Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

花の宴・Hana no En

April 18, 2014

A phrase that keeps coming to mind, from my usual resource (for haiku and similar), is 「春高楼の花の宴」・はるこうろうの はなの えん・haru kourou no hana no en. In researching its meaning, reference to a song appeared repeatedly and finally found that it is the first line to Kōjō no Tsuki – “Moon over the Ruined Castle”. It seems to allude to Cherry blossom viewing parties (in the castle tower?) and the abundance or “feast of flowers” – something like that.


blooms at the NC Japan Center


In any event, the phrase hana no en (feast of flowers) seems appropriate to our current season and nature’s abundant response to this past winter. That sense spilled over onto the last weekend’s events – Slow Art Day and the current exhibit at the NC Japan Center.


Wild North Carolina Wisteria

Junko Yamada - Harie

Junko Yamada – Harie

Slow Art Day must have taken everyone outdoors (the weather was superb!) as numbers of visitors to the Gregg was “meager”, but still the quality of the visits and experience made it worth the effort and time – engaging conversations and good food! Later I moved on to the Japan Center and Junko Yamada’s Harie.

Her collages are a unique approach to working with paper (extremely meticulous). She lends a deeply personal perspective as she explores hidden treasures in what seem to be “old Japan” as well as speaking of home, the environment and the ephemeral.

Summer Garden

Summer Garden

My personal favorite was her latest, Summer Garden. It feels so familiar.

will we need another table?

April 10, 2014


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.

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.


It’s February

February 13, 2014

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).



January 23, 2014
Timbered Hill/Light Snow - Maud Gatewood - NCMA collection

Timbered Hill/Light Snow – Maud Gatewood – NCMA collection

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.


Detail of Kimono from the collection of the Gregg Museum

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.

Silk study-detail

Silk study-detail

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.


Something’s brewing at the Gregg…what could it be?

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!

not a car person

December 7, 2013

Blue PorscheI truly am not a car person, but the color works.  Come to think of it, there is something about that form, the shape….No, I am not a car person.

However, I did get a small glimpse into ‘that’ world or culture recently.  I read The Lost Spyder (C. S. Michael) for the museum book club and that also meant that I should probably follow up and see the exhibit.  I might actually see a Spyder or something similar.  So, I did just that over Thanksgiving weekend with my son.

Spyder 550 Prototype

Spyder 550 Prototype

Yes, of course it was fun – absolutely!  The book was also the same and then the discussion at the book group – lively, entertaining, but lots to be considered within the topic.

There’s much more there than meets the eye.  People are also passionate about the car.  I get it.  I really do – but, you know the deal.

further studies and inspiration

September 21, 2013

It’s finally finished!  It took most of the week to complete this and had a little time to move on to other pieces before the rain moved in.

hana1AWith this small series there were any number of approaches to the pattern I could have taken, but for this context decided to keep it simple and also wanted to keep  that reference to the traditional.   It’s a gift, so I’m looking forward to eventually getting it to the recipient (at the proper time – and I doubt she reads my blog!).

So, now I’m  a little more free (I suppose) to pursue the next thing coming – the October & November classes.  I’ve been going through pieces that might be useful to refer to for technique as well as pattern.  I also thought to introduce some departures from my usual.  In that vein, the detail below illustrates one pattern I’ve been considering.


At the week’s end, I attended the opening reception of Measure of Earth, a collection of pieces (Gregg Museum) on display at the African American Culture Center at NC State. It’s another fabulous, well-considered display and the pieces gave me a great deal to think about. There’s a lot to take in and on this first viewing, I focused on the indigo, The example below is just a small detail of one of the large indigo cloths in stitch resist.


As the exhibit is on view into mid December, I will definitely encourage my students to see it.

Fibers — Indigo Dye Magic

July 31, 2013

TenuguiOn p. 26 of the Leisure Ledger (Raleigh Parks & Recreation – Pullen Arts Center), in the left-hand column, at the bottom is this description:

Age: 16yrs. and up. Indigo is an ancient dye that is still approached same way it was thousands of years ago. This hands-on class will use a traditional Japanese approach to resist dyeing, or shibori, to create distinctive patterns on fabric. Participants will explore a variety of techniques such as itajime (clamp resist), arashi (pole wrapping), tying and stitching

Supply fee of $60 due at the first class.

Instructors: Susan Oliver Fennell and Janine LeBlanc (4 sessions)

Pullen Arts Center – Course Fee: $80

#147321    Oct 24-Nov 14    Th

It’s time to register.  Hope you’ll join us at Pullen Arts in October. We look forward to to seeing you!

some time out

July 7, 2013


Perhaps a little low-key, quiet break is what was called for. I was hoping to be more productive over this holiday – perhaps a few more experiments in that rich Cochineal red.   I wanted to work with cotton this time round.  What I didn’t realize was the time it would take to prepare the cloth before the final dyeing – several days or perhaps a week or more, depending on the weather. We’ve had a lot of rain lately. So, as usual, I need to be patient and pace things.

In the meantime, at a friend’s recommendation I finally made it to the Nasher to see Wangechi Mutu’s Fantastic Journey. Needless to say, it’s a provocative exhibit, the images are powerful and beyond unsettling at times (of course and for a reason).

I’m barely scratching the surface here, but finding connections in some of the books I’m currently reading: Cold Running Creek – Zelda Lockhart, Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States – continuing with my “American” education – always learning.

Later in the day some japoniserie beckoned at the NCMA  – a collection on loan from the Chrysler Museum (Norfolk) – a tour was offered and went to investigate this collection.  After the brief tour, there was time to “really look” at these paintings.


Lefebvre’s Une Japonaise (The Language of the Fan) was probably a draw for most of us and a pastel-colored Cassatt. Moving to a different gallery,  Milton Avery’s Blue Landscape made for a very satisfying ending to the gallery visit.

Family Picks

June 28, 2013


Great to see this article in the N&O first thing this morning.  A wee note:  it should be pointed out that the correct spelling for one of the future Saturday classes is Japanese “dyeing” as opposed to “dying.” Although I suppose we could be “dying to dye” which is how I feel about it.  It’s a common misspelling (unfortunately), but I often have fun with it.

Otherwise, I was very happy to see the post and look forward to the event.  At this point, with the current humidity and the anticipated August heat, I think of it as “cooling” with the blues. At any rate, it’s about indigo dyeing and shibori (pattern making through textile resist – some say “tie-dye” – it’s much more than that!).

Upcoming Fall classes

June 24, 2013


It may be a bit early for this announcement, but then again, folks are planning ahead for autumn, so perhaps it is time for considering something like this.

Once again, Janine LeBlanc and I are teaming up for a series of classes in the fall.  They will be held at Pullen Arts Center  While classes are not available for sign up yet, they will be beginning July 30.

For consideration, at this point, are these dates:

Thursdays, October 24 – November 14

Time:  6 – 8:30 pm

That makes a total of 10 class hours to explore various aspects of shibori and indigo dyeing.  This also gives opportunity for students to practice their new skills in their personal studios and then return to the workshop  for more challenges (we hope!).

As I know more I’ll continue to update on my blog and also will put this same information on my “Workshops” page.  So, dear reader, if you have any questions regarding the class, please don’t hesitate to ask.


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