September 9, 2016
Early this afternoon, a special and long awaited “guest” arrived in the garden:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
August 15, 2016
There’s an abundance of sound in my yard these mornings. As the temperatures rise though, it seems to quiet.
It’s a familiar sound and defines the month of August for me. I look forward to it every year, but this year the whining seems to be thicker. Are there more of them? Is it the heat? No idea.
mock-up nearly complete
The mock-up yukata worked up much faster than anticipated. I was surprised how quickly, considering the entire process was by hand (even the stitching).
The cloth came from a friend’s basement – she was clearing out. As it was meant as practice…it isn’t full size, only 3 feet in length. I’m not sure much of it is in correct proportion, but it gave me a chance to learn about overlaps and attaching the collar.
In spite of the fabric unknowns, it took the dye far better than anticipated. Each piece was manipulated exactly the same way, but the dye responded differently with each one, so it may lack a ‘fine consistency’ but I like the differences.
A second yukata is underway, this time it’s full size, so it will take longer to sew. I’m looking forward to seeing pattern results once the cloth has been through its manipulations.
August 4, 2016
We’ve had those moments – well, more than a few, where the temps really were up there. I know in some areas of the country it’s been far worse. Today, though, we’ve dipped a bit and it’s truly a respite.
It’s helped to have custom work to keep the momentum going (perhaps more for the brain than anything). In spite of the heat, it takes me outside to the garden and the dance there.
I did take a break earlier last month, traveling to Wisconsin to visit family – Bayfield. Their house faces Lake Superior. The daily view, all day long, was enough to refresh both mind and soul.
Recently, someone in my Threads group said something like “we need a kimono” (I’m not saying what for at this stage, just sayin’ at this point)…so, I’ve been giving it some thought. First, a mock-up – I mean, why not? There are areas in making Japanese garments I find a challenge. So it seems appropriate to just play with the idea…and the above photo documents the beginning of these “thoughts” and explorations.
On another note, I’ve finally updated my Workshops page with more information about the September workshop. If you are interested or have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Otherwise, sign up and join us!
I nearly forgot, “blue blazes”…hotter than blue blazes, folks. Really. You walk outside and just dissolve in the humidity.
July 10, 2016
Shirogake (white shadow) shibori has been dangling like a carrot before me for some time. The pattern mystified me to be honest. Then a friend went to an out of state exhibit where a kimono in the pattern was on display. She sent a photo and I was hooked (again). To bring it about took some time.
wrapped on a pole
After stitching the pattern and pulling it up, all I wanted was to dye it – see those results! In my haste and excitement, I forgot the next step – wrapping it against a rope or pole. Then, I realized what I was doing and stopped. I wrapped it against a pipe and continued on, hoping I hadn’t spoiled the shirokage. If I did, well, I’d try again.
unbinding from the pole
In removing the piece from the pole, there seemed to be some resist. So, something worked.
before releasing the stitches
The proof would be in removing the stitches and it seemed to work. The question was whether or not the pattern could be read.
releasing the pattern
It isn’t completely shiro, but the pattern can be read. It works…well enough to at least give an understanding of the technique and theory. This was practice, theory, learning, experiment…it’s all it can be and quite satisfying. Yes, I would do this again.
the pattern – not completely “shiro” and blue, but it can be read.
March 23, 2016
Earlier this month I would have said “Spring came in like a lamb” and then I had to rethink things a bit – maybe more like a goat. Still, what’s ahead seems promising.
One thing, is a class, just added to my Workshops page – in May – devoted as per usual to shibori & indigo, but also to making a noren.
Some of my winter make time was devoted to the above noren – just one example. In this case I was was inspired by Serizawa, a katazome (paste resist) artist – an homage. I love his work.
The characters, hiragana, say ようこそ(youkoso)/Welcome. It hangs in my front hallway.
Other promises and welcoming spring things…well, lots of little green sprouts are making their appearance in my small greenhouse. I’ve also seen a few butterflies in spite of the up and down temps these last few days. Spring.
February 11, 2016
Is the color deep enough? The photo and sunlight actually make it difficult to tell. Indigo can also be reflective.
Pashmina – wool – once a mushroom color.
It is a deep indigo and since the excess dyes have finally been washed out, I’m happy to say that this particular dye job is complete. The temps have continued to drop, so even in the sun, the cold and breeze have been biting.
from Sanada Maru
Sanada Maru is the new Taiga Drama (NHK) this year. I usually wait until March to view the subtitled version, but I’ve begun watching the “untitled” one to get an earlier start. I’ve been delighted to find that most of the costuming is in shibori (bring it on, NHK!).
