Archive for the ‘Textiles’ 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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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?

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.

different harvests

October 22, 2015

To have had a harvest at all was surprising and perhaps serendipity.  Last winter’s late blast seemed to have diminished any possibility of fruit this fall.  At least, that’s been my theory.  I don’t really know.

surprising harvest

surprising harvest

It was a lot less fruit this year, but they were larger.  I was watching four persimmons all summer, but an extra two made their appearance when the oranges and reds emerged just before frost.  The deep red one on the right has already been sampled – mildly sweet.

early frost

early frost

And speaking of the season, frost came early this year and I’m doing all I can to help the indigo along. I’m still hoping for seeds, so keeping tabs on the nighttime temps.  For the moment, we seem to be in a kind of Indian Summer.

texture study

texture study

A study by one of my students in this month’s series of classes on creating texture. They are engaged in their pursuits, exploring the fibers – a variety of cottons – textures in different contexts – water studies, landscape…and in that limited palette of indigo and white.

handwoven cotton

handwoven cotton

I’m exploring too, and it is a slow and patient process – not so much about imagery or results as it is about the nature of it.  I’m thinking about indigo here.

what it has to say

October 16, 2015

Class started this week – it’s a small, intimate group, so lots of room for “individual attention” and conversation. I took no pictures from the first class as the pieces took some time to work with. The dipping took place at the end of class.

"boro" tablecloth - indigo

“boro” tablecloth – indigo

Also, feeling a bit restless this week, so I dug into my “boro” stash and found a tattered tablecloth. I think it’s cotton.

nearly in tatters

nearly in tatters

I dipped it a few times. I don’t know if it’s deep enough yet, but we’re having sprinkles today. I’ve got just the cloth to stabilize those open places. Then I’ll see what it has to say.

Gibby Waitzkin

Gibby Waitzkin

Yesterday was the opening for Gibby Waitzkin at the Frankie Weems Gallery at Meredith College. I attended and also signed up for her workshop next weekend. She works with plant fibers and natural dyes, creating paper and sculptures that reference some plant forms. I’m looking forward to a fresh perspective and enjoy being a student for a change.

Elements of the Season

Elements of the Season

This Saturday is also the Fall Arts Fair at the Pullen Arts Center. I’ve included a couple of pieces in the gallery along with many other instructors and artists.
The description reads, “Instructor demos, family art activities, a Pottery Olympics competition and a pop-up gallery selling artworks created by Pullen participants.“ – should be festive and fun!

the light has shifted

October 9, 2015

The sun is out finally and even in a week’s time the light has shifted. My small raised beds are mostly in shade now. Still, the seeds I planted in the spring are finally beginning to bloom, so I hope they will yet produce some seed.

Milkweed finally beginning to blossom in the autumnal morning light

Milkweed finally beginning to blossom in the autumnal morning light

If protected from frost, there might be a chance for further development along that line. The early cold snaps, in general, don’t always last in this area.

“texture” study

Another “texture” piece – water, fins…it touches on themes in my upcoming class.  It was an experiment and  wonder if I’d chosen a different cloth or perhaps if the vat was a little more “energetic” how different would the results be? The fish was more complicated than anticipated.

Elements of the Season - detail

Elements of the Season – detail

Today, the stitching is complete – one element of the piece recalls the unusual rains we had recently. The stitches made me think of raindrops as I worked.

editing, and re-editing because I couldn't

editing, and re-editing because I couldn’t “save” it – frustration city.

I’m between computers at the moment, making another transition before this old one suddenly crashes. Last night, I was beginning a relearning of GIMP – I haven’t used it for years. It’s sophisticated and challenging. My mind feels a bit rusty.

things autumnal

September 24, 2015

There has been that subtle change in the light for some time now and it has felt autumnal in that the humidity has dropped. The leaves on my cherry tree are turning yellow and falling as are others.

indigo tends to be reflective, so the cloth was actually darker

indigo tends to be reflective, so the cloth was actually darker

Nighttime temps are also falling, but they’ll be up and down until later in the month. However, it’s going to affect the vat – something I need to bear in mind. Today, though, reduction and color is satisfying.

tiny flowers reminiscent of sakura

tiny flowers reminiscent of sakura

The indigo has begun to bloom. It’s late, but we will have Indian summer – the growing season isn’t over by a long shot.

silk/rayon piece in indigo

silk/rayon piece in indigo

I’m in the process of unbinding this scarf or piece – it took months to stitch, so is there any hurry in unwrapping it?

a peek at the pattern - can you see it?

a peek at the pattern – can you see it?

It was simply an exploration in pattern, very nearly ended up red and not indigo. Indigo was the easier way to go at this point.

texture study

texture study

In preparing for my upcoming workshop, I’ve been exploring those different aspects of texture in different contexts. Each context holds a world of possibility – that means not just the aspect of the exploration, but maybe even stories.

Higanbana

Higanbana

Another sure sign of autumn – it always blooms around the equinox, sometimes on the day.   Today we had full bloom.  I begin looking for shoots mid-September and then watch the bloom process – so rewarding. The Japanese call it Higanbana.


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