December 19, 2014

I know, I’m off “schedule” but hey, who’s looking? We’ll blame it on the season, the sky, the temps or whatever works. Routine is not this week. With the approach of holidays or special events, even if it’s quiet, things are still different. That difference or space between, in the sense of stopping to begin again, resting or simply pausing is what I’m looking for.


detail of the gift

There was some small interaction with cloth this last week though – I need it.  It wasn’t what I consider my usual ‘work’ – but a gift. So, the vat was also not neglected and we had some small conversations which we need to continue in the new year.


Kathy’s brie which fed my critique group – there’s message there, somewhere…

Another source of nourishing refreshment – not just literally. The food was delicious, but so was the conversation, laughter and that strong sense of community – my critique group – that has continued to grow over the many years we’ve been together. Sustenance.


a small suggestion of the kimono, obi and other items – a delight.

An old friend gifted me a collection of  ‘treasure’ from Japan. I’ve been looking at the pieces more closely today and sharing their beauty with some friends. One day they’ll move to a different home as they need to be shared, enjoyed and learned from.


autumnal motifs on a favorite silk kimono

Oriba Shibori is finally in place as it should have been long ago. I’ve long had this in mind but some things, even fairly simple ideas, sometimes, take time.

Getting close to that pause…very close.

a short jaunt

December 11, 2014

Last weekend, a short jaunt to Charleston put me in “indigo country”. When I’m there, the draw is history and of course, anything that might speak of indigo and its past.

found this on a morning walk

found this on a morning walk

the old slave mart museum

the old slave mart museum

Time was limited and I didn’t have a set agenda, so anything that turned up was serendipity. Also, in many respects, if indigo was the focus (it wasn’t), historic, downtown Charleston would not have been the place.  Still there were some little treasures to be discovered.

owned by Eliza Lucas Pinkney

owned by Eliza Lucas Pinkney

not historical, but authentic - serendipity

not historical, but authentic – serendipity

One of my most satisfying experiences, though, was visiting the Joseph Manigault house. Our guide was gracious and extremely informative about its former inhabitants, architecture and its significance through the last couple of centuries.

family entrance

family entrance

unusual rounded aspects on either side of the house

unusual rounded aspects on either side of the house

I was surprised to hear that at one point that it came close to being razed for a gas station. Fortunately, it was rescued and has been able to serve other and better purposes.

leading up to the 3rd floor

leading up to the 3rd floor


wreath of cotton

Now, home again and with “things to do” with holidays approaching. The “studio” beckons – the idea of a little focused quiet would do just fine.

ginko & spanish moss

ginko & spanish moss

of a particular season

November 26, 2014


“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” Henry David Thoreau

“Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard.” Walt Whitman [he might be thinking of apples, Kaki also fit.]

“On a bare branch a crow is perched – autumn evening” Matsuo Bashō

small discoveries – little treasures

November 20, 2014

This season’s teaching was brought to a gentle conclusion this week. The last pieces were strong though.


autumnal imagery


working with “boshi” – taking it further

Values went deep and patterns were distinct.

intrigue with texture

intrigue with texture


variations in texture, pattern & hue

One thing I found intriguing was seeing how unique each person’s hand is and how it manifested in their pieces. That aspect was consistent from the first to the last class.


stitching in a different context


working with a new challenge – Katano

I suspect this would be more evident with stitching, but I may have to “research” this further. In any case, this has been such a satisfying experience, from the teaching end. My students were a delight – much to be grateful for at the year’s end.


November 13, 2014

One thought with me all week long is simply that the cold is coming. That’s meant “Hurry up and get your dyeing done!” So that was my focus.  As it happens, my class had a week off due to Veteran’s Day, so it has felt like there was more time for other things (as well).

There has been a “project” in the works – more in my mind than the actual doing. I realized that time and temps were slipping away and that this was the week.

Some of these will go to West Jefferson. Others will be in my Etsy shop.

Then there’s been class prep – I’m working on it – enjoying working alongside my students (in spirit), on samples and experiments that my “lessons” seem to conjure up. There’s always a different element or aspect I haven’t considered.


Winter is coming

November 6, 2014

Yes, it’s coming and that change is also something to look forward to. My persimmons predict snow with their spoon shaped centers. I can’t wait to see if this is really possible. You never know.

split "kaki" seeds

split “kaki” seeds

In the meantime however, I’m relishing this season and thoroughly enjoying my current class at Pullen Arts Center. They (my students) are continuing in their explorations in stitch and do seem engaged.

