Posts Tagged ‘aizome shibori’


December 28, 2010


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I haven’t made my nengajo yet – the New Year’s postcard. This morning’s reminder from a Japanese e-card site said it was time to be mailing them out. I really want to make at least one and from fabric. It might have to be a last minute thing, I’m not sure yet, as I’m focused on another New Year’s project. Surely, surely I can do it.

I’ll want to use the rabbit as my main image since it’s the Year of the Rabbit-Usagi doshi -兔年.  I could use any imagery related to the New Year, but I prefer  eto –  the zodiac signs.   A greeting like 「あけまして おめでとう ございます。」is one of many I could use.  Then, I’ll add the year:  2011.  It may be just as simple as that.  There are so many alternative ways to do them.

My message to Kagoshima has been received (very happily) and responded to…meaning, I got a reply this morning! So, communications have begun between our families. I still can’t believe it. It feels a bit like magic.


chasing mokume

September 30, 2010

The last two days have been almost solid rain, and welcome.  Some areas in the state got more than needed, flooding, but we’ve been in a drought, so it was a mixed blessing.  Still, it’s meant staying close to home and I haven’t minded a bit.

Today, I spent time with needle and thread, and while working caught up on a current taiga dorama (大河ドラマ)、 Ryomaden, starring Masaharu Fukuyama.  This particular episode took place in the Kirishima mountains in Satsuma where Sakamoto Ryoma and his wife Oryo were honeymooning.   What peaked my attention was not the fantastic vistas of those mountains, but Oyro’s hippari, farmer’s jacket – all in shibori mokume nui and indigo.

After watching, I went on a search to find images of it and finally turned up this link – a one page collection of images of her and the jacket.  You will need to scroll down past the large heading with Sakurajima in the background and  past the torii (shrine gateway).  In fact, make sure to go all the way to the end of the page for the complete viewing.

Meredith College

September 8, 2010

The results

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I can’t believe it, but it has been 4 years since giving a workshop at Meredith College. It goes without saying, it’s an all time favorite place. I’ll be back tomorrow and am really looking forward to it.

It’s a 2 day workshop and of course, the topic is Indigo and Shibori.

Tools are packed, but there are still a few last minute things to attend to.  I’ll take care of them after my afternoon cup of tea.

Maybe I should also mention that my pre-reduced vat lasted until today.  I managed one scarf and was then was really weak for a second try.  I was surprised  not to get more out of it, but I didn’t work with it at all yesterday when it was stronger and would have liked to do so.   I’ll save the vat as Glennis recommends and “bring it back” over the weekend.


September 5, 2010

Pattern 2

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I’m still processing the ideas & people I encountered at the Beaufort Arts Center last weekend. It was extraordinary. Janine LeBlanc & I taught a small group of the most enthusiastic women who came together for 2 days for indigo dyeing and shibori.

We couldn’t have asked for a better setting, in a small coastal city or the third oldest city in NC. There is an ambiance there and it isn’t just because it’s on the water. Some of it may have to do with the old stories in the graveyard we found nearby. Needless to say, there’s a lot to take in and we were fortunate to be staying in a private home built in the mid-1800s as was the arts center. It was originally a school house built around the same time.

It seemed so appropriate, so right to set our indigo pieces out to catch the sea breezes. The dyestuff is ancient with so much lore and mystique, it just seemed fitting to be exploring aspects of it in Beaufort, NC.

Artspace works: Aizome shibori

August 5, 2010

Artspace works: Aizome shibori

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

Just a quick note about yesterday – I came home exhausted (probably more from the heat), but it was a refreshing experience. The kids seemed to have found their comfort level. They came together for the big project and worked so well together. Then, they were eager to move on to their smaller independent projects (but they also wanted to do some dyeing).

After a short break we finally approached the dye vat again, this time with arashi (pole wrapping). Some dyed the first of their fish pieces and I was so happy with the results.

The indigo was a wonderful deep hue and what a difference that made! We had a blast and time flew. It was hard to stop and clean up, but there was promise of the next day (today!).

Artspace works: Aizome Shibori

August 3, 2010

Artspace works: mid. school shibori 2

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I’m easily impressed by what kids do. This little piece was an early experiment in itajime by a middle school student at Artspace yesterday. There were some delicious surprises and we were only scratching the surface.

It was their first lesson in shibori and a first of 5 days at Artspace this week. We have 3 hour sessions  lasting for 5 days, so they should come out with a good exposure to dyeing (mostly indigo) and a few shibori techniques. They’ll also come to understand  that the work isn’t always accomplished in an instant, but that it takes time. Sometimes, they’ll need to be patient – not always easy for kids in this age group.

They’ll have some small, quick projects while simultaneously working on some slower, larger ones. We’ll see what comes out – it’s a mystery in the end.

Beaufort, NC Indigo Workshop

July 29, 2010

August is nearly here and it’s a month crammed with events and activity.  Beginning next week, I teach rising middle school students the art of indigo dyeing and shibori at Artspace (downtown Raleigh).  It will be a full week of dyeing, learning about itajime, binding, wrapping and a lot of nui (stitching).

Following that is a second week at Artspace working with rising 3rd – 5th graders doing a workshop titled Matsuri! 祭り!(festivals!).  We will be looking at crafts (textile) related to that theme as summer is one of the best times to explore that topic (can’t imagine why!).

After a week’s break in Tampa with family, I’ll be returning home to teach aizome shibori with Janine LeBlanc in Beaufort, NC.  I’ve posted more about that below:

Dates:  August 28th & 29th

Place:  Beaufort Art Center

Instructors:  Janine LeBlanc and Susan Fennell

For further details scroll down to p. 8 in the Arts Alive Newsletter for southeast NC.

Cary Shibori display

April 6, 2010

Cary Shibori display

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

The photo was sent recently by the art instructor. The exhibit actually took place in February. We had little time to select the items for show and now that it has been several months, it’s good to see again, in a different context (not on the clothesline) how they look.

I like the arrangement – the way the handkerchiefs are hung between the scarves. I don’t know how I would have done it, and I like this. I also think the students learned their lessons well (understatement – we had a good time!).

Wake Forest students & Aizome

November 6, 2009

1st Period

The image shows a little of what 1st period was like. The class was small (18 students) compared to the larger ones I’d have later. The sun was bright and instead of working in a studio or art classroom, it was a regular classroom with desks. It was the English classroom for 9th graders. The room also had a sink with warm/hot water and that made a big difference.


Class periods were short though (50 minutes, but it was probably more like 40) and I rushed to have students finish the two pieces I’d had planned. The last two classes only managed one, but that may have been more realistic. Students in the last class received more individual attention and I enjoyed the one on one encounters.

The only thing that kept me guessing was the center of attention:  the indigo dye vat. I never could be sure the results were dark enough, especially with the short time factor.  In the end, the pieces darkened and students loved their work.

I should also mention and commend their highly energetic and enthusiastic teacher who welcomed me into her classroom so that this event could take place. It was a bold and brave move on her part (as it was an art project, not English), since she risked having drips and splatters of indigo all around her classroom (not to mention the odor). The students were equally as enthusiastic, so the day was high energy and a lot of fun. Their pieces also turned out well in my estimation, although at this point in time, I have no other images to share – I was working.

October workshop

October 23, 2009


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

Stunning is one of many words I might use to describe the environment I’ve been in the last couple of days. There are many others and I don’t know which one describes it best. Needless to say, it was, culturally, a different environment from ones I’ve encountered before. It was delicious to say the least.

Classes in this particular situation, at this time, were small and that makes a difference in any teaching situation. As a result, I was much more at ease and informal in my approach.

I was there to introduce them to indigo dyeing, shibori and as an extra added “bonus, ” silk. If I could have toted silkworms, I would have, but I did bring along images, silk cocoons and a few hankies.

It seemed the students were very receptive to these short workshops and enjoyed the results from their brief exercises. We began with silk handkerchiefs as a warm up to the process, then moved on to the challenge of working with a larger scarf. In some cases, they were very “gymnastic” with their approach, but the results were bold and exciting (which is probably why I like working with students).

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