Thursday, April 30, 2009


Still finding moments to stitch the metallic decorative stitch on the haori. This will eventually be the neck band. I wish the shibori was more centered on this piece of fabric.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

roses to come

So there just isn't much to show (yet again) artwise...

so here is a picture of my newest garden addition

I found the cage thingy (the French name escapes me at the moment)

at Ocean State Job Lot (awesome local cheap store) for 12.00!

and had the pot in the garage

and planted in it are clematis root stock (dark pink) and a climbing rose (Josephs Coat) yellow/peach/pink blooms.

So far I have a prickly twig but the twig has a couple of healthy looking leaves so fingers are crossed.

I remember a couple of years ago White Flower Farm's catalog had a beautiful picture of a rose/clematis combo... so I decided to give it a try. Besides I get such a kick out of the Monty Python Roses, I'd love to have some more.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dog days of...April?

Dog days of...April?
Originally uploaded by alsokaizen

It was really hot here today 90 degrees... Its still April!
Blogger is giving me trouble tonight so if this uploads I'm gonna go sew. if not well not sure what I will do then...

Monday, April 27, 2009


These azaleas are nearly ready to pop!

No art to share tonight

Its 9:00 at night and I finally finished the graphic project and sent it off for final approval (or final revisions if necessary)... I know I've been going on about it. It has been troublesome, same problem they all have, too many words not enough space.

Now its time to celebrate with a Corona!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy (Belated) Earth Day

Have I mentioned that I love the area I live in? It is a street that wraps around a spring fed lake. There is plenty of woods around our house (something incredibly important to me). My neighbors range from young families to retirees. They are nice people.

However (you knew it was coming) I HATE the litter.

My mom raised me to never litter. I don't but alot of folks around here do. I suspect because the road is both frequently traveled and bordered by woods people who are inclined to just figure they will toss their trash out here. Mostly it is beer bottles and coffee cups. The beer bottles lead me to suspect teenagers...

A few of us who live on the street do cleanups in a non coordinated way. Today to celebrate earth day I did a section about a quarter of a mile long. The picture shows the bags I got. That is a full contracter size trash bag of bottles on the right and a half full bag of trash on the left.

Yes I am that crazy, I separate the recycleables before I take it to the dump.

It just seems to me that raising your kids not to litter means that you have raised people who see that what they do has an impact on the world, even just the little stuff means something.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Garden Pics

All creative energy has gone into the garden or the freelance job today.
We are enjoying 80 degree weather, unusual but enjoyable. The raking is done for the spring, now I should mulch...
these are some pictures I took this afternoon.

Hyacinth I only have one of these, I don't really love the way they smell, they are POTENT
I think this one came to me as an Easter plant one year so I popped it into the garden

Spiraea, the brand new leaves are reddish and bronzey and gorgeous. These plants are one of my "go to" plants. They are tough as nails, enviromentally sound and have tremendous seasonal interest. I put in a bunch of them last fall I really hope they take off this year.

forsythia, lots of deer damage on this poor guy

volunteer violets
One of the four surviving regular tulips (the species kind did fine)

That spot of red is a beetle that is consuming the daylily he sits on at an alarming rate, last year those things ate my lilies to sticks, time to get the poison out...
I don't usually use poisons but I'm afraid if I don't the bulbs will wither away from lack of nourishment.

This joe pye weed hadn't even popped its head out yesterday, I think all of this growth happened today

Astilbe, glowing red stems and green leaves. First full year for this plant in the garden, not sure what to expect, it may be too dry in this bed for it.

One of my peonies survived the brutal transplant last year!

Species tulip, I gotta get more of these they are tough and the deer have ignored them so far

I have pink and yellow in this bed and I just love them

So thats it so far!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thinkin Spring

Everywhere I look I see beautiful buttery yellow forsythia, bright chartreuse green on the maples, soft buff of the old leaves and moody violets peeking out of the grass...

One of my favorite color combinations.

I feel some dyeing coming on!

the picture is of an older piece I made of hand dyed fabrics, its a favorite of mine.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

OMG the Haori is back!

