Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category

engaging with nature

October 29, 2015

Observations continue in the autumn garden and also a lot of wondering. I wonder…how long these blooms can last? How long will the weather hold or will it stay warm enough for them to develop their seedpods?

butterfly weed – the process has finally begun

I started them from seed and it has been slow growing this year. If needed, I may have to put them in a sunny window somewhere.

in the studio

I did attend the paper making workshop last weekend. There was much to take in and learned much more about fibers and Waitzkin’s approach. She provided a thorough introduction to the topic as well as a glimpse into her studio life. She was funny, energetic and generous.

simple beginnings

beginning simply

After the first day I was exhausted and returned for only part of the second day. Needless to say, I’m grateful for the time and tremendous effort she brought to all of us.

indigo

indigo

We had 2 days of rain again this week, giving the indigo some sustenance, I hope. I’m planning on a November harvest.

texture study - week 3

texture study – week 3

Explorations continue and my students brought samples of older and new work this week for consideration and discussion. The topic was texture in fauna and I feel like I barely had a glimpse of their results – next time….

Heron sketch

heron sketch

The heron has been a subject in my photos for more than a few years now.  There are several that nest in a nearby lake, so they are definitely part of my focus when I walk there.  My intent has been to one day “do something” in shibori involving one or several of them.  So this was a first attempt. It didn’t take long to realize that there is much to learn about it – its form, and then again, how to portray it through texture.  Again, it was a reminder – it’s always practice – and it’s a humbling craft.

exhibit

September 25, 2014

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It’s more than obvious by now that the exhibit is now open. I’ve mentioned it on more than one occasion. Suffice it to say, that finally, on viewing, all of us in the group are quite pleased and happy to see how the folks at Meredith displayed our work.

All My Relations by Cheryl Harrison

All My Relations by Cheryl Harrison

It has been a while since I’ve had a chance to view Cheryl’s work. It was good to see it and it affirmed its strength and her skill.

What Remains by Peggy Clover

What Remains by Peggy Clover

There’s much more than meets the eye with so many of these pieces. They tell stories, life stories. It’s heart work, so they are not always what they seem. In viewing them again, in this context, it’s all I can do.

Connections (the exhibit)

September 12, 2014

I would be remiss if I didn’t post this:

Connections-pstcrd1

We are less than a week away and I’ve been mentioning this, but a post devoted to it was needed.  The above image is linked to the site for more information.  You can also find the same on my “Events” page.  We (Threads group) are thrilled to pieces about this, also honored and deeply touched as it also celebrates Cheryl Harrison who was a part of our group.  Hope you can join us!

autumnal

September 11, 2014

In spite of the heat, humidity and rain, autumn is revealing itself and I’m thinking ahead to that season – just thinking. I don’t want to rush anything as there is so much to savor in this between time.

ripening kaki1

For one, the “kaki” are ripening, coming into color, softening to eat and sometimes they drop on the ground before they can be picked. I’ve been looking forward to this time and finally…the fruit is mildly sweet, so far.

polewrapped earlyresults1

Between the summer workshops, there has also been “paced” progress on a wedding gift for a good friend of my son. He and his bride requested table linens, The stitching is complete and finally the dyeing aspect has begun.  I’m pleased  and also surprised with these early results.  There’s always a new aspect to this craft.

CdC-longsilk1

This ストール (sutōru), stole (above) will soon be making its way to West Jefferson – a fund raiser I believe. It’s an ample sized Crepe de Chine wrap or shawl that has been needing completion for some time. Yesterday, the sun came out just long enough for it to dry.

 Preparations are also in progress for a workshop at Pullen Arts Center.  The theme centers on autumn and a selection of traditional Japanese motifs. It begins in October and runs through a part of November (see “Upcoming Workshops” page).

