Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

pampas grass, rabbit ears & indigo

October 2, 2014

Last weekend I spent a day with art students at Meredith College. They filled an old familiar dye studio and worked with various tools for shibori: needle & thread, string, small clamps and boards and plastic pipes. Then they dipped their pieces in the indigo vats and strung them on a line. It was a most refreshing and satisfying day – had a grand time.

at the vats

flying

flying

It’s also the season of viewing that certain nighttime orb – Clouds have obscured its view lately, but it was a golden-orange last night. It didn’t need to be full to make a statement.

10-1

tsuki

Tsuki mi udon

Tsuki mi udon

Some of the symbols of the season are pampas grass, rabbits, the moon and other things autumnal. Gourds, dragonflies and autumn leaves…whatever makes the statement.

Pampass grasses

Pampas grasses at Meredith

This imagery is one thing being considered in my upcoming class at Pullen Arts Center. Describing this kind of imagery through nui shibori (stitched shibori) is the focus. Details are on my “Workshops” page. There are still a few openings…

月と

月と

In the meantime, I am breathing deep and contemplating the moon glow.

** a little “vocab”:

月・つき・tsuki = moon, tsuki mi = moon viewing, tsuki mi udon – moon viewing noodles (note the egg).

exhibit

September 25, 2014

3138A
It’s more than obvious by now that the exhibit is now open. I’ve mentioned it on more than one occasion. Suffice it to say, that finally, on viewing, all of us in the group are quite pleased and happy to see how the folks at Meredith displayed our work.

All My Relations by Cheryl Harrison

All My Relations by Cheryl Harrison

It has been a while since I’ve had a chance to view Cheryl’s work. It was good to see it and it affirmed its strength and her skill.

What Remains by Peggy Clover

What Remains by Peggy Clover

There’s much more than meets the eye with so many of these pieces. They tell stories, life stories. It’s heart work, so they are not always what they seem. In viewing them again, in this context, it’s all I can do.

Connections (the exhibit)

September 12, 2014

I would be remiss if I didn’t post this:

Connections-pstcrd1

We are less than a week away and I’ve been mentioning this, but a post devoted to it was needed.  The above image is linked to the site for more information.  You can also find the same on my “Events” page.  We (Threads group) are thrilled to pieces about this, also honored and deeply touched as it also celebrates Cheryl Harrison who was a part of our group.  Hope you can join us!

autumnal

September 11, 2014

In spite of the heat, humidity and rain, autumn is revealing itself and I’m thinking ahead to that season – just thinking. I don’t want to rush anything as there is so much to savor in this between time.

ripening kaki1

For one, the “kaki” are ripening, coming into color, softening to eat and sometimes they drop on the ground before they can be picked. I’ve been looking forward to this time and finally…the fruit is mildly sweet, so far.

polewrapped earlyresults1

Between the summer workshops, there has also been “paced” progress on a wedding gift for a good friend of my son. He and his bride requested table linens, The stitching is complete and finally the dyeing aspect has begun.  I’m pleased  and also surprised with these early results.  There’s always a new aspect to this craft.

CdC-longsilk1

This ストール (sutōru), stole (above) will soon be making its way to West Jefferson – a fund raiser I believe. It’s an ample sized Crepe de Chine wrap or shawl that has been needing completion for some time. Yesterday, the sun came out just long enough for it to dry.

 Preparations are also in progress for a workshop at Pullen Arts Center.  The theme centers on autumn and a selection of traditional Japanese motifs. It begins in October and runs through a part of November (see “Upcoming Workshops” page).

My portion in next week’s exhibit at Meredith College has been delivered. The opening reception is next Thursday – details are on this blog’s Events page. As a member of Threads, I welcome you.  We are looking forward to it.

late summer haze

September 4, 2014

As my writings seem to be settling into a  Thursday to Thursday pattern, the week begins on Friday. Rather than a week ending, it’s a beginning. This week began with the opening reception of Matsuri/祭り at the NC Japan Center, where Yoshiko Sumikawa’s gentle but joyful watercolors illustrate aspects of the diverse matsuri (festivals) that take place in Japan throughout the seasons.