3 Sanada siblings
It’s a feast for the eyes. Each character seems to have their own signature color and pattern, but not always. It’ll be fun to keep up with this, if only for the costuming.
After unbinding only a few of the bound motifs, the manipulated cloth is still tight.
There is also an expectation to be fulfilled. I promised to dye and unbind a silk handkerchief given to me some time ago. It has finally been dyed and this week I began with slowly working with the threads to unbind it. I am in no hurry. It is a lesson just in seeing how the threads connect each shibori bound shape with the other and how they are “tied” off with a loop.
tightly bound shapes
If the proper thread or thread end can be found, it simply pulls or unwraps one row at a time. It’s a gem of a process, so why hurry this?
February 6, 2016
By the calendar, it is still winter, but those of us in the Carolinas, could probably debate that.
I worked up the above piece over the end of last month. It’s been on my mind for some time. Over a year ago roughly, I made a piece Aki/Fall, similar to this. To have that piece stand alone made no sense, of course, so finally, I’ve added a second one, creating a growing small series.
Fuyu was ready for dyeing in the recent spike in warm weather which actually lasted for only a day. Generally, I’d like winter to behave like it “should” but then, I’m grateful for the mild temps when some dye work is requested. I hoped it would linger for a few more days so that I could complete the dye work (below), but it hasn’t.
Custom dye work – cotton tunics on the February line.
In this case, the pieces are a light cotton, so they’ve been fairly quick to work up. They’ve taken the dye well and dried quickly on the line. The work has been interrupted by rain and now, cooler temps, but I hope to wrap things up before “the season” moves in again. I will have to work quickly. Mother Nature always dictates.
January 26, 2016
Of course, I was going to ‘catch’ this event before the pod burst, as I didn’t want milkweed seeds floating around my house.
milkweed pod with seeds.
I’d brought in the pot to protect it from the cold and to encourage more growth and development, also to ‘catch’ some seeds – it worked.
Ice on Mahonia – from the recent ice storm – it melted quickly.
January has had to be a respite and I may just be getting started with the idea. It’s not a bad thing. I’ve been reading, researching, re-thinking my approaches to some aspects of my work, to name a few…. I’ve been enjoying the relative quiet.
detail from a noren – hiragana so in shibori & indigo.
Things will continue to be made, as that kind of activity feeds me. It’s the same for workshops – they will continue to be offered. It’s just going to be a different year compared to the recent past. I suspect the focus will be more on making – continuing dialogues with fiber, dye, and threads – of course, indigo and shibori.
a taste…shibori & indigo on a line.
On that note, as mentioned previously, and listed on my ‘Workshops’ page, there is an upcoming workshop at Pullen Arts Center (Raleigh). The weekly evening classes begin in late February and go through mid-March. I look forward to that opportunity.
And one more thing:
Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
In this (new) year also, I hope for your favor.
Happy New Year!
December 30, 2015
In the midst of visiting and “working” with my mother this month, there was time for walks and talks with family in the balmy Tampa temps, Christmas lights and nourishing, delicious eats. Needless to say, it provided the same comfort as a warm hearth: cheering, nurturing and enjoyable.
a light show we encountered on one night’s stroll…
On returning home, it was good to move into my own home preparations, which were fairly simple. I always make cinnamon twist rolls – a reference to my mother’s Christmas baking.
She often made cinnamon rolls with icing, sometimes on a Sunday. But, it seems consistently, for Christmas morning, she baked them. I recall her starting the dough the day before, setting a large bowl of dough on the oil heater (covered, used it to warm the house back then), and the aroma of rising dough filling the house. To be able to pass this memory on to my family with my own baking is beyond satisfying.
It has been like spring all week – I wonder how long some flowers will last? I can bring the Passion vine indoors before the cold sets in finally. Today, however, we’re experiencing thunderstorms and the blossoms are wilted and soaked.
This Daphne may be blooming early, but over the last few years it has been encased in ice – I’ve missed its exquisite fragrance. Not so this year.
Good-bye Year of the Sheep!
There’s been little time for ‘that’ work or making in spite of the temps and it’s hard not to be doing it. There’s been an abundance of rain and more to come. That adds to the challenge. We’re moving toward cooler temps in the New Year. And the new is around the bend. I wonder what it holds?