My portion in next week’s exhibit at Meredith College has been delivered. The opening reception is next Thursday – details are on this blog’s Events page. As a member of Threads, I welcome you.  We are looking forward to it.

in summer’s heat already

June 19, 2014

Working in the heat is a foregone conclusion. It’s what I look forward to after winter’s chill. Indigo prefers the warmer environment and I enjoy working outdoors. Generally it’s quiet, there’s birdsong and insect cry. There’s also the light.

value

When the cloth pieces are in natural light I get a better sense of color and its value. It’s about color here, definitely, but it’s also the depth of it. I’ve added more indigo this week, but I’m wondering if it’s enough. I’ll give the vat a rest and a refresh for a few days and add a few more layers. At some point this has to stop. It’ll be an arbitrary decision.

progress

This week’s piece is still in progress, but it’s nearing the end. It’ll acquire the needed color at this weekend’s workshop. It’s an exercise, practice in technique, experimentation, something I’ve wanted to try for a while. While working on it last night though, I wondered about taking the idea in different directions. This was after my encounter with Shonibare’s work, the new installation on the museum grounds.

Shonibare1

Yesterday’s stroll in the heat was well worth the effort. I’ve been considering connections between pieces in our museum collection and the workshop – are there any and if so, which ones?.   To answer that, yes, there are a few that relate in regard to indigo. This is something else however, and I wonder how this weekend’s participants will respond? I look forward to a discussion.

*about Yinka Shonibare and this piece:
“None of us have isolated identities anymore, and that’s a factor of globalization ultimately. I suppose I’m a direct product of that. The fabrics I use look like they could be just African, because they are used a lot there. But what you see on the surface is not really what you always get. The fabric has a complicated history in its trade routes: it was originally designed as an Indonesian fabric, produced by the Dutch, and the British sold it into the African market. It’s a perfect metaphor for multilayered identities.”

 

 

sunny with thunder

June 13, 2014

Actually, it finally manifests in a soaking storm. Even though, it has been possible to put a few things in the vat and on the line. Today was not the case though.

As my son is home for a brief visit, we headed to the museum to see Estampas de la raza /Prints for the People. This was my second visit and could be back for more as there is so much to be considered from a cultural and historical perspective, just for starters.

My son mentioned Artemio Rodriguez, so I paid attention to his work this time around and later looked through a book containing nothing but his prints – strong and thought provoking.  We also viewed Raúl Colón’s enchanting illustrations which also presented some of the same ideas, similar perspectives, but a different approach.

linen in indigo

linen in indigo

Through the week, though, the focus has been on dyeing the above piece of linen that will serve as a canvas for a piece I think of as an “ensō.”  The dominant motif is circular.  It’s of Gunma silk that has had the sericin removed. At this point it needs to be stretched over the linen.

detail view - not so deep, but it's a reflective dyestuff

detail view – not so deep, but it’s a reflective dyestuff

Reaching that depth of hue has really been the “chase” this week. The above photo shows it much lighter than it really is. Still, the process may be continuing into next week.

手で・te de ・by hand

手で・te de ・by hand

May’s first event, Herbfest, sparked an older idea I return to from time to time – exploring aspects of my “other” language.

Coming up next week, I’ll be spending an evening with Twisted Threads presenting a discussion and encounter with indigo (and shibori).  Then over the weekend, time will be spent in a studio at the NC Museum of Art presenting a 2 day workshop on the same topic.

花の宴・Hana no En

April 18, 2014

A phrase that keeps coming to mind, from my usual resource (for haiku and similar), is 「春高楼の花の宴」・はるこうろうの はなの えん・haru kourou no hana no en. In researching its meaning, reference to a song appeared repeatedly and finally found that it is the first line to Kōjō no Tsuki – “Moon over the Ruined Castle”. It seems to allude to Cherry blossom viewing parties (in the castle tower?) and the abundance or “feast of flowers” – something like that.

Redbuds2A

blooms at the NC Japan Center

Redbuds1A

In any event, the phrase hana no en (feast of flowers) seems appropriate to our current season and nature’s abundant response to this past winter. That sense spilled over onto the last weekend’s events – Slow Art Day and the current exhibit at the NC Japan Center.

