My Travel Vest


After each trip I seem to need to patch worn places and last time, a 3-corner tear. (I learned the name for that kind of tear in 4-H as a kid). When we took this photo, I realized that I’d sewn one of the pockets shut!! Another job to do before the next trip. Here is the current version after the trip to Japan in May. It felt so good when I put it on for the photos–nice and clean. At the end of a trip it is limp from sweat and constant wearing every day! I love it because of the pockets: for my camera, purse, train tickets, hotel key pad and pen. This is a Safekeeper vest made by Marion Gartler in Seattle. She brought them to Berkeley for a trunk show a few years ago.

Japan Tour 2017 – Day 20


Day 20. Asakusa gate was where we began our day in Tokyo–to say it was crowded is a huge understatement. We headed for the Amuse Museum near the big temple to see the new Boro Exhibit.



Here is an example of Boro–patching with scraps of fabric done in the cold-winter area of Hokkaido. There were quotes I liked from the labels. “The beauty of practically”. “Lovingly mended with diverse cotton fabrics”. “Only property owners had a control over even small fabric scraps. Possession of those scraps proved one’s social status and wealth”. There were cloths used when giving birth that had been around for generations. They were boiled before the birth to kill any lice!



Next we went to the big Mitsukoshi department store and spent the entire afternoon there. First we encountered a flower arranging exhibit as we were heading to the kimono department. There were many arrangements to be seen but tickets were required to see the masters’ arrangements.



It was a mob scene around the flower exhibition and a long line of women waiting to pay for accessories that were for sale.



Finally we got through the crowd to the kimono department where spent probably well over an hour at the special exhibit and demonstrations.



There was this fascinating smallish table loom set up to make fancy brocade fabric for small purses.



The warp was made of paper strip!



Here was the intricate pattern being woven. All done by picking up threads row by row.



Here was a small bag on display and for sake using the paper warp brocade fabric. Beautiful.

One More Week to See My Gallery Show

My show ends next week–I will be sad to see it come down–LAST DAY is Friday, December 4 at 3:30 pm.
It’s a show I am very proud of–40 pieces and they are very creative (if I do say so myself.) 

Here are times when the gallery at the library is open to see the show. Closed Friday after Thanksgiving.

  • Saturday November 28: 10–5:00
  • Sunday, November 29: noon–5:00
  • Monday, November 30: 10–6:00
  • Tuesday, December 1: 10-noon; 1-3:00–5-7:30
  • Wednesday, December 2: 10-4:00 and 5:00-7:30
  • Thursday, December 3: 10-noon; 2-4:00; 7:30-9:00
  • Friday, December 4 10-3:30–(Last Day!)

People who purchased items can pick them up on Saturday morning when we take  the show down at 11:00 am or get them from me later.

- click to enlarge

– click to enlarge

 

Pictures at My Exibition

Bel-Tib Library Show 2015-5
Here are photos of my show that is up now until December 4th at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library. It’s a lovely venue–really feels almost like an art gallery with the exception that if there is a meeting or activity in the room, no one can see the show.The opening reception was a big success. I made a list of the times the show is available to view for the month. If anyone wants to see the list of times, I can email it to them.
Bel-Tib Library Show 2015-3 Bel-Tib Library Show 2015-2 Bel-Tib Library Show 2015-4 Bel-Tib Library Show 2015-6 Bel-Tib Library Show 2015-8 Bel-Tib Library Show 2015 Bel-Tib Library Show 2015-7 Bel-Tib Library Show 2015-9

Large Boro is Finished

Boro - Large
Now I have all my pieces for my solo show in November done! We hung the Boro today on my wall –the first time it’s been hanging on the board with Velcro I made. Before it was always pinned up on my studio wall. It’s hanging well, thank goodness. The safety pins that hold the three layers together take the light nicely, I think. The blues are all fabrics I dyed in indigo. The brown pieces are from a thick, stiff textile sack used in making sake. I got it in Japan and loved the tannin effect of it.

Now, all that’s left to do for the show is the pricing, inventory lists, contact list and sending out the invitations. I love them–you’ll see it in a post nearer to the opening of the show.

Now I start packing for Morocco!

More Boros: Dying with Oak Galls and Rust

Oak Gall Hammer
I discovered these oak galls under an oak tree. I have always thought they were gorgeous—and that they make a nice dye, too. I’ve given away all my dye chemicals and pots but wanted to see what color they would give. I smashed some of the less-beautiful galls and poured boiling water over them and let them steep with a couple of scraps from my boro project—silks and cotton flannel. I soaked them over night and was not impressed with what I found the next morning. So I went to the internet and of course there were entries about dyeing with oak galls (and more about the galls). 
I discovered I needed to soak the cloth in a solution of rust and vinegar or lemon juice after soaking the cloth overnight in the gall and water solution. You can see what I’ve gotten so far. [click photos to enlarge]
Oak Gall - First Samples
I’m seduced with the subtle colors so far and want to continue experimenting with longer gall-soaks followed by longer rust soaks. So far I’ve just done overnight. The info said I should get black with this recipe but I’m very far from that. Greys and darker shades would be fine. The two darker pieces were light indigo dyed before I did the two oak gall processes. I think they have a lot of possibilities, too.


