Posts Tagged ‘indigo dyeing’

What happened to summer?

October 10, 2017

I have to ask. It seems to have dissolved in the vat of indigo. A project emerged this spring. No, several projects “appeared” and grew. At least the one did.

Cameron Village Banner

And, it was my own doing.  “We” couldn’t have done the idea or the space (where it was to display) justice, if the project had not ‘grown’.

F.e.B. shirts

There was also custom work – shirts arrived from people I had worked with previously.  So, extra clotheslines were strung to accommodate them as well as the banners.

detail of custom dyed tunic

July brought a workshop on creating Noren – “split” curtains.

noren making, drying outdoors

I don’t think we actually sewed any together, but there was plenty of dye work and of course, that was the point.

At the end of August all of these projects were brought to a close with the installation of the banners at Cameron Village Library. I’ll simply have to write more about that later, but they are currently on display through the month’s end.

Indigo Threads

Currently, I just want to draw you, dear reader, to 2 upcoming workshop opportunities this month and next – they are listed on my workshops page. “Aki” is coming up quickly and “Arashi” follows almost on its heels in early November.

Thank you for your patience and for reading!



February 6, 2016

By the calendar, it is still winter, but those of us in the Carolinas, could probably debate that.

冬・ふゆ・fuyu/winter in shibori, on cotton, dyed in indigo.


I worked up the above piece over the end of last month. It’s been on my mind for some time. Over a year ago roughly, I made a piece Aki/Fall, similar to this. To have that piece stand alone made no sense, of course, so finally, I’ve added a second one, creating a growing small series.

Fuyu was ready for dyeing in the recent spike in warm weather which actually lasted for only a day. Generally, I’d like winter to behave like it “should” but then, I’m grateful for the mild temps when some dye work is requested. I hoped it would linger for a few more days so that I could complete the dye work (below), but it hasn’t.

Custom dye work - cotton tunics on the February line.

Custom dye work – cotton tunics on the February line.

In this case, the pieces are a light cotton, so they’ve been fairly quick to work up. They’ve taken the dye well and dried quickly on the line. The work has been interrupted by rain and now, cooler temps, but I hope to wrap things up before “the season” moves in again. I will have to work quickly. Mother Nature always dictates.

like practicing the piano

December 3, 2015

Sometimes it’s play – no particular intent, just a quick response to the cloth – in shibori and dyed in the vat.



They were created for an event and were an omiyage – a favor or rememberance. So, to be honest, there was some ‘intent’ but the pieces were unplanned.



That’s the point, kind of like scribbling to loosen up the hand, only it’s my brain or my eyes that need it. It only makes sense to work with the traditional and go on from there. Sometimes I’ll see something that jogs the memory or evokes a feeling.



Here’s the same pattern in a larger context. It isn’t the same, but there were more folds to work with this time around, also more accidental wrinkles. They add to the pattern.



Another bit of play referencing those same clothesline pieces. The concern is always the dye, its hue, depth of hue and simply how it interacts with the fibers. It seems to be a constant learning and re-learning no matter how simple the piece – like practicing the piano.

what it has to say

October 16, 2015

Class started this week – it’s a small, intimate group, so lots of room for “individual attention” and conversation. I took no pictures from the first class as the pieces took some time to work with. The dipping took place at the end of class.

"boro" tablecloth - indigo

“boro” tablecloth – indigo

Also, feeling a bit restless this week, so I dug into my “boro” stash and found a tattered tablecloth. I think it’s cotton.

nearly in tatters

nearly in tatters

I dipped it a few times. I don’t know if it’s deep enough yet, but we’re having sprinkles today. I’ve got just the cloth to stabilize those open places. Then I’ll see what it has to say.

Gibby Waitzkin

Gibby Waitzkin

Yesterday was the opening for Gibby Waitzkin at the Frankie Weems Gallery at Meredith College. I attended and also signed up for her workshop next weekend. She works with plant fibers and natural dyes, creating paper and sculptures that reference some plant forms. I’m looking forward to a fresh perspective and enjoy being a student for a change.

Elements of the Season

Elements of the Season

This Saturday is also the Fall Arts Fair at the Pullen Arts Center. I’ve included a couple of pieces in the gallery along with many other instructors and artists.
The description reads, “Instructor demos, family art activities, a Pottery Olympics competition and a pop-up gallery selling artworks created by Pullen participants.“ – should be festive and fun!

late summer

August 27, 2015

I’m chasing butterflies and watching certain flowers bloom that I’ve been waiting and watching for, for most of the summer.



