Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Another Unknown Shibori

Ted came by from California and we had another short but sweet visit. Looking at a lot of those old Motohiko Katano shibori cards we noticed that quite a few had grey tones. He had used soot and soy milk to form a polymer and adhere the grey. The soot mixture seeps deeper into the folds of the shibori resulting in a grey halo between the blue and the white. The folding was not hard to figure out. Ted quickly got the extra middle fold. The size of the resists needs just a little tweaking to get the overall rhythm perfect. The grey bleed was sublime. Ted, we need a few weeks to simply focus on these grey bleeds. You come teach me.

Ann left today. She has been here for a few months. Quietly working on shibori and zeroing in on the really beautiful fine ones.  She quickly put our research to use and came up with this…

You can see the difference of the patterns on the back and front and how the indigo bleeds through to the other side.

The next step will be sit and stare at this for a few hours and mentally collapse the folds in a new way that comes  out of our own head. The centres of the squares can be played with. The depth of the stitches and the tightness of the pull and tie and the amount of manipulation in the indigo can make it more meaningful. The fabric can be different and perhaps another dye can be bled in. It then won't be just a copy of his work. This was the great thing about Katano as a shibori craftsman. He took a technique and sort of exploded it like John Coltrane did with, 'My Favorite Things.'

This reminds me of Cyndi doing Carey in front of Joni Mitchell. She respects the song and honours it so tenderly. That wasn't the time to explode it. She brings tears to my eyes every time I watch this.

I suppose this is something to think about when approaching shibori. You have a precious tradition that should be preserved but you can easily see the work produced in Arimatsu is God awful. Much of the innovation has production time and sale price written between each miserable stitch and resist. How do you respect it, find the essence then transpose the key into something you can sing with?

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Process Unknown Shibori

In a few old shibori books there is the inviting phrase, 'Process unknown' written under  photographs of  pieces of Jacqueline Kennedy indigo. (Mysterious and completely unaccessible.) Liza and I tried to demystify one of those pieces a few years back. We managed to get close but the enthusiasm waned after a few failures. Ann and I picked up the thread a week back and tried to unravel the techniques of  a few old Motohiko Katano indigo dyed pieces found on postcards.

We struggled to get our linear brains to warp and see the thing three dimensionally and figure out the stitching and pulling sequences. Like an obvious but tricky chord progression, there were a few, "you gotta be kidding, he wouldn't have gone to that much trouble" moments.

Here are three related, 'process unknown' shibori techniques by Katano Motohiko. I am sure someone has figured out how he did them but the techniques are not in any of the shibori bibles I have run into.

The one on the left was challenge number one.

The first thing was to get out brains to flip right and see the collapsing principals. Bright coloured markers helped. Then a more refined gridding out.

The front stitched in white.

The back stitched in black.

The black and white threads pulled and tied.

The first piece was dyed without much manipulation under the surface of the indigo.

And the second piece dyed more carefully with opening action both under the surface of the indigo and  while oxidizing. 

Pretty amazing. More to come.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Tenue de Nimes Article

A shop in Amsterdam is selling some of the stuff I made on the sock knitter and dyed with indigo and persimmon last summer. To promote me they asked me ten questions for the stores 5th anniversary printed magazine edition. I sort of mashed together the notes from the Maiwa speech. I never have written anything that personal on here before. I am Aquarius...we sort of forget that pasts exist.
Here goes lazy blogging with a link to something unedited. http://issuu.com/nimes/docs/journal_no09_issuu#embed