This before-and-after photo show the silk crepe cloth I wove before and after dyeing. It took the dye much stronger than the other silks. The cotton flannel hardly took any color at all. I think it was darker because the threads were undegummed silk—silk organza is made of this type of silk. I clamped the middle to make the resist that formed the diamond in the center.
Oak Galls and Rust in Glasses
You can see my “dye pots”. Dying in my tiny kitchen(ette) in the retirement place where I live is a challenge. I found a chipped latte glass and glasses from Starbucks and The Oakville Grocery. That way I can keep them separate from the glasses I drink from. I heat water in the microwave and stir with a chop stick. This is perfect for the small scraps I want to use in a new boro piece. On the left is a solution with just the pulverized oak galls and galls. The right glass has just the solution of rust and lemon juice (and some water) and some rust before it was pulverized. Getting the rust was a lucky break for me. I told a friend I needed some and her son chipped off a jarful of it with 2 cups of gorgeous rust. When I pounded the rust into a powder it worked much better giving darker results. Rusty nails or steel wool is supposed to work for the rust. Taking the photos was a challenge. Bob, my photographer and web guru, had me lying on my stomach to shoot me pounding the oak galls.
Oak Gall Peggy

Crepe Silk: Before and After Wetting

I’ve been using my crepe silk cloth in my small Boro pieces where the cloth is crinkled (collapsed) or shrunk because it was intentionally wetted in the indigo dye vat. I then wanted to show a friend what my cloth looked like before it got wet (off the loom). So, here it is: before and after the cloth was put in water. We show a close-up of both cloths. The original piece I wove was 5″ wide and after shrunk down to 3″. The two photos are super-imposed on each other. To see the change, move the slider back and forth.

The Next Step for Little Boro Pieces

Four Squares

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Now I have about 10 pieces done – my silk cloth patches mounted and stitched down. The backing consists of 3 layers: the one you see, a piece from an old, worn flannel sheet, and another dyed fabric on the back. I like the thickness—has some body, the stitches sink in, and the back has interest with the stitching. I’m thinking of mounting them in CD cases so both the back and front can be seen. Most of these cloths are silk crepe which I wove a while ago. They are sheer and flat when they come off the loom and collapse or crinkle up (crepe) when they hit water or the dye vat.

For the next post I’m working on pieces to show the cloth before and after the cloth has collapsed to show both the sheer cloth at the start and the textured cloth after dyeing. We say that the technique is called “collapse” when a cloth is woven which is intended to collapse or shrink. I’ve played a lot with the idea over the years to control the effects. I think there are some pieces on my gallery page.

Stay tuned.

Little Indigo Pieces

Indigo Book Pages

Click to enlarge

I’m thinking of making a book with small pages of my own woven cloth dyed in indigo with clamp resist. The cloth is sheer silk I wove in a crepe weave. It is flat when it is woven and doesn’t crinkle up until it gets wet. Sometimes I wet the cloth before dying and sometimes I let it crinkle when it got wet in the dye vat. This is great fun. The pieces are mounted on small pieces of cloth about 4 1/2″ square. I love these little miniature patches and can’t wait to begin stitching them down.

My Own Large Boro

Boro Peggy's Big
I arranged all the cloth pieces I’ve been dying in the indigo vats from Yoshiko Wada’s Boro workshop to make my own large “boro futon cover”. All the pieces are pinned to a flannel sheet on my pin up wall. Now, the hard part comes: how to get it off to stitch it to a backing fabric. I’m thrilled with the whole process and can’t wait to start stitching.

Indigo Dying in the Boro Class

Indigo Papers

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Yoshiko wanted us to be able to make our own indigo vats at home and her method seems doable, even to me. I am so excited about what we got in the class (and an extra day on our own) that I will surely make a vat of my own. You can see from the photos why I’m so excited. We did clamping and stitch resist and dipping multiple times. I dyed pages from an old Japanese book I have and scraps of my own weaving and a wonderful white  silk cloth that I bought long ago to make an outfit.The picture of the used clamps just look nice and arty, so I included it. More of our dying results are in the previous Boro class post.

Boro Patches on a Baby’s Kimono Vest

Baby Vest 2
Baby Vest StainsI bought this little baby’s top at an antique store for $20 because it was so terribly soiled, thinking I might use it for patching. Yoshiko Wada would have nothing of it. “that was a very healthy baby”, she said and the stains are testimony to that. You should wash it and then stitch on patches to cover the spots. She suggested I use my own woven scraps. At first I rejected the idea, but came to Baby Vest Patcheslove it. I dyed some of my scraps in indigo and turmeric and stitched them on. It was so pleasurable doing the composing of the patches and the stitching, too. I have lots of spools of sewing thread in my studio for weaving so I could match the colors quite well. My stitches aren’t all beautiful, but they got better with practice. [click photos to enlarge]

Indigo Dying and Stitching in a Boro Workshop with Yoshiko Wada

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Stitch Book

The workshop was two consecutive Saturdays ending over the weekend. My creative juices went wild. I worked really hard the week between sessions to get as many ideas as I could started. My glove leaked when we made simple and effective indigo vats each day. On Easter Sunday I began to work with my weavings that I dyed in the class and here are some of the results. The yellow piece I dyed in my kitchen at home with turmeric (an idea I brought back from India). We also focused on stitching for Boro (mending) and here is the beginning of a book of sample stitches–all running stitches plus the knots I had to learn how to make.Some stitch work was inspired by Kantha cloths from India. The cloth I own has back stitches as well as running stitches, so I practiced some of them.

The patching work I did isn’t finished yet but is exciting, too. You will have to wait for a future post for that. It has been wonderful to be so inspired and energetic. Thanks, Yoshiko!  [click first photo]