Archive for the ‘the studio’ Category


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.


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.

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.

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!

late summer

August 27, 2015

I’m chasing butterflies and watching certain flowers bloom that I’ve been waiting and watching for, for most of the summer.



It’s truly worth the wait when they finally arrive.  It’s feeling less summer – more of that in between seasons.

indigo catamaran

indigo catamaran

The vat’s still in summer mode though – being playful.

bits & pieces

bits & pieces

I’m trying to keep bits and pieces on the line as well – anything to keep the vats occupied and me outdoors, as the cicadas are something to listen to this time of year.

pampas grass

pampas grass

My upcoming autumn workshop is listed on the “Workshops” page – where you’ll find more detail. Class registration is available now at Pullen Arts Center (Raleigh).


August 14, 2015

Not planning and just engaging is probably one aspect of the two pieces I worked with this week.

flat & straight

flat & straight

At this point, I think of them as scribbles or sketches, but not so quickly done. My hands and brain wanted to approach some ideas…so it’s a beginning. They seemed to want to “squish” some cloth.

curves, slopes

curves, slopes

Neither one of them came out of the vat in the way I anticipated and that’s fine. I just imagined something different.

textures & 2 differing techniques

textures & 2 differing techniques

The information from the results, though is worth something. There’s texture, the techniques – the fact that they seem indistinguishable from each other (not what I was hoping for). Still, there are areas that I enjoy looking at.



And I needed to walk through it. I know I’m only beginning with this “whatever” and I’ve got to listen to what it’s saying.

suddenly summer

June 18, 2015

It is seriously summer, already. The heat and humidity have apparently settled in. It has also suddenly become my mindset. Bubble thought: “Let it go…relax…play..”


water of forgetfulness?

Yes, I will. Thank you very much.


It’s work, but I love my work.

So, indigo and I will probably take a playful attitude.  It goes without saying, summer loves indigo and indigo loves summer.

morning's work

morning’s work

Mornings have been the best with the birds and chipmunks for company – sometimes a cicada or two. The color on the line is cooling and my eyes drink it in.

his lordship's curtains

his lordship’s curtains

My son asked for an over dye on curtains he brought home a few months ago.  At this point, it’s whatever works – it’s playtime. As long as there is pattern and indigo.

“feeding” the vat

A small something from the vat – a small gift to it and it gives back. I don’t usually do it on a daily basis, but beginning the day in that vein has appeal. And it’s summertime.

summer works

July 17, 2014

This month, more than the others, so far, seems to be the peak month for “projects”. At least it feels like the month for completing some of the more significant ones for events ahead.
Christine best described here some aspects of one I’ve been participating in since spring.  I mentioned it earlier, and as far as I know, my part is finally complete and turned in (last weekend). I can only say that I’m grateful for the experience, the ability to participate and learn from it – gifts from Cheryl. I also look forward to seeing it in its final form.


As I mentioned in my last entry, I was (and still am) working to complete a series of large banners. They’ve been my focus over this week and I’m working on the last one today. The size (roughly 55” x 144” (4 yds.) is definitely outside of my usual and there were some challenges.


Those challenges are also why I take on projects like this.   I ask myself a lot of “why” and “how” questions – nothing like tickling the brain.  Also, this month and next are matsuri (festival) months – these are the colors and patterns that speak of summer – found in yukata – worn at matsuri.  It’s the season for this kind of work.


Then, there are the results, seeing them on my clothesline, being carried on the wind like a kite – if there’s a good wind. There was, this week, with thunderstorms on the edge, threatening.

in progress

March 13, 2014




It took time to wrap each little kumo, so it’s also taking time to carefully unbind each one.

There were a lot of unknowns in the construction of this piece. It was an experiment and still is. As I’ve been loosening the threads, pulling at the shapes and photographing them different things have come to mind – topics in my reading and museum visits all play a part. What that final “product” or image will be though, is still quite unknown at this point.

anticipating the coming season

February 27, 2014

梅一鈴 ・うめいちりん・ume ichirin – one plum blossom
一輪ほどの・いちりんほどの・ ichirin hodo – one at a time
暖かさ・あたたかさ・atatakasa — the warmth

Hattori Ransetsu  

Reader, I will let you decide what it could possibly mean.

It looks like spring is making its way. I’m seeing signs in my garden and we’re noticing evidence of fauna as well  – evidence of rabbits and my son captured some video of deer in my neighbor’s yard across the street recently. I had a feeling, as last year I noticed that some of my perennials were gradually losing their height (and they weren’t shrinking) and had a suspicion it wasn’t tall rabbits.

a.m.dip1So, I’m visiting the vats, continuing at least with this one project. The color is slowly building on the piece and I’ve enjoyed seeing the hue changes from a pale green to a rich blue. I’m letting it tell me how far to take it.

A quick jaunt to Florida could take me to the gulf – color inspiration? One never knows – at any rate, it will be a visit with family, some sun and warm breezes.

* a note about the above haiku by Hattori Ransetsu – it was performed on NHK’s Nihongo de Asobo (Let’s Play with Japanese [language]) – no explanations or translations but did find something to help with that aspect. I also went to a couple of on-line dictionaries.

* and the photo of the plum blossom was taken at Shelley Lake, a local park.

nature of nature

February 20, 2014

It feels like spring for the moment after the past week’s weather drama. For a few days though, nature was in control, and things took on a quiet timelessness (if you weren’t watching the weather reports). The crisp, white of the silk organza I’ve been working with seemed also to reflect that aspect of the season. Consistent with nature though, things change.



A wreath was in mind; that shape and the concept developed before the winter holidays. I soon realized though, that this was going to involve more time, so things evolved as they do. The bound up forms are not all the same size, but they all fit into that circular form So, eventually when it’s unbound I’m wondering what will happen. I’m not an engineer.

the underside

the underside

My first thought was to leave it white after removing the sericin, but decided ultimately to move it into the blue. Progress on developing the hue value is slow, but it’s teaching me patience, as always.

slow progress

slow progress

Another aspect of the week has been some swatch dyeing – again, watching the value and hue changes in the vat. It’s also slow progress, but today we have mild temperatures, strong breezes and some sun. It should make for a good day before tomorrow’s rain.



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