Thursday, August 22, 2019

Late Summer Check In

It's been a wonderful spring and summer with lots of travel while learning new techniques.  

After Japan (see the last post) I went to Tennessee for our annual trek to Shakerag Workshops, with a stopover in Washington DC for some magical art time.  At Shakerag I took a class with Katja Toporski on making molds from found objects.  Something I have wanted to learn for many years.  

Next I traveled to Whidbey Island for a workshop with Pat Pauly on printing fabric with thickened dyes.  

Then it was back up to WhidbeyIsland for a class with Kerr Grabowski on deconstructed silk screening.

My head is swimming with all the new techniques.  I will attempt to give a brief, photo-laden account of my classes.

This is just a teaser photo from a Pat Pauley class.  There will be more later.



In between all of the classes I actually got time to sew.  This jacket is from a designer I like a lot, Pearl Red Moon.  It's called the Zambeezi Jacket.  I used stash fabrics, cut the medium which turned out to be way to big so I cut 4" from the center back and sewed it back up again (that after this photo was taken).  I like the details and think this pattern is good for lots of different fabrics and renditions.

It's somewhat labor intensive since you have to sew each seam wrong sides together and then sew them flat with a contrasting color zigzag.


Love stash projects!

I've been taking an every Friday workshop here in Santa Cruz with Kiki Barrett, the pattern wizard.  She helped me redraft a varsity/bomber jacket pattern to have a swing back.  I tried it first in an inexpensive sweatshirt fabric.  This one will fit my husband...back to the drawing board, which I have already done.  Am figuring out which fabric to use for #2. 

One of the things I changed for #2 is extending the back hem even more than this photo.  I want it to be somewhat dramatic.


I used Dritz snaps but I think I did something wrong cuz they rattle.  I feel like I'm a one woman tambourine band when I put it on!


Next was a go at the Sewing Workshop Cottage Shirt using Marcia Derse fabric. 


I remade a short men's Japanese kimono by cutting off the drapes part of the sleeves and using them for hanging pockets.  I know this type of garment has a specific name but I can't remember it.  Anyone?


I dabbled in more jewelry using scaps.  I am still working on this necklace.  Needs some color.


A group of us went to Washigton DC to visit a friend we met in Ashland at a Design Outside The Lines last year.  Kathy is a longtime Reference Specialist at the Library of Congress.  She was so generous in giving us a tour that you just couldn't get any other way but by knowing someone who has been there for 30+ years.  

We visited the public spaces, Kathy giving us insider history of many architectural features, art and displays.  THEN, she lead us into a private library where she had prepared a 15+ book lecture on books related to textiles.  Our mouths were agape the whole time.  One book dated back to the 1500's.  


Every one she showed was one of her personal favorites and they quickly became ours, too.  She is such an expert in her field that we felt honored to be able to hear what she had to say on these books.


This "book" was actually a fabric covered bento box from Nuno Corp in Tokyo.  We were luck enough to visit their shop in Tokyo while there and purchase textiles and scarves.  I love their aesthetic. 

The box contained several layers of fabric swatches based on the type of textile and techniques used.

We didn't want to leave...needless to say.


And here's Sarah trying to figure out a way to slip the box into her purse.


She took us through the old library index card room.  Sharon and Sarah shared my awe at the site.


All of the cards were hand printed.  Just look at this, were we lucky or what!?


We flew from DC to Nashville and on too Shakerag.  These are some of the objects I made using molds I created.

And here is Katja's work.  Just stunning.


Katja wearing the crazy necklace I made using cashmere, painted canvas and objects I had cast.  She was a good sport and an amazing teacher.


OK, stay with me here, I'm almost through the summer!  Then it was Whidbey Island to the Pacific Northwest Art School and a workshop with the very talented Pat Pauly.  I learned an incredible amount from Pat.  I will say that she is somewhat "honest" with her criticisms so she is not the teacher for the faint of heart.  You gotta be tough to take a class with her.  But it's so worth it!  And she is a very giving teacher.  Plus she's funny!


