Posts Tagged ‘summer’

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!

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Blue Blazes

August 4, 2016

We’ve had those moments – well, more than a few, where the temps really were up there. I know in some areas of the country it’s been far worse. Today, though, we’ve dipped a bit and it’s truly a respite.

custome work

custom work

It’s helped to have custom work to keep the momentum going (perhaps more for the brain than anything). In spite of the heat, it takes me outside to the garden and the dance there.

the view

the view

I did take a break earlier last month, traveling to Wisconsin to visit family – Bayfield. Their house faces Lake Superior. The daily view, all day long, was enough to refresh both mind and soul.

Yukata mock-up

Yukata mock-up

Recently, someone in my Threads group said something like “we need a kimono” (I’m not saying what for at this stage, just sayin’ at this point)…so, I’ve been giving it some thought. First, a mock-up – I mean, why not?  There are areas in making Japanese garments I find a challenge. So it seems appropriate to just play with the idea…and the above photo documents the beginning of these “thoughts” and explorations.

On another note, I’ve finally updated my Workshops page with more information about the September workshop. If you are interested or have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Otherwise, sign up and join us!

I nearly forgot, “blue blazes”…hotter than blue blazes, folks.  Really.  You walk outside and just dissolve in the humidity.

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so it’s raining

August 6, 2015

Rain has finally moved in to give a little respite from the heat and dry spell. I’ll take the break. I’ve spent most of my days working on something including a custom order which may be nearly complete.

a tunic

a tunic

It has helped to keep things going in the dye studio. Otherwise, I might not venture out, much. It’s also a piece that has helped keep the vat going – ah – and me outdoors, listening to the cicadas and watching for the occasional butterfly.

pureed leaves

pureed leaves

Last time I posted I mentioned “playing” with freshly harvested leaves.
The only conclusion I came to is that I needed more leaves. I had a very small harvest, hence a smattering of the color.

dyeing

dyeing

But, I did walk through Rowland Ricketts’ approach and would do it again, providing my harvest was larger. However that is, the results were sweet and gave another perspective – in palest blue – not my usual.

Chirimen & habotai silk

Chirimen & habotai silk

The scarf is Chirimen or crepe. It was cream and I thought to change it to a robin’s egg blue. It is truly an extremely pale aqua. One day, I may take it further.

It would be remiss not to make some mention of the significance of the day: August 6th – 70th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. I saw Abe give an address last night on NHK. The language was so formal I couldn’t understand it, but I really didn’t need to.

And I can’t find words – sometimes I’m not sure what or how to articulate whatever there is that needs to be said or not. I have a strong connection with that country. It was my childhood home. In that case, feelings run deep. That home culture gave me many things, among them  a love of a certain color. I’m working with it – exploring it. I don’t know what else to do at the moment. It was a gift.

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.

Ice

Ice

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.

vats

vats

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.

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.

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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.

suddenly summer

June 18, 2015

It is seriously summer, already. The heat and humidity have apparently settled in. It has also suddenly become my mindset. Bubble thought: “Let it go…relax…play..”

9019

water of forgetfulness?

Yes, I will. Thank you very much.

8996

It’s work, but I love my work.

So, indigo and I will probably take a playful attitude.  It goes without saying, summer loves indigo and indigo loves summer.

morning's work

morning’s work

Mornings have been the best with the birds and chipmunks for company – sometimes a cicada or two. The color on the line is cooling and my eyes drink it in.

his lordship's curtains

his lordship’s curtains

My son asked for an over dye on curtains he brought home a few months ago.  At this point, it’s whatever works – it’s playtime. As long as there is pattern and indigo.

“feeding” the vat

A small something from the vat – a small gift to it and it gives back. I don’t usually do it on a daily basis, but beginning the day in that vein has appeal. And it’s summertime.

late summer haze

September 4, 2014

As my writings seem to be settling into a  Thursday to Thursday pattern, the week begins on Friday. Rather than a week ending, it’s a beginning. This week began with the opening reception of Matsuri/祭り at the NC Japan Center, where Yoshiko Sumikawa’s gentle but joyful watercolors illustrate aspects of the diverse matsuri (festivals) that take place in Japan throughout the seasons.

Matsuri!

Matsuri!

Typically, though, they are summertime high energy events full of color, music, dancing, food and fireworks. They’re also a reflection of tradition – something I am always attracted to.

3030A

low hanging “kaki’ – tempting the deer?

The rest of the week? It feels like we’re in the dog days and I’ve been looking at what is surviving in these days of high heat and humidity.

the Argentine Sage is abundant

the Argentine Sage is abundant

The delivery date for the upcoming Threads exhibit (see the Events page) is coming soon, so focus has continued to be on the stitch.

it goes where & how it wants

the thread goes where & how it wants

Still enjoying it and the textures it creates.

continuing

continuing

Some threaded guidelines are disappearing as I complete the above. It’s nearly complete – a few more rows – perhaps today. I look forward to seeing it in the gallery.

other scenes

August 7, 2014
Rodin garden

Rodin garden – a welcome

Did someone say “Welcome to my world?”  Maybe… a “dip” in that incredibly refreshing environment was needed – a place that took me to another place, even if it was for a moment. I suspect that’s why it’s there.

Rodin2A

The lush bamboo greens, darting blue dragonflies (and a butterfly) hovering above the pink and salmon blooms, floating on a deep blue black reflecting pool brought some relief from the morning’s heat and humidity.

Garden1B

This week has mostly been devoted to prepping for upcoming workshops in West Jefferson (next week) and tending to some planning for next year. It has felt a bit non-stop, so the museum visit was a welcome break.

Ships in a Stormy Sea off a Coast - Ludholf Backhuysen - circa 1700-1705

Ships in a Stormy Sea off a Coast – Ludholf Backhuysen – circa 1700-1705 (NCMA collection)

A new source of inspiration was the museum library, so made a point of exploring the stacks, then moved on to the galleries where I explored 16th and 17th century painting by the Dutch. That was inspired by a recent book club read, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg by Giles Milton – sometimes challenging because of the vivid and brutally honest descriptions about events, personalities and their actions in the development of those early trade routes, particularly the Dutch & English East India Companies. I learned a good deal, it’s well-written, but more than my imagination needed at times. It doesn’t need saying that all too often history is glossed over or romanticized.  This was not romantic.

an iron trunk also in the NCMA collection

an iron trunk also in the NCMA collection

I’m reading a lot of history these days, following different paths, but it seems to be where the indigo is taking me, on different journeys – herbs, spices, dyes…they have their stories.

W.J.tile1

Next week, as I mentioned earlier, Janine LeBlanc and I will be presenting indigo and shibori in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a few days. I’m looking forward to a different landscape – a different scene.

a small piece of summer

July 31, 2014

For the last 7 years, a small part of my summer has consisted of offering workshops for youth at Artspace. It feels like ‘if it isn’t Artspace, it isn’t summer’ – something like that. This year has been no different, except that the students were a little older (between middle and high school) and all girls. It’s been a delight – a quiet delight which I hope means they were just focused.

Intro. to....

Intro. to….

The goal was simply to introduce students to indigo, its “oblique personality” and to the beauty and intrigue of creating pattern in blue and white.

itajime
I’ve enjoyed seeing their progress as they experiment with the different processes. Rather than give them a specific product to complete, it has been more of an encounter and exploration.

arashi plus

Arashi plus – variations around the technique

I approached it this way simply because they are more “advanced” in age and able to handle the challenges. There have probably been some downsides to this, but on the other hand I’m learning about the realities of teaching an ancient craft to these “high-tech” learners.  In this situation I’m also a student.


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