Tag Archives: porcelain

indigo wives tales

It was quite a long time ago (now more than 30 years) that i was in school as a ceramics major listening to the “rules” of what you can and can’t do in terms of molding, casting, drying, glazing, and firing porcelain and other clay bodies. Having turned my mind to porcelain exclusively, and being young and generally dumb but with a desire to please, I listened intently to all the do’s and don’ts. Of course, when it came to the don’ts or the can’ts I always wanted to know WHY. When I started my own porcelain business and had to look at things from a production point of view I started testing out all these theories in real time. After all, if I wanted my company to stay in business I needed to look at the production costs and frankly, some of these “rules” needed breaking in order to do that. Through experimenting and practice i found that there were quite a few things that could be thrown right out the window! Other things just needed tempering- an adjustment here and a tweaking there to ensure a successful end result. Often when people “in the know” found out how I was doing things they were surprised and even wondered if I was intentionally spreading misinformation to throw off any copyists. I never did major in rule following.

Fast forward to 30 years later when I decided to “change majors”…

What does any of this have to do with indigo you wonder? Well, when I started out on this shibori journey about 4 years ago, I didn’t even know what indigo was so you might say I was a clean slate. No preconceptions, no lists of do’s and don’ts. I even took a shibori workshop where we did a little indigo dyeing. (the workshop was terrible- I didn’t even go back to day 2- it was that bad. no names- the shop is long out of biz now) at the time I wasn’t interested in indigo really-it was the shibori that I was after.

The exposure to indigo in that moment surely didn’t inspire me to do any myself and it wasn’t until about 2 years ago that my curiosity was again aroused. So, I started reading, studying, and taking it all in. When I had compiled the list of do’s and don’ts based on all this research and hearsay, I ordered supplies and started in. Much like the experience with porcelain, I have separated out the facts from the wives tales, the wisdom from the ignorance. In my daily practice with indigo, I have learned its ins and outs-its tenor and its temperament- and all its moody blues. I have come up with a few unique techniques that have been said can’t be done. These are things that aren’t discovered through casual acquaintance with indigo- only with ardent and steadfast participation with its moody blues. Today, my original vat is 2 years old and a new one is around 1.5 months old.

I have been asked many times if, when and where I am doing an indigo workshop. I haven’t done one up to now for a variety of reasons. First, I don’t think I was ready or knowledgeable enough to give one until now. And then there is the matter of time. Not mine- the indigos time. It takes time. It’s also messy. I can’t really envision doing it justice in a 3-6 hour workshop at a show or anywhere else other than my own studio for that matter. A two day workshop here will only scratch the surface but can lead one to discover your own path in regards to indigo. So I am here to remind you that I am offering a 2 day indigo workshop here in my studio, Friday May 28th and Saturday May 29th. There is still room for 2 more and I am going to set a cut-off date of May 15th.

It will go on regardless of the number of participants (max # of 4). Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get right back to you.

So for now- it’s back to the vat!

intermission #2 …part 2

OK. So to see where this came from, go back to the last post.

-another sample of the marbled glazes we printed onto the molds before slip casting with porcelain.

and several samples of foam/dye marbeling on silk broadcloth using Colorhue dyes:



So, now back to polewrapping!
The start date for the next Joggles class for silk shibori flower making has been pushed back to Nov. 27. Still time to sign up and order ribbon! I’ll be posting several new tutorials and hopefully even some video to those signed up in addition to the regular stuff we will cover in the class (3 flower designs).

intermission # 2 …not shibori

glaze close up

Originally uploaded by glennisd

Well, still no post part two yet- busy with stuff and sorts but took myself on a little side trip of distraction with some foam dyeing/printing on silk.

Once upon a time, many many years ago in a little porcelain studio in Long Beach CA we produced a line of ware that was cast and glazed using a special process where we “printed” the specially made molds with a specially formulated glaze. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say that it was a patented process which produced some really lovely items which we sold to a number of nice department stores such as Robinson’s and Bullock’s, Geary’s and the like (all of whom are now gone due to the merging and death of department stores…blah, blah..)

ANYWAY……fast forward to last year when I purchased some EZScreenPrint sheets for the kids to make some custom band shirts to sell at their concerts and gigs (we call them “merch”). It involved creating the screen design and mixing dye with shaving cream and pulling it across the screen to print the design on the fabric.

HENCE, I was left with cans of shaving cream and of course some of the Colorhue dyes I have around and I began to think about putting the two together.

I had heard mention of “foam dyeing” and scouted around online to see what I could find. Not too much really. Dharma has some instructions for MX dyes, Jupiter’s Things has a site with some pieces done in this technique but not too much info.

Giving myself a few hours to goof off in the studio and take a break from all the pole wrapping, I came up with some techniques to produce something reminiscent of those porcelain glaze designs of yore…

I am posting this through my flickr site as I had this image stored there and could easily find it so now I will go and download the images from my camera of the foam printing and be right back with post # 2 in this series…….

(you can click the photo and it will take you to a set of some of my porcelain work from my previous incarnation..)

Houston Quilt Festival




I’ve been getting things ready for the show in Houston and snapped a couple of photos of some of the buttons before they got wrapped and packed up. It’s good to look at them again and I find that I still like them- I’m just done with the making of them! They are priced to sell quickly so if you get to Houston and want a few, stop by booth 751 & 753 where there will be a bit of a frenzy over them. I always get a kick out of watching people pick out their buttons- they have such a good time doing it! I’ve had a little helper a couple days a week recently in preparation and she’s made preparing and sorting the buttons a breeze. Rides her bike over after school for a couple of hours and I ride back home with her when we’re done. Next week I’ll let her do a little dyeing when we’re closer to being done with show preparation.

Monday was our first day in the 4th grade classroom for the year and we worked with pencil, black crayon, and charcoal on newsprint just practicing what can be done with a line and three simple materials. Thin, thick, straight, curved, shaded…..
Charcoal was by far the favorite- kids love messy and they get far too few opportunities to make a mess and get dirty. I just want to let them explore art even if it’s only 50 minutes once a week…….
Snapped this pic at the end during clean-up- 30+ kids and charcoal doesn’t leave much time for photography!