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.


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.


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.


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

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

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.

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.

suddenly summer

June 18, 2015

It is seriously summer, already. The heat and humidity have apparently settled in. It has also suddenly become my mindset. Bubble thought: “Let it go…relax…play..”


water of forgetfulness?

Yes, I will. Thank you very much.


It’s work, but I love my work.

So, indigo and I will probably take a playful attitude.  It goes without saying, summer loves indigo and indigo loves summer.

morning's work

morning’s work

Mornings have been the best with the birds and chipmunks for company – sometimes a cicada or two. The color on the line is cooling and my eyes drink it in.

his lordship's curtains

his lordship’s curtains

My son asked for an over dye on curtains he brought home a few months ago.  At this point, it’s whatever works – it’s playtime. As long as there is pattern and indigo.

“feeding” the vat

A small something from the vat – a small gift to it and it gives back. I don’t usually do it on a daily basis, but beginning the day in that vein has appeal. And it’s summertime.

old frog perhaps….

June 12, 2015

古池や 蛙飛こむ 水のおと
ふるいけや かわず とびこむ みずの おと
Furuike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto
Old pond, frog hops in, sound of the water.



In this instance: Seemingly old pond, reluctantly, frog hops in, understated splash. I think there’s more to Basho than meets the eye.

not silk

not silk

It feels like slow progress this week, but I’m sure that hasn’t been the case.  It’s probably been more about what doesn’t work as opposed to what does – as in “Oh, so that’s polyester, not silk” and “So that’s how that works…but it’s not what I’m after.” It’s still discovery.



Still playing (June is my month!), but preparations have also begun for 2 upcoming workshops at Artspace. I’ll be working with 7th – 10th graders and they will immerse themselves in the blue.

last summer's class

last summer’s class

At the J.C. Raulston Arboretum yesterday afternoon, I was rewarded with an actual view of a few butterflies. One was a bright orange monarch – unfortunately, no photos.

bees thrive at the arboretum

bees thrive at the arboretum

I haven’t seen any butterflies as yet in my yard and I’ve been a bit concerned. It was a relief to see the Monarch.  So I’m inspired to return when the mornings are not quite so hot. I’d love to see some of the same blooms in the morning light.


June 5, 2015

I’ve long needed to pull out a box of crayons and just scribble.


I’ve needed to play and yesterday was it. Although, that’s been the goal for this month especially. If I can make it last, then so much the better.


Sometimes, I’m an obsessive planner. It’s probably a hangover from teaching in earlier years. In some ways, it has been a good thing, as it taught discipline and nourished my love of research.


But, I also know the value of “throwing it all out the window” and running out to play – another way to learn.  We know that.


Yesterday, I returned to some materials and ideas that have been running around in my head for more than a year –  long overdue and pure fun.

bloom time

May 28, 2015
Peonies & False Indigo

Peonies & False Indigo

Springtime gifts from friends – given to inspire – “Grow some peonies! More blue for you garden [the cutting came with some seedlings]!”

Student work:  Arashi in reds, fuchsia…

Colors certainly bloomed in last week’s workshop. They were defined and described through various shibori techniques – pretty free form.

One morning's inspiration - student work

Student work:  One morning’s inspiration for all of us

My students put their hearts into it. It may not have been restful (achy backs, tired feet…), but there was exploration, engagement and enthusiasm. I think we all came away with some answers but also questions. That may be the point.

thriving, so far

thriving, so far

At home, my indigo bed is thriving. We pruned to let in more sunlight and hope this will make things even better. It isn’t an ideal space. As per usual, it’s always experimentation.

I’m looking forward to June – time for personal explorations and watching my gardens grow.

bloomin’ colors

May 14, 2015

The afternoon at the NC Japan Center has been in the works for some time.


Finally, on Saturday, it came into fruition and what fun! It was for the kids, but parents were in tow. Both kids & parents seemed fully engaged – couldn’t ask for more.


The adults watched the sky. Clouds hovered and threatened, but rain didn’t move in until I was leaving. It was a delightful day, needless to say.

a vase full and more

a vase full and more

Then, Mothers Day and so many flowers…what a treat. I spent some of my time planting them.


This coming week, Shibori in Bloomin’ Colors is on the horizon (Pullen Arts Center), so Roy G. Biv comes to mind.

things hatching

May 8, 2015

They’ve finally hatched!

more than 2 actually

more than 2 actually

Mom didn’t appreciate the photographer messin’ with her kids. I received what sounded like threats.

back phlox bed & indigo

back phlox bed & indigo

The garden keeps expanding. It’s so easy to work in. The phlox has powdery mildew at the moment. I hope I can remedy that soon.

poppy detail

poppy detail

The sun and mild spring temps have been perfect for some explorations – no humidity or mosquitoes.  The activity itself is refreshment, practice and generally bending the mind to work in colors other than ‘that’ exotic blue.

some of those primary colors

some of those primary colors

It feels like play and that’s probably what it is.  A workshop dealing with the same is upcoming at Pullen Arts Center in just few weeks.


May 1, 2015

The photos don’t do these pieces justice – the nature of things. However that is, these below and many more, reflect simplicity and sophistication.

bold, strong patterns

bold, strong patterns

It wasn’t completely about the indigo, but about technique and the engineering behind pattern making – what could be done by hand with the aid of a tool.

amazing consistency ....

amazing consistency ….

I never cease to be amazed at the invention that takes place. There is without a doubt always a new approach.

These were just a very small sample of class results that took place at the museum last weekend.  You’ll find more images here. Needless to say, this is one very content sensei.

in the dirt

April 23, 2015

Lots of scratching in the dirt, digging deep holes, transplanting and planting seeds.

raised beds! finally!

raised beds! finally!

This is just a beginning.

Polygonum tinctorium seedlings

Polygonum tinctorium seedlings

They’ve grown a wee bit since the last entry.

"scum" on the vat's surface

“scum” on the vat’s surface

Keeping my eye on the vat, always as it hasn’t had much activity lately.  The days are warming up though and there’s promise.


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