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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other threads

October 20, 2016

There were seemingly invisible glistening strands running from plant to plant and stem to stem in this morning’s light. With the sun’s reflection the “stitches” appeared and disappeared – another reflection of the season.

web with stitches

web with stitches

I still don’t remember whether I intentionally planted this or whether it’s wild. It doesn’t matter as it’s putting on a vibrant show where so many of my summer blooms have dried up in the summer heat.  I won’t be pulling it up.

mystery "sunflower"

mystery “sunflower”

Progress on the third yukata is slow, but that’s sometimes the nature of it. I’m pleased with the results of the first overlap piece in mokume – wood grain pattern. I’ve begun dyeing a sleeve, and then it’s one more overlap. Can’t wait to begin the assembly.

mokume overlap detail

mokume overlap detail

The last few days have been unseasonably warm, confusing the critters, including a copperhead that visited.   He disappeared quickly enough and I hope that means he ventured off into the woods behind my house.   With cooler temps coming, they’ll be in hibernation soon, I’m told.

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high calorie

October 7, 2016

From last month’s workshop:

from day 1

from day 1

How does one select only one image from an array of so many successes? They can be found on my flickr or instagram sites for a closer look. I think we (and I do include myself in this) thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I’ve listed dates for my next workshop at Pullen Arts Center on the Workshops page. More details will follow later.

In the meantime, research and experiments continue with yukata continue.

practice

practice piece – for a sleeve

I’ve been practicing Katano shibori over the years, but haven’t been at all satisfied with the results. So far, this is the closest that has given some affirmation. To me, there are so many variables in this technique. It’s not just the stitching, and cloth thickness, but the kind of cloth as well. It has to be practiced, and still…more seems to be required.

Regardless, an opportunity to examine some yukata from the collection of the Gregg Museum of Art and Design came up – Janine offered, so of course, I took her up on it.

yukata with wide tucks

yukata with wide tucks

We photographed, measured, looked at the seams and other finishing details. We looked at several, made for both men and women and compared their differences and similarities. Not one was the same, in spite of the form – lots to think about there.

For “dessert” she pulled out a kimono with it’s inner kimono that had this for a lining:

inner lining

inner lining

High calorie, don’t you think?  I love that red.

And by the way, my U.S. readers, if you aren’t registered to vote…please do so.  And when it’s time (early or on the day), go cast your vote.  If you’re undecided, educate yourselves about the candidates and the issues at hand.  I’m registered and I’m voting.  Definitely.

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A catch

September 9, 2016

Early this afternoon, a special and long awaited “guest” arrived in the garden:

today's catch

today’s catch

This may be the sole reason why I plant milkweed and other assorted flowers and herbs. I love all of the life they attract, the finches, hummingbirds, other butterflies and of course, bees. The monarch, though, feels like something much more, and it appeared this afternoon, flitting about, never resting. So, this was pure serendipity.

arashi

arashi on the first body piece

In the meantime, dye work continues on a current focus – the yukata. I may have mentioned earlier, that this third one may take more time.

It also came to mind that in none of my write ups regarding the upcoming workshop (at Pullen Arts Center, Raleigh – please see the Workshop page) did I mention to bring a bag lunch. I’ve altered that, but wanted to make a note of it.

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the August studio

August 29, 2016

This month’s focus has been the yukata (summer kimono). After completing a small mock up,  these last two weeks have been about a full-size piece. It isn’t finished, but close enough for the moment.

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full length – front & back of one side

The first week was spent dyeing all seven pieces to the garment: 2 front and backs, 2 sleeves, 2 overlaps and the collar. Each piece was manipulated uniquely and then dyed.

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Beginning to look like “something”

At this point, all seven pieces are attached, but it is long and unwieldy. It’s bulky (because of the cloth type), wider, still than it really should be…still, I rather like the way things came together with the hand stitching. Yet, in the near future, I may take it apart to make some adjustments.  There’s much more to this garment than anticipated.

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nearly there

And as we are now looking into September, I invite you to consider the weekend shibori workshop (Upcoming Workshops page) coming in the latter part of the month. It can be as intense and serious as you want, but I think fun is a necessary ingredient. It’s about indigo, it’s possibilities and beauty, as well as shibori.

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