WildNCWisteria1

Wild North Carolina Wisteria

Junko Yamada - Harie

Junko Yamada – Harie

Slow Art Day must have taken everyone outdoors (the weather was superb!) as numbers of visitors to the Gregg was “meager”, but still the quality of the visits and experience made it worth the effort and time – engaging conversations and good food! Later I moved on to the Japan Center and Junko Yamada’s Harie.

ncbfposter
Her collages are a unique approach to working with paper (extremely meticulous). She lends a deeply personal perspective as she explores hidden treasures in what seem to be “old Japan” as well as speaking of home, the environment and the ephemeral.

Summer Garden

Summer Garden

My personal favorite was her latest, Summer Garden. It feels so familiar.

red dirt clay

January 16, 2014

All-My-Relations I am from the red dirt clay.
I sprung up with the kudzu vines and was nurtured by the wrens and finches.
The songbirds were my sisters and brothers. When I was a little child, my mother taught me all of their names. I would walk with my mother through the garden, and learn the shapes of leaves and the taste of sun-warmed vegetables. My mother also worked with fabric to craft clothes and soft comforts for use in our home. The straight pins and the sewing machine were my aunts and my uncle. Today, as an artist working in the medium of textiles, I reunite all these members of my family. I express my deep connection to the natural world using the materials that were with me when I first learned the earth’s name.
Through my work, I share that place of deep connection.
— Cheryl Harrison

http://www.charrisonart.com/index.html
http://artwithayellowbird.blogspot.com/2010/08/from-out-of-clay.html

http://www.paperbuttons.blogspot.com/2014/01/week-2-wall-gate-wall.html

Cheryl was a true friend and an inspiration for the many who knew her – without a doubt.

Fibers — Indigo Dye Magic

July 31, 2013

TenuguiOn p. 26 of the Leisure Ledger (Raleigh Parks & Recreation – Pullen Arts Center), in the left-hand column, at the bottom is this description:

Age: 16yrs. and up. Indigo is an ancient dye that is still approached same way it was thousands of years ago. This hands-on class will use a traditional Japanese approach to resist dyeing, or shibori, to create distinctive patterns on fabric. Participants will explore a variety of techniques such as itajime (clamp resist), arashi (pole wrapping), tying and stitching

Supply fee of $60 due at the first class.

Instructors: Susan Oliver Fennell and Janine LeBlanc (4 sessions)

Pullen Arts Center – Course Fee: $80

#147321    Oct 24-Nov 14    Th
6:00-8:30pm

It’s time to register.  Hope you’ll join us at Pullen Arts in October. We look forward to to seeing you!

some time out

July 7, 2013

3225A

Perhaps a little low-key, quiet break is what was called for. I was hoping to be more productive over this holiday – perhaps a few more experiments in that rich Cochineal red.   I wanted to work with cotton this time round.  What I didn’t realize was the time it would take to prepare the cloth before the final dyeing – several days or perhaps a week or more, depending on the weather. We’ve had a lot of rain lately. So, as usual, I need to be patient and pace things.

In the meantime, at a friend’s recommendation I finally made it to the Nasher to see Wangechi Mutu’s Fantastic Journey. Needless to say, it’s a provocative exhibit, the images are powerful and beyond unsettling at times (of course and for a reason).

I’m barely scratching the surface here, but finding connections in some of the books I’m currently reading: Cold Running Creek – Zelda Lockhart, Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States – continuing with my “American” education – always learning.

Later in the day some japoniserie beckoned at the NCMA  – a collection on loan from the Chrysler Museum (Norfolk) – a tour was offered and went to investigate this collection.  After the brief tour, there was time to “really look” at these paintings.

3218A

Lefebvre’s Une Japonaise (The Language of the Fan) was probably a draw for most of us and a pastel-colored Cassatt. Moving to a different gallery,  Milton Avery’s Blue Landscape made for a very satisfying ending to the gallery visit.


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