Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shibori Artists group on Facebook

Shibori Artists group on Facebook

In an effort to connect with other artists interested in shibori, I started a group on Facebook. It is growing slowly but surely, and I am meeting some really nice people that share my interest in shibori. I hope that as the group grows, we can get some dynamic discussions going. I love seeing their work and how they are using shibori in different ways.

Friday, June 26, 2009

HAORI from the Taisho Period (1920 ish?)

I was able to win the bidding for this haori from Japan on e-bay. It is quite lovely with the contrast of the indigo and yellow and white of the silk. I am not quite sure what the yellow dye is. I am hoping that I can get Rowland to look at it sometime this summer and give me his valued opinion. The roses remind me of those of Charles Rennie Mackintosh as can be seen on the USA storefront for his designs. The lines of the roses are created with ori nui stitching--the cloth is folded on the line and running stitches through both layers of the cloth are placed close to the folded edge. Ori Nui creates a pattern that resembles a row of teeth. The roses centers are, I believe, ne-maki or thread resisted rings. In ne-maki, a point of fabric is drawn up on a special tool and a ring of thread is knotted over the point of fabric. The leaves of the roses are created by maki-age where the outlines are stitched, drawn up tight and then the cloth inside the lines is pleated and wrapped with thread. Kumo or spider web shibori was used to create the yellow shapes. The center is drawn up and the cloth is carefully pleated around that point and then wrapped with thread.

I really love this piece and I am proud to be able to have it in my collection.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

maurices Project Handbag Finalist: Cathy Bullington

maurices Project Handbag Finalist: Cathy Bullington

Hey! They still have this posted. Okay that was self-indulgent of me wasn't it?

Mokume Shibori Tutorial

Another one from my archives on my computer! Let's see if I can embed this correctly....

I made this video (really more of a slide show) for my students when I was trying to teach them shibori. I have arthriitis starting in my hands, and to save my hands from the endless demos, I put this together so they could just hit play anytime they needed to see the process again. Hopefully, others will find it helpful! I now have a video camera thanks to Inspiration software and the lesson plan I wrote. I hope to have my students help me make a video of several different types of shibori this coming school year.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kimono fabric bolts arrived!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOO ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my fabric from Japan arrived! It is so lovely--even better than the pictures the seller on e-bay had. Silk really needs to be seen in person to appreciate how it glows! I am not up to making a full size kimono yet so I am thinking of lots of lovely projects to do as practice with this fabric.

Here are pics of the silk pongee bolt---

And the silk rinzu pattern bolt---

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Miniature Kimonos

More of the miniature kimonos from my college years. I got two rolls of kimono fabric from Japan today. Ebay is great! The fabric is beautiful and I will get some photos posted. I think the one has a small enough pattern woven into it that I can use it for a miniature kimono. I want to try my hand at some miniature shibori for a miniature kimono.

The inside of this mini kimono is creating by spraying bleach on dry dyed fabric.(not recommended for indoors!)

The back and front show the tie dyed fabric is embroidered with french knots and couching stitches. I called this one "Earth" because it had a topographical feel.

This little kimono was called "Africa" and the zebra-like pattern was created by a glue print. Elmer's glue was traced onto cardboard in the pattern, allowed to dry and then printed with silkscreen ink on the fabric. The inside was tie dyed and then the outlines of the pattern were traced with Rapidograph pen--inspired by the sumi ink lines Kubota added to some of his kimono.
"Earth" and "Africa" both made it into a juried exhbit at Chicago's Textile Arts Centre. Yoshiko Wada was the curator/judge of "Kimono Show" and I got to meet her at the opening! That was really exciting as was meeting Akemi Nakano Cohn who's work received top honor. My two little kimonos got to reside in the window at the TAC and it was quite an honor to be there even if they had just scraped by getting accepted into the show.

Another blast from the past...

I found some photos of the miniature kimonos I made when playing around with the ideas from Itchiku Kubota. They are not very sophisticated, but they show thoughts starting to take form. I found John Marshall's book "Make Your Own Japanese Clothes" and read up on the layout of a kimono, how to measure to make one, and the planning of patterns so they line up at side seams. Again, a student on a budget, not sure how they dye the fabric to create patterns--so I experimented with stuff I had on hand and went really small--like 8 inches tall. I even found my patterns I drew out and the instructions I made. I think it will be worth revisiting now that I have learned some shibori and rice paste resist techniques to see how I have (hopefully) matured. I think of the kimono as a shaped canvas--beautiful because of its shape and line, but a wonderful canvas for my imagination.

So, without further rambling from my brain, here are those early works:

The kimono above was made by dripping colored india ink on fabric and the lining was made by tie dyeing and sprinkling dry rit dye onto wet cloth. Pretty primitive but again it was stuff I had on hand. If I am remembering correctly, the fabric is part of a lot of old cotton sheets my grandma was going to throw away and I was using them for muslins as I was trying to learn to draft patterns. More little kimonos to come...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Another influence...

Another book I found in the bargain bin that freshman year of college ($5) was "The Art of Zandra Rhodes." She is like a modern day geisha! I don't think my parents were very happy when I dyed my hair black with purple and white streaks and the occasional hot pink. Or when I wore only black and white clothes, makeup and jewelry so that my art was my color. Ahhh, the fun of being an art student. When I am an old lady and my hair is silver I shall dye it hot pink again. It is just too harsh to bleach dark hair down so you can dye it a color. And it is kind of hard to pull that look off in a conservative community. But when I am old and a little crazy heh?

Zandra's textiles are amazing in how she designs her prints to use as printed and to be cut up and rearranged. The drape of her clothes are gorgeous and kimono-like. She has started doing purses with her signature prints as well. I better start saving up my pennies!

I love the mix of textures she creates with her designs as well as the play of colors.

Why Japanese textiles?

I frequently get asked where my fascination with Japanese textiles came from. I was not taught much about Asian art in school--we focused mainly on European art movements when we did have any art history and the social studies classes never taught much about Asia either. When I went to IU to study to be an art teacher, even though it was a mere 45 minutes north of my hometown, it was like going to a whole new world. The libraries there became my favorite place to hang out and the bookstores had those great bargain bins!

It was in one of the bargain bins my freshman year (1982--you do the math how long ago that was) that I found the book that started this journey towards learning what I could about Japanese textiles. "Opulence The Kimonos and Robes of Itchiku Kubota" was in the bargain bin for $15.00.

Not a lot by today's standards, but for a struggling college student on a budget, it was a bit of a stretch. I had to have it though as I looked through the pages and fell in love the beauty of the kimonos. I was filled with awe at how they could create such beauty on cloth. This began my journey to learn how and it is an ongoing one.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Well what was supposed to be a few days in bed has stretched out to five and counting. Since Dr. Greene found a little more to do once he got in there my recovery is taking a little longer. But I have been sitting up for about a half hour now before getting tired. So, progress!!! I hope to get things pulled from the archives of my computer to start posting while I am in this lag time. It will be good to go back over some old work and look for new ideas from it. But for now it is back to bed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Arrowmont continued

Now back to Arrowmont! We ran into some hurdles with the weather mid-week. Several heavy rainstorms pushed us back to working inside instead of outdoors as originally planned. We then had problems getting things to dry so we could keep putting new coats of dye on. With the natural dyes, the dyes are painted on in many layers allowing them and the rice paste to dry between each layer. If you don't let it dry, the rice paste can start to break down and you will lose the crispness of the edges or dye can seep under. Also, the natural dyes need to set into the cloth and then be ready to receive more dye. I wish I had taken more photos of each step, but you get so caught up in the process and with talking to the other artists that it is easy to forget. I hope to try katazome with my students this year and will have to document better as we go through the process.

Funky Friday

Well this week certainly did not turn out as planned. A little outpatient surgery on Tuesday has had me off my feet since then. Today is the first day I could sit for a while and I am not having to use as much of the pain meds. Lesson learned here is to take better care of myself even when I am busy! The no TV in the bedroom rule has been a good one that my hubby agreed upon when we married, but this week I was missing it. I wanted so bad to watch some news and see what is happening in the world and watch a movie or two. I hauled my laptop in and watched "Memoirs of a Geisha" again and tomorrow I will watch it again with the commentary. It is a beautiful film though I think the story had a few holes--I really should read the book and compare them. Enough rambling--time to get some more posted from Arrowmont, although a bit belated.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Back from Arrowmont, did not get anything posted those last days as they were so intense battling humidity trying to get things dry! Lots of aiming of fans and hair dryers on our work. The great part is that we had a wonderful group of people and all were kind about sharing and helping each other out. I hope to get more pics posted from the end of my Arrowmont adventure in the next few days as well as start on finding some sources for supplies for katazome to list in my links. A little out-patient surgery will keep me in bed for a day or two so I should have some time to spend on my laptop at last!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Arrowmont Day Three!

More stencils! I really like the paper the Japanese use for their stencils. It cuts so smooth and crisp without too much effort and really holds up well to abuse. I want to experiment with using my stencils with thickened dye and other resists methods later this summer.

We got started on some longer pieces that are stretched after pasting with the rice paste. Shinshi are used to keep the fabric stretched while applying the layers of dye and mordant so that it goes on more evenly and dries more evenly. It is really a comfortable way to work on the fabric! I think it would also be awesome for painting techniques.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Arrowmont Day 2

Tuesday at Arrowmont was filled with pasting and learning about cutting our stencils correctly and getting those pasted up. More layers of dye and mordant went onto the pieces we started on day one. We used cudzu, persimmon and black walnut with a choice of mordants to shift the colors. It was really different for me to work with subtle colors! I love Arrowmont because you have opportunities to work outside your comfort zone in a setting where it is comoftable. We finally steamed our projects late in the evening and then took off to see the lightning bugs in the state park that light up in sync to make a beautiful wave pattern.

Monday, June 08, 2009


Well now, we are here at Arrowmont and very busy getting started working on our projects. I am seeing that my blog does not look right on the computers here, so that means it does not look right on other peoples computers. More learning curve on doing custom backgrounds for the blog--but that will have to wait until I get back from Tennessee.

Last night we made our first batch of rice paste, and went over a lot of great information. Our instructor Rowland Ricketts is awesome.

Today we are gathering plants to use for our dye baths and learning to use a cone to apply the rice paste in a technique called tsutsugaki. Tomorrow we are going to learn how to make stencils in the traditional style.

Back to work!

Friday, June 05, 2009


Okay, got the background centered and staying in place. Now to fix the side columns, and give them a text box with a background color so they show up. And I need to tweak my text colors. I think those are tasks for tomorrow as I need to finish packing for Arrowmont!

Learning Curve!

Okay so my first attempt at a custom background is not working yet. I need to do some tweaking still, but I am making progress now. Hey at least it showed up! LOL

Adding a background