Archive for the ‘Textiles’ Category

Pondering the “Views” or landscape

January 21, 2018

My entry, now in Japan, collecting light with ojiisan for companionship.

I’m not going to try to second guess what Ricketts and and folks in Tokushima had in mind when they conjured up this project.  To have only been thinking about indigo and bringing in an international aspect was and is a statement, just on that simple or basic level. It speaks.

What comes to my mind first, is the word けしき/keshiki. One definition is “scenery, view or landscape”. One person involved in the cloth dyeing process used ‘scenery’, Ricketts said ‘view’ and I like ‘landscape’. That speaks to me. A recent video is here. You, dear reader, can decide for yourself.

Another thing is that there were 9 (possibly 10?) countries represented with 450 participants, each person given a square of indigo (or handkerchief) cloth. Each piece collected the rays of the sun from their personal parts of the world for roughly 5 months. Then, they were returned to Japan and now on display for roughly a week.

The universal color, dyestuff was indigo – one color absorbing the sunbeams from 10 different countries – collected, to make a whole “‘scape”, landscape or view. 450 people represented from 10 different countries, represented by 450 pieces of cloth bathed in sunlight, reflecting one universal hue with no borders between them. They are all unified by sunlight and color. Each individual, each county or province, state, country…all side by side just “breathing” quietly in blue.

That’s what speaks to me. I wonder what else comes to mind.

 

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Upcoming in Jan. & Feb.

January 16, 2018

“Shobu”/Iris – detail

Meredith College is holding an alumnae event – coming up at the end of the month.  There are more details and a link on the Events page.  The above shows a detail of my entry.

Several of my friends and I, in my Threads group, are among the many participating in this exhibit. It’s going to be fun to see the many various interpretations of the theme, the Meredith Hues Iris – looking forward to it, needless to say.

I delivered my piece first thing this morning, as we are due for some kind of “weather” tomorrow. I plan to stay off the streets and enjoy the white blanket for however briefly it lingers.

In a new year…

January 9, 2018

Last year…well, it was memorable in so many respects, it’s an understatement.  I’m simply grateful for the events, many forms of engagement, friends, family and the many others who in many ways kept me thinking, working and engaged with living. It was an overwhelming year in many respects, but I’m still grateful for the challenges.

Indigo Threads


There was some fun in it, and work. I’m looking forward to more of that “blue” engagement.

I don’t know quite what the year will bring, which is a good thing. I like a little mystery. I do know that I plan to be a student at some point instead of a teacher (more upcoming). I’m looking forward to learning some different perspectives on the topic.

For the moment, I’m offering an exploration in “nui” or stitched shibori at Sertoma Arts Center (Raleigh, NC) in March. There’s more detailed information on the Workshops page. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Wishing you serenity in this New Year.

 

 

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.


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