Posts Tagged ‘itajime’

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.

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 19, 2012

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

We’ve had some terrific thunderstorms lately. One ferocious one came around 1:30 a.m. that had me visualizing the storm in shibori. I haven’t worked out the process on that imagery yet.

This is much more ordered – the calm after the storm – then again the last day of winter which doesn’t feel one bit like it (80s today).

Anyway, this is a fairly large piece (44′ x 44″), from an old piece of cotton from a friend. I don’t know the history of it, but it was showing age. It seemed a good way to use it.

Hiroshi Ishizuka

November 26, 2010

Indigo blue & black ink

The only explanation I’ve found for Ishizuka is here. I was curious about the technique and translated the accompanying text which is apparently written by the artist.  Definitions were cloudy despite work with dictionaries, so I called in my “resident” translator (son) and his results (thankfully) are what you see here.  At the end I added a few definitions.:

Up to now, I’ve produced works using the technique of itajime-zome.

These works were produced with indigo and ink by placing fabric between gravel and stainless plate, and commercial resin.

Creases are left behind in the cloth, producing quite a different finish from traditional itajime-zome, but there is the sense that clear characteristics of itajime are inherited due to a simplicity that would reject (or eliminate?) traces of the hands.

The installation works are displayed in the center.


A few words of note:

板締め染め – itajimezome – clamp/board resist dyeing

技法 – gihou – technique

砂利 – jyari – gravel

ステンレス板 – sutenresu ita – stainless plate

シワ – shiwa – wrinkle/crease

pattern on pattern on pattern…

November 11, 2010

pattern on pattern on pattern

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

We’ll see how all of this works out. Originally the scarf was pole wrapped (arashi) and dyed in indigo. I’ve had it around for a while, so I thought to change things by doing some itajime (board clamping). I liked some of the results, not all, so decided after seeing some of Harada’s work to push it even further.

The image shows mokume over the arashi. Actually, some areas will be in boushi (capping) as well. I’ll dye it over the weekend in Beaufort and I’ll  document more of the results as I go along.

Otherwise, I’ve spent the day packing up off and on. I still can’t decide what to take, apart from the necessities. I don’t want to over do it, as I have a small car and there are 2 of us doing this together. How much is too much?

March vat on the Ides

March 16, 2010

It just worked out that way…it was an off and on gloomy and slightly chilly day, but warm enough to heat up the vat and hang things on the line.  It was a good day to play around, see how strong the vat was and play with some upcoming spring imagery (for 2nd graders).

I have other approaches in mind – maki-age perhaps, Chinese butterflies (?)…I’m not entirely sure.  Beginning simply, with shapes is a good thing, but this could be too easy or folding differently and using the same shapes…it has potential…we’ll see.  I’ve worked with the age group many times, but the activity is  new (I usually do high school) and I really want to do it.  I especially want to introduce them to indigo and think it will work well in this context due to its immediacy.  I’ll be limited to roughly 45 min. per class as usual,  so we’ll be working quickly – hence the play.  I’ve got a couple of months before that time, but playtime/prep well in advance is always a good thing.  In this case though, the indigo was calling.

Warming up for Indigo

January 29, 2010


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

The only warmth in the outdoor studio today came from the Indigo. Otherwise, it was too cold for this activity. I think I was restless, since we are anticipating a snowstorm this evening.

It was a good way to spend part of the afternoon, at any rate. I only managed a few pieces, but it helped to begin working through some ideas for an upcoming workshop in a Cary high school.

It doesn’t always work

September 18, 2009


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

It started out as a very dark purple (black dye, actually) and it seemed the excess dye would never wash out. When I thought it was, I kept finding the pigment on my hands. That didn’t work, of course, so I discharged it thinking that might help and it did. However, the result, in the end is quite faded. I have a feeling it isn’t due to the washing or bleaching action, but the age of the dye. The pattern seems quite diminished or degraded.

I’m sure I’ll find a context for it, but what I originally had in mind is probably not going to work. I’m not sure.

In the meantime, workshop jikan (time) has shifted, leaving a much more open schedule in this early part of the school year. It was unexpected, but I’m wondering if that’s also something in my favor – more studio time and I’m enjoying that a lot.

I also wanted to add that while things didn’t quite go the way I’d hoped, there’s an element to this technique that I like.  The colors that result can be quite surprising and I like the various “halos” that appear around the original colors.  It’s another kind of magic (although I want to be properly protected – mask, gloves, in the open air, etc.).

Indigo day

September 11, 2009


Originally uploaded by SOFennell

My horoscope this morning indicated that summer isn’t over yet, not by a long shot. I didn’t need to “consult” that aspect of the paper to figure that out. We’d planned this day some time ago, so I hoped for good weather and it did work in our favor. The cicadas were not so strong, but their lament still hung in the air.

We focused as usual on the indigo and what kinds of patterns we could create on the silk by dyeing and then over dyeing, sometimes several times over. I was amazed to see the subtleties and the depth of hue.

We took a light lunch break: salad and bread with a fruity drink topped with a sprig of mint. Then we went back to work. The day passed quickly but I think the results were quite satisfying.

Taking a day like this reinforces (for me) the necessity of not getting too deeply entrenched in my usual production efforts (ie. prepping for schools). I’m finding that a few hours with friends keeps things fresh and engaging. I also gain inspiration and innovative approaches to my daily activity.


August 21, 2009

Sekka det

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

It was a day too humid to breathe. The moisture hung in the air, but we hung out by the indigo dye vat anyway. The cicadas were making their droning sounds in the trees, typical for late August. Later a little rain moved in.

The detail on this piece of cotton is Itajime, board clamping. While the patterning may not reflect authentic Sekka patterning, I used the same technique. The indigo and white remind me of yukata (summer kimono) that are so cooling to wear in the summer heat.

Tomorrow will be another day with indigo, but this time I will take it to Artspace and demonstrate a few aspects of dyeing with it at the family fun fest. たのしいなあ!How much fun!

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