Saturday, January 31, 2009


My last post brought a response from Jeanne that is another side to stillness:

"Indolence is a virtue. It comes from two Latin words, which mean freedom from anxiety or grief. And that is a wholesome state of mind. There are times and seasons when it is even a pious and blessed state of mind. Not to be in a hurry; not to be ambitious or jealous or resentful; not to feel envious of anybody; not to fret about to-day nor worry about to-morrow,--that is the way we ought all to feel at some time in our lives; and that is the kind of indolence in which our brook faithfully encouraged us . . . We toil assiduously to cram something more into those scrap-bags of knowledge which we fondly call our minds. Seldom do we rest tranquil long enough to find out whether there is anything in them already that is of real value,--any native feeling, any original thought, which would like to come out and sun itself for a while in quiet."
Henry Van Dyke (copyright 1912)

Its a really good point, the problem isn't so much the lack of activity but what lies under it.
Frantic thoughts of escape or stillness to see what is reflected in the moment...
My puppy up there looks indolent but at the moment she isn't feeling very good at all. We aren't sure what it is but we do know she is suffering some arthritis pain and there are blood issues too.
Presently she is taking so many pills she rattles when she wags her tail, and I think we spent a mortgage payment on her this month.
I just want her to get better.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A selection of dyes, dark blue on white cotton.

I'm feeling a bit blue myself

My entire month can be summed up in one word:

Inertia (n)

1. a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged

2. physics- a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force

3. resistance to change in some other physical property

OK, I really have done stuff this month, but it has been a struggle and at the moment I feel worn and tired. This makes it very easy to see the glass as 1/2 empty rather than 1/2 full.

Stupid inertia

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sanddollar Pt 2 and 3

I like some of the results from my first try but I want to explore a couple of other ideas before I go back and refine any of them.
I think the essence of the problem is how much detail is enough… too much and I will lose the purity of the form too little and I get a blob.
So for my next attempt I‘ve tried capped forms (aka boshi). These are areas stitched like makiage but instead of wrapping I put plastic over them to block the dye creating a white shape (I hope)
Two variations here:
1 a single stitched/capped shape
2 divided into 5 stitched sections and capped individually
Here they are ready for the dye

And the results

Of the two I like the second better but overall I think the results here sorta fall into the blob category
Finally I’ve tried some stitched versions
One of the things I love about the muse itself are those delicate etched details
Stitched shibori often has that quality
The first is pretty straightforward, I’ve simply stitched and pulled the outline and some of the details.

On the second I ran a running stitch around the shape as well so I could try introducing a second color

These aren't bad but I really miss the whiteness of the sanddollar.
Once again I am reminded that turquoise often has trouble playing nicely with others.
Overall I think I like the divided makiage shape the best
I was able to get some very delicate details in it, and I got pretty good results on the outside line as well as that neat little hole that is such an important part of the overall form of the shell. I will definitely try it again however I will be adjusting the dyes to softer colors. Perhaps a two step process…

Friday, January 16, 2009


Here is the muse
Simple, pure form
delicate details
elegant, clean lines
The question is how can I best capture that using shibori?

My first thought is to try makiage, here I’ve tried three variations on it
From bottom right, clockwise:
1 a single stitched/bound shape
2 dividing the overall shape into 5 sections to mimic the segments of the sand dollar
3 wrapping only at the stitch line to create a bold outline

I like certain aspects of each (they could all be refined and better executed)
doing these has led me to some other ideas for different techniques that might serve better…
I will try them before I decide what is working best

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Last week brought freezing rain and sleet, I took a couple of pictures of the branches encased in ice.

Have I mentioned before that I have a weird obsession with thickets? Dunno why but I am captivated by the visual complexity/texture/tones.

Happily I live here in NE where trees grow like weeds. This time of year I have a lot of them to look at. Usually my attempts to photo them fall short of the mark. They look like a mishmash. I like these two though, the ice blurs the lines of the branches and I've managed to get some depth of field in there.

I took this with my cell phone and I've noticed that it creates its own extra blur when the light is low. It combines with the low res to create a kind of watery look.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kanoko Shibori

I am trying to create a version of kanoko shibori for a possible commission.
I am quite sure that I read somewhere that the term kanoko refers to the spots found on deer… perhaps someone out there in blogland can tell me if that is true or if it is a figment of my imagination.
I haven’t done this type of shibori in a long time mostly because it is so labor intensive. Although it is traditional to use thread binding I am using those teensy rubber bands used on braces. Frankly as cheats go I’m quite sure that this one doesn’t give me much advantage time-wise. Anyone who really knows how to do this could lap me really easily! The only way someone can be fast at this is practice, and lots of it. However the rubber bands do give me a very clear resist and I’m less than confident in my ability to create that with thread.
So off to the races…
Working on cotton sateen I marked the fabric with a 1.5 inch grid.

Then I pulled up very small pinches of fabric at each of the marks and bound it with a rubber band, this is a bit harder than it sounds and one of those activities that make you wish your fingers were much thinner (like Eubie Blake thin)
I really love the way it looks bound up
Having bound it dry, I wet out the fabric (very carefully, those little bands can pop off real easy) and plunked it into an activated dye solution, saying a little prayer to the Dye Gods in the hopes that those teensy little bits of rubber would actually do the trick.
The results are good!

I’ve looked through my reference and this seems to most resemble yokobiki kanoko shibori: Square ring dots on a dark ground.
I like the results and popping all those bitty rubber bands off of the fabric when I washed it was really fun… It seems that dots are all around these days!

Monday, January 5, 2009

From the Quiet Dark Emerges

Happy New Year!
I’m one of those strange people who like this time of year.
These dark quiet days of winter come as a relief to me after the constant bustle of the holidays.
Its not that I hate the holidays as such, I enjoy the visiting, celebrating and eating (a bit too much of that last one) it’s a special time when we get to indulge ourselves in many ways… which is why its so funny that I often find myself feeling as though my life is being hijacked during this time of the year. My time seems even less my own than usual, in spite of having more “time off” than most months. In December it all gets filled up. So many obligations and events often find me putting my goals and desires away for the month. By the end of it all I get to feeling antsy.
Then comes the stillness of January… it suits me, I suppose some of it is my introverted nature, it gives me time to reflect, create and think, I like to use this time to sort, evaluate, reorder, clean and eventually emerge with new ideas and directions.
Many choose to do resolutions at this time I’ve given those up in favor of a word as Christine Kane suggests. This year the word found me a bit early (or wicked late). I played with the idea of taking a new word for the New Year but in the end FIERCE still resonates most clearly for me.
It embodies the qualities I most want to develop.
A certain instinctual wisdom of what is best for me,
Open acceptance of the realities of my situation in life,
Tenacity with clarity,
The ability to protect, defend and nurture,
Freedom of spirit
I’d say that’s more than enough for one year!