11 February 2019

Workshop Round-up: Spring, Summer and Fall, 2019

Happy Belated New Year to all.

A little late on this post but here is a round-up of 2019 workshops that I have scheduled so far.

Boro Bag Workshop
French General, Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, March 31st, 2019
10:00 - 4:00

Japanese Mending as Utility and Embellishment
Saturday, April 20th, 2019
11:00 - 5:00

The Boro Aesthetic: Creating Fiber Art Pieces Inspired by Japanese Textiles
Sunday, June 2nd - Saturday, June 8th, 2019

Japanese Mending Techniques: Boro Sampler Book and Boro Bags
Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance, Chamblee, GA
June 9th and 10th, 2019
10:30 - 4:30 each day

Textile Manipulations: 
The Boro Aesthetic with Jody Alexander
Tactile Notebooks and the Written Word with Sandra Brownlee
Encaustic Castle, Lexington, KY
Wednesday, June 26th - Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
Register for both or either workshop - see website for details

The Boro Aesthetic: Creating Fiber Art Pieces Inspired by Japanese Textiles
Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA
Friday, July 19th - Sunday, July 21st
9:30 - 4:30 daily

Japanese Mending as Utility and Embellishment
A Work of Heart Studio, San Jose, CA
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
11:00 - 5:00

note: first two images are bags that I have made and the last four images are Japanese textiles from my personal collection - we look at them, or similar, in all of my workshops.


Some of these workshop may be full but it is worth it to get on the wait list - life happens and people's plans change.

I often announce workshops earlier on Instagram and Facebook so join me there if you want workshop news earlier. Additionally, I try to keep the Workshop page on this blog up to date, so you can check that periodically, as well.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see some of you in my workshops this coming year.


{if none of these workshops are convenient for you remember that I teach online book and paper arts workshops on Creativebug and I also have a book entitled The Boro Aesthetic that goes over much of the information I teach in my textile workshops}

{note: many of you mention to me that they received an e-mail from me when in fact I haven't sent out an e-mail in quite a while - this is because some of you have it set up so that my blogposts go directly to your e-mail - that is great! but, please note that you can change these setting if you want - directions should be included at the bottom of the e-mail. and, if you would like to receive this as an e-mail so that you don't miss anything - there is a box in the upper right where you can enter your e-mail address}

27 December 2018

New Publications: Bibliomuse 1 & 2

I've been making books through Blurb Publishing for a number of years now. It is a great way to capture my art installations and my art series' on the printed page. My Blurb books are almost like little art exhibits that you can hold in your hands.

I just created two more Blurb books to get my last two series' on paper:

Bibliomuse 1 is a sub-series of KEEP: Modern Library. I created all of the pieces from 2016-2017 and they are entirely machine stitched. Obsessively machine stitched! You can read more about them here. Their creation culminated in an exhibit in Seager Gray Gallery in the Fall of 2017 (see images from that exhibit here). Seager Gray Gallery made a beautiful catalog and if you were lucky enough to get one then it will suffice. But, their distribution is limited so I decided to create a Blurb book in order to make the first Bibliomuse series more accessible.

Bibliomuse 2 is a series that I have just completed and that I've worked on in the last year, 2017-2018. In this sub-series of KEEP: Modern Library I return to hand stitching while continuing to look to discarded library books as inspiration. The new development in this series is that I'm dyeing/painting the linen with natural dyes such as woad, persimmon and walnut as well as india ink. This results is some more daring color juxtapositions with the cloth that I remove from the discarded library books. I had fun playing with color combinations in this series in addition to manipulating the size of imagery gleaned from the discarded library books. You can read more about Bibliomuse 2 in my last two posts here and here.

The Scandal of Silence, No. 1 - Bibliomuse 2 series

You can visit my Blurb page to see these two new publications as well as other books. 

In both my Bibliomuse 1 and Bibliomuse 2 Blurb books I include images of the discarded library books that act as my muses as well as all of the art pieces in each series, along with close ups so that you can see all that stitching! Both books also include statements about the sub-series'.

Theory of Collective Behavior, No. 1 - Bibliomuse 2 series

If you have ordered books through Blurb before you know that they are not inexpensive - this is the price to pay for on demand printing - they will print as many or as little as your want and if you only want one then the cost is higher than might be expected for a book of that size.

BUT, they have a product now that they call "magazine" quality and I love it! I was skeptical so I created a draft and ordered one and on receipt I was so very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the printing. The paper is thinner which results in a more casual feeling publication. Both the paper and cover are matte - which I really like. AND - my photographer was impressed and pleased with the printing - he has an eagle eye for color and often criticizes art books for poor color quality. The reason I'm explaining this is because the "magazine" quality has allowed me to keep the price down on these two new publications and I just wanted to be clear that they are a little different from my previous Blurb books

Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 1 - Bibliomuse series

I'm taking off for a trip to Tokyo in a few days and will have some copies of Bibliomuse 2 with me there at an event at Blue and White -  you can find me and the books there on January 12th. 

Everyone else can order copies at anytime from Blurb

I hope you enjoy them.

26 November 2018

Bibliomuse 2: Books

In my last post I shared new work from my Bibliomuse 2 series - a subseries of KEEP: Modern Library.
At the end of the summer I had completed four wall pieces and now I have a mind to create artist's books to accompany each wall piece.

Here are the fruits of that labor:

 The Scandal of Silence, No. 2 


 The Impact of the Social Science, No. 2


Theory of Collective Behavior, No. 2

Accordion books are so versatile. I love how they can look similar to "regular" bound books.

Or, break into dance and become sculptural objects.

I'm on a roll with bookmaking lately and am enjoying the small scale.

I have been sharing my process over on Instagram so join me there on my instagram account if you'd like to follow along.

And, remember, I teach bookmaking and paper arts on-line on Creativebug.

There is a simple accordion book class as well as more complicated binding classes (Coptic and Japanese Side Sewn) - so check that out if you are getting the bookmaking bug like I have lately!

20 September 2018

Bibliomuse 2 : a new phase

My Bibliomuse series is a sub-series of KEEP: Modern Library where I look to Japanese boro textiles and imagery from withdrawn library books for visual inspiration, and use old European linen and cloth from the covers of withdrawn library books as my materials. The image-making processes used are stenciling, block printing, image transfers, and occasionally graphite directly on the fabric.

You can see some images from the original KEEP: Modern Library series here and here; and the first Bibliomuse sub-series here; and by visiting my art website here.

Essential from KEEP: Modern Library series

Currently, I'm working on a new phase of the Bibliomuse series where I am experimenting with color combinations and dying the base-cloth, playing with the scale of imagery, and transferring images of woven cloth from the withdrawn library books on the fabric.
With the first Bibliomuse series I used the sewing machine and densely repeated back and forth stitching to create a unique texture on the base-cloth. 

Hemingway and the Art of Awareness 1-5 from the first Bibliomuse

In this new phase of the Bibliomuse series I'm hand stitching only.

Enough explanation! Here are the new pieces: 

Title: Theory of Collective Behavior, No. 1

Base cloth is lightly dyed with walnut dye.

Below is the withdrawn library book that is the muse for this piece, also entitled: Theory of Collective Behavior.


Title: The Impact of the Social Sciences, No. 1

The base cloth of this piece is dyed with walnut and persimmon dye. The inspiration for this piece is the four dots that appear on the cover and the title page of the muse. I played around with blowing up the dots on the photocopier and then translating those images to block prints, stencils and image transfers.


Title: Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 3

I used this book as my muse in the first Bibliomuse series and have returned to it here playing with the scale of the imagery and printing and drawing on old linen that is stained with india ink.


I've resisted working with blue since my work is influenced by Japanese boro textiles: I want my work to reflect the lines, shapes, layering and textures of boro textiles but not look like boro textiles. However, after my trip to France this summer where I dyed old linen cloth in woad, I just couldn't resist working it into a new piece when I returned home.

Title: The Scandal of Silence, No. 1

Below is the muse. In addition to using the black bars as imagery in the piece I also referenced the faded squiggle mark on the cover of the book by making a stencil of the line and repeating it in the piece.

I'm currently working on making little fabric accordion books to match each of these pieces - things are getting really meta!

 While in France I acquired an old lab coat at a brocante and gave it a few dips in the woad vat while there and added imagery from The Scandal of Silence after returning to the studio. Maybe I'll make books and clothes to match each wall piece...

27 August 2018

Art of Textile Repair and Reuse Workshop, Summer 18

 I taught a new class recently at Cabrillo Arts. The name of the workshop is:
The Art of Repair and Reuse:
Looking at Mending and Re-purposing Traditions in Various Cultures as Inspiration for New Work.

 I did quite a bit of research for the course and showed students examples of repair and reuse traditions in the American South, Australia, Japan, India, China and France.

We also looked at the work of contemporary artists who create in the spirit of repair and reuse, and watched videos that exhibited different stitching techniques.

The students created samplers in the various traditions.

These samplers represented Gee's Bend and Wagga Wagga:

Of course, we made samplers inspired by Japanese Boro mending techniques - I always encourage students to vary from the indigo palette and rather focus on line, shape and texture:


 Samplers inspired by Kantha from India:

 When I was in France recently I saw some lovely mends on grain sacks that I shared with students - they interpreted those mends in the most creative way!:

 Chinese Ge Ba has been making the rounds on the internet and social media so we explored creating in that style, too:

 The workshop was only two days and would benefit from being a 3-5 day course where we could make the samplers at a more leisurely pace and then move on to personal projects.

 Some students just focused on the samplers but a few applied these techniques to garments that they brought into class and the results were creative, fun, whimsical and unexpected.

I'm hoping to teach this workshop again so look out for it in the new year!

18 August 2018

Summer 18 - Teaching Wrap Up - Mendocino - Ashland - France

Such a long overdue post - but I just can't let my summer adventures go undocumented.

I began my summer teaching adventure with a road trip to teach at the Mendocino Art Center where the surrounding natural beauty is almost too much to take in. I was completely enamored of the ocean's color, and the water towers that were scattered throughout the town.


While there I taught my Boro Aesthetic workshop (I taught the class as a 5-day workshop last summer at Arrowmont and will be returning there again next summer)where we look at the lines, shapes and textures achieved in Japanese boro textiles