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Archive for July, 2008

I Love Tsutsugaki

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

What, you say? More about that later. First things first. Breakfast at Coupe de Villa appears mysteriously on our porch every morning at about 7:30. Here is today’s offering — Charlotte’s version of the egg McMuffin.

After arriving at the Arts Center, I added a teal background to my second leaf piece. I tried to mix up a light shade, but as you can see, it was a little dark. Still, I am much happier with this piece. It is done on shantung organza.

I also stenciled the next two layers for the pomegranates.

For the large stencil, I stamped with a sponge around the edges, using a turkey red. In the centers, I sponged lighter shades of raspberry and raspberry mixed with poppy red.

Then, Akemi demonstrated the tsutsugaki. This is a tsutsu, a cone made from traditional Japanese stencil paper. It is soaked in water and a metal tip is inserted.

Then it is filled with color rice paste and used like a cake decorating tube.

I made these aspen trees with a tsutsu. I then stamped the trees with light gray.

The next step was to cover the trees with uncolored paste so that I can preserve the white as part of the tree trunks. Then I was able to stamp the remaining background without adding color to the trees. I goofed and used the potato resist on one of the trees. Tomorrow morning I will add a background piece and steam this. I can’t wait to see the result. This is the way I love to work!! No more fancy stencil cutting for me!!

Here are the pomegranates after steaming and washing. The first set are on silk noil.

These two panels were done together with organza on top and habotai underneath. I love how they look hanging together.

After class, we all went out for dinner at the new Thai restaurant. We had a great time and too much food.

We then walked to the home of Lisa who works for the Art Center, for dessert. Here is Akemi with camera in hand.

Here she is again, in Lisa’s beautiful garden

Oops! I forgot to post this. Here is the community stamping piece with a black background.

Boo hoo. Tomorrow is our last day. You can see all the photos that I took today on my Flickr Coupeville set.

Doing the Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Today, we mixed up potato paste for out background. It is a mixture of dehydrated mashed potatoes and rice flour. Akemi uses the potato mixture because it is cheaper and a lot of paste is used for the background.

Let me stop here and say that this technique requires a lot of left brain work — and those who know me at all can understand that this can be a bit frustrating for me. You start with the top layer and work back and it is just not an intuitive way of working — at least for me. It has caused me to stop and think more about what I am doing.

I used grasshopper green for my background. To prove that I am not proud, I am going to show you my first piece. I used mochachino for the leaf which kind of blends with the green so you do not see  much detail.

I started work on another stencil. I wanted to do a cut pomegranate. Here are my stencils which will become the pomegranate. Yes, I am cutting each little seed.

Akemi showed us how to stamp with found objects using the color rice paste. We are doing a community piece which will be cut up to share. We will do a black background on it.

I forgot to take a photo after it was all stamped. It is going to be cool.

With Akemi’s urging, I am doing another piece with the leaf stencil. I used leaf green for the veins and grasshopper green for the leaf shape.

I stamped with a sponge and a piece of styrofoam, using mustard and brick red. I am loving this. I can’t decide what to use for the background color — maybe a pale blue.

While we were eating lunch, these Japanese quilters showed up and were surprised to find Akemi there teaching a class. They have quilts in a show at the La Connor and were here to teach classes in Sashiko.

I have done my first layer for the pomegranates. I am using silk noil and silk organza.

Here is Judy with her gorgeous chiffon scarf. She had a much better first result.

And here is all of the work from the first day. One caveat here, the rest of the class have all worked with stencils on silk. Almost all have had classed with Betsy Sterling Benjamin, Karen Miller or John Marshall. So, I am the amateur!! That is my story and I am sticking to it. (Click to see a better view.)

After class, we came back to our suite. While I was on the phone with Mr C, Judy went outside to look down at the cove and saw a Bald Eagle in a tree so close, it was unbelievable. Good news – I came out in time to see him. Bad news – neither of us had a camera.

We walked down to Front Street for dinner at Toby’s Tavern — a good old boys hang out. I took this nature photo of the day on our walk:

We shared a pound of Penn Cove mussels and a plate of fish and chips.

Here are our dinner dates:

This place had enough foreign currency to cancel our national debt to China.

I gotta say that Judy is a great companion. We are having a lot of laughs as we share the same sense of humor.

Coupeville, Ahhh!