I started this about a year ago...

I think that the reason I pooped out on it is because:

a. I find sewing garments demands more precision than I enjoy

b. my inner perfectionist is not totally jazzed with the brown fabric (undissolved dye left weird red spots ans the cotton itself could be of better quality)

c. I kind of froze up on putting on the metallic decorative stitching

This project is the second of a potential series of 4, the first was fire, this of course is earth and air and water have never been begun.

I'm not sure they ever will be, but I have this one half done so it might as well get finished.

I just started the metallic stitching on the brown outer layer (the green will eventually be the lining)

Although its really hard to see in this picture, the metallic is a good call, it livens up the brown fabric considerably. So far I've gotten one sleeve done...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Eyeball burnout

I've been putting in alot of time on the computer at work and at home... my eyeballs are shot.
so just a picture today.
looks like a mutant porcupine don't it?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Still working on the graphic project...hopefully I will have something interesting to talk about tomorrow...

The picture has nada to do with the thing I'm working on but I felt I should at least put up something to look at.

I plan to get back to some thoughts (maybe actions too) on shibori/fiber related things before the end of the week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A little longer than expected

I have a habit of underestimating the amount of time it takes to do things...

I spent hours today working on the graphic design project. I'm probably about half done now, maybe more... but I've gotten some of my Illustrator skills dusted off! I haven't been using the program too much lately so I had gotten a bit rusty.
No pictures today

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This was one of those Saturdays that was full of chores. Which is cool because that means tomorrow I can do more relaxed creative stuff.

I did drop off a few prints at one of my consignment stores. They keep a set of my North American Wildlife portraits hanging up and every once in a while some of them sell. This time it was the polar bear, the otter, and one of the owls. Rather a surprise since I haven't sold any for a long time.

Now I have a couple of hours to work on a graphic design job...

Tomorrow if the weather cooperates I will be doing a little garden work and some stitching.

(fingers crossed!)

Friday, April 17, 2009


Its Friday night, I have been promised a foot massage, must go now,
No words tonight...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Todays Itajime

I washed out the itajime I dyed yesterday, when it was wet it didn't look very promising but as I ironed it dry the variations in the blue shapes came clear. There are also some very subtle shadows in the white areas that give it a great deal of intrest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dibs and Dabs

Today is one of those days where many small steps are being taken...

I dyed a piece of itajime I hope it will be a good match to some previous work.
I chose the next of my clean up projects... this long unfinished haori.

I added a few more pieces of paper to the paper vessel
I scanned an prepped for the graphic design project
and I took some springtime photos...
The daffodils are all in bloom here

but realisticaly this is what most of my garden looks like...

although the crocus are very pretty this year

the sedum has put out all these lovely rosettes

now its off to karate and when I get home from that I will need to frame a few prints and do some research on etsy...
It all adds up doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Doggin it

Tonight I'm home late from power yoga and a meeting regarding a small graphic design job. So its just a sketch...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Seriously this is all unfinished projects! Oop sorry one is finished the rest of this mess are projects I can't let go of but have not yet wrassled into submission. I'm gonna go pick one out of the mass now...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Done! Woot!!

Now what will I obsess over next? Better go clean my studio and figure that out...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Where did Spring go?

Right, you can't see it in this picture very well but some of those whitish streaks? SNOW, yup thats right, big fat wet flakes of snow... I'm just so glad I got the deck set up last weekend (not). ...stupid snow

Oh well it does give me an excuse to sit in front of the fireplace for an evening and watch the hockey game...

Friday, April 10, 2009

The project that lingers...

I seriously need to finish this stupid project and move on with my life!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Treasury and Links

Just when I didn't think I had anything to talk about today I found out I'm included in a treasury on Etsy, yay!
I think this is my third one ever... as you can tell I don't invest a huge amount of effort into the Etsy networking thing. I dunno I'm just not that into it. However this is a wonderful group of artisans to be included with. I "know" a few of them from flickr and really admire thier work...
(sofennel, dyeindiadye I'm lookin at you!) and now I will know a few more.
The treasury was chosen by SleyTheDent who sent me a link to this site which is chock full of great info on shibori! Enjoy, I have buttons to sew...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Deep Thoughts on Making

I came across this interview today with Eric Gill the fellow who designed the Gill Sans and Perpetua typefaces. Pretty interesting stuff the whole thing is worth reading. This is a man who has a long career and therefore many insights, but what I found most interesting was this statement:

The chief and most monstrous characteristic of our time is that the methods
of manufacture which we employ and of which we are proud are such to make it
impossible for the ordinary workman to be an artist, that is to say a man
responsible not merely for doing what he is told but responsible also for
the intellectual quality of what his deeds effect.

The ordinary workman has been reduced to the level of a mere tool used by someone else. However much skill he may have in his fingers and conscientiousness in his mind, he can no longer be regarded as an artist, because his skill is not that of a man
making things. He is simply a tool used by a designer and the designer is
alone the artist.
-Eric Gill

This ties into the many thoughts I have been mulling over regarding the worth of making things and the power of the experience.
To make something is to be truly aware of it and can include a moral element.
The experience is defined by choices, what will it be made from, who is it for and to what purpose is it made at all... When one is separated from the creative experience one is also in some ways separated from the implications of the actions to society.
Perhaps I am overstating it but it does seem that our choices to have many cheap things available to us costs us dearly in unnoticed ways. We are fostering a disconnect from one another and the consequences of our actions, moreover it leaves us poorer internally we become barren wastelands where our basic creative drive has rusted away.
This is an incomplete thought...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fake Batik

Fake Batik would make a good band name...

So I am thinking of going back to work on this piece that has languished for so long in the corner of the studio. Not really sure why I got so stuck on this one, I suspect I just love the heat set leaves too much... or maybe the problem is that it isn't what I planned it to be but I haven't yet figured out where to go with it...or maybe I cursed it with that post name... whatever, its stuck and to get it unstuck I will have to get alot less precious about it.

So... I've been thinking of incorperating more texture

soo.. I figure a quick way to do that would be to draw right on the fabric with crayons , iron then dye it and see where that gets me...

this is where it got me, more to think about

I do like the idea of being able to gesture draw and then use the drawings in fiber work


Monday, April 6, 2009


I've been thinking about stories lately.

How the meaningful objects in our lives become imbued with stories, either our own or those of others. An heirloom for example holds the stories of our ancestors, a tool holds the stories of the things that are created with it, a memento carries within it the experience it represents.

It seems that there are many ways to attach a story to a thing; grown over generations of possession (heirlooms), won in a contest of some sort (trophies of conquest or achievement), or built into the creation of the thing itself.

As I craft a thing, weather it be from fabric, food or earth I find myself remembering stories I have lived or read or heard or even watched. When next I revisit that thing I find that for me the stories are still in there, they bubble up again in my mind. It is a little bit magical, informational alchemy.

I think that is why we value and cherish things that are crafted by hand, they carry within them the stories of the ones who made them. Disposable bits of of plastic stamped out by the thousands are quite sterile in comparison (at least to begin with... if they survive they can earn stories too)

I'm not quite sure that the tales we get from an object we behold are quite the same as the ones experienced by the one who made it. I'm not sure that it matters... perhaps not

Today I finished stitching the burnt shibori to the background. The stitches are uneven, they show my hand in the making. I opted to leave some areas unstitched, the connections between the portals are incomplete as in life.
It measures 44" by 16".

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Fine Spring Day

Just lovely out today, cool and breezy but bright with sunshine.
A day that pulled me outside and away from stitching.
The yard cleanup continues
3/4 of an acre isn't a very big lot but it can seem huge when you are raking.
I keep looking at the plants in the garden and wondering which will come back this season. I had a few plants that really got beat up with insect damage last year and I wonder if they will regenerate this spring.
It can look pretty barren sometimes. Life does win out in some cases though...

In other cases it is a profusion,

even an explosion.