Sunday, February 12, 2012

Singing the blues

I am selling my fabrics once again this year at the East Bay Heritage Quilters show, Voices in Cloth, March 18-19. The show is in mid March and between that deadline and my solo show going up at Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, OR on March 5, I am running myself pretty ragged. I have decided to diversify my offerings this year rather than relying so much on the quilters indigos so there is a lot of extra work involved getting more one-of-a kind pieces and garment silks ready. Not to mention redesigning my 10 x 10 booth space. This week I finally finished the last batch of indigo pieces.

The first ones are long pieces with several repeats, both traditional stencils that would have been used on futon covers 100 years ago. Sure a lot prettier than mattress ticking,

This big stencil made for pillow tops was one I took from a detail on a really virtuosic Japanese stencil. It was smaller in scale than this 18" square, and irregular in shape so one did not have to match all those stripes every time, unusual since almost all other stencils I had seen were rectangular. I took pieces of this design and cut and pasted and redrew until I had something I could use as a square pillow top stencil. It was a lot of work and cutting and stabilizing those long parallel lines before attaching the silk mesh was challenging.  Those of you who have taken my classes know this is not beginners work! I sold a pair of these pillows at the Japanese Garden last summer and it is time to make a couple more.

I rarely purchase stencils but when I was in Japan the last time I could not resist this one. They told me it says congratulations over and over, but I was fascinated by the variety in the characters.

This is another large stencil which I adapted from a traditional pattern. Images for most kimono fabrics are oriented in both directions, because there is no shoulder seam. I took the elements and inverted them in various combinations to compose a stencil which I have used for multicolored shawls and noren and this time for an indigo panel like this one.

There is a famous woodblock print of a bird on a branch by Hiroshige done in blue and white. I decided to see whether I could adapt it to be cut as a stencil. It was a fun project. Nobody knows what the ancient seal script says anymore. The interesting relationship between block printing and katazome is the subject of an upcoming post.

I usually just print the heron alone but decided this time to make a little composition out if it. So now that these pieces are done the vat is going to go to sleep for awhile so I can use that drying area to stretch silk garment lengths. I will post pictures of them as they accumulate.