late summer

August 27, 2015

I’m chasing butterflies and watching certain flowers bloom that I’ve been waiting and watching for, for most of the summer.

passionflower

passionflower

It’s truly worth the wait when they finally arrive.  It’s feeling less summer – more of that in between seasons.

indigo catamaran

indigo catamaran

The vat’s still in summer mode though – being playful.

bits & pieces

bits & pieces

I’m trying to keep bits and pieces on the line as well – anything to keep the vats occupied and me outdoors, as the cicadas are something to listen to this time of year.

pampas grass

pampas grass

My upcoming autumn workshop is listed on the “Workshops” page – where you’ll find more detail. Class registration is available now at Pullen Arts Center (Raleigh).

scribbling

August 14, 2015

Not planning and just engaging is probably one aspect of the two pieces I worked with this week.

flat & straight

flat & straight

At this point, I think of them as scribbles or sketches, but not so quickly done. My hands and brain wanted to approach some ideas…so it’s a beginning. They seemed to want to “squish” some cloth.

curves, slopes

curves, slopes

Neither one of them came out of the vat in the way I anticipated and that’s fine. I just imagined something different.

textures & 2 differing techniques

textures & 2 differing techniques

The information from the results, though is worth something. There’s texture, the techniques – the fact that they seem indistinguishable from each other (not what I was hoping for). Still, there are areas that I enjoy looking at.

edges

edges

And I needed to walk through it. I know I’m only beginning with this “whatever” and I’ve got to listen to what it’s saying.

so it’s raining

August 6, 2015

Rain has finally moved in to give a little respite from the heat and dry spell. I’ll take the break. I’ve spent most of my days working on something including a custom order which may be nearly complete.

a tunic

a tunic

It has helped to keep things going in the dye studio. Otherwise, I might not venture out, much. It’s also a piece that has helped keep the vat going – ah – and me outdoors, listening to the cicadas and watching for the occasional butterfly.

pureed leaves

pureed leaves

Last time I posted I mentioned “playing” with freshly harvested leaves.
The only conclusion I came to is that I needed more leaves. I had a very small harvest, hence a smattering of the color.

dyeing

dyeing

But, I did walk through Rowland Ricketts’ approach and would do it again, providing my harvest was larger. However that is, the results were sweet and gave another perspective – in palest blue – not my usual.

Chirimen & habotai silk

Chirimen & habotai silk

The scarf is Chirimen or crepe. It was cream and I thought to change it to a robin’s egg blue. It is truly an extremely pale aqua. One day, I may take it further.

It would be remiss not to make some mention of the significance of the day: August 6th – 70th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. I saw Abe give an address last night on NHK. The language was so formal I couldn’t understand it, but I really didn’t need to.

And I can’t find words – sometimes I’m not sure what or how to articulate whatever there is that needs to be said or not. I have a strong connection with that country. It was my childhood home. In that case, feelings run deep. That home culture gave me many things, among them  a love of a certain color. I’m working with it – exploring it. I don’t know what else to do at the moment. It was a gift.

that humbling craft

July 30, 2015

The question was when to harvest, but it’s no longer in question.

It's time!

It’s time!

They were pinched back this morning.  So I hope it will give them impetus for new and better growth – hoping for flowers and seeds in the new cycle. Processing the leaves may have to wait until the weekend.

nothing but triangles

nothing but triangles

Continued “feeding” of the vat, but also small studies and practice. It’s a humbling craft. The lessons are never ending – meaning, it’s always exploration – no solid answers.

Ice

Ice

This was back on the line this week in preparation for further work. The question is orientation. I think that’s been decided, I suspect I need to pick up more batting for this project, then I can begin to assemble the elements.

vats

vats

Another summer challenge has been getting used to larger and seemingly better quality containers for my vats. I’m finding them much easier to work with so far. The vats seem healthier, happier.

