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Archive for July, 2007

Mood Indigo

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Me and my blue fingers are checking in with some photos of today’s shibori class. I learned a lot about indigo and the Japanese method of shibori. We did several samples: stitching, clamping and scrunching.

Here are photos of my stitching. This method of shibori is very tedious, but you can get some interesting and almost predictable designs. Here are samples of my stitching:


Here is the same piece with the stitches pulled and gathered. I used buttonhole twist for strength.


Here is the other piece. It has screws which I have stitched around and some curved stitching.


Here are some fabrics that are folded and clamped.


Indigo is not fiber reactive. It lays on the surface of the fiber and needs oxidation to work. So you have to dip in the indigo, take it out and fuss with it while the dye turns from green to blue as it oxidizes; this is repeated at least 3 times – more for silk.

Here is some class work hanging on the line to dry.


And here are today’s samples, rinsed, washed, dried and ironed.


Clockwise, here is what I did:

  1. cotton folded and clamped with a two Plexiglas squares that had holes in the center.
  2. dupioni silk triangle fold and clamped with sections of a wooden clothes pin on each side.
  3. cotton shibori stitching
  4. cotton shibori stitching – attempting shapes and stitching around screws
  5. silk chiffon scarf that was wrapped around a 1 1/2 inch wood dowel and scrunched – not tying.
  6. linen damask tablecloth piece folded and clamped with credit cards on each side
  7. dupioni silk folded and clamped with Plexiglas squares

Today, we used synthetic indigo. Tomorrow we are using the natural stuff. I have one piece that I am using a rusted metal to clamp it. It has to dry between dye dips so that the oxidation can cause the rust action.

There are 8 students in the class, with a couple of young women — the rest are in my generation. I love the instructor. She has a great sense of humor and is ever so patient with us.

I am going to prepare an arashi piece for dyeing tomorrow. That is the pole wrapped fabric with string and scrunching.

I made it to Weight Watchers at 5 pm and weighed the same as I did last week in the morning so I am assuming that I lost about 2 pounds, at least.

Puppets on a Stick

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Today, I took Mia to an Art Adventure Day at the Cathedral. We had a great time. She was reluctant to go when I picked her up. A half our in , she proclaimed she did not want to leave and she wanted to come back every day!! We only had 4 kids as four had to drop out at the last minute for a family event. So it was an easy peasy day.

They talked a bit about Chinese culture, especially celebrations. Then, if they didn’t know, we found out what animal year they were born in. It was suggested, but not mandatory that they could design a stick puppet of that animal.

Here is Mia working on her rabbit.



McKenzie decided to do a funky monkey:



Alex made 3-headed snake.


Kate made a dragon and a small mouse.


I made this snake for Milo so that he could join in the fun with Mia.


Here is Alice, our cathedral art director helping the kids. She is such a great teacher and has a real warmth and sense of humor.


Here they are doing an impromptu puppet show:



I have my supplies all packed and I am ready to attend my 5-day class on shibori dyeing. I’ll try to check in with some photos of my work.

The Pause That Refreshes

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Today was a great Monday and the start of a creative week for me. I did some more work on the Winter Bamboo Fence. I have the fabrics glued down and now I need to do some stitching to integrate the piece. I think I will do some hand stitching and some by machine. I wanted to add some red and just now, I decided that I had too much red and so made a final change.


I had to take a break in my studio work because Steph had to take Miles to see the doctor this afternoon. Miss Mia came over to spend the afternoon with me. We started work on a quilt for her American Girl doll, Kirsten. I bought a bed for her for Christmas last year. We were missing one square and Mia said she would like to do some embroidery. She is also learning cursive writing so she is embroidering Kirsten’s name in red. I love this photo of her:



Last week when we went shopping, I bought her a Kathy Kruse German doll. She looks sort of like this one, but she has 4 braids in light brown.


Steph says she takes her every place with her. So while Mia stitched, I made Melissa a nightie. Sorry, no picture. Steph came to retrieve my sewing partner before I could get a photo.

Tomorrow, I am taking Mia to an Art Adventure at our church. We are going to make Chinese puppets and possibly go on an urban letter boxing adventure.

On Wednesday, I start a 5 day shibori class at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts. I am so excited about that class. I am going to have to weigh in at Weight Watchers in the evening. Hope that won’t be too depressing.

The Museum of Contemporary Craft…

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

…opened it’s doors today and I was the first person to walk in. Mr C and I left church around 11:30 am and drove the few blocks to the new location for the Craft PDX Block Party. I couldn’t get a good photo of the building because of all the tents which were housing artisans and craftsmen doing demonstrations. There were not many people around except for those setting up and volunteers.


This is the closest I could get for a photo. The second photo is from the entrance.



The building used to house Daisy Kingdom which sold fabric for over the top little girl’s dresses. They also had great sets of quilting fat quarters and fabric. On the upper level were interesting stuff for sale and beautiful silk and dressy fabric. It is a far cry from the old store, but the bones of the old building are still there.

We were able to have a quickie 15 minute tour of the current exhibit — Craft in America, which includes work from the PBS show of the same name. There were textile pieces by Judith Content, Tim Harding (love, love his work), Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, Wendy Huhn, Jack Lenor Larsen, Michael James, and others. The exhibit covered the gamut of crafts and was very nicely displayed. The show was mainly on the second floor.

The sales gallery is on the first level. It was jam-packed full of stuff. I didn’t recognize the names of any of the fiber artists. Mr C and I both noticed that there were not many northwest artists represented. I do know that when they closed the old museum, they had a new jurying process with a juror from outside the area. One friend, who has always been at the gallery and enjoyed good sales, was not juried in this time. We both felt sad about not seeing the area’s artisans represented.



It was too crowded to get any great photos of the space. Outside there were lots of activities going on. Click photos to see larger.

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You could win a really ugly painted car! Demonstrations of clay work, glass work.

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Weaving, spinning, raku pots to decorate.

When we left, the place was buzzing with activity.


I hope to get back when it is less crowded, and I look forward to the many great exhibits to come. Housed in the same building are two galleries. We buzzed in to the one which features photography. There was some great work.

I spent some time doing some more screen printing and playing with the layout for the winter bamboo fence. Some of you have wondered about the change in the name of our exhibit and the whole idea of Wabi Sabi. Here is the gist of what we were told by the consultant:

She was concerned about our interpretation of the concept in our artwork as it is at once enigmatic but also very stringent in the parameters of what is and what is not Wabi Sabi. She said even most Japanese would be either unwilling or unable to pin down an exact definition and so she suggested that for all our promotional material, we change the wording of the theme to ‘Rustic Elegance’ which is a fair interpretation of the Wabi Sabi concept and make a reference that the artwork is inspired by and pays homage to Wabi Sabi without having to adhere to the strict discipline as to color and subject. That, she said, would not give rise to expectations of what artwork would be displayed as a Japanese person seeing the theme Wabi Sabi would expect to see primarily rustic antiques or items that in some way were made from old distressed materials. She said the Leonard Koren book probably describes it best but I asked her for her description of the term. She said Wabi-shi means ‘impoverished’ or ‘miserable’ and Sabi-shi means ‘lonely’ while Sabi-ta means ‘covered with rust’ (literally). She said that things Wabi Sabi become so after a long time and lack the intention of being made as a piece of artwork. A thing is not made Wabi Sabi, it becomes that over time and usually, the cruder and more imperfect or damaged the item is, the more precious it becomes.

I think it is better this way, but I don’t like the idea of rustic elegance, wither. What does that mean? So, I shall just keep on keeping on and see what gets hung.

Winter in July

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

At the High Fiber Diet meeting last week, while discussing Wabi Sabi, it was brought up that Wabi Sabi encompasses Fall and Winter. After meeting with the Japanese Garden Cultural Coordinator, we have changed our theme to “Rustic Elegance” as she felt it was not possible to use Wabi Sabi as our theme. However, I got this winter thing in my head and I decided that I just have to do a winter bamboo fence piece. I will probably do a fall piece. too.

Today, I made another bamboo screen to use as a back ground. I screened it on hand-dyed cotton with black and silver textile paint.


This piece will be done in greys, black and white with some touches of red. Here is a bamboo fence that I screened on gray organza. I am going to print a black fence on white organza.


Here is the other fence printed on silk with some vintage Japanese fabrics that I am auditioning. I am also painting the bamboo to look aged and white.


We are having strange weather — sort of humid and overcast. I think we are going to have lots of rain tomorrow. Good weather for playing in the studio.