Friday, March 23, 2012

Catch Up

It's been a while.  Sometimes life gets in the way of art.  In a nutshell,  I have been a caretaker for my husband and father as they have fought off cancer and heart disease respectively.  Both of my boys are still around and I am thankful. But, it's time to get back to the weaving arts, as well as taking care of my handsome boys.

I have not been doing much weaving, but I'll post a couple of pictures of some completed pieces that I intend to use as inspiration for more pieces. I recently took a few days to finish up some shibori weaving on the loom--my "blank canvas" as I call them.  I still need to have a few days to pull the shibori threads and dye the fabric, but that time will come soon.   I'll post those when finished!

Crazy Shibori--Close Up

River Of Stars
Advancing Twill, Shibori Pick-Up

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shibori Workshop at Palomar Weaving Guild

I had a great time with the weavers, spinners and dyers of the Palomar Weaving Guild. I couldn't have been made more welcome. The guild has a bunch of wonderful weavers and dyers.

I taught my class, "Traditional to Faux: Exploring Hand-Loomed & Traditional Shibori." I'll include a few pictures of the work the shibori students produced. The students were all quick learners and produced some lovely work. They're now working on their scarves and we will get together in the future to do some more tying and dying of our hand-loomed shibori fabrics!

Here's their work!

Great work, Palomar. See you all again soon!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shibori Process

Here's the long awaited shibori process post!

I'll take you through my work on Three Dragonflies pictured here.
This piece ended up as a noren, what the Japanese use as a fabric panel in front of a door or a fabric room divider. The yarn I used is natural colored silk noil, really luxurious after it is dyed and washed.

I worked this shibori piece on the loom, throwing my pattern pics after 4 tabby pics.
The silk tabby was a joy with which to work. I used brown 6 strand embroidery floss for the pattern throw. After the entire piece was woven, I then took it off the loom and started the hand work process of hand-loomed and traditional shibori.

First I drew a circle on the woven fabric, and carefully removed the embroidery floss, so that a circle of plain woven fabric remained. I left the strings of floss as long as possible, because I will need to draw the floss up in a later stage of the process.

In this circle, I drew my dragonflies with a special blue ink pen which will disappear when water touches the ink. Next, I will begin the traditional shibori process of stitching my little dragonflies.

After the hand-stitching is in place, it is time to gather the shibori threads. First I pull up the little hand-stitched dragonflies. Next, I carefully knot one side of the embroidery floss, and gather up the other side, knotting the edges at tightly as I can. It is important to pull the threads up as tightly as possible, without breaking them, of course. The worst thing you can do in shibori is to break
a thread!

Next, dye! Since the fabric is silk, I used an acid dye which involved heat to set the dye. I immersed the fabric and dyed it a fire red--a color out of my "box." I'm hoping for a brilliant red, an even dye and a good resist for the shibori, both hand-loomed and traditionally stitched. After dyeing, a little rinsing and drying and then the process of removing the shibori threads, both woven and hand stitched.

Here is the finished piece again--although I also added a little more embellishment with a few beads here and there. Three traditional shibori dragonflies surrounded by a field of hand-loomed shibori.

This was a fun project to design and produce. My dragonflies continue to buzz round their little field, flying 'round and 'round and 'round.

Next up: some double-dip dyeing for a three color look.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Traditional to Faux: Shibori Weaving & Dyeing

Here are some samples from my show at the Mt. San Antonio Gardens Gallery in Claremont, CA. The sho
w will be up until the end of June, 2009. Check out my newest work. My theme for the exhibit was to contrast my traditional shibori collection from Japan with my contemporary handwoven shibori.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I won the surface design award of excellence at the weaving conference I attended in March. The scarf (titled "Caught") is posted on the Surface Design website.

Check out this link:

Here's a close up photo of the scarf featuring a gingko leaf and some of the my loom controlled shibori.

