Pondering the “Views” or landscape

January 21, 2018

My entry, now in Japan, collecting light with ojiisan for companionship.

I’m not going to try to second guess what Ricketts and and folks in Tokushima had in mind when they conjured up this project.  To have only been thinking about indigo and bringing in an international aspect was and is a statement, just on that simple or basic level. It speaks.

What comes to my mind first, is the word けしき/keshiki. One definition is “scenery, view or landscape”. One person involved in the cloth dyeing process used ‘scenery’, Ricketts said ‘view’ and I like ‘landscape’. That speaks to me. A recent video is here. You, dear reader, can decide for yourself.

Another thing is that there were 9 (possibly 10?) countries represented with 450 participants, each person given a square of indigo (or handkerchief) cloth. Each piece collected the rays of the sun from their personal parts of the world for roughly 5 months. Then, they were returned to Japan and now on display for roughly a week.

The universal color, dyestuff was indigo – one color absorbing the sunbeams from 10 different countries – collected, to make a whole “‘scape”, landscape or view. 450 people represented from 10 different countries, represented by 450 pieces of cloth bathed in sunlight, reflecting one universal hue with no borders between them. They are all unified by sunlight and color. Each individual, each county or province, state, country…all side by side just “breathing” quietly in blue.

That’s what speaks to me. I wonder what else comes to mind.

 

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Upcoming in Jan. & Feb.

January 16, 2018

“Shobu”/Iris – detail

Meredith College is holding an alumnae event – coming up at the end of the month.  There are more details and a link on the Events page.  The above shows a detail of my entry.

Several of my friends and I, in my Threads group, are among the many participating in this exhibit. It’s going to be fun to see the many various interpretations of the theme, the Meredith Hues Iris – looking forward to it, needless to say.

I delivered my piece first thing this morning, as we are due for some kind of “weather” tomorrow. I plan to stay off the streets and enjoy the white blanket for however briefly it lingers.

In a new year…

January 9, 2018

Last year…well, it was memorable in so many respects, it’s an understatement.  I’m simply grateful for the events, many forms of engagement, friends, family and the many others who in many ways kept me thinking, working and engaged with living. It was an overwhelming year in many respects, but I’m still grateful for the challenges.

Indigo Threads


There was some fun in it, and work. I’m looking forward to more of that “blue” engagement.

I don’t know quite what the year will bring, which is a good thing. I like a little mystery. I do know that I plan to be a student at some point instead of a teacher (more upcoming). I’m looking forward to learning some different perspectives on the topic.

For the moment, I’m offering an exploration in “nui” or stitched shibori at Sertoma Arts Center (Raleigh, NC) in March. There’s more detailed information on the Workshops page. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Wishing you serenity in this New Year.

 

 

What happened to summer?

October 10, 2017

I have to ask. It seems to have dissolved in the vat of indigo. A project emerged this spring. No, several projects “appeared” and grew. At least the one did.

Cameron Village Banner

And, it was my own doing.  “We” couldn’t have done the idea or the space (where it was to display) justice, if the project had not ‘grown’.

F.e.B. shirts

There was also custom work – shirts arrived from people I had worked with previously.  So, extra clotheslines were strung to accommodate them as well as the banners.

detail of custom dyed tunic

July brought a workshop on creating Noren – “split” curtains.

noren making, drying outdoors

I don’t think we actually sewed any together, but there was plenty of dye work and of course, that was the point.

At the end of August all of these projects were brought to a close with the installation of the banners at Cameron Village Library. I’ll simply have to write more about that later, but they are currently on display through the month’s end.

Indigo Threads

Currently, I just want to draw you, dear reader, to 2 upcoming workshop opportunities this month and next – they are listed on my workshops page. “Aki” is coming up quickly and “Arashi” follows almost on its heels in early November.

Thank you for your patience and for reading!

It’s still spring….

April 20, 2017

“Natsu”/Summer

At the moment, I don’t know where or how to begin.  It would be an understatement though no matter how I described how this season has gone (so far) and what’s to be anticipated in the near future.  There is so much to look forward to.

To step back, a little, I have finally completed the yukata that was a huge preoccupation since last summer.  I’m happy and honored that it’s part of an exhibit, “Filaments of the Imagination”, at the Durham Arts Council.  And there are so many delightful treasures to explore in this exhibit.  If you happen to be in the area, please drop by and see it.  “We” (my Threads group) are exhibiting through May 11 (we are disassembling on the 12th).

Upcoming, (see the Workshops page & link), one month from now, is a 2 day workshop in shibori and indigo dyeing at the NC museum of art.  Needless to say, I’m looking forward to teaching this in a new studio situation.  So, join us.  We’ll have fun!

Yes, the sun does still come out, my siblings and I share stories and laugh.  There is sadness, we miss her.  It was complex.  But she gave and taught us much.  We have yet to celebrate her life as a family and that is also upcoming in late spring.

Mom never saw my yukata, but I did describe it to her and we talked about the imagery.  It was one of my last conversations with her.  The imagery is a mix, but universal, as it talks about summer universally, but some aspects of summer that I experience (always) and loved from my years in Japan, North Carolina and visiting my sister’s home in Wisconsin (up on Lake Superior).

I’m amazed it’s still spring and there’s more and more coming.  I haven’t even mentioned the garden – so much work to do and now we have an abundance of fearless rabbits, it seems.  Things are ongoing.

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Mother’s day was yesterday

March 23, 2017

Mother at 90.

At this point, I’m simply marking the day (it was yesterday) and will come back to thoughts later. But I’m including a quote from my youngest sister, a post from facebook, that I feel expresses many universal feelings about her.

After a long, good 92 years, Sue Oliver passed away early this morning.  She made it possible for me to be raised in Japan where I learned pretty quickly to think critically.   She gave me the love of gardening, cooking and of having a stable home.  She also taught me to take care of me and to never sell myself short. She enjoyed beauty. In her last days, she continued to be interested in the world around her. Newspapers and the news were vital!  I will miss her in ways I have yet to know. I am comforted knowing she is done with a worn out body and
surrounded by friends and family who have gone before. I feel blessed.        – – –  Jean Oliver – Holder

I am also grateful to the man who held her hand as she took her last breaths. I am comforted by the fact that she was not alone.

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March 3rd

March 3, 2017
Hinamatsuri Dolls

雛祭り Hinamatsuri Dolls

Today is Hinamatsuri, Girls’ Day, Girls’ Festival or Dolls Festival in Japan.  I remember being intrigued with the tall displays of the imperial court when I was a girl.  Some were so elaborate and elegant – yes, I would have loved a collection of my own!

The kanji 「雛・ひな」hina defines as “chick, duckling, squab [fledgling bird] and doll”。「祭り・まつり」Matsuri means “ritual, offer prayers, celebrate, deify, enshrine and worship”.  The origins of this festival trace back to hina-nagashi in the Heian Period.  So there’s more to this than just celebrating girls and dolls – also a little spiritualism and “magic” (perhaps).

The photo is ancient – from my dad’s collection, something “generic” so I’m not sure that he even took it. He must have used it though, to talk about Japanese culture in our trips “back” to the US.  At any rate, it gives me pause to look back and there’s always something new to learn in the process.

March 1st: blustery.

March 1st: blustery.

The month began with those “March winds” – it was blustery and I’ve had some custom work on the line this week. It was uncharacteristically warm – in the 80s – not at all March-like.

The real reason for this entry? I changed the times for the opening for “Filaments”, the upcoming exhibit mentioned in my last blog. I’ve also updated it on the Events page – 6-8 p. instead of 5-7 p.  Hope to see you there!

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Spring doin’s

February 27, 2017

It is so evident that when art is present, things are better—even in the toughest circumstances.   —  Theaster Gates

I ended my last post with this quote. On seeing it again, I know it’s true.

Winter seems to have had its last blast some time ago, as it is so springlike now. Trees are in early bud and bloom and I’m also readying my yard for gardening – mostly raking pine needles and leaves.

Jane Magnolia - they don't usually bloom in February.

Jane Magnolia – not in February.

March brings two events. On my workshop page, I’ve listed The Humble Stitch in Shibori which begins on March 11th – an all day Saturday and Sunday event at Pullen Arts Center (Raleigh).

Stitched

Stitched line & flower petal

Then, the following weekend, I join my Threads group in a Fiber Art exhibit at the Durham Arts Council (Durham, NC), Filaments of the Imagination. We’ll be showing various forms of fiber work: quilting, weaving (including bead weaving), works on paper, fiber sculpture, embroidery, silk painting and shibori. The exhibit is up until May 12. The opening reception is on March 17, 6 – 8 pm. I’ve included a write up on my Events page.

We are a diverse group – each of us pursuing our unique interests, and yet, we find much commonality in the work we do – whatever our mediums are.  Over the years, we’ve become good friends and a close supportive community.

And, that yukata I’ve been working on for so long…I’m putting in the last stitches today.  It’s due to be in the upcoming exhibit.  Can’t wait to see how all of the pieces work together.

Yukata detail

Yukata detail

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明けまして、おめでとう。。。

January 1, 2017

Akemashite, omedetou…in other words, Happy New Year.  I like the literal translation, though…”as it opens”…visualizing doors quietly sliding open to reveal the new.

It isn’t an original idea and I certainly have said it before. We never know what lies ahead, but we do anticipate, plan and look forward to, and I certainly do.

Today, though, in browsing through older photos, I found this memory from my days of collaborating with the art teacher at the high school where I was teaching Japanese.

engagement with the process, color and magic of the results

engagement with the process, color and magic of the results

The kids were completely immersed in all of it and later would wrap themselves in their pieces.  We had a grand time with this – all of us!

This past year, I kept a quote nearby where I could see it everyday:

It is so evident that when art is present, things are better—even in the toughest circumstances. — Theaster Gates

My responsibility (because there were no clotheslines at school) was to dry the pieces on my lines at home - delicious experience!

My responsibility (because there were no clotheslines at school) was to dry the pieces on my lines at home – delicious experience!

I will simply leave this with you and wish all of my readers the very best in this coming year.

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wishing you shivers and chills….

October 31, 2016

Ah. I don’t mean to wish you the flu or a similar illness…. Not at all.

But you may need to look behind…
someone or some thing may be following….

Obake netsuke

Obake netsuke

I do, however, send you the shivers with this spooky image of an おばけ・obake/demon woman or ghost. She’s one of many netsuke in the collection of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum where I visited recently.  Needless to say, I was captivated.

a favorite photo from that travel experience (a

a favorite photo from that trip

I’m still pondering that travel experience from last week. It was brief but full of museum explorations with my son who was extremely generous with his time and energy taking me to these places. I’m also fortunate that he also enjoys the same places, so we had a grand time (at the SF MOMA and also the De Young).

reflected in a Shindo

reflected in a Shindo

There were so many highlights, pieces that took my breath away, especially at the  “On the Grid” fibers exhibit at the De Young.  One was this piece by Hiroyuki Shindo (in which my son & I are reflected).  It was one of many surprising and a beyond what-I could-have-imagined experiences that I encountered on this trip.  It was pure fun – refreshing & inspiring.  Also a gift.

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