This technique uses thickened dyes.  It is mainly for quilters but I can certainly incorporate this into my clothing somehow.


One of the things I worked on were vintage linen napkins that I've picked up at garage sales and flea markets for a song because they are stained and nobody wants to iron anymore!  They worked well, we're using them often.


We were lucky to have a visit with the talented Marcia Derse who designs fabric.  15 of us descended on her.  She is a dear heart and so inspiring.  I've used many of her fabrics in my sewing.

I was home for 10 days and went back up to Whidbey for another workshop with the wonderful Kerr Grabowski.  This time it was deconstructed silk screening using the same thickened dyes we used in Pat's class.  Very different results and so fun.

Kerr is a great teacher, I recommend a class with her, in fact I will take another some day.  Here she is modeling a Turkish towel I screened for a beach coverup.

Some of my work from Kerr's class.


More work.


And then last weekend Sharon and I hit the garage to do our own dyeing using thickened dyes.  I wanted to tone down some of the bright pieces I'd made in Pat's class and make them work together.  Per her directions, to rework your "dogs" just paint over them.  

This time I decided to use several different blacks and by creating a screen that blocked out everything but polka dots I managed to get several pieces of cloth that I think will work better together.

I also printed two pieces of recycled clothing.  This is part of a white tshirt in progress.  I will do more of this!

And Sharon used my polka dot screen in her own way.  Love this tobacco color with the black.


Pieces drying.

And although I'm hesitant to tell you just how crazy I am I'll say that Sharon and I stopped printing long enough to attend a 2 hour indigo dyeing session with a local teacher who provides a vat for use. 

I'm finished with workshops...until just after Labor Day when I go up to Tahoe for a Mary Boalt workshop at Artistic Alchemy. 

The summer is just starting here on the Central Coast of California.  This will be some of our best weather all year until late fall.  So I'll be doing more dyeing.

Thanks for hanging in there with my long posting dry spells, interspersed with even longer posts.

16 comments:

  1. Very cool fabrics. Have you tried anything on silk? Also the garment I think you are trying to remember is a haori.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, I've done some silk charmeuse and organza. Not as easy to work with and the colors are a bit more subdued, in my experience. But I like the results a lot. I think a Haori does not have the kimono sleeves, at least that is what I made in Japan. But looking online I see that they might sometimes have that. More to learn!

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  2. Always love to hear about your adventures. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Is the word you're looking for "yukata"? Loved everything you did!

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    1. My understanding that a yukata is cotton and sort of a robe...again, not 100% sure of that!

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  4. Oh my goodness! What wonderful workshops. It took me several tries to read this entire post because I kept going down rabbit holes, like Pearl Red Moon. But it was so worth it - chocked full of eye candy. If only I could fit in your carry on... Thanks for all the inspiration.

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    1. Thank you Martha. I'm sorry I didn't put links into the post, it would have made it easier to find things, I had just so much time and wanted to get it out!

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  5. I really enjoy your blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to make photos and post!

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  6. Wow! I'm in awe of all your inspiring workshops, Gayle, especially the thickened dyes and indigo dye. Thanks for sharing. I so appreciate your blog. Karen

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    1. Thank you, Karen. I'm glad you like hearing about my craziness.

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  7. What a wonderful summer you have had, thank you for sharing it with us.

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  8. Oh, Gayle, I'm so glad I did't know how talented and famous you were when you were in my class. I would have been ultra intimidated! The workshops and travels look just wonderful and so nice that you've shared this with us. By the way, nicest photo I've seen of me -- I'm usually frowning or something. Whitbey was a highlight of my year, and we did produce some spectacular work.

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    1. Very kind words, Pat. We did produce some good work and I continue to use your techniques in my work at home. You gave us some really wonderful tools!

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