I was very surprised to win the surface design award, because I don't think I do surface design! I think of surface design as a lot of things you add to the fabric--lots of sewing, embroidery, beads, sequins--you know--extra stuff. And my shibori fabric is kind of flat--and doesn't have the traditional extra stuff of surface design.

However, when I think about it, shibori does have a lot of surface design--a lot of process, but it is subtle. First you weave it--adding your gathering threads as you weave. Next, I dyed the fabric a sort of bright green. Then I stitched the traditional shibori gingko leaves, pulling them up to resist the over-dye. Next, I pulled up the loom-controlled shibori strings. And last but not least, I over-dyed the entire thing in a golden brown. So, I suppose there is a lot of surface design! Thanks judges for giving me the award. I am honored.

Next time I'll talk about the dye process with some pictures of my latest over-dyed pieces.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shibori Inspirations

The art of shibori can be traced to ancient times and from around the world: South America, the Middle East, India, China, Malaysia, & Japan. It made its way to North America in the 20th century, most notably as the colorful tie-dye t-shirts from the era of the Grateful Dead. There are many ways of creating shibori: by clamping, folding, tying, twisting or pressing the fabric before you dye it. Shibori master Yoshiko Wada translates shibori to mean “wring, squeeze or press” or “shaped-resist dyeing,” what we in America might call an aesthetic tie-dye.

When I create my loom-controlled shibori, I work with both silk and cotton and right now I'm weaving with silk noil. When you wash the fabric after it is dyed, the noil has this light, airy hand that is lucious to feel. I've just warped up another 9 yards of silk noil. I've been doing my noren, but the next group will be shawls, becasue it feels so good next to your body.

I've been attracted to Japanese textiles for years and as I've been developing my weaving skills, I've become inspired by a particular and practical form of Japanese domestic textile, called noren, which is traditionally used to mark an entrance or as a room divider. Noren’s use is not only practical, it also welcomes one to a place of beauty. I like the idea of having fabric hanging in the home that is there just to be beautiful. The long panels of the noren are a wonderful display place for my shibori. The second loom-controlled shibori piece I did was based upon a noren I have in my home.

Right now I’m in a whimsical stage drawing my motifs as the Japanese do, from nature. I'm creating my version of shibori insects, leaves and flowers in a range of colors. The dyeing is key--I'll do another blog about that process soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Okay--Okay. You Convinced Me!

Cat, Cate, Kathy et al--you've convinced another K-girl to join up. Here's my first post--and picture. I shall share with you (and others) the joys of my weaving and fiber world. Thanks for the encouragement and friendship you have shown to me over the years. And, thanks for teaching your once-upon-a-time teacher so much.

So, the first picture you see to the left is my (so far) signature woven work of Loom-Controlled Shibori/Traditional Shibori that I call "Trellis and Tekumo." You've heard me go on (and on) about my weaving technique, I'm sure, but just in case you've forgotten, I'll be the good teacher and do a little review.

Traditional Shibori--a dye technique used by many cultures--made high art by the Japanese. Shibori roughly translates "to press, squeeze or wring" in other words--a sophisticated tye-dye. Loom-Controlled Shibori--a weaving technique developed by Catherine Ellis. Instead of taking finished fabric and stitching or tying, while you weave you throw the picks of pattern that you will eventually gather up to resist the dye. So, you end up with a resist-dye of the woven pattern that you choose. Cool, huh?

I combine the Woven and Traditional Shibori for my hand loomed work--and I love it. I always have a loom going with some sort of Shibori work or I do Traditional Shibori on silk and sew with that.

Why did I call this piece "Trellis and Tekumo" you ask? My inspiration came from a traditional shibori piece that came from Japan--that had nui-shibori (stitched lines) and all these star-burst like patterns, which I did a little research to discover that the Japanese called Tekumo. This word translates to our language as spider webs. So, I thought the Woven Shibori stitch lines looked like a garden trellis and I imagined spiders weaving their webs (tekumo) in and around the trellis--hence "Trellis and Tekumo."

Okay--enough for now, you have been very patient with me!