this silk started out white, like winter snow
then it became dark-like midnight
lights and darks, hills and valleys formed
and greens in many shades and hues swept across the land.
recently when i was up north, i gathered a small amount of acorns. i wondered how they would work for a little shibori workshop i might teach next year. here is a page from the notes and swatches journal- (on old silk)
and who knew how good simmering acorns smelled? (jude of course…)
their beauty astounds.
so, a little wondering while i continue packing up for the show.
and just a small collection of indigo and pomegranate dyed bits. something for a small experiment.
for someone wanting to try something new. all on old cloth.
i am figuring out how to dye with these two separately and together. and what kinds of cloth works best.
and everything else. here is a piece of old silk – silk warp and bast weft. this may be the most favorite thing i have ever dyed so far. the silk floats in the jacquard pattern look like spun gold. there’s a bit of it in the fabric collection…but i had to keep a scrap for myself.
There are certain motifs that have always captured my attention. Of course you know the moon is one of these motifs but the other two that captivate me are water and cloud imagery. Who hasn’t laid back and watched the clouds move across the sky, felt the sun come and go across our skin…listened to the waves, a nearby stream, a roaring river or waterfall…seen the moon rise and fall? I like that these motifs are universal and shared across the globe regardless of where or who you are. It reminds me of life’s beauty, and our connectedness to each other. These things give me perspective.
I think this is why these nature based motifs have been given so much regard in design over time and space. Often each motif is imbued with a special meaning or symbology. I enjoy studying all the meanings behind the motifs and the cultures which bestowed these interpretaions.
I recently was very taken with old silk which had these images woven into the design. I purchased a couple of rolls of these silks from second hand shops recently with a few things in mind. First, to study them and then to create something out of them.
Aside from the cloud and water motifs, this one has bamboo, maple leaves and what looks to be cherry blossoms. Sort of covers it all! Originally, this sort of fabric was used for nagajuban -the ankle length under kimono which used the softest and finest silks worn next to the skin. The weight and design complexity of this silk suggests that it was to be used in a nagajuban worn for a very formal occasion. It has a beautiful hand and a lovely drape.
I saw moons in it of course…
I used a piece of this fabric for a nice indigo dyed scarf with diagonal ends and hand stitched hems- ombre dyed on one side. I think I will add an interesting bead to the two points…
I finally completed a little shop update that includes the following items- enjoy! Most items ship free with any other item. Now back to the studio to finish up a couple orders that need to go out asap!
OK- seems like the shop was desperate for a little restocking and reorganizing so here are some links to the recently requested items-
NEW! indigo dyed vintage fabric collections- all vintage fabrics…
more of the vintage whites are in stock:
vintage silk collections are available for pre-order. these will be shipped mid June and will be limited so I am taking pre-orders. (add this to any order in the shop and it will ship free in June)
and the ever popular silk shibori ribbon scrap bags. many of you have asked me to email you when they are available again but honestly- i just don’t have the time to hunt down you all. i’ll give it my best though…
and there will be more 3 way color shibori ribbon packs in a week or so. start thinking color!
that’s it for this Monday- またね！
White. Is it a color? If black is the absence of color (darkness) then is white (light) the combination of all colors in the visible spectrum? As a dyer, this is interesting to me. White is often my canvas when dyeing and dyeing something black takes a whole lot of colors mixed together. Strange.
As a dyer with an eye towards using what is around and available I have collected lots of old cloth that can be dyed. But are they white? Many are what I would call a natural white. They are what they are-ivory, cream, white, eggshell,off-white, antique white, snow white, pearl white, bleached white etc…
Many of you who have taken indigo classes from me recently have received materials kits containing a whole variety of great old fabrics-all natural and of course dyeable in indigo. It’s informative to look at the structure of old fabrics. This cloth that was formally the fabric of people’s lives. Literally- laces, tablecloths, clothing, bed coverings, kitchen towels, even mosquito netting and more. Each type of cloth reveals more about itself when dyed in the vat-it’s thickness, weave, age, and even stains that dye differently from the whole cloth. Next to each other, they can form an amazing array of beautiful blues or whites.
But what if they were left as they are? Left to use in other ways, to stitch together new dreams and aspirations? That is what I see going on in Jude’s new class What If Diaries. Definitely not a craftsy class where everything is laid out for you to make or do according to the plan, but a way to explore much deeper. The class is now sold out but she has others of a similar nature to explore. I like that the cloth is explored more deeply- that students not only connect themselves to the fabrics, the stitches, but that there is always a stream of consciousness floating in the background as a jumping off point to some new or even old idea. It’s kind of like what I imagine the beginning of the universe to be- sort of like a primordial soup of creation.
old battenburg lace- in process
And speaking of creation- last weekend at the JANM (Japanese American National Museum) we had a really grand time. I took a whole silk display and we even reeled silk on the old zakuri. The students were in awe as most had never seen this before. The ingeniousness of the device AND that of the silkworm and it’s cocoon. I don’t think they’ll ever take silk for granted again!
student reeling silk on the old zakuri
And of course we dyed silk- new and old. Itajime was the focus and this was a quick pic of their first pieces of the day. After this, I got too busy to take photos-as usual. Many left class and went straight out to the front desk to sign up for the Aug 31-Sept 1 class.
Saturday, August 31, 201312:00 PM—4:30 PM
Indigo and Shibori Techniques with Shibori GirlIn this 2-day workshop we will focus our intentions on practicing itajime (fold and clamp) shibori on recycled kimono lining silks. Once considered as precious as gold, old silks are being discarded at an alarming rate! Let’s breathe new life into them and improve our understanding of both silk and itajime shibori. Indigo and colorhue dyes will be used in this workshop. Both days: $70 members; $90 non-members, an additional $45 materials fee (cash only) will be collected at the beginning of class, admission is included. RSVP early, 20 students max.