Posts Tagged ‘Gregg Museum of Art & Design’

high calorie

October 7, 2016

From last month’s workshop:

from day 1

from day 1

How does one select only one image from an array of so many successes? They can be found on my flickr or instagram sites for a closer look. I think we (and I do include myself in this) thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I’ve listed dates for my next workshop at Pullen Arts Center on the Workshops page. More details will follow later.

In the meantime, research and experiments continue with yukata continue.


practice piece – for a sleeve

I’ve been practicing Katano shibori over the years, but haven’t been at all satisfied with the results. So far, this is the closest that has given some affirmation. To me, there are so many variables in this technique. It’s not just the stitching, and cloth thickness, but the kind of cloth as well. It has to be practiced, and still…more seems to be required.

Regardless, an opportunity to examine some yukata from the collection of the Gregg Museum of Art and Design came up – Janine offered, so of course, I took her up on it.

yukata with wide tucks

yukata with wide tucks

We photographed, measured, looked at the seams and other finishing details. We looked at several, made for both men and women and compared their differences and similarities. Not one was the same, in spite of the form – lots to think about there.

For “dessert” she pulled out a kimono with it’s inner kimono that had this for a lining:

inner lining

inner lining

High calorie, don’t you think?  I love that red.

And by the way, my U.S. readers, if you aren’t registered to vote…please do so.  And when it’s time (early or on the day), go cast your vote.  If you’re undecided, educate yourselves about the candidates and the issues at hand.  I’m registered and I’m voting.  Definitely.



the workshop – reflections

May 22, 2014

This last weekend, Janine LeBlanc and I presented the “Tradition on Tradition” textile workshop for the Gregg Museum of Art and Design. Since it was being presented during the exhibition time of REMNANTS Of THE FLOATING WORLD, it seemed appropriate to reference imagery found in that collection (both in prints and objects).




detail from wedding kimono

The write up for the class says, “participants will create patterning on cloth using a traditional form of Japanese textile craft, shiborizome, using stitch resist and indigo dyeing.” After it was over, I asked myself, did we accomplish that?



"Asa no Ha"  pattern

“Asa no Ha” pattern

I think we did. We looked at images from the collection in class and some had visited the exhibit before that time. So there was time to consider the imagery.


“nui” explorations


explorations in “nui”

However things went, I felt like the work accomplished was an authentic reflection of the spirit of that exhibit. I couldn’t ask for more in that regard. It was also a delightful experience, meeting and working with the high level of enthusiasm and engagement of our participants (and many thanks!).

the Class

almost the whole class

In the same “breath” I also need to mention next month’s workshop which is also listed on my Upcoming Workshops page. I hope (dear reader) you will take note and follow the appropriate links (and please join us for another dip in that “blew” stuff!).

It’s February

February 13, 2014

Silk “Fukasa” in Kanoko shibori – Gregg collection

Last month, I checked the Farmer’s Almanac and it suggested that we would have more “weather events” this month than last and I really questioned it.  Last week we were moving into the “balmy” it seemed, making it possible to attend the opening of the Gregg’s Remnant’s of the Floating World installed at NCSU’s Chancellor’s Residence (their future site).  There’s much to see in this exhibit, couldn’t take it all in, in the one evening, so I will return at some point.

A few days later, I received a small and precious gift through a friend – a fine example of kumo shibori (spider

unbound shibori on silk

unbound shibori on silk

web pattern) bound up, in preparation for dyeing.  That was the supposed next step, but I find that I can’t bring myself to do it.  I simply love the piece as is.  It doesn’t need the color or completion. There is so much to be learned from studying those small, fine, bound up forms.

Then yesterday, “that” anticipated  weather event finally arrived. It brought both snow and ice and we expect a little more today. It has brought some inconvenience, but that’s winter, that’s nature. It will also melt (par for the south).


what brings inspiration among other things

January 30, 2014
Mary & Janine discuss exhibit display

Mary & Janine discuss exhibit display

I think I literally “eat up” the time when visiting the Gregg.  Right now, the collection is packed up and sitting in a small building off-campus waiting for the day that it can be delivered to a new and more permanent setting. So, to “go behind the scenes” (for me) is quite the savory experience.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t exhibits, they’re just smaller and in other contexts, which to me, makes them all the more intriguing. This time (February), it’s a focus on Japanese prints with some added pieces (textiles, pottery….). It’ll be fun to see what actually “turns up.”

Last week, part of the day was spent looking at a few of those elements, hoping to help out with some of the language end (so far, not so much) and general knowledge and just looking. What turned up was a feast for the eyes and helpful when considering the upcoming May workshop – and that was another reason for the visit.

Indigo dyed Japanese Ikat from the Gregg Collection

Indigo dyed Japanese Ikat from the Gregg Collection

Among the pieces were some small swatches of indigo dyed Ikat.  Balfour-Paul’s Indigo discusses the topic, so it was good to have come across these examples and to see what she meant by “soft-edge patterning”. Of course, this also relates to the book discussion coming up this weekend at our art museum (NCMA).

At the same time, I inquired about some yardage (from China apparently) that Janine had sent a photo of last year. Later, I worked up a small piece based on it. It was good to have a close took at the original and to get a sense of how it was created.

Yardage in indigo & shibori - collection of the Gregg.

Cotton yardage in indigo & shibori – collection of the Gregg.

So, when the snow melts…the temps rise…I’ll “boot up” a new vat or two and see what comes. Inspiration comes out of these museum visits. The dye studio is a bit on the chilly side at the moment. Good things to look forward to though.  Winter, no matter the impact is brief in this area.

the Gregg is asking….

