Posts Tagged ‘aizome’

so it’s raining

August 6, 2015

Rain has finally moved in to give a little respite from the heat and dry spell. I’ll take the break. I’ve spent most of my days working on something including a custom order which may be nearly complete.

a tunic

a tunic

It has helped to keep things going in the dye studio. Otherwise, I might not venture out, much. It’s also a piece that has helped keep the vat going – ah – and me outdoors, listening to the cicadas and watching for the occasional butterfly.

pureed leaves

pureed leaves

Last time I posted I mentioned “playing” with freshly harvested leaves.
The only conclusion I came to is that I needed more leaves. I had a very small harvest, hence a smattering of the color.



But, I did walk through Rowland Ricketts’ approach and would do it again, providing my harvest was larger. However that is, the results were sweet and gave another perspective – in palest blue – not my usual.

Chirimen & habotai silk

Chirimen & habotai silk

The scarf is Chirimen or crepe. It was cream and I thought to change it to a robin’s egg blue. It is truly an extremely pale aqua. One day, I may take it further.

It would be remiss not to make some mention of the significance of the day: August 6th – 70th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. I saw Abe give an address last night on NHK. The language was so formal I couldn’t understand it, but I really didn’t need to.

And I can’t find words – sometimes I’m not sure what or how to articulate whatever there is that needs to be said or not. I have a strong connection with that country. It was my childhood home. In that case, feelings run deep. That home culture gave me many things, among them  a love of a certain color. I’m working with it – exploring it. I don’t know what else to do at the moment. It was a gift.

continuing with custom work

October 9, 2012

custom work: on the line

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I started this work last week and have had to halt things due to more persistent wet and cooler weather than anticipated. The gloom and chill has been through today as well.

I could work in the garage, but I also prefer good light. The presence of sun helps with that. I’m working with values (as seems to always be the case) and I need to see that depth of color. Tomorrow is predicted to be better. As much as I enjoy the change in seasons, there’s work yet to be done.

Fortunately, it seems we can strike a balance here or at least stretch the seasons a bit (or maybe I cheat a bit!). At least during this time between summer and winter I’m trying to squeeze in as much vat time as is possible.

Carolina Blue

May 1, 2012

Carolina Blue

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I had to put other projects aside today to enjoy the outdoors. The day couldn’t have been finer. There was ‘that’ blue sky, pleasantly warm – no humidity with a few fat curious bumblebees lurking and maybe tasting the indigo dripping from the cloth.

The vat also responded like it also was enjoying the day. It gave good color. Now, after a day of good work, it needs feeding.

from triangles to circles

April 4, 2012

    Breathing this week. At least, that’s the thinking.

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

Iro iro aizome

October 10, 2011

Iro iro aizome
Originally uploaded by SOFennell

Iro iro ・色々・various (kinds) & aizome・藍染め・indigo dyeing – that is to say, various fabrics – just seeing how they respond to the dye and trying to get as dark as I possibly could (within reason).

That’s the deal with these, at least, that’s one aspect of it. Actually, I’m preparing for an exhibit in December, and am working on the display aspects of those pieces – making casings and whatever else might be needed. So, I dyed a variety of fabrics in case something with more thickness, stiffness, weight, body…something like that…was needed.


July 10, 2011

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

Between the dry weather, the sudden rainstorms, teaching days and other little demands of the daily, I practice. I’m reminded of past piano lessons, the warm up exercises before tackling the piece or pieces I was focused on. It was not only important to get the muscles (and brain) warmed up, but also helped to bring me to the technical aspects of it. So, I think of these also as warm up exercises.

I’m thinking about these patterns or of something similar. It helps to fold and dip. It just keeps me moving and it’s fun. it also tells me about the vat – where it is, how it is and what it might need.  It’s living after all.

Back to the patterns – it’s summer – and these high contrast indigo and white images are what one might see on a yukata (light summer kimono) at a festival (matsuri). Both cloth (cotton or linen) and pattern are meant to cool one down physically as well as visually. It’s what comes to mind in the summer heat.


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.

Hiroshi Ishizuka

November 26, 2010

Indigo blue & black ink

The only explanation I’ve found for Ishizuka is here. I was curious about the technique and translated the accompanying text which is apparently written by the artist.  Definitions were cloudy despite work with dictionaries, so I called in my “resident” translator (son) and his results (thankfully) are what you see here.  At the end I added a few definitions.:

Up to now, I’ve produced works using the technique of itajime-zome.

These works were produced with indigo and ink by placing fabric between gravel and stainless plate, and commercial resin.

Creases are left behind in the cloth, producing quite a different finish from traditional itajime-zome, but there is the sense that clear characteristics of itajime are inherited due to a simplicity that would reject (or eliminate?) traces of the hands.

The installation works are displayed in the center.


A few words of note:

板締め染め – itajimezome – clamp/board resist dyeing

技法 – gihou – technique

砂利 – jyari – gravel

ステンレス板 – sutenresu ita – stainless plate

シワ – shiwa – wrinkle/crease

Revisiting Kamenozoki

October 17, 2010

After my earlier entry on 瓶覗き色 (kamenozoki), I found more on the topic in Arimatsu Shibori edited by Bonnie Abiko.  The color dye chart shows 30 shades of indigo with kamenozoki as the palest shade.  Hiroko Harada, a contributor to this book as well as an indigo/shibori artist, describes it as “a whisper of blue from barely passing the textile once through the dye bath.”  At the opposite end of the chart is is jōkon tomekon (上紺 止紺), midnight blue – dipped in the dye “at least 30 times”.

By the way, some of Harada’s work is included in Arimatsu Shibori, but the link to her galleries gives an even larger viewpoint and a look at contemporary藍染絞り (aizome shibori).


June 27, 2010

silk scarves

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

花火・Hanabi or fireworks is what came to mind when I saw the resulting red. My son also made a similar remark. These things come to mind in this steamy heat. It is 祭り・matsuri (festival) season. I didn’t have that imagery in mind originally, but it works in several contexts I think and I’ll bear it in mind later this summer.

Actually, I was exploring my ability to produce a readable image on silk through stitch. I had attempted a something similar earlier and was frustrated and disappointed with the results. So, again, this time, it was an experiment and I knew it might fail (for so many reasons). I also wanted to work with other colors along with indigo. So, it turned into a closer look at working with silk as well as color and dye theory. The results gave me much more information than I expected and so many things to ponder. So, probably more “studies” are in the offing.

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