Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

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.

Like a lamb or a goat?

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.

looking

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 - was once a mushroom color.

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

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

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.

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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

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?

冬・Fuyu

February 6, 2016

By the calendar, it is still winter, but those of us in the Carolinas, could probably debate that.

冬・ふゆ・fuyu/winter in shibori, on cotton, dyed in indigo.

冬・ふゆ・fuyu/winter

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.

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.

like practicing the piano

December 3, 2015

Sometimes it’s play – no particular intent, just a quick response to the cloth – in shibori and dyed in the vat.

hankies

hankies

They were created for an event and were an omiyage – a favor or rememberance. So, to be honest, there was some ‘intent’ but the pieces were unplanned.

OribaShibori_0297A

hankies

That’s the point, kind of like scribbling to loosen up the hand, only it’s my brain or my eyes that need it. It only makes sense to work with the traditional and go on from there. Sometimes I’ll see something that jogs the memory or evokes a feeling.

Itajime

Itajime

Here’s the same pattern in a larger context. It isn’t the same, but there were more folds to work with this time around, also more accidental wrinkles. They add to the pattern.

Itajime

Itajime

Another bit of play referencing those same clothesline pieces. The concern is always the dye, its hue, depth of hue and simply how it interacts with the fibers. It seems to be a constant learning and re-learning no matter how simple the piece – like practicing the piano.

bluer than blue?

November 19, 2015

As in any other medium, there seems no limit to the imagery one can create in working in shibori.  That’s one of the things I love about it.  The challenge lies in its engineering aspects. The image below is student work, but it wasn’t child’s play, it was work.

DL-Sailboat
I was fortunate to witness some of the aspects of the making of this piece – and yes, part of it may have been play – certainly experimental. It was a dip at a time, letting it oxidize, assessing it and repeating the process until the dye was deep enough or that it covered the desired areas. I love the playful aspects of the piece. It also takes me to a long ago place, a certain lake and some memorable sailing.

From time to time, especially when I’m in the middle of a workshop, often, a particular proverb comes to mind. I encountered it my early years of teaching as well as explorations in indigo. It has become a favorite:

「青は藍より出でて藍より青し」
「あおは あいより でて あい より あお し」
Ao wa ai yori dete ai yori ao shi.

The translation has to do with blue being stronger/better/beyond the blue in the indigo plant (at least it’s a reference to an original color source) or something of that ilk. At any rate, it refers to the student being better than the teacher – quite often the case and certainly in my experience many times. So, I wonder if this has more to do with becoming better – growing past the teacher, which is what is wanted in the end. That may be the message in the proverb and to the teacher as well.

silly, fun, but open doors to possibility….

November 12, 2015

The sun’s out after more rain, and the weather is so fine – mild, breezy (a front’s moving in) – a perfect autumn day. A late monarch even paused on one of my milkweed blossoms – too brief to photo, but long enough to note the variations in their reds and oranges.

milkweed pods - slow progress, but progress nevertheless

milkweed pods – slow progress, but progress nevertheless

This week brought to completion my workshop on creating texture. I will miss this class and their quiet explorations. They simply continued to reinforce why I teach – their questing, discovering considering, thinking – they challenge.  In the days that follow each class, I also ponder and wonder.

student work - exploration in texture & landscape

student work – exploration in texture & landscape

We don’t always find the answers, but the journey is…quite the thing. So, even though classes were over a 5 week period, it feels like we were just getting started and it is a slow process.

0240B

lamb – why do I enjoy the piece so much?

Imagery was fun, fanciful, sometimes silly…but definitely open doors to possibility. I think we all had fun with it. So, I’m really looking forward to more exploring coming in late February (listed on the “Upcoming Workshops” page).

this time of year

November 5, 2015

How is it that “nature” decided it was time for the indigo harvest? Yesterday, in my routine garden walk-through, I found no blossoms at all, save for a few leftover scraps. Both beds had been pretty thoroughly cleaned out. Was it deer? It had to have been – tasty greens, I suppose, but they weren’t greens. I had no idea they were so discriminating. Only the tops where blooms (and seeds) grew were removed. Dessert perhaps?

The blossoms are no longer....

The green remains

I’ve felt fairly immune from these visitors and really had no idea they were coming in so close to my little flower beds. Next year, I’ll approach things differently and with them in mind.

crape myrtle, mulberry for starters, also sweet gum....

crape myrtle, mulberry for starters, also sweet gum….

There’s an abundance and a variety of leaves in my small yard. I’ve added trees and shrubs as well, but mostly, I know that my presence is an imposition on the surrounding nature. My attempts to tame and remove whatever wild sprouts up is basically futile.

detail from

detail from “Elements”

Even though, I seek to tame it, I love the colors, blossoms produced and the fauna it attracts. And if you’re a reader, you’re aware that I also enjoy documenting it. From time to time, it makes its way into my making (above detail).

small impressions

small impressions

Lately, though, after attending the Waitzkin workshop and seeing various blogs and imagery elsewhere, I thought while the leaves were “ripening” on my lawn, I should gather some and see what could be done with them.

faint outlines of sweet gum?

faint outlines of sweet gum?

While I didn’t succeed, I didn’t entirely fail.  I see the potential. For one, I didn’t mordant the cotton (that may have been one aspect of it’s not working). There may have been other elements that played a part as well. I did wrap my leaf bundles securely around cherry tree sticks and boiled them for roughly an hour. That resulted in a pleasant aromatic “tea”. They soaked in it for a couple of days and then were unwrapped.

It was a first “just jump in and do it” – never mind the prep – stab at eco-printing. I realize there’s lots to learn in the process, and using what’s in my backyard has tremendous appeal, especially this time of year.


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