Posts Tagged ‘Indigo’

March 3rd

March 3, 2017
Hinamatsuri Dolls

雛祭り Hinamatsuri Dolls

Today is Hinamatsuri, Girls’ Day, Girls’ Festival or Dolls Festival in Japan.  I remember being intrigued with the tall displays of the imperial court when I was a girl.  Some were so elaborate and elegant – yes, I would have loved a collection of my own!

The kanji 「雛・ひな」hina defines as “chick, duckling, squab [fledgling bird] and doll”。「祭り・まつり」Matsuri means “ritual, offer prayers, celebrate, deify, enshrine and worship”.  The origins of this festival trace back to hina-nagashi in the Heian Period.  So there’s more to this than just celebrating girls and dolls – also a little spiritualism and “magic” (perhaps).

The photo is ancient – from my dad’s collection, something “generic” so I’m not sure that he even took it. He must have used it though, to talk about Japanese culture in our trips “back” to the US.  At any rate, it gives me pause to look back and there’s always something new to learn in the process.

March 1st: blustery.

March 1st: blustery.

The month began with those “March winds” – it was blustery and I’ve had some custom work on the line this week. It was uncharacteristically warm – in the 80s – not at all March-like.

The real reason for this entry? I changed the times for the opening for “Filaments”, the upcoming exhibit mentioned in my last blog. I’ve also updated it on the Events page – 6-8 p. instead of 5-7 p.  Hope to see you there!

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dipping into shirokage

July 10, 2016

Shirogake (white shadow) shibori has been dangling like a carrot before me for some time. The pattern mystified me to be honest. Then a friend went to an out of state exhibit where a kimono in the pattern was on display.   She sent a photo and I was hooked (again).  To bring it about took some time.

wrapped on a pole

wrapped on a pole

After stitching the pattern and pulling it up, all I wanted was to dye it – see those results! In my haste and excitement, I forgot the next step – wrapping it against a rope or pole. Then, I realized what I was doing and stopped. I wrapped it against a pipe and continued on, hoping I hadn’t spoiled the shirokage. If I did, well, I’d try again.

unbinding from the pole

unbinding from the pole

In removing the piece from the pole, there seemed to be some resist. So, something worked.

before releasing the stitches

before releasing the stitches

The proof would be in removing the stitches and it seemed to work. The question was whether or not the pattern could be read.

releasing the pattern

releasing the pattern

It isn’t completely shiro, but the pattern can be read. It works…well enough to at least give an understanding of the technique and theory. This was practice, theory, learning, experiment…it’s all it can be and quite satisfying.  Yes, I would do this again.

the pattern - not completely "shiro" and blue, but it can be read.

the pattern – not completely “shiro” and blue, but it can be read.

Like a lamb or a goat?

March 23, 2016

Earlier this month I would have said “Spring came in like a lamb” and then I had to rethink things a bit – maybe more like a goat. Still, what’s ahead seems promising.

One thing, is a class, just added to my Workshops page – in May – devoted as per usual to shibori & indigo, but also to making a noren.

Some of my winter make time was devoted to the above noren – just one example. In this case I was was inspired by Serizawa, a katazome (paste resist) artist – an homage. I love his work.

The characters, hiragana, say ようこそ(youkoso)/Welcome.  It hangs in my front hallway.

Other promises and welcoming spring things…well, lots of little green sprouts are making their appearance in my small greenhouse.  I’ve also seen a few butterflies in spite of the up and down temps these last few days.  Spring.

late greeting…still…

January 26, 2016

Of course, I was going to ‘catch’ this event before the pod burst, as I didn’t want milkweed seeds floating around my house.

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               milkweed pod with seeds.

I’d brought in the pot to protect it from the cold and to encourage more growth and development,  also to ‘catch’ some seeds – it worked.

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Ice on Mahonia – from the recent ice storm – it melted quickly.

January has had to be a respite and I may just be getting started with the idea. It’s not a bad thing. I’ve been reading, researching, re-thinking my approaches to some aspects of my work, to name a few…. I’ve been enjoying the relative quiet.

So-det.

detail from a noren – hiragana so in shibori & indigo.

Things will continue to be made, as that kind of activity feeds me. It’s the same for workshops – they will continue to be offered. It’s just going to be a different year compared to the recent past. I suspect the focus will be more on making – continuing dialogues with fiber, dye, and threads – of course, indigo and shibori.

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a taste…shibori & indigo on a line.

On that note, as mentioned previously, and listed on my ‘Workshops’ page, there is an upcoming workshop at Pullen Arts Center (Raleigh). The weekly evening classes begin in late February and go through mid-March. I look forward to that opportunity.

And one more thing:
今年もよろしくお願いします・・・
Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
In this (new) year also, I hope for your favor.

新年おめでとうございます。
Shinnen omedetougozaimasu.
Happy New Year!

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.

hankies

hankies

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.

OribaShibori_0297A

hankies

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.

Itajime

Itajime

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.

Itajime

Itajime

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.

bluer than blue?

November 19, 2015

As in any other medium, there seems no limit to the imagery one can create in working in shibori.  That’s one of the things I love about it.  The challenge lies in its engineering aspects. The image below is student work, but it wasn’t child’s play, it was work.

DL-Sailboat
I was fortunate to witness some of the aspects of the making of this piece – and yes, part of it may have been play – certainly experimental. It was a dip at a time, letting it oxidize, assessing it and repeating the process until the dye was deep enough or that it covered the desired areas. I love the playful aspects of the piece. It also takes me to a long ago place, a certain lake and some memorable sailing.

From time to time, especially when I’m in the middle of a workshop, often, a particular proverb comes to mind. I encountered it my early years of teaching as well as explorations in indigo. It has become a favorite:

「青は藍より出でて藍より青し」
「あおは あいより でて あい より あお し」
Ao wa ai yori dete ai yori ao shi.

The translation has to do with blue being stronger/better/beyond the blue in the indigo plant (at least it’s a reference to an original color source) or something of that ilk. At any rate, it refers to the student being better than the teacher – quite often the case and certainly in my experience many times. So, I wonder if this has more to do with becoming better – growing past the teacher, which is what is wanted in the end. That may be the message in the proverb and to the teacher as well.

silly, fun, but open doors to possibility….

November 12, 2015

The sun’s out after more rain, and the weather is so fine – mild, breezy (a front’s moving in) – a perfect autumn day. A late monarch even paused on one of my milkweed blossoms – too brief to photo, but long enough to note the variations in their reds and oranges.

milkweed pods - slow progress, but progress nevertheless

milkweed pods – slow progress, but progress nevertheless

This week brought to completion my workshop on creating texture. I will miss this class and their quiet explorations. They simply continued to reinforce why I teach – their questing, discovering considering, thinking – they challenge.  In the days that follow each class, I also ponder and wonder.

student work - exploration in texture & landscape

student work – exploration in texture & landscape

We don’t always find the answers, but the journey is…quite the thing. So, even though classes were over a 5 week period, it feels like we were just getting started and it is a slow process.

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lamb – why do I enjoy the piece so much?

Imagery was fun, fanciful, sometimes silly…but definitely open doors to possibility. I think we all had fun with it. So, I’m really looking forward to more exploring coming in late February (listed on the “Upcoming Workshops” page).

this time of year

November 5, 2015

How is it that “nature” decided it was time for the indigo harvest? Yesterday, in my routine garden walk-through, I found no blossoms at all, save for a few leftover scraps. Both beds had been pretty thoroughly cleaned out. Was it deer? It had to have been – tasty greens, I suppose, but they weren’t greens. I had no idea they were so discriminating. Only the tops where blooms (and seeds) grew were removed. Dessert perhaps?

The blossoms are no longer....

The green remains

I’ve felt fairly immune from these visitors and really had no idea they were coming in so close to my little flower beds. Next year, I’ll approach things differently and with them in mind.

crape myrtle, mulberry for starters, also sweet gum....

crape myrtle, mulberry for starters, also sweet gum….

There’s an abundance and a variety of leaves in my small yard. I’ve added trees and shrubs as well, but mostly, I know that my presence is an imposition on the surrounding nature. My attempts to tame and remove whatever wild sprouts up is basically futile.

detail from

detail from “Elements”

Even though, I seek to tame it, I love the colors, blossoms produced and the fauna it attracts. And if you’re a reader, you’re aware that I also enjoy documenting it. From time to time, it makes its way into my making (above detail).

small impressions

small impressions

Lately, though, after attending the Waitzkin workshop and seeing various blogs and imagery elsewhere, I thought while the leaves were “ripening” on my lawn, I should gather some and see what could be done with them.

faint outlines of sweet gum?

faint outlines of sweet gum?

While I didn’t succeed, I didn’t entirely fail.  I see the potential. For one, I didn’t mordant the cotton (that may have been one aspect of it’s not working). There may have been other elements that played a part as well. I did wrap my leaf bundles securely around cherry tree sticks and boiled them for roughly an hour. That resulted in a pleasant aromatic “tea”. They soaked in it for a couple of days and then were unwrapped.

It was a first “just jump in and do it” – never mind the prep – stab at eco-printing. I realize there’s lots to learn in the process, and using what’s in my backyard has tremendous appeal, especially this time of year.

engaging with nature

October 29, 2015

Observations continue in the autumn garden and also a lot of wondering. I wonder…how long these blooms can last? How long will the weather hold or will it stay warm enough for them to develop their seedpods?

butterfly weed – the process has finally begun

I started them from seed and it has been slow growing this year. If needed, I may have to put them in a sunny window somewhere.

in the studio

I did attend the paper making workshop last weekend. There was much to take in and learned much more about fibers and Waitzkin’s approach. She provided a thorough introduction to the topic as well as a glimpse into her studio life. She was funny, energetic and generous.

simple beginnings

beginning simply

After the first day I was exhausted and returned for only part of the second day. Needless to say, I’m grateful for the time and tremendous effort she brought to all of us.

indigo

indigo

We had 2 days of rain again this week, giving the indigo some sustenance, I hope. I’m planning on a November harvest.

texture study - week 3

texture study – week 3

Explorations continue and my students brought samples of older and new work this week for consideration and discussion. The topic was texture in fauna and I feel like I barely had a glimpse of their results – next time….

Heron sketch

heron sketch

The heron has been a subject in my photos for more than a few years now.  There are several that nest in a nearby lake, so they are definitely part of my focus when I walk there.  My intent has been to one day “do something” in shibori involving one or several of them.  So this was a first attempt. It didn’t take long to realize that there is much to learn about it – its form, and then again, how to portray it through texture.  Again, it was a reminder – it’s always practice – and it’s a humbling craft.

the light has shifted

October 9, 2015

The sun is out finally and even in a week’s time the light has shifted. My small raised beds are mostly in shade now. Still, the seeds I planted in the spring are finally beginning to bloom, so I hope they will yet produce some seed.

Milkweed finally beginning to blossom in the autumnal morning light

Milkweed finally beginning to blossom in the autumnal morning light

If protected from frost, there might be a chance for further development along that line. The early cold snaps, in general, don’t always last in this area.

“texture” study

Another “texture” piece – water, fins…it touches on themes in my upcoming class.  It was an experiment and  wonder if I’d chosen a different cloth or perhaps if the vat was a little more “energetic” how different would the results be? The fish was more complicated than anticipated.

Elements of the Season - detail

Elements of the Season – detail

Today, the stitching is complete – one element of the piece recalls the unusual rains we had recently. The stitches made me think of raindrops as I worked.

editing, and re-editing because I couldn't

editing, and re-editing because I couldn’t “save” it – frustration city.

I’m between computers at the moment, making another transition before this old one suddenly crashes. Last night, I was beginning a relearning of GIMP – I haven’t used it for years. It’s sophisticated and challenging. My mind feels a bit rusty.


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