October 1, 2013

Adire stitch resist

“Have you seen the some of the indigo pieces in the current Gregg exhibition ‘Measure of Earth: Textiles and Territory in West Africa?’ Interested in hands on learning? Indigo Dye Magic is a workshop that Janine LeBlanc and Susan Oliver Fennell are co-teaching at Pullen Arts Center starting October 24. There is still room in the class to sign-up. Learn more here:”

That question was posed on the Gregg Museum’s facebook page where I found it first thing this morning.  So I thought to add my own “reply” or comment – it’s an opportunity to learn about the materials and the process.  It’s an opportunity to experience it, hands on.

The image, a detail of one of those richly patterned cloths now on exhibit, contains the kind of imagery we could easily reference in this upcoming class.  The resist technique used in this piece is universal throughout the many cultures that have used (and still used) in their textile pattern making.

  Janine and I would be delighted to have you join us as we consider our explorations in indigo dyeing and shibori.

further studies and inspiration

September 21, 2013

It’s finally finished!  It took most of the week to complete this and had a little time to move on to other pieces before the rain moved in.

hana1AWith this small series there were any number of approaches to the pattern I could have taken, but for this context decided to keep it simple and also wanted to keep  that reference to the traditional.   It’s a gift, so I’m looking forward to eventually getting it to the recipient (at the proper time – and I doubt she reads my blog!).

So, now I’m  a little more free (I suppose) to pursue the next thing coming – the October & November classes.  I’ve been going through pieces that might be useful to refer to for technique as well as pattern.  I also thought to introduce some departures from my usual.  In that vein, the detail below illustrates one pattern I’ve been considering.


At the week’s end, I attended the opening reception of Measure of Earth, a collection of pieces (Gregg Museum) on display at the African American Culture Center at NC State. It’s another fabulous, well-considered display and the pieces gave me a great deal to think about. There’s a lot to take in and on this first viewing, I focused on the indigo, The example below is just a small detail of one of the large indigo cloths in stitch resist.


As the exhibit is on view into mid December, I will definitely encourage my students to see it.

outside influences

July 27, 2013


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I’ve been so fortunate to have had a few “behind-the-scenes” experiences at the Gregg Museum. It’s given me some very close up and hands-on exposure to some wonderful textiles that I keep thinking about.

First, I saw some fabulous Nigerian pieces in resist (batik and shibori) – saturated in indigo. Then, there were those small swatches and they were in shibori (and other dyes and colors). Then, in the spring, my friend Janine (who works there) sent me a couple of photos of a piece of cloth.

Apparently, it was from China and was manipulated in shibori and dyed in indigo. So, once again, it was a piece that held interest and I decided to attempt the pattern.

From the image, the reader can see that I did just that, and it is my first attempt. It’s more of a reference than copy, but the pattern is close enough. I considered using silk, but on this first try found the fabric a bit too slippery for the folded ori-nui areas.

I decided that cotton would be best for this first attempt and later found out that the original piece is also in cotton. Even so, I found it a challenge, but would like to continue working with it on different types of cotton and maybe linen (in good time).

In the meantime, other patterns are speaking to me as well. As I work, I can’t help but think about the series of classes Janine and I will be teaching at Pullen Arts in October and November. What will our students want to know?

It’s following me…

October 22, 2012

A w/o A: Boro futon cover
Originally uploaded by SOFennell

So it seems. It probably isn’t the case, but it does turn up frequently in other places, when or where I least expect it. It probably has more to do with the fact that I’m sensitized to the color now and I’m more aware of it. Indigo.

At any rate, this is the piece that attracted or spoke to me far more than any other this weekend. I spent Saturday going through a few exhibits at the NC Museum of Art, including the prints of Edvard Munch.  I’d recently read Sue Prideaux’s biography of Munch, so felt like I could approach his work with more clarity and appreciation.

I ran into this one, though – the Boro Futon cover at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design, in the Art Without Artists exhibit showing currently. It’s an eclectic collection of pieces, well worth taking some time with. There’s a lot to consider, like this piece. I could have spent the entire afternoon with it.  There were others that attracted for one reason or another, but this was “the one.”  I don’t have to say why, do I?

Nigerian Indigo

July 3, 2012

6823-det. 1
Originally uploaded by SOFennell

To continue with my visit at the Gregg: In the middle of shooting small shibori swatches, Janine produced several must-see indigo pieces from Nigeria that were in storage. I was there not just to document but to see some of what the Gregg offered in terms of shibori and indigo – thinking ahead to our upcoming workshop in the mountains. I’ve seen images of things like these, of course, but nothing compares to reality.

It was overwhelming and simply could not get enough of the color – the quality and richness of them, then the patterns and the aroma – subtle but very present. It simply took my breath away. This particular piece, batik and dyed in indigo is probably the most meticulous or well defined in pattern of the three.

Red & Yellow Obi

June 26, 2012

6635 A

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

Another favorite I encountered at the Gregg was this obi (sash). We didn’t measure it, but it was quite long enough (for wrapping around the body several times, then tying) for wearing with either a kimono or yukata (summer kimono).

What intrigued me about this piece, was that the shibori was obviously done by hand – it was so irregular. There was a common, repeated motif (iris), but there were obvious “burps” or little “mistakes” in there as well. That was the element that held intrigue – it was “imperfect” and still quite usable (acceptable).  It made it all the better, actually.

Another aspect of this very soft, lightweight silk (habotai?) sash was that it seems as though it could have been dyed with benibana (safflower) – at least I thought so from examining some of the white areas that were tinged pink. It’s another topic I hope to touch on later.

I’ve also just talked with the folks at the Florence Thomas Art School (Glendale Springs – Blue Ridge Parkway) and it seems that there is still room for those who are interested in taking an indigo/shibori class in the mountains where it’s cool. Please see the details on my “Upcoming Workshops” page.

%d bloggers like this: