Posts Tagged ‘indigo blue’

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.

reflecting on color

July 3, 2014

This week has felt more like holiday or pre-holiday…something like that. While I have been occupied with preparing for other upcoming workshops and activities, there’s still been a lightness. The sense of “work” hasn’t been there.

week's pieces

red, white & blues

The first prep involves getting ready for the youth Artspace class which I’ve been teaching for more than 5 years now. It has always involved the younger (rising 3rd – 5th grades) group. Last year I decided to “promote” myself to an older set (it’s OK to do this), and will be working with rising 7th-10th grades. At the moment I’m gathering materials (cloth, thread, needles, tools, etc.) and re-thinking the “lesson” approaches. This class takes place at the end of the month.



Shortly after Artspace, in mid-August, Janine LeBlanc and I will make our way to West Jefferson, NC for a several days workshop at Florence Thomas Art School. We found our last experience there to be exhilarating (enthusiastic students), refreshing and just a lot of fun. If, dear reader, you are interested in participating, please see the description on my “Workshops” page.

7111A 7289A

With the heat, of course, the dye doesn’t like being neglected. I do my best to do “something” just to keep it content. I’ve been wanting to repeat working with red, white and blue patterning again. Fortunately, I had a red and white scarf from previous dye work.  All I needed to do was add that blue element.

Iro-iro1 rwbscarf1A

As I watched the colors emerge and change, I couldn’t help but reflect on their symbolism, their history, and the peoples involved in the making of these blues in particular.   There are many and it goes deep.



week ending

August 16, 2013

Freeform-1To put a positive spin on this last week, I can at least say that the kids I worked with were ultimately an inspiration. That was the serendipity that happened on the last day. That’s the great thing about teaching – the things learned from them.

I was also impressed with some of their industry and consistency throughout. So, if one reads between the lines here, the reader can surmise that the week had its challenges. I don’t know if that was due me, the weather or was it really as different as I was feeling it was? I think it was a mix of many things.

However all of that was, the results in the end were good and I felt like the appropriate goals were met. I look for engagement, enjoyment and hope the students will be pleased with their pieces. All of that happened. If there’s more, even better.

Another added element to this success story (and it wouldn’t be if not for…) is the assistant who worked very actively with the students. I am sure that things would not have gone nearly as well without her tireless energy and efforts. I am very appreciative of all of her hard work.

Blue is returning?

February 23, 2013
Indigo Blue

Indigo Blue

You, dear reader, know already how captivated I am by the many variations exhibited in this color.  It doesn’t need to be said.

So, it was a surprise to find this article in the News and Observer’s Home & Garden section this morning.  It eased the beginning to a pouring down rain day and offered some refreshing ways to think about the color.

I like words like “sapphire, navy, inky, midnight, Monaco, sky, dusk” and “Zen” – they work.  I’m sure we could conjure up a few more.

It seems there is no end actually, but that could be said about any color.  Blue, indigo blue, though is one of those universals, always with us day in and day out.  All you have to do is step outside and look up.  That’s just the beginning.


January 17, 2013

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

It’s coming…if only briefly. It’s a small affirmation of winter around here – lately – it seems.  It was beginning to feel like spring.

I’ve been wanting some sign and it looks like at least tonight we will receive a little of it. I hope it’s more than less.

It gets mixed reviews around here – an inconvenience, I suppose. I know a few people, including myself who would welcome it.

I say “Bring it on!” What say, Mother Nature? Fun?

P.S.  My “in-house” tech support advised me to mention my new venture on Twitter (bird button is there in that right column) – feel free to follow….

Things to cool you down

June 29, 2012


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I’m sure I’ve mentioned somewhere in a previous blog about the idea of looking at a color or image to cool. It might just be an illusion, but I’ve been thinking about it lately – blue. Blues, indigo blues keep turning up on my horizon, in many forms. I can’t ignore it. This one turned up today – nice surprise! Where else will I find it?

We’re hitting record highs in Raleigh today and following, it does seem appropriate to think about the color. Does it cool you down?

for the classroom

March 28, 2012


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

As I hung these small pieces on the line this morning, I was thinking about the many ways indigo can be used in the elementary classroom. It must appear daunting sometimes, especially when working with the younger set.

I’ve been thinking about this as I pull my list together for Artspace. It’s due soon and, of course, don’t want to submit it last minute. I feel like I need to work through the activities and possibilities, though, and I’m finding that my list is shrinking.

I’m realizing that the main “ingredient” to my week’s activities is indigo.   It’s almost all I need.  Basically, it will come down to using it in different contexts on paper and cloth, and there are so many.  Indigo has also become much more approachable as a medium.

An earlier concern was also filling the time – 5 days and a little less than 3 hours everyday. It’s a lot of time. I think, though, it will easily be filled and my young charges will have a lot to show for their efforts. It will be fun filled week. In the meantime, “sensei” will keep practicing and exploring.


March 4, 2012

small banners

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

It’s true. Deep down, it’s that deep indigo, and it’s definitely that. Plain, solid indigo is just fine, but I also like a bit of shibori.

Then, there are those, what I came across in my reading recently referred to as “splash pattern” – probably bold itajime – that’s what I’m guessing. It was in reference to what was worn during Obon Matsuri (summertime festivals of the dead) – yukata.

As I said though in the image description, “comfort color and comfort pattern.” It works.

Raleigh Denim

November 8, 2011


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

Raleigh Denim is a seemingly small shop that blends into the surroundings in the warehouse district of downtown Raleigh. Whenever I go there, I have to look closely at those redbrick walls to find that door that “allows” entrance. It’s just one of the many things that I like about the place.

My first encounter was last spring on a tour sponsored by a symposium at the Gregg Museum. It’s difficult to describe exactly what I felt when I walked in except that it could have been a candy shop, a toy store, a magician’s shop…a place that pulled at my inner child. It seemed it was all about indigo (my candy, my magic). It felt like another world and just right – not to mention the ceiling was origami (brown paper airplanes).

Victor and Sarah Lytvinenko also have an amazing story. A recent article in the N&O says, “The shop is a reflection of the company’s philosophy. All of the designers included in the store share Raleigh Denim’s philosophies on craftsmanship, heritage, responsibility and style.” It’s another thing I like about them.

Needless to say, it has been a magical encounter – and it’s in the indigo.


February 18, 2011


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

A perfect day for this color and activity. Highs were up to 77°…no mosquitoes. Comparing temps though, we may have been warmer than Tampa – strange winter – we’ve actually had lows that compared to Anchorage (or colder) and now we’re doing this.

%d bloggers like this: