Archive for the ‘Nature’ 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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March 3rd

March 3, 2017
Hinamatsuri Dolls

雛祭り Hinamatsuri Dolls

Today is Hinamatsuri, Girls’ Day, Girls’ Festival or Dolls Festival in Japan.  I remember being intrigued with the tall displays of the imperial court when I was a girl.  Some were so elaborate and elegant – yes, I would have loved a collection of my own!

The kanji 「雛・ひな」hina defines as “chick, duckling, squab [fledgling bird] and doll”。「祭り・まつり」Matsuri means “ritual, offer prayers, celebrate, deify, enshrine and worship”.  The origins of this festival trace back to hina-nagashi in the Heian Period.  So there’s more to this than just celebrating girls and dolls – also a little spiritualism and “magic” (perhaps).

The photo is ancient – from my dad’s collection, something “generic” so I’m not sure that he even took it. He must have used it though, to talk about Japanese culture in our trips “back” to the US.  At any rate, it gives me pause to look back and there’s always something new to learn in the process.

March 1st: blustery.

March 1st: blustery.

The month began with those “March winds” – it was blustery and I’ve had some custom work on the line this week. It was uncharacteristically warm – in the 80s – not at all March-like.

The real reason for this entry? I changed the times for the opening for “Filaments”, the upcoming exhibit mentioned in my last blog. I’ve also updated it on the Events page – 6-8 p. instead of 5-7 p.  Hope to see you there!

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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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other threads

October 20, 2016

There were seemingly invisible glistening strands running from plant to plant and stem to stem in this morning’s light. With the sun’s reflection the “stitches” appeared and disappeared – another reflection of the season.

web with stitches

web with stitches

I still don’t remember whether I intentionally planted this or whether it’s wild. It doesn’t matter as it’s putting on a vibrant show where so many of my summer blooms have dried up in the summer heat.  I won’t be pulling it up.

mystery "sunflower"

mystery “sunflower”

Progress on the third yukata is slow, but that’s sometimes the nature of it. I’m pleased with the results of the first overlap piece in mokume – wood grain pattern. I’ve begun dyeing a sleeve, and then it’s one more overlap. Can’t wait to begin the assembly.

mokume overlap detail

mokume overlap detail

The last few days have been unseasonably warm, confusing the critters, including a copperhead that visited.   He disappeared quickly enough and I hope that means he ventured off into the woods behind my house.   With cooler temps coming, they’ll be in hibernation soon, I’m told.

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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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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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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.

late greeting…still…

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.

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               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.

0770

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.

So-det.

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.

2967A

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:
今年もよろしくお願いします・・・
Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
In this (new) year also, I hope for your favor.

新年おめでとうございます。
Shinnen omedetougozaimasu.
Happy New Year!

keeping it simple

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...

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.

Sweet Trolls2

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.

DecPassionVine2
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.

Daphne2

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!

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?

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.

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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).


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