Matsuri!

Matsuri!

Typically, though, they are summertime high energy events full of color, music, dancing, food and fireworks. They’re also a reflection of tradition – something I am always attracted to.

3030A

low hanging “kaki’ – tempting the deer?

The rest of the week? It feels like we’re in the dog days and I’ve been looking at what is surviving in these days of high heat and humidity.

the Argentine Sage is abundant

the Argentine Sage is abundant

The delivery date for the upcoming Threads exhibit (see the Events page) is coming soon, so focus has continued to be on the stitch.

it goes where & how it wants

the thread goes where & how it wants

Still enjoying it and the textures it creates.

continuing

continuing

Some threaded guidelines are disappearing as I complete the above. It’s nearly complete – a few more rows – perhaps today. I look forward to seeing it in the gallery.

preparation

August 28, 2014

In my last entry, I mentioned an upcoming group exhibition. More information is included on my “Events” page. The opening reception is on September the 18th and of course, the public is welcome (and I am looking forward to this).

As a result, most of my time over the last week has been spent completing a few last pieces and preparing all of them for set up in the gallery. I’m continuing stitch work on two pieces, one is the ensō which I mentioned earlier, and another is a much smaller quilted piece.

Kotobuki-front

It contains the kanji 寿(Kotobuki) with shibori wrapped around the character strokes and its form is slowly emerging.  I’m enjoying the work – one stitch at a time.

Kotobuki-back1A

But, yesterday I changed the week’s work routine to dye a few scarves.  The weather was almost autumnal (except for the mosquitoes), low humidity and a breeze, good for drying things. There are always questions about fibers, how they respond to the dye, the techniques, how they read, and then again the dye and its response. The results are always unexpected and give me new things to consider.  It’s never backtracking, simply  practice.

ita-1

And they are back!

3004A

other scenes

August 7, 2014
Rodin garden

Rodin garden – a welcome

Did someone say “Welcome to my world?”  Maybe… a “dip” in that incredibly refreshing environment was needed – a place that took me to another place, even if it was for a moment. I suspect that’s why it’s there.

Rodin2A

The lush bamboo greens, darting blue dragonflies (and a butterfly) hovering above the pink and salmon blooms, floating on a deep blue black reflecting pool brought some relief from the morning’s heat and humidity.

Garden1B

This week has mostly been devoted to prepping for upcoming workshops in West Jefferson (next week) and tending to some planning for next year. It has felt a bit non-stop, so the museum visit was a welcome break.

Ships in a Stormy Sea off a Coast - Ludholf Backhuysen - circa 1700-1705

Ships in a Stormy Sea off a Coast – Ludholf Backhuysen – circa 1700-1705 (NCMA collection)

A new source of inspiration was the museum library, so made a point of exploring the stacks, then moved on to the galleries where I explored 16th and 17th century painting by the Dutch. That was inspired by a recent book club read, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg by Giles Milton – sometimes challenging because of the vivid and brutally honest descriptions about events, personalities and their actions in the development of those early trade routes, particularly the Dutch & English East India Companies. I learned a good deal, it’s well-written, but more than my imagination needed at times. It doesn’t need saying that all too often history is glossed over or romanticized.  This was not romantic.

an iron trunk also in the NCMA collection

an iron trunk also in the NCMA collection

I’m reading a lot of history these days, following different paths, but it seems to be where the indigo is taking me, on different journeys – herbs, spices, dyes…they have their stories.

W.J.tile1

Next week, as I mentioned earlier, Janine LeBlanc and I will be presenting indigo and shibori in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a few days. I’m looking forward to a different landscape – a different scene.

in summer’s heat already

June 19, 2014

Working in the heat is a foregone conclusion. It’s what I look forward to after winter’s chill. Indigo prefers the warmer environment and I enjoy working outdoors. Generally it’s quiet, there’s birdsong and insect cry. There’s also the light.

value

When the cloth pieces are in natural light I get a better sense of color and its value. It’s about color here, definitely, but it’s also the depth of it. I’ve added more indigo this week, but I’m wondering if it’s enough. I’ll give the vat a rest and a refresh for a few days and add a few more layers. At some point this has to stop. It’ll be an arbitrary decision.

progress

This week’s piece is still in progress, but it’s nearing the end. It’ll acquire the needed color at this weekend’s workshop. It’s an exercise, practice in technique, experimentation, something I’ve wanted to try for a while. While working on it last night though, I wondered about taking the idea in different directions. This was after my encounter with Shonibare’s work, the new installation on the museum grounds.

