Tag Archives: pleating

Focus?

This has been my daily undoing lately. Trying to focus when chaos swirls around me. After spending over a week now with an unruly computer, I now have it back to limping along so will take this moment to write a quick post. I had to wipe the HD and reinstall the OS and all the data from a backup. SO lots of resetting work and getting things back to where they were. Not sure it’s done yet as the same problem popped back up during the resetting so I’m expecting more computer trouble on the horizon. But in the moment it is working…

All the chaos of the last year leaves me wondering where the path even is. In what direction do I head? What purpose can I serve? Does what I do even matter (some days I do wonder about this!) ? Chaos seems to zap away my creative energy…
I know I’m not the only person experiencing this. I’m in good company.

After supporting myself for so long (over 40 years) I wonder-can I still do it? What if I can’t? What might that look like? With clearly 6-12 months more of COVID related challenges ahead of us, in-person workshops and shows are unlikely for the foreseeable future and even then, it won’t be like turning a switch back on. It will take time to rebuild. The planned 2021 Silk Study Tour to Japan is of course, cancelled. We have hopes for 2022 so I will refocus towards that.

Sometimes, focus is a matter of deciding what you are NOT going to do!

So just while I’m writing this the screen froze again. So clearly still having issues. Back to the shop it goes tomorrow. Let’s see if I can get a couple of things into my shop to help things out a bit before it completely dies off(crossing my fingers on this restart!).
I’ve still been keeping myself busy, though not really sure what I should be making! I’ve been shooting videos for the Daily Dyer on using the pleater and how I create the silk organza I use for the flowerwork. Again, I’m backed up on the videos due to the computer problems but hope to get more of them up in the next day.

In the meantime, I added a couple of flowers to the shop. I really love the white ones. Here, I am using pleated and dyed silk batting for the leaves. I think it adds a nice textural contrast to the organza.

I’ve also been doing a bit of indigo dyeing for a garment I want to make. In doing that, I selected and organized some of my indigo fabrics into project packs and added them to the shop. It’s been a while since I put these back into the shop. They are assortments of various silks and cottons dyed in varying shades of indigo. There are also a few packs of solid indigo cotton yardage dyed in the three shades using the fermentation vat.


On a side note, I watched some of the Yoshiko Wada shibori lecture videos and enjoyed seeing the work of the featured shibori artists there. I was reminded that I am really more of a commercial shibori craftsperson. Whenever I am creating, it is with an eye towards selling my work. It needs to be this way for me. So when I am experimenting with an idea, I am always wondering how I can use it in a commercial way. Can I improve the process to a point where it satisfies both my aesthetic goal as well as be manageable in the marketplace. I also realize that in the best tradition of Arimatsu shibori, shibori was a way to create a commercial product for a living! This is part of the shibori challenge for me. While beauty and quality craftsmanship is part of the desired outcome, utility remains key and with a eye towards the commercial aspect. And within that utility was a need to sell the work for a fair price for the handwork. I always admire the Japanese ability to innovate the process with this in mind. While much shibori rises to the level of art now, most who are making shibori these days do so as art or as a hobby, what I do is quite different- I made it my profession. I enjoy the challenge of that.

Another interesting Covid related activity- crafting zooms. A group of gals in California have been getting together to make up some of the items for which I offer free instructions. They order the kit, then make the item during their social zoom, screen sharing my video instructions! They have time to check in with each other while hand stitching their kits and helping each other out if needed. Each month they pick a different project. Great idea! If your group wants to do something similar and you want to invite me to pop into your zoom to answer any questions, let me know!

When my focus starts to fade, I take a trip out to the garden and see what is happening there. RIght now the most inspiring thing is the feathery cassia (Senna artemisioides) whose scent is at its peak. It has a little spicy scent -some days it can remind me of Necco wafers-remember those? The clouded sulfur butterflies flit all around and are laying their eggs there. I can always count on Nature to set me straight.

I really wish I could share the scent!
did you notice the butterfly at the top?

PHEW! Made it through the post without another freezing episode!

in studio arashi shibori workshop

Lines, pleats, patterns, texture-this is arashi shibori now.

Many have been asking for this- an in studio workshop focusing on arashi shibori technique-

here it is!  (click the link to sign up and for more info…)

limited to 4 only

2 days

Nov 30 -Dec 1, 2013

arashi on silk gauze

double arashi detail

confessions of a dyer

(note** i changed the publish date on this post because Ann had her husband wrap this up for christmas- she won’t see it until then so didn’t want to spoil the surprise!)

yes, i have a confession to make. but before i do i have to set up the story a bit.

one of the things i really like to do is dye a scarf for a custom order. it gives me a chance to see color through someone else’s eyes and dye a color combination that i might not think of doing myself. usually i like the result and always end up learning something new about color. it usually starts out with an email describing the desired color combo like this:

“I’m a purple/lilac/blue/green person.”

so we go from there. and it helps if i have met the person face to face and in this case i had. (in fact, she came along to Japan with us and brought her husband who was delightful and a good sport as well -there were 15 women and just him and our guide Hirata san).

i received the email just a couple of weeks shy of the houston show where we would meet up in hopes of getting together as well as adding this scarf to her wardrobe.

admittedly, i was rushing things but got a piece done in the requested colors. it was lovely but somehow, it didn’t feel quite right. in the rushing i didn’t feel that i had captured her spirit. i have known Ann for a while-since 2008 when she discovered my silk shibori and from the Japan trip and knew her to be playful and light with a touch of pixie in her (no mystery as to why she is a dollmaker). being no time for a “do-over” i packed it up and off to houston we went.

expecting to see her at the preview night, i had her scarf out but tucked back in the display. it was a busy sales night and while i was attending to another customer someone found the scarf i had made for Ann. this gal was looking several over and i decided to just let it play out. surely she would choose another? in the end, she came up with 3 scarves chosen as gifts for very special friends who had helped her through some tough times this past year. and yes, one of them was Ann’s scarf. having made the mistake of having it out i was now faced with figuring out what to do for Ann. i still had many nice scarves available, just not one made with her in mind. some small part of me was saying “now you have the opportunity to make Ann “her” scarf- when you get back and can better focus.”

again, i decided to just let things play themselves out. perhaps another one might catch Ann’s favor when she saw them in person…or she would grant me the extra time to make one more.

it wasn’t until late the next day that Ann came to the booth to visit and see if i had been able to get one made up for her. i told her it had been difficult, to look over what was on hand and if she didn’t see one that spoke to her we would settle on a colorway and have one made for her when i got back to the studio. she found a silk scrap pack that had the colors in it that she wanted and we used that as the guide. interestingly, it was quite different from the one that i had originally made.

so this time i was able to really focus on Ann as i base dyed her scarf a pale lavender, as i ironed, folded, and polewrapped it, as i lowered it into the discharge bath and finally as i painted on the overdyes. my mind went to the times we had shared in Japan, to her husband Doug who graciously took so many photos and shared them with us, to the dolls she lovingly makes. i also loved the name she chose for her business-Ann’s Inner Child. (i don’t think she has kept her website but if she sends me a link i will share it here later.)

this is the way i like to do custom work- with intention and space to conjure up the essence of the person as i work on the piece. many of these are done for special occasions or events, as special gifts for someone. there is a desire to integrate what i can gather about that person as i am making.

so in the end, it all worked out and her scarf is on the way. i am writing this ahead of her receiving it so won’t publish it until she opens it as there is a little surprise in there as well. hate to ruin the moment you know…

ann's inner child

(you can order one for yourself or another here)
there is also the gift certificate option…