Archive Page 2

Itchiku Kubota (by Sandy Wagner)

I have  a wonderful book called “Kimono as Art – The Landscapes of Itchiku Kubota”.  He is a master in “Tsujigahana” which is a style of kimono decoration that reached it’s popularity in the last half of the 16th century.  He worked to develop “Itchiku tsujigahana”.  A little background on his life:  At the end of WWII he was released from prisoner of war status and returned home from Siberia.  He was 31.  After he returned to Japan he went to work as a painter on silk kimonos using a technique call Yuzan dyeing (this is a resist dyeing technique creating designs freehand with a paint brush (hijizone) or with stencils as guides (katazome).  He began researching how to create tsujigahana(combining resist and painted flowers).  At 44 (1961) he established Itchiku Atelier (Itchiku Kobo) and began in earnest to work on Tsujigahana – at age 59 he achieved success with the completion of Kimono Gen (this garment summed up the completion of his research.  In 1977 at age 60 he had his first exhibition of his work in Tokyo.  Over the next 25 years he worked his craft, fulfilled his dream of having a place for his collection as he slowly built his own museum close to Mount Fuji.  Much of his work is of Mount Fuji.  He completed 40 of the 80 kimonos he called the “Symphony of Lights” series before his death at 85 years.  This series covers the four seasons including the oceans and universe.  His students learned from a master and are completing the 80 kimonos.  As you look at his work you see the amazing Shibori stitching, painting and stencil work.  Each piece tells a story of history, beauty, tradition and craftsmanship.  Itchiku was truly a master of his art.  This information is from his son Satoshi.

Gen/Floral Illusion 1976

Gen/Floral Illusion 1976

Hi/Incandescence 1981

Hi/Incandescence 1981

Hi Close Up

Hi Close Up

Ohn/Fuji, Glittering in Gold 1989

Ohn/Fuji, Glittering in Gold 1989

Ohn Close Up

Ohn Close Up

UZU/ Fire Vortex 2006

UZU/ Fire Vortex 2006

This is the life of a master artist in his craft – take time to look up more of his outstanding work.  Sandra


Nature as Art – Sandra Wagner

Recently I was in Los Angeles and spent a day at the La Brea Tar Pits.  I don’t know if you are familiar with the Tarpits History Museum aka Page Museum but it is in the heart of LA and was discovered in the 1920’s when the owner of the Rancho La Brea found bones in the asphalt that had seeped up from under the ground.  They contacted the Los Angeles County Museum and a dig was started.  The first time I saw it it was a bubbling tar pit that was fenced in and made burpy sounds (this was in the 50’s) and smelled awful.  In 1971 the Page Museum was built and the wonderfully preserved animals were taken out of storage and found a new home. 

The beginning of natures art work is figured at 38,000 years ago.  The unusually high quality of fossil preservation of  the animals, birds and 1 human was because the bones were buried rapidly by the  asphalt.  The guide stated that the asphalt did not act like quicksand but you became stuck and could not get out – this is shown where some of the animals were attacked and killed while they were stuck – both animals dying as the tar bubbled over them.

They found Juniper Trees, Golden Eagles, Sabertooth Cat, Shasta and Attacking Ground Slouth, Coyotes, Dire Wolfs, American Lions, many Birds, 1 Person and  Ancient Bison plus others.

I have included some pictures I took – if you want more information go to also if you are in the area it is worth the time to see.


animal1This is the way the animals were found – the tusks are man made – in most cases the tusks did not survive the removal from the pit.

             “America Mastodon”

             “Yesterday’s Camel”

















                                 This is a Columbian Mammoth – the tusks again were man made.  I have a picture of the leg from the knee down – The size is truly mammoth. 

animal4              birdThe bird is a California Condor and was about 2.5 ft. tall.  They have the working lab – the  fish bowl – in the museum so you can see the people working on the pieces.  Below are 2 parts of NED a recent discovery.

ned   nedt2


There is storage around the entire building between the outer and inner walls and this houses all the parts of the fossils.  Below is Pit 91 which they have just hit the bottom of.  They work only in the summer months in the pits and will be opening up another pit in the near future.


It is a dirty job but someone has to do it.  You can volunteer just bring hip boots, BIG gloves, back brace and a mask.  If I was a lot younger I think spending a summer doing this would be a great adventure.

Hope this isn’t to far removed from the art world but when I saw what nature had done I thought you might enjoy it also.



Ana Lisa Hedstrom’s Shibori Class – Sandy Wagner

I’m sorry this is late but I was going to finish and post it today but I spent the day in the birthing center with my granddaughter – we have a new girl in the family Olivia.

I wanted to share with you a wonderful 2 day class with Ana Lisa Hedstrom.  We spent the days doing Shibori techniques and the evening with a slide presentation by Ana Lisa starting with her early days to the present time.  Ana Lisa has worked with Shibori for 30 years and shared the history of the craft and her knowledge with us.  We used acid silk dyes and Procion MX.  The methods used were pole wrapping, folding, clamping and stitching.

We started the class learning some of the history of the pole style Arashi Shibori –  then pole wrapping methods.  Straight wrapping and twisting the fabric as you compress the folds up a 4″ PVC pipe.   I then took a 15×70″ silk scarf and folded in a fold from the left and right side of the scarf – basting a stitch down the lent of the piece – then wrapped it on the pole – the third way  was by measuring the fabric adding enough fabric to make it slide over the pole and stitched the fabric then slide it up the pole and compressed the fabric to make the folds.  Below is cotton (on the  pole) and silk scraf.



After wetting the fabric lightly  I painted the thickened Procion MX dye onto the folds of the fabric and painted each pole.  One pole was cotton, one silk habotai and one raw silk.  We then wrapped them in plastic and cured them overnight.  Washed them out in the morning  and we able to re-wrap the poles in a different direction for a pattern change.

We did several folded (Katano – clamping ) methods and stitching (Kanoko).  Accordion folding, folding into a triangle and clamped, folding in half and clamping with other type of clamps.  Wooden pieces, clamps from the hardware stores, many items from the Dollar Store.  Stitching the raw silk in different patterns, folding and stitching, amble with the stitches.  When you do the stitching you knot at one end, stitch then pull the thread as tight as you can without breaking the thread – this causes the resist – then we used the acid dyes in a hot bath for the silks and procion MX vat method for the cottons etc.  Below is bamboo and spandex.bamboo1


The starburst at the right is stitching and pulling up the thread on raw silk.  The smocking pleater provides the most startling results – it is below.  The method takes a narrow piece of fabric but it can be as long as you want by how long the threads are.  The fabric is raw silk gauze. smocking1

Shibori has fascinated me for a long time but looking at the work of the masters and all the hand stitching had made me think twice but with what I learned with this class has made it more manageable.  You can get as involved as you like and the results are all so exciting.  You do need patience for the stitching but the results are wonerful.

The hand stitching on a large scale is still a massive undertaking but the results are amazing.  On a smaller scale you will have an exciting piece for art quilting, garments, framing or as a piece of art work.  Let the creative juices flow and the Shibori work.

There are several books that have good instructions, samples and wonderful works of art.  Kimono as Art – a beautiful book put out by the San Diego Museum of Art,  Arimatsu Shibori (this book is out of print but can be found on Amazon), Shibori for Textile Artist and Shibori The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Wada,Rice and Barton

I have included 2 picturs of garment done Ana Lisa.



  Go forth and create.

Yvonne Morton – Artist – Sandy Wagner

Ian Wilson writes “A great distance, and that not only physical, separates the heart of Africa from fiber artist Yvonne Morton’s studio in Dorset in southern England. Morton makes the cloth whose inspirational source lies deep in the Congo. Her early medium was armor – her works is shown in Salisbury District Hospital and is based on the medieval surcoat which knights wore over their armor. While she was bedridden and concerned that the imagery that she was using was in danger of becoming “too cozy” she saw a catalogue from a London dealer – she was introduced to Kuba cloth. These are fine pieces of linen-like lengths of cloths. They are embroidered by the women with applique designs after the fabric has been woven by men from raffia which they had harvested from the African Palm tree – Raphia ruffia. Other fabric that are associated with this part of the world are the widely known cut-pile raffia often termed “Shoowa velvet” – this is characterized by dazzling geometric designs and the bark cloth produced by pygmy tribes-people. The Kuba empire is in currently the central Congo area and is the home to a variety of tribes. Continue reading ‘Yvonne Morton – Artist – Sandy Wagner’

Digital Printing – Sandy Wagner

While looking for a topic for today I remembered the summer issue of Surface Design and Mary Stieglitz. She works in digital photography and printing. This article is written by Ingrid Lilligren and she states in her opening “Synesthesia is a term used to describe the ability some individuals have to smell sounds, hear colors, or see scents. It could be thought of a a gift of sorts from the cerebral cortex, a kind of unwilled metaphor. Viewing the work of Mary Stieglitz stimulates multiple sensory responses. Silk panels move like air or water, and when the surface imagery is water, the viewer can almost hear the sound it makes. Through digital application of photo-based imagery, Stieglitz produces contemporary images that speak of deep time. Her work is at once new and old”. When looking at her work Cirque in the magazine I felt myself looking into 3-D as felt as if I was floating above looking down. Mary states she is interested in the visible patterns of our natural world and their relationship to the larger myths and metaphors. Continue reading ‘Digital Printing – Sandy Wagner’

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