Shonibare1

Yesterday’s stroll in the heat was well worth the effort. I’ve been considering connections between pieces in our museum collection and the workshop – are there any and if so, which ones?.   To answer that, yes, there are a few that relate in regard to indigo. This is something else however, and I wonder how this weekend’s participants will respond? I look forward to a discussion.

*about Yinka Shonibare and this piece:
“None of us have isolated identities anymore, and that’s a factor of globalization ultimately. I suppose I’m a direct product of that. The fabrics I use look like they could be just African, because they are used a lot there. But what you see on the surface is not really what you always get. The fabric has a complicated history in its trade routes: it was originally designed as an Indonesian fabric, produced by the Dutch, and the British sold it into the African market. It’s a perfect metaphor for multilayered identities.”

 

 

sunny with thunder

June 13, 2014

Actually, it finally manifests in a soaking storm. Even though, it has been possible to put a few things in the vat and on the line. Today was not the case though.

As my son is home for a brief visit, we headed to the museum to see Estampas de la raza /Prints for the People. This was my second visit and could be back for more as there is so much to be considered from a cultural and historical perspective, just for starters.

My son mentioned Artemio Rodriguez, so I paid attention to his work this time around and later looked through a book containing nothing but his prints – strong and thought provoking.  We also viewed Raúl Colón’s enchanting illustrations which also presented some of the same ideas, similar perspectives, but a different approach.

linen in indigo

linen in indigo

Through the week, though, the focus has been on dyeing the above piece of linen that will serve as a canvas for a piece I think of as an “ensō.”  The dominant motif is circular.  It’s of Gunma silk that has had the sericin removed. At this point it needs to be stretched over the linen.

detail view - not so deep, but it's a reflective dyestuff

detail view – not so deep, but it’s a reflective dyestuff

Reaching that depth of hue has really been the “chase” this week. The above photo shows it much lighter than it really is. Still, the process may be continuing into next week.

手で・te de ・by hand

手で・te de ・by hand

May’s first event, Herbfest, sparked an older idea I return to from time to time – exploring aspects of my “other” language.

Coming up next week, I’ll be spending an evening with Twisted Threads presenting a discussion and encounter with indigo (and shibori).  Then over the weekend, time will be spent in a studio at the NC Museum of Art presenting a 2 day workshop on the same topic.

the 寿・kotobuki piece

May 29, 2014

Last week was a kind of week off, at least from making. Some time went into the yard and garden .

Argentine Sage

Argentine Sage

This one attracts the hummgingbirds and I think it goes without saying why it grows in my garden.

Earlier, I showed a piece in progress and deliberated over whether it should be dyed in my home studio or in class. Since it was a reference to the Fukusa in the Gregg’s current exhibit, it simply made sense to dye it in class.

Fukusa (Gregg)

Fukusa (Gregg)

Kotobuki

Kotobuki

Shown above is the fukusa and my reference to it – in its current state. Currently, I’m considering the next step in its development. As one can see, I used mokume to shape the kanji 「寿」・kotobuki・long life, as opposed to using the kanoko pattern (realistically an impossibility). It didn’t turn out as expected, but it can be read and that may be adequate for this context and the next.

It took exactly one week from start to this point (Sunday to Sunday). That included drawing an image template and transferring it to the cloth, stitching (the mokume pattern) which took most of the week, and finally dyeing it on the second day of the workshop. For the present, it will “cure” until it’s ready for completion.

So, as the narrator of my current ドラマ (dorama) says 「ごきげんよう!  Gokigenyō!」Go well (in good spirits)! Adieu!


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