Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

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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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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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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simply summer

August 15, 2016

There’s an abundance of sound in my yard these mornings. As the temperatures rise though, it seems to quiet.

Summer sounds

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

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.

 

 

 

 

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Blue Blazes

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.

custome work

custom work

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.

the view

the view

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.

Yukata mock-up

Yukata mock-up

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.

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dipping into shirokage

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

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

unbinding from the pole

In removing the piece from the pole, there seemed to be some resist. So, something worked.

before releasing the stitches

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

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.

the pattern – not completely “shiro” and blue, but it can be read.


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