Posts Tagged ‘indigo dyeing workshop’

the August studio

August 29, 2016

This month’s focus has been the yukata (summer kimono). After completing a small mock up,  these last two weeks have been about a full-size piece. It isn’t finished, but close enough for the moment.


full length – front & back of one side

The first week was spent dyeing all seven pieces to the garment: 2 front and backs, 2 sleeves, 2 overlaps and the collar. Each piece was manipulated uniquely and then dyed.


Beginning to look like “something”

At this point, all seven pieces are attached, but it is long and unwieldy. It’s bulky (because of the cloth type), wider, still than it really should be…still, I rather like the way things came together with the hand stitching. Yet, in the near future, I may take it apart to make some adjustments.  There’s much more to this garment than anticipated.


nearly there

And as we are now looking into September, I invite you to consider the weekend shibori workshop (Upcoming Workshops page) coming in the latter part of the month. It can be as intense and serious as you want, but I think fun is a necessary ingredient. It’s about indigo, it’s possibilities and beauty, as well as shibori.




May 1, 2015

The photos don’t do these pieces justice – the nature of things. However that is, these below and many more, reflect simplicity and sophistication.

bold, strong patterns

bold, strong patterns

It wasn’t completely about the indigo, but about technique and the engineering behind pattern making – what could be done by hand with the aid of a tool.

amazing consistency ....

amazing consistency ….

I never cease to be amazed at the invention that takes place. There is without a doubt always a new approach.

These were just a very small sample of class results that took place at the museum last weekend.  You’ll find more images here. Needless to say, this is one very content sensei.

stepping out…

October 29, 2013


I considered squeezing in a few words at the week’s end last week, but time did not permit.  That’s one way of putting it.  It was fortunate that the first week of our (Janine’s & mine) workshop came the eve of a major family event in Tampa – the enjoyment of class fed right into the rest of the week.

  Results of this first week were pretty fabulous I thought and an understatement.  The  participants worked only with itajime (board clamping), folding, clamping and dipping.  Each piece was amazing and something new.  Students/participants, though,  are also in the same category – so perhaps not so surprising, but still…and so inspiring!


Then those weekend events… which took me back to Tampa, one of our family homes – grandmother’s (grandfather’s & great-grandmother’s) and so, was one of our “bases” when we came back to the “states” –  and many other connections.  This time it was another fabulous family wedding – another niece (I have quite a few) – a new nephew.

All of my siblings and many of their children attended, so it was a memorable and significant event.  Mother shared family pictures I hadn’t seen before, my brother shared his nature photos (I’m inspired by them), we told stories that probably resolved a few “mysteries” and so much more.  I’m glossing over it, but needless to say, I’m glad I was there.

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.

Fibers — Indigo Dye Magic

July 31, 2013

TenuguiOn p. 26 of the Leisure Ledger (Raleigh Parks & Recreation – Pullen Arts Center), in the left-hand column, at the bottom is this description:

Age: 16yrs. and up. Indigo is an ancient dye that is still approached same way it was thousands of years ago. This hands-on class will use a traditional Japanese approach to resist dyeing, or shibori, to create distinctive patterns on fabric. Participants will explore a variety of techniques such as itajime (clamp resist), arashi (pole wrapping), tying and stitching

Supply fee of $60 due at the first class.

Instructors: Susan Oliver Fennell and Janine LeBlanc (4 sessions)

Pullen Arts Center – Course Fee: $80

#147321    Oct 24-Nov 14    Th

It’s time to register.  Hope you’ll join us at Pullen Arts in October. We look forward to to seeing you!

Upcoming Fall classes

June 24, 2013


It may be a bit early for this announcement, but then again, folks are planning ahead for autumn, so perhaps it is time for considering something like this.

Once again, Janine LeBlanc and I are teaming up for a series of classes in the fall.  They will be held at Pullen Arts Center  While classes are not available for sign up yet, they will be beginning July 30.

For consideration, at this point, are these dates:

Thursdays, October 24 – November 14

Time:  6 – 8:30 pm

That makes a total of 10 class hours to explore various aspects of shibori and indigo dyeing.  This also gives opportunity for students to practice their new skills in their personal studios and then return to the workshop  for more challenges (we hope!).

As I know more I’ll continue to update on my blog and also will put this same information on my “Workshops” page.  So, dear reader, if you have any questions regarding the class, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Indigo in the Blue Ridge Mts.

July 19, 2012

Blue Ridge mts.

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

How long has it been since I’ve been in the mountains? I cannot really remember…but as usual, I was reflecting again on that faraway place. It doesn’t really take much, especially in summer.

We (my family) used to take August for a month in the mountains (Japan) nearly every summer (in childhood). We had a small rustic cabin in the woods, on Lake Nojiri. There were cooling breezes, insect song, muddy paths along a rice paddy (somewhere in there), fogs that rolled in on the lake and much, much more. I was looking forward to similar when we went up to Glendale Springs.

It wasn’t quite the same, of course, but evenings were pleasantly cool with thick fog and it rained nearly everyday. I missed the beetles and cicada, although we had some fat bumblebees.

To be able to mix those memories with indigo worked just fine. It was grand, actually.  Many, many thanks to our hosts and fabulous participants.

Resistance is futile…

July 17, 2012

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

Yep. That’s what one student said…it’s all true. Give in and do it…that is to say…do that “aizome” (indigo) thang! I mean really.

That’s how I’m feeling today after a weekend in the mountains working with 7 students and Janine as my assistant, manager, and co- teacher (although she doesn’t see it that way).

I’m just taking a few minutes before running off to Artspace this a.m. to comment. Links and images are “popping up” on my horizon…can’t really ignore or just wait until later to comment.

It was a relaxing, refreshing weekend with a lot of inventive, innovative people. They took the ideas and ran with them. That’s what you want to see.

summer inspiration

June 11, 2012

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I hope the image will provide a little spark. The season for workshops is here. Indigo seems to love the summer heat and humidity and July is a perfect time for learning about it (and of course, shibori!).

My youth class at Artspace is fast filling up, but there’s still room in the weekend workshop for adults later in the month. It isn’t too late to sign up.  All information & links are on my “Upcoming Workshops” page.

There’s also the workshop at the Florence Thomas Art School in Glendale Springs, NC. Both Janine LeBlanc (Gregg Museum) and I will be teaching the characteristics of the indigo vat and aspects of shibori there.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

cold water indigo

July 11, 2011

cold water indigo
Originally uploaded by SOFennell

 “A Greener Indigo” about Barbara Shapiro’s work with a non-toxic, environmentally friendly vat, in this summer’s Fiberarts magazine naturally drew me. So, recently, I made up a small vat and have begun experimenting with it.

I’m sure it has its contexts, as I’m finding.   I was lukewarm at first.  This image is a detail from a piece of fabric that was sitting in my garage for quite some time – waiting for the right dye to “appear” – and I think it finally did.

It’s tempting to take the same ingredients down to Beaufort this coming weekend. I wonder what the participants there would make of it?

%d bloggers like this: