Posts Tagged ‘nature’

simply summer

August 15, 2016

There’s an abundance of sound in my yard these mornings. As the temperatures rise though, it seems to quiet.

Summer sounds

It’s a familiar sound and defines the month of August for me.  I look forward to it every year, but this year the whining seems to be thicker.  Are there more of them?  Is it the heat?  No idea.

mock-up nearly complete

mock-up nearly complete

The mock-up yukata worked up much faster than anticipated.   I was surprised how quickly, considering the entire process was by hand (even the stitching).

The cloth came from a friend’s basement – she was clearing out.  As it was meant as practice…it isn’t full size, only 3 feet in length.  I’m not sure much of it is in correct proportion, but it gave me a chance to learn about overlaps and attaching the collar.

In spite of the fabric unknowns, it took the dye far better than anticipated.  Each piece was manipulated exactly the same way, but the dye responded differently with each one, so it may lack a ‘fine consistency’ but I like the differences.

A second yukata is underway, this time it’s full size, so it will take longer to sew.  I’m looking forward to seeing pattern results once the cloth has been through its manipulations.

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

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.

0240B

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.

abundance of rain

October 2, 2015

It has rained, spit and drizzled for an amazing week and is due to continue for a few more days it looks like.   I’ve often wished for days like this, but this is more than abundant.  However, it’s been a good week for indoor things – like baking, stitching, cleaning clutter…things that need tending to.

4grainbatterbread

a 4 grain batter bread – been quite a while since I made this one

Drying on the line is out for the time being obviously, and I’m currently working with some smaller pieces I hope to show at Pullen a later this month – if time allows.

very small pieces - indoor drying

very small pieces – indoor drying

As there were size specifications, it has meant working up something new.  I also wanted indigo and shibori  to be represented among the other kinds of art and crafts that will be there.  I’ll also be teaching a workshop there at roughly the same time.

Elements of the Season

Elements of the Season – still in progress

The motifs are no surprise, of course – they keep talking to me and I enjoy their conversation.  Through my lens, they speak of the season and more.  I’d hoped to make a few more, but time is short – I need to deliver next week.

And a P.S.: This one’s been on my mind as of late – it’s a way we can all share our abundance (even a small amount) with someone else.

蒸し暑い/Mushiatsui

July 23, 2015

It’s (蒸し暑い・むしあつい)mushiatsui – steamy hot or lets say, muggy. It’s been like that the last few days. Today, though is a thunderstorm type day. It’s keeping me away from the vats and clothesline. I’m also adjusting to not teaching and trying to refocus on past projects. It takes a while.

catching a breeze

catching a breeze

In the meantime, I’m “feeding” the vat with activity, just to keep the spirits happy.

 old embroidered silk scarf

old embroidered silk scarf

Anything will do, as long as there’s cloth in the dye.

playing with pattern

playing with a summer pattern

I’m also keeping an eye on my small indigo plots – not the lush garden I’d dreamed of. The first harvest will be small.

9434

maybe more sunshine with the second growing

It may be too much shade, or the heat (dubious)…I’m puzzled. At least there are some results, not displeasing, but definitely wanting. Next year, a different spot.

9432

She passed through yesterday late afternoon, and again after a downpour this morning.

Other plants, despite nurturing are still struggling and failing due to mildew and similar things. Yet, others are thriving and attracting bees and hummingbirds. I’m holding hope for butterflies, but they have been skimpy in my garden.

PS.  Having said that, later in the early evening, a yellow and black swallowtail sailed by on its way to a neighbor’s garden just across the street.

things hatching

May 8, 2015

They’ve finally hatched!

more than 2 actually

more than 2 actually

Mom didn’t appreciate the photographer messin’ with her kids. I received what sounded like threats.

back phlox bed & indigo

back phlox bed & indigo

The garden keeps expanding. It’s so easy to work in. The phlox has powdery mildew at the moment. I hope I can remedy that soon.

poppy detail

poppy detail

The sun and mild spring temps have been perfect for some explorations – no humidity or mosquitoes.  The activity itself is refreshment, practice and generally bending the mind to work in colors other than ‘that’ exotic blue.

some of those primary colors

some of those primary colors

It feels like play and that’s probably what it is.  A workshop dealing with the same is upcoming at Pullen Arts Center in just few weeks.

