to see in this exhibit, couldn’t take it all in, in the one evening, so I will return at some point.
A few days later, I received a small and precious gift through a friend – a fine example of kumo shibori (spider
web pattern) bound up, in preparation for dyeing. That was the supposed next step, but I find that I can’t bring myself to do it. I simply love the piece as is. It doesn’t need the color or completion. There is so much to be learned from studying those small, fine, bound up forms.
Then yesterday, “that” anticipated weather event finally arrived. It brought both snow and ice and we expect a little more today. It has brought some inconvenience, but that’s winter, that’s nature. It will also melt (par for the south).
Needless to say, it was a delightful two sessions at the museum. In many respects we probably just scratched the surface in our discussion of Balfour-Paul’s book, as the topic is so vast. On the other hand, that hands-on encounter with the ‘stuff’ was necessary. All participants were engaged and the results of their “exercises” were lovely and fully saturated with that “blew’. There will be more to look forward to in the future.
A few days later, in a return visit to the museum, I was exploring the collection again, looking for a specific painting and came across this piece in the African exhibit. It celebrates the hand and the people who rely on that “tool” for their work – farmers, hunters, warriors and artisans. I probably don’t need to explain its intrigue.
The winter temperatures have kept me away from the vats (the garage is chilly), but temperatures spiked to the balmy 50s yesterday. I needed to create a fresh organic vat, as I’ll be doing some test samples in a few days. So an indigo/henna vat is ‘in process’ at the moment and while a daily testing may not be required, I think it’s a good idea. Yesterday I worked with another small swatch of that silk I’ve been experimenting with to test the color depth. It went through the paces and wasn’t disappointed. There is something about that blue.
I think I literally “eat up” the time when visiting the Gregg. Right now, the collection is packed up and sitting in a small building off-campus waiting for the day that it can be delivered to a new and more permanent setting. So, to “go behind the scenes” (for me) is quite the savory experience.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t exhibits, they’re just smaller and in other contexts, which to me, makes them all the more intriguing. This time (February), it’s a focus on Japanese prints with some added pieces (textiles, pottery….). It’ll be fun to see what actually “turns up.”
Last week, part of the day was spent looking at a few of those elements, hoping to help out with some of the language end (so far, not so much) and general knowledge and just looking. What turned up was a feast for the eyes and helpful when considering the upcoming May workshop – and that was another reason for the visit.
Among the pieces were some small swatches of indigo dyed Ikat. Balfour-Paul’s Indigo discusses the topic, so it was good to have come across these examples and to see what she meant by “soft-edge patterning”. Of course, this also relates to the book discussion coming up this weekend at our art museum (NCMA).
At the same time, I inquired about some yardage (from China apparently) that Janine had sent a photo of last year. Later, I worked up a small piece based on it. It was good to have a close took at the original and to get a sense of how it was created.
So, when the snow melts…the temps rise…I’ll “boot up” a new vat or two and see what comes. Inspiration comes out of these museum visits. The dye studio is a bit on the chilly side at the moment. Good things to look forward to though. Winter, no matter the impact is brief in this area.
A visit to the museum and a chance meeting with a landscape I don’t recall seeing before – it fit right in with the anticipation of snow due in the evening. In the end, it only amounted to a light dusting in my area – disappointing.
I like winter. I wished for more of those little flakes despite the inconvenience.- something to do with the effect it has on the landscape. It changes it, turns it into something new – ‘transformative’ – Kathy used the word last week. I keep pondering the word.
We had one mild day early in the week, so I was moved to “reboot” the vat to keep on with my studies in silk – form and that ‘that’ blue. The small results have given me some affirmation to keep exploring. Even a very small piece sends a message.”try it larger…see what happens.” Definitely.
I’ve also recently made a few additions to the Events & Workshop pages – there are a few added workshops and events (a few blurry lines there). Please take a peek. I’ll add more details as time goes on, but for the moment….じゃね！
I am from the red dirt clay.
I sprung up with the kudzu vines and was nurtured by the wrens and finches.
The songbirds were my sisters and brothers. When I was a little child, my mother taught me all of their names. I would walk with my mother through the garden, and learn the shapes of leaves and the taste of sun-warmed vegetables. My mother also worked with fabric to craft clothes and soft comforts for use in our home. The straight pins and the sewing machine were my aunts and my uncle. Today, as an artist working in the medium of textiles, I reunite all these members of my family. I express my deep connection to the natural world using the materials that were with me when I first learned the earth’s name.
Through my work, I share that place of deep connection.
— Cheryl Harrison
Cheryl was a true friend and an inspiration for the many who knew her – without a doubt.
I’d like to begin on a positive note, in spite of the challenges that some of my nearest and dearest have already been presented with so early in this year. It’s deeply affecting, but when I see the clarity of the moon after days of thick clouds and cold, then see the sun rise the next morning, I feel promise.
So…the day begins. Over the last few days, I’ve been viewing Michel Garcia’s Natural Dye Workshop and am intrigued. I’ve “played” with some of his ideas previously, but seeing him work and hearing his explanations was invaluable, inspiring and exciting (and now I want to work in the garden!).
Explorations in silk, especially that Gunma silk are ongoing, slow. The time I’ve been able to give to the one large piece I’ve started is piecemeal. I get to it when I can, but here’s a peek:
The horse is another image I’m considering, it’s the Year of the Horse, after all. It’s still very much in progress. I have some thoughts about it – something playful to start off the year.
Preps are also ongoing for the February event at the Art Museum (NCMA).
I’m rereading Balfour-Paul’s Indigo, so full of history, facts about the plant, the dye, documented with beautiful illustrations. Revisiting it has been a pleasure.
So, there’s much to grow on in the year, explorations and workshops are “afoot” and there will be more to come as they reveal themselves. The very best to my readers in this New Year.
The sun rises on a new day
and a New Year.
Happy New Year!