will we need another table?

April 10, 2014
Tidbits

Tidbits

Some bits and pieces from First Friday at Artspace – results from last weekend. It was an enjoyable evening; there was a good crowd moving through the building and those of us participating in the evening’s demo room had plenty of visitors.

photo-12 oxidation andit'sblue1

Rain moved in the earlier part of the week, but the sun (and the pine pollen) finally made appearance making possible some beginning work on a custom order.

slowartday
Slow Art Day has been another topic all week and I think it’s in place – we’re ready. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to spending some time at the exhibit (coming up Saturday) and lunch at the Irregardless.  Hmm. Looks like we might need to add another table from the looks of things…. However it all comes to play, 花見・はなみ・Hana Mi (flower viewing season) comes to mind. It should be fine day for it. Please click the turtle or see my “Events” page for more specifics.

bluebells

the spell

April 3, 2014
Sakura & Bee/桜と蜂

Sakura & Bee/桜と蜂

Mother Nature cast her spell this week. I think the show has peaked for this blossom, but I’ve relished every moment. I’ve been under the tree everyday, looking at it from different vantage points and taking pictures. I do this every year.

Mid-afternoons, the bumblebees do their work, so the tree has been thick with their humming and activity. It’s 花見 (hana mi/flower viewing) for all of us.

celebrating small

celebrating small

The moment within the season needed marking in some small way and I also needed to make a stitch sample – testing the cloth and my stitches.

Pattern work

Pattern

The sun finally came out, warming things up, making it possible to work outdoors – some dye work, some yard work. I’m thinking of possibilities not just in the cloth but also the garden.  The days aren’t quite long enough in this season.

seasonal considerations

March 27, 2014
Sakura

Sakura

The buds survived…obviously and are opening slowly. I’m savoring every minute of their bloom time.

Tsubaki springpattern1

Before their blooming though, there were (and still are) Tsubaki (椿) – camellia. I happened to catch a program on the topic on NHK  recently.   The discussion was not just about the different varieties and patterns on the flower, but the context in form (used in making desserts) and textile patterns.  It gave me pause to reflect on the patterns used in shibori and what manifests. This one (above) may not reflect that particular flower, but as I worked at the vat this week, the pattern emerged and saw some connections.

Vat time was brief this week due to cooler temps and rain again, so I focused instead on preparing cloth for an upcoming demo at Artspace (First Friday in April) – it’s listed on my Workshops page. If, by chance you happen to be in the area, don’t hesitate to come by.

At the same time, I’m working on a few seasonal items for the Herbfest in Cary (May).   It’s a day long event – outdoors and sunshine (we hope!).  More details about this can be found on my Events page.

Springpatterns2A spatterns3B pattrns4A

Warmer weather and sunshine are just around the corner, I know it – so much to look forward to. While I enjoy the indoor prep, I also look forward to further explorations in the dye studio (which will take me out into the garden), upcoming events (where I hope we will encounter) and workshops upcoming (again, hope to see you there!).

a new day, a new season

March 20, 2014
Sakura bud & ice

Sakura bud & ice

Will this bud survive the ice? I’ll have to wait to see. Someone recently said that winter doesn’t seem to want to let go. Perhaps not, The damp cold seeped into the house and it rained ice pellets for a good deal of the day. The grip might be a bit unusual for this area, but I have no complaints. It will heat up soon enough, so I’ve enjoyed the respite (sort of) – time away from the yard to focus on craft.

Flower arranging basket

Flower arranging basket

Exactly a week ago, I revisited the Gregg’s exhibit of Utagawa Kunisada’s prints and other pieces in their collection related to Japan. It’s an eclectic assortment of “bits and pieces” with those prints – pottery, a kimono, a flower arranging basket (stained with kakishibu?), ikat samples in indigo, an itajime board and other items under consideration (for discussion) for a couple of upcoming events a little later into spring.

1st day of spring

1st day of spring

Today, finally the sun. The rain and ice have moved on (for the moment), so things had to stop – to celebrate this first day of the new season. It seems appropriate.

in progress

March 13, 2014

enso1Unwinding…

enso2unbinding…

enso3

It took time to wrap each little kumo, so it’s also taking time to carefully unbind each one.

There were a lot of unknowns in the construction of this piece. It was an experiment and still is. As I’ve been loosening the threads, pulling at the shapes and photographing them different things have come to mind – topics in my reading and museum visits all play a part. What that final “product” or image will be though, is still quite unknown at this point.

stepping away….

March 7, 2014

TPA1As I mentioned before…Florida beckoned…visited with family.

TPA5We took walks, some in one of the historic districts – impressive houses and also the trees.

1734BWe mixed it up a bit and checked out the Gasparilla Arts Festival.

photo-56We didn’t stroll the beach, but did have some “sashimi” – pretty tasty.  We did actually have sushi earlier in the week.

perfecthost1And this little guy was a perfect host.

Back home now, wintery sleet outdoors, so I think I’ll reflect on those Florida rays for a bit.

anticipating the coming season

February 27, 2014

1731A
梅一鈴 ・うめいちりん・ume ichirin – one plum blossom
一輪ほどの・いちりんほどの・ ichirin hodo – one at a time
暖かさ・あたたかさ・atatakasa — the warmth

Hattori Ransetsu  

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.

a.m.dip1So, 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.

nature of nature

February 20, 2014

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.

Wreath

Wreath

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.

the underside

the underside

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.

slow progress

slow progress

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.

swatches

swatches

It’s February

February 13, 2014
Fukusa-Kanji1B

Silk “Fukasa” in Kanoko shibori – Gregg collection

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

unbound shibori on silk

unbound shibori on silk

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).

1669

that “blew” stuff

February 6, 2014
workshop

workshop

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.

Ikegobo - Alter to the Hand - Nigeria (NCMA collection)

Ikegobo – Alter to the Hand – Nigeria (NCMA collection)

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.

testing color depth

testing color depth

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.


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