Outdoors – it’s the season

April 9, 2015

It’s probably a good thing I document the days in some fashion. Otherwise, I might forget and think I did nothing.

cotton tunics deeply dipped in that only blue

cotton tunics deeply dipped in that only blue

Actually, the days have been full, with dye work, dipping between the raindrops. Fortunately, it has been more sun than drops, until today. It could be next week before this order is complete.

the fat woad that will oon give me an abundance of seeds

the fat woad that will soon give an abundance of seeds

Dye work leads me into my yard, where I seek out new blooms, sprouts and other related discoveries. The weeds are in abundance, the rabbits are already showing interest in some of my new plants and the familiar nest is back on the same shelf in the garage. So far, no inhabitants, but the nest may still be in progress.

on a shelf in my garage among bottles & boxes of dye supplies - made of pine needles, crape myrtle seeds & old leaves - the birds "fussed" at me the other day while I worked at the vat.  Was I intruding?

on a shelf in my garage among bottles & boxes of dye supplies – made of pine needles, crape myrtle seeds & old leaves – the birds “fussed” at me the other day while I worked at the vat. Was I intruding?

I’m raking leaves and old pine needles, weeding, planning beds, starting seeds and adding a few new perennials for added color and  attracting butterflies – just getting started.

Mixed in is continued planning and preparations for upcoming workshops this spring and summer. Then, there are personal explorations, some are serendipitous, responding to the seasons,  and then others are more involved – questions to be resolved, a theme or story…and this is the season.

花見・Hana mi/Flower viewing

March 25, 2015
closing in on Art in Bloom

closing in on Art in Bloom

The NC Museum of Art opened its doors to 花見・Hana mi/Flower Viewing with Art in Bloom last weekend. It was a grand welcome to spring. Read Dana Watson’s description and photos of the event. You’ll see what I mean.

inspired by Aaron Douglas' Harriett Tubman

inspired by Aaron Douglas’ Harriett Tubman

I spent a part of two days walking through the exhibit. It brought a fresh perspective to the collection, seeing pieces I hadn’t seen or remembered from previous visits. More explorations are in order, I suspect.

Lenten Roses

Lenten Roses

Another place for flower viewing was the NC Governor’s Mansion. I visited there with my sister and friends. The gardens there are just getting started, but their raised beds were an inspiration.

raised beds - Governor's mansion

raised beds – Governor’s mansion

It warmed up just enough this week, making it possible to put some small napkin or hankie sized pieces on the line. These are still in process and look forward to seeing the results.

8446A

linen napkins in indigo

There should be some reflection of the season in them.

in a blink

March 12, 2015

In a blink of an eye it feels like spring has arrived. Daffodils are in bloom and my bluebells won’t be far behind. The warm temperatures and sun have made it possible to complete a dye job that has lingered since last month.

enjoying their shape & color

enjoying their shape & color

Daphne survived the ice and cold temps.

Daphne survived the ice and cold temps.

I enjoy each one that comes along, but it seems there was more variation in the fibers in this particular order. There was a tunic in an airy silk/cotton blend, another feather light silk tunic (with ruffles and ties), and a soft rayon top. They took the dye beautifully and had no trouble achieving the depth of blue that was requested. There were more and they were just as delicious.

silk tunic

silk tunic

Each piece had an unexpected richness, it seems. It simply continues to reaffirm the wonder of the dye, its color and the challenges it presents.

over dyed embroidery on a cotton blouse

over dyed embroidery on a cotton blouse

It was a pleasure to finally mail the box of goods off to my customer this morning. I suppose it marks the end of winter work. Now, on to spring. It calls.

There are workshops afoot, continued planning and preparation for the upcoming seasons. There is much to look forward to. I find though, that those spaces between events are equally important – one needs time for stillness, quiet, making it possible for exploration, invention…or maybe just dipping.


%d bloggers like this: