Friday, July 24, 2009

Japanese artist

At our art museum last evening, Tousui Tanaka an internationally acclaimed Japanese sumi-e (black ink painting) and calligraphy artist gave a wonderful lecture and demonstration. She does traditional and contemporary work. This picture shows her demonstrating her painting technique on paper with black ink and her natural bristle brushes.

She demonstrated 5 different styles of Japanese calligraphy, all of the above papers spell "moon". Some are very ancient styles.
With her contemporary painting she did different kimonos while here in Michigan at Ox-Bow Summer school of art as an artist in residence. This first sleeve has a beautiful poem written on it (of course, I can't remember the words).

The rest of the kimono is a drawing of bamboo, but when she explained all the meaning it was so much more and beautiful.

This kimono has another poem written on the sleeve and also a branch with plum blossoms. Another element she worked with is the gold leafing.

This final kimono design was inspired by the wisteria vines growing around the school.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Camping craft for children

Hoffmaster campground has a wonderful nature center, filled with snakes, turtles and frogs. They also have a lot of displays about the plants and animals of the dunes. And my favorite, a slide show of wild flowers in the park. Here we are observing the different creatures (right now the kids are watching a snake eat a mouse). After the nature center we went to the beach and collected driftwood, then to the creek to pick up little stones to make a turtle sculpture. About 20 years ago when my kids were small we went camping at Hoffmaster with our good friends and made these same sculptures.

Here we are back at my home and the kids (even big brother made this craft) are painting their stones in turtle colors. They then painted sea shell macaroni to look like lady bugs. The driftwood on the right is my daughters' old one, now our model. (Little brother painted his for a while but left before I took a picture.)

And here are the finished nature sculptures, the boys loved them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Natural green dye

For the Fourth of July weekend we went North to a pow wow. One last camping trip before the grand children headed home. The grand children were invited to sit at the drum with grandpa during the pow wow, they are very good at playing and singing with the adults. Kids learn so quickly.

This little girl was so cute, she's a "fancy" dancer. Her mother made her a beautiful outfit.

The back of her shawl with turtle applique.
Her younger sister.

The back of her dance shawl with heart applique.

I loved this women's traditional outfit with dragon fly applique.

The back with a beautiful copper pin.

A field across from our camp was full of plants, the twins came to help me pick St. John's Wort for the dye pot. We also picked these mullein leaves, I thought I'd try them not really thinking I'd get much color.

This is the St Johns Wort plant, you have to pick the tiny, little yellow flowers, it takes a lot for a dye pot. Last year I tried dying with them (from a different area in the State) and I got a dull light gold. I thought I would give it one more try as dyers have had great results getting green and rusty red.

Back in the dye studio the kids rip up the mullein leaves for the dye pot.

After simmering the St. Johns Wort for an hour, then simmering wool fabric (premordanted with alum) I finally got green!!!! I can't believe it and it's a nice green. It said in my book to next add a piece of nonmordanted wool to the dye bath and you should get a rusty red, I don't think I had enough dye left I got pinky tan. (the next piece of fabric on the line).

I then simmered the mullein for a good hour then added in the premordanted wool and got this rich dark yellow. I was very surprised.

This is the fabric in a line up: St. Johns Wort (alum mordant), St. Johns Wort (no mordant), mullein.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

I made this picnic table cloth in the late 80s with my husbands, kids and my jeans. I cut out the long leg portions, ironed the edges under, butted them up next to each other and zig zaged them together with red thread. I put 3 pockets on each side for napkins and utensils. I was excited to find the red calico fabric with blue flowers on it (this was the 80's) to match the jeans for the back and binding. We still use the cloth for all our picnics. As my grandchildren out grew their first pair of jeans my daughter gave them to me and I added their pockets to the center of the quilt (saving the other center side for the someday grandchildren of my son).
The napkin holder is a Lynette Jensen of Thimbelberries design. I painted a clay pot and saucer creamy white and hot glued vintage buttons on along the edge.
I hope you have a great Fourth of July, we're going camping up North at a pow wow with the kids.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Camping in Michigan

Our daughter and grand kids are home on vacation for a few of weeks. We went camping last week at one of our beautiful state parks on Lake Michigan. The weather was perfect, hot, sunny and no rain or mosquitos. (I really posted these pictures backwards but I'm rushed and not thinking clearly, I need sleep:). The camp (P. J. Hoffmaster) we stayed at has a beautiful creek running through it, our campsite was right on it. This shows where the creek runs into Lake Mi.

We have huge sand dunes (not found anywhere else in the world) that everyone loves to climb.

And wonderful hiking trails through magical forests. When I was a kid one of my favorite Disney movies (I think was called) The Gnome Mobile. Hiking through the woods here reminds me of that movie. I loved these 3 little spruce trees growing out of one little trunk along side a huge spruce tree.

Here are two of my little "Gnomes" sitting in a tree.

This is the creek running along our camp, the kids loved playing in it catching minnows and water skippers with their nets.

The twins tried their hand at fishing, but they liked playing in it best.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo