I am back in the land of the living with a healthy back and a fresh new life to live. I am resuming my blog after much too long a gap in posts. Sometimes life just comes first.
The big adventure coming up soon is my departure for Japan. I will return to spend a week in the dyer's workshop in Kyoto that I visited in November 2008, and stay on for a tour conducted by Betsy Sterling Benjamin, who worked in the kimono industry in Kyoto for many years and knows places that the average tourist never goes. Since I will be traveling without a computer I will need to rely on the hotel's system so I doubt I will be able to share pictures until I return, but I will keep a journal going.
Before I go, however, I want to share some pictures taken at my most recent class at the Newport Visual Arts Center. One of my students kindly shared pictures she took. Frankly I am always so busy teaching and making sure people have a successful experience I do not have time to document a class, so this was a treat for me. The wonderful classroom was literally right over the ocean on a gloriously sunny weekend and we all had a complete blast.
For a two day class like this one I generally bring quite a few of my own stencils to use so people can paste fabric while their own stencils are getting cut and ready to use. These are large family crest patterns that work well for a class. The students start their cutting with simple fan patterns. But occasionally one takes off and designs her own stencils, as Dawn did here.
Once the stencils are cut we attach a layer of silk mesh with latex enamel and start making the resist paste for the afternoon's work. The rice paste resist is easy to mix and steams for about an hour.
Here are a couple of pictures of paste drying, again using my stencils.
I always begin the second day with lots of examples, both of my work and other samples, as a way of giving people inspiration about how to proceed once we mix up our dyes.
The pigment dyes we use are made of freshly prepared soy milk and powdered watercolor pigments. There are lots of other dyes that can be used but these are both traditional and easy to use.
One of my good Japanese brushes.
I pasted one example of a repeat pattern to show how a longer piece could be done and stretched indoors.
Here are some pieces drying in the sun. See what I meant about the great location!
At the end of the day we use Colorhue dyes to make silk scarves using the students own stencils. It strikes so quickly that the resist paste stays on the fabric beautifully and the results are practically instantaneous.
The dyes need a few days to cure so nobody in the class got to see the finished work. The remaining pictures, sometimes before and after removing the paste, are images shared by my students.