蒸し暑い/Mushiatsui

July 23, 2015

It’s (蒸し暑い・むしあつい)mushiatsui – steamy hot or lets say, muggy. It’s been like that the last few days. Today, though is a thunderstorm type day. It’s keeping me away from the vats and clothesline. I’m also adjusting to not teaching and trying to refocus on past projects. It takes a while.

catching a breeze

catching a breeze

In the meantime, I’m “feeding” the vat with activity, just to keep the spirits happy.

 old embroidered silk scarf

old embroidered silk scarf

Anything will do, as long as there’s cloth in the dye.

playing with pattern

playing with a summer pattern

I’m also keeping an eye on my small indigo plots – not the lush garden I’d dreamed of. The first harvest will be small.

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maybe more sunshine with the second growing

It may be too much shade, or the heat (dubious)…I’m puzzled. At least there are some results, not displeasing, but definitely wanting. Next year, a different spot.

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She passed through yesterday late afternoon, and again after a downpour this morning.

Other plants, despite nurturing are still struggling and failing due to mildew and similar things. Yet, others are thriving and attracting bees and hummingbirds. I’m holding hope for butterflies, but they have been skimpy in my garden.

PS.  Having said that, later in the early evening, a yellow and black swallowtail sailed by on its way to a neighbor’s garden just across the street.

one more week

July 16, 2015

A refreshing break at Bon Matsuri (Obon Festival). It defines summer in

Bon odori (dancing) & picnicking at the fest.

Bon odori (dancing) & picnicking at the fest.

some respects. I love the music, dancing, Taiko drums and naturally, food. It’s a huge event and a lot of preparation by the folks at the Japan Center.

On Monday, classes resumed at Artspace and again, I worked with the same age group (6th – 10th graders), keeping things loose – open to discovery or experimentation – at least that was the approach.

good making

good making

I think they outdid themselves. Today, they worked on some last pieces, including a silk scarf. We’ll wrap it up tomorrow.

planned?

planned?

It’s always fun to see how the students respond to cloth and this dye in this particular context.  They’ve been given some instruction, but generally, they’ve been free to take the fabric and tools in any direction they want.  There are always surprises.

they did it!

July 10, 2015

Yes, they did!
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I love all of their results.
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It was asking a lot to have them put pattern on cloth, dye it, then stitch these bags.
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They also received a silk scarf which they also manipulated and dyed. It was quite a week.

ornery

July 9, 2015

I confess, this 90+ degrees heat makes me feel quietly ornery. There’s a stubbornness and reluctance stirring – there’s a refusal to want to do anything. Is it just the heat? I can’t decide. In spite of it, though, I’ve been at Artspace this week.

beginning with stitch samples

beginning with stitch samples

I have no right to feel this way. The incoming results from my students are a delight. It may have taken a few slow dips in the color to convince them.

folded, bound or clamped pieces

folded, bound or clamped pieces

Their work gets better everyday and they seem now, under its spell.

working on the sampler

working on the sampler

Seeing them so engaged is quite rewarding and affirming.

patient work on the “sankaku bukuro” – triangle bag

It gives me pause, in spite of that reluctance.

updates

June 29, 2015

Just a little fyi:  I’ve updated the workshops page for both July and August.  July is devoted to kids – youth (the future!) and August is for the adults.

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We’ll cool off up in the mountains in West Jefferson for a couple of days.  It will be delightful.

 

a short jaunt

June 28, 2015

A short jaunt to New Bern, North Carolina’s first capitol, was enlightening. I could have stayed longer but we had a little further to go. Still, we had a chance to examine some of the old gravestones around Christ Episcopal Church and what I thought were stained glass windows.

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in the churchyard

Viewing the windows from the outside was a draw, of course.  I wasn’t leaving that town without seeing them in full color.

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So, I did go inside and learned that they were not stained glass, but hand painted.  The guide said “museum quality”.

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Then, we drove on to Beaufort, where we caught a ferry to Shackleford Banks where the wild ponies roam.

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We didn’t see them this trip, but the fresh air, soft sand and other natural aspects of the island were refreshing.  Another return trip for sure.

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Home again – working on my son’s curtains and preparing for 2 weeks of youth camp at Artspace.I will make a point of finding time for my personal explorations. Definitely. It’s still June, after all – my month.


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