Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wabi Sabi

Working with little ones can be tricky. As artist in residence at a preschool and pre-k child development center means I'm not only responsible for doing kid friendly projects but making sure the little ones come away feeling good about it.

Very loosely translated, wabi sabi is a Japanese concept that embodies the appreciation of the flawed, imperfect and "real" over predictable and more obvious beauty.

Little hands can make useful and beautiful objects but the smooth beauty of a perfect piece of stoneware is likely years away if it will ever be part of their lives. Wabi sabi as a teaching tool helps them not only accept but revel in creations that might not match their imaginations.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ceramic Venus

I know, I'm gettng a little obsessive with these but it was a worth while exploration and the recipient seemed pleased.

Shibori Scarves

 So, the scarves turned out well. A little less precise than I've accomplished in the past but I've typically had the proverbial "all the time in the world" and only done a couple of pieces at once. Most of shibori is in the prep work, something that can be done over time if you plan ahead but after a summer of it in Japan and a bit of it now and again I'm not sure I want to devote a ton of time to it, and that's pretty much what it takes.

I do love indigo and I'll likely find further reasons to do dye batches of one kind or another. Between the "developing" effect of the dye when it hits oxygen and the stunningly deep, organic blues, it's really hard to beat real indigo. Somewhat endangered, imagine that another heirloom technology, it's still fairly easy to obtain. Something, I think ought to be taught in schools, it'd make a fantastic chemistry project, art or home economics; not to mention History (note the capital H).

The next thing I'd really like to approach is woad, another ancient plant dye. I've found the materials but it looks to be a bit more complex than indigo and certainly more so than something like Rit dye that can simply be mixed in a bucket or washing machine without a lot of fuss.

This batch of scarves will be up in the Susan Howell gallery at 1987 Hyde St in Russian hill for another month or so and then I'll either find them homes in a little more personal way or put them up on Etsy, who knows?

If anyone is of a mind, let me know and I'll run an indigo workshop where we can explore the dye itself as well as basic shibori.