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Coupeville is a very serene, peaceful and beautiful spot. The weather is just about perfect — high 60’s, warm sunshine, low humidity. The workshop with Akemi Nakano Cohn is the perfect complement to this place. She is a warm, thoughtful and deliberate teacher who creates a zen-like atmosphere. We are all feeling so relaxed and at peace under her tutelage.

Here are some photos of the workshop space, which is a bright and airy room.

Our first job was to learn how to mix the rice paste, which is a combination of sweet rice flour and rice bran and water. After it is well mixed, it is formed into small doughnut shapes and wrapped in cloth to be steamed.

After it comes out of the steamer it needs to be stirred 100 times. We all took turns. Here is Judy pouring the paste into a bowl

Here it is ready to use.

Next we learned about mixing the acid dyes. I have not worked with acid dyes before.

When the dye is mixed, it is added to a premeasured amount of rice paste. As we mix each color, we are spreading the rice paste on a gridded piece of silk, which will be cut up for us to take home as a sample of the different colors.

We next learned how to cut stencils, which was an exercise in frustration for me, despite the zen atmosphere. We cut two stencils, based on leaves that we had picked during the lunch break. Here are my stencils and the paste printing that I did. I had a terrible time with the paste seeping under my stencil. I got better as I practiced.

Here is my second stencil which was printed over the first. Tomorrow, I will add the background.

Despite the mess I made, I am still quite excited about the possibilities with color rice paste. We saw samples of her work that were not from stencils. I think I will do better with the stamping and scraping!!

After class, Judy and I walked down to the wharf along the water. Here are some sights:

Judy had leftovers from dinner last night and I picked up something and we ate here in the suite. Look at the view as the sun was setting.

You can see additional sights on my Coupeville Flickr site.

We are in Coupeville

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

I met Judy at the Seattle airport. I didn’t have much traffic until I got to Tacoma and then it was creepy crawling all the way to the airport. I had about 15 minutes to spare before Judy got off the plane. We recognized each other right away.

We drove up I-5 through Seattle to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island.

Here is Judy photographing the view. It was very windy.

I think this is Mt. Olympus from the ferry.

We drove about 25 miles from the ferry to Coupeville and found our delightful home for the week. We are right on Penn Cove, famous for it’s mussels. In fact we had many with our dinner. We shared an appetizer of mussels and then we had this fabulous pesto encrusted halibut on mussel risotto. Oh my goodness, yum!

Judy and i have been blogging and e-mailing for quite awhile. We are now talking and talking. We have so much in common. I am so excited because she brought me one of her Complexitees. It is gorgeous. I can’t wait to wear it. I will post a photo later. We are quite tired from our day and excited about our workshop tomorrow.


Friday, July 18th, 2008

Sometimes, I get to the end of a day, and I think I have not accomplished much of anything. I try to think back over the day — what did I do? Today, was one of those days. After breakfast, coffee, the newspaper and some blog reading, I prepared Indigo Construction for the trip to the APNQ show. I had a sleeve, but not the legal type of label. Once the label was done, I had to cover it with muslin for the judging – ugh – I don’t like to have my work picked apart by judges. I then prepared it for the FedEx shipping tube, printed out the shipping label and Mr C took it off to the shipping store.

I also washed all my silk fabric and hung it to air dry. This is all going to Coupeville with me. There is organza, habotai, charmeuse, peau de soie and noil. I also have some charmeuse and chiffon scarves.

After a nice walk with Maggie and lunch, I worked a bit on my Illumination challenge for the 12 X 12 group. Here is a sneak peak.

Then it was off to do some shopping for supplies for the trip and some bread and peaches for family dinner tonight. M & M were at day camp this week and I missed my day with them. They had a wonderful time in the great out-of -doors. They didn’t want it to end. He had wild berry juice on his cheeks. I wanted to photograph him. This is what I got:

We had a nice dinner of grilled chicken (marinated in zin, olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic and thyme), roasted new potatoes, grilled zucchini, caprese salad with heirlooms tomatoes, bread and ice cream with peaches and balsamic syrup. There was a nice bottle of Alderbrook zin as an accompaniment.

Now, we are watching Sweeney Todd — a bloody good movie! I love the music, anyway. I can watch Johnny Depp do just about anything. Speaking of movies, we saw Wall-E the other night and loved it.

So, I guess that I did accomplish some things today. I leave you with the lovely table of Mediterranean barley salad that Terry served us yesterday at the STASH meeting. Delicious.