Friday, December 07, 2007

tis the season to be harried

This poor blog has been sadly neglected in the past three weeks, but it's not for want of material. I've been madly making things for the Usable Art Show in Winters. Technically usable things if not highly useful, like:

glass spoons

glass hairsticks

miniature glass monkey vase

little cat oil lamp

cat ring stand---you can put rings on the tail or on the cot--ok it's a stretch but it's technically usable if not particularly useful.

I also put a few pairs of new dog glass knitting needles in the show as well as some nonglass items such as handspun yarn and a few woven things. I'm still working on a bunch of other items like pens, pet collars, pendants and scarves.

Meanwhile, I got closer to taking all the classes at the Craft Center, enrolling in shibori this quarter. Shibori is a Japanese stitched resist dye method. You handstitch various patterns, pull the threads to gather the cloth along the stitches, then dye the cloth. It's a bit similar to fancy tie-dye. We used inko dyes which need exposure to UV light to work:

We dyed with indigo for the last two classes. Indigo is found naturally in several plants including true indigo (Indigofera tinctoria), woad and dyer's knotweed. However most indigo dye is synthetically produced including the dye we used. The blue form of indigo cannot be dissolved in water, so it has to be reduced to form leucoindigo or "white indigo." The actual dyebath is yellowish-green, and it's not until the cloth is removed from the dyebath that it starts to turn from green to blue as the dye oxidizes.

My hands were kinda blue at the time so no pics of the process but here is a scarf I dyed with indigo:

To change the subject entirely sans transition, Aaron and I went down to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving. Warm and sunny (of course) so we walked along the Santa Monica beach where Aaron's spidey skills amazed the young:

and I prepared for a return to colder climbs by spinning yarn everywhere I walked:
Note the recently made purpleheart turkish drop spindle. Took me a few tries to get it right, but it's working pretty nicely.

At home, my mom set the Thanksgiving table with a beautiful shibori tablecloth she got from one of her friends.

Thanksgiving dinner included cream of corn soup:

salad with persimmons, pomegranates, avocado and much deliciousness

duck a l'orange
with dessert being Aaron's specialty: flourless chocolate cake
While in Los Angeles, we spent an afternoon at the Huntington Library and Gardens. We spent most of our time in the desert/succulents gardens, marvelling at everything from tiny stone plants

to an assortment of succulent trees.

We also admired the bonsai and koi in the Japanese gardens.

The Chinese garden was not open yet, but it is looking exciting.

Finally, at UCLA, a tree squirrel on the ground and a ground squirrel in a tree.

1 comment:

loribird said...

Those glass pieces are beautiful - I really like the bird-spoon in particular. And the dyeing is so cool! I've seen shibori "after," but never "in progress."
Looks like you had a great time on your trip - thanks for the photos of the gardens (we're buried in 2 feet of snow here, so succulents are only a dream...)