Archive for the ‘process’ Category

What happened to summer?

October 10, 2017

I have to ask. It seems to have dissolved in the vat of indigo. A project emerged this spring. No, several projects “appeared” and grew. At least the one did.

Cameron Village Banner

And, it was my own doing.  “We” couldn’t have done the idea or the space (where it was to display) justice, if the project had not ‘grown’.

F.e.B. shirts

There was also custom work – shirts arrived from people I had worked with previously.  So, extra clotheslines were strung to accommodate them as well as the banners.

detail of custom dyed tunic

July brought a workshop on creating Noren – “split” curtains.

noren making, drying outdoors

I don’t think we actually sewed any together, but there was plenty of dye work and of course, that was the point.

At the end of August all of these projects were brought to a close with the installation of the banners at Cameron Village Library. I’ll simply have to write more about that later, but they are currently on display through the month’s end.

Indigo Threads

Currently, I just want to draw you, dear reader, to 2 upcoming workshop opportunities this month and next – they are listed on my workshops page. “Aki” is coming up quickly and “Arashi” follows almost on its heels in early November.

Thank you for your patience and for reading!

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Mother’s day was yesterday

March 23, 2017

Mother at 90.

At this point, I’m simply marking the day (it was yesterday) and will come back to thoughts later. But I’m including a quote from my youngest sister, a post from facebook, that I feel expresses many universal feelings about her.

After a long, good 92 years, Sue Oliver passed away early this morning.  She made it possible for me to be raised in Japan where I learned pretty quickly to think critically.   She gave me the love of gardening, cooking and of having a stable home.  She also taught me to take care of me and to never sell myself short. She enjoyed beauty. In her last days, she continued to be interested in the world around her. Newspapers and the news were vital!  I will miss her in ways I have yet to know. I am comforted knowing she is done with a worn out body and
surrounded by friends and family who have gone before. I feel blessed.        – – –  Jean Oliver – Holder

I am also grateful to the man who held her hand as she took her last breaths. I am comforted by the fact that she was not alone.

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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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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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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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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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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.

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.


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