4-7476A 1-3726A

After a week between each session they are ready to dye their projects from the previous week.

5-3734A 7-7481A

After that, “we” look at some new or at least different ideas or challenges for the week ahead.  This week we looked at arashi (not stitching, but could be combined with), and variations in boshi.  So coming up, after a week off for Veteran’s Day, we’ll resume for our last class.


Chidori or Plover motif – another fall image.

One of our discussions at the end of class was the next workshop. At that moment it was already listed in the new January – April Leisure Ledger – top of p.22.  I’ve since updated my “Upcoming Workshops” Page as well.


雪花・Sekka shibori

The topic, apart from shibori & indigo, will be winter and its crystalline manifestations. So, the question is, will we have that white stuff for inspiration or not?  The kaki spirits have been consulted.  We’ll see.


Yep, I did

November 4, 2014

I like to do these things early, first thing. I was surprised to see the turnout – lines of people waiting to vote as opposed to having a choice of booths. I hope it’s like this all day.

stitch variations

October 30, 2014

Apart from getting together with friends in different contexts and meeting the “demands” of what I consider work, which I enjoy tremendously, my mind and body have been in a quiet (mostly mental) rebellion all week. Things did eventually settle and maybe garden work was the cure.

a piece in Peg's studio

a piece in Peg’s studio

My class in stitched shibori is ongoing, and to prepare for it, I’m making a collection of small samples.

One day, they may become a book (textile/fiber type).


definitely shaped shibori


bold orinui and it’s autumnal

The class is going swimmingly as far as I can tell. There was much more activity in the vats, so more pieces on the line. I like their explorations, their thinking.

7446A 7447A

Last week’s “assignment” was variations in the straight stitch. There were, of course other experiments going on…to be expected and fun to see.

teaching (for one…)

October 23, 2014

Autumn’s chill is beginning to move in. It complicates or at least slows the dye work.

saturated with the dye & drying

saturated with the dye & drying

The mornings have been a bit cool. I like it to warm up a bit before approaching the vat.

On the other hand, the class at Pullen has begun and it brings a good deal of challenge and refreshment.

not stitched, but love the pattern of this student's work

not stitched, but love the pattern of this student’s work

Some of my students are teachers and this brings a different and enjoyable kind of engagement. They seem to be considering every stitch and personally I enjoy seeing that involvement with the craft.

This weekend is the last for the Threads: Connections exhibit at Meredith (see my ‘Events’ page), so let me encourage you to attend if you have not. There is some precious work well worth viewing and considering. I’ve been several times and see something new and engaging every time.

尺八・Shakuhachi – a textile story

October 16, 2014

In July, I wrote about creating a piece based on the kanji 尺八shakuhachi. My patron has a brother who (to my understanding) repairs, makes and also plays the instrument. The piece was for him.



Before the ‘assignment’ could be considered though, researching the kanji was in order. What did it/they look like and how complicated would they be? Could it be rendered in shibori? I was suprised to find that they were quite straightforward – only a few strokes. 尺 (shaku) – refers to a unit of measure – 4 strokes, and 八 (hachi)–means 8, but more relevant in this context is that it is the 3rd in the Iroha syllabary organization – only two (strokes).





After transferring the drawn characters onto linen, the next consideration was the approach for stitching – in what direction would I work? I decided that moving in the same directions as one would when writing would be most logical. The first “stroke” was on the left, so I stitched from top to bottom. The second “stroke” was left to right with a “stop” or turn to move down (all one stroke) – and so on.

Shaku-det1A HachiDet1A

My concern was that the strokes would convey some sense of the brush and the characteristics of those strokes. The beginnings and endings needed to have ‘proper’ weight.  Another aspect was simply composition which included the space between the characters – enough space to breathe, yet seen together as a word.  It has to be read.

Once stitching was completed and all thread drawn up tightly, the piece was immersed in a natural indigo vat. It was “dipped” and given oxidation time many times over until it arrived at a satisfying depth of hue.  And then,  those other “tidying up” details – rinsing (maybe washing), pressing, the han (name stamp), press again, casings…done.

displayed with Shakuhachi as the display hangers

with Shakuhachi as the display hangers & weight

musician and 尺八

musician and 尺八

Finally, this month, it was delivered to its new home.  One isn’t always privy to what happens with pieces after they move on to their new life. Sometimes a story is told, but rarely does one see it. This was one of those rare and surprising gifts.


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