It’s truly worth the wait when they finally arrive.  It’s feeling less summer – more of that in between seasons.

indigo catamaran

indigo catamaran

The vat’s still in summer mode though – being playful.

bits & pieces

bits & pieces

I’m trying to keep bits and pieces on the line as well – anything to keep the vats occupied and me outdoors, as the cicadas are something to listen to this time of year.

pampas grass

pampas grass

My upcoming autumn workshop is listed on the “Workshops” page – where you’ll find more detail. Class registration is available now at Pullen Arts Center (Raleigh).

that humbling craft

July 30, 2015

The question was when to harvest, but it’s no longer in question.

It's time!

It’s time!

They were pinched back this morning.  So I hope it will give them impetus for new and better growth – hoping for flowers and seeds in the new cycle. Processing the leaves may have to wait until the weekend.

nothing but triangles

nothing but triangles

Continued “feeding” of the vat, but also small studies and practice. It’s a humbling craft. The lessons are never ending – meaning, it’s always exploration – no solid answers.



This was back on the line this week in preparation for further work. The question is orientation. I think that’s been decided, I suspect I need to pick up more batting for this project, then I can begin to assemble the elements.



Another summer challenge has been getting used to larger and seemingly better quality containers for my vats. I’m finding them much easier to work with so far. The vats seem healthier, happier.

one more week

July 16, 2015

A refreshing break at Bon Matsuri (Obon Festival). It defines summer in

Bon odori (dancing) & picnicking at the fest.

Bon odori (dancing) & picnicking at the fest.

some respects. I love the music, dancing, Taiko drums and naturally, food. It’s a huge event and a lot of preparation by the folks at the Japan Center.

On Monday, classes resumed at Artspace and again, I worked with the same age group (6th – 10th graders), keeping things loose – open to discovery or experimentation – at least that was the approach.

good making

good making

I think they outdid themselves. Today, they worked on some last pieces, including a silk scarf. We’ll wrap it up tomorrow.



It’s always fun to see how the students respond to cloth and this dye in this particular context.  They’ve been given some instruction, but generally, they’ve been free to take the fabric and tools in any direction they want.  There are always surprises.


July 9, 2015

I confess, this 90+ degrees heat makes me feel quietly ornery. There’s a stubbornness and reluctance stirring – there’s a refusal to want to do anything. Is it just the heat? I can’t decide. In spite of it, though, I’ve been at Artspace this week.

beginning with stitch samples

beginning with stitch samples

I have no right to feel this way. The incoming results from my students are a delight. It may have taken a few slow dips in the color to convince them.

folded, bound or clamped pieces

folded, bound or clamped pieces

Their work gets better everyday and they seem now, under its spell.

working on the sampler

working on the sampler

Seeing them so engaged is quite rewarding and affirming.

patient work on the “sankaku bukuro” – triangle bag

It gives me pause, in spite of that reluctance.

fixed on the weather

March 5, 2015

I admit, I’m fixed on the weather – the temps and whatever else it brings. It has a large affect on how my days go, particularly when dyeing is involved. That’s the situation today.



It’s been over a week though, since my foray to Florida to join some of my far-flung siblings and cousins for an auspicious family event. My mother turned 90, so we celebrated – had a grand time.

The ice was heavy on tree limbs

The ice was heavy on tree limbs

On my return though, I was greeted with another snow/ice storm which took out our power for most of a day. We’ve had worse, but it was still a reminder that we are not well prepared for these things in our area.

snow on sweetgum tree

snow on Sweetgum tree

Still I don’t like to miss the opportunity of catching nature when it brings us to a stand-still.

yesterday, in the 70s

yesterday, in the 70s

Yesterday, though, an abrupt change, a spike to 75 °, a chance to catch up on some work.  But today….rain with a good chance of sleet and ice. Nature and the weather….

By the way, my workshops page has been updated – that April workshop at the museum…well, ready for your consideration. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.


stitch variations

October 30, 2014

Apart from getting together with friends in different contexts and meeting the “demands” of what I consider work, which I enjoy tremendously, my mind and body have been in a quiet (mostly mental) rebellion all week. Things did eventually settle and maybe garden work was the cure.

a piece in Peg's studio

a piece in Peg’s studio

My class in stitched shibori is ongoing, and to prepare for it, I’m making a collection of small samples.

One day, they may become a book (textile/fiber type).


definitely shaped shibori


bold orinui and it’s autumnal

The class is going swimmingly as far as I can tell. There was much more activity in the vats, so more pieces on the line. I like their explorations, their thinking.

7446A 7447A

Last week’s “assignment” was variations in the straight stitch. There were, of course other experiments going on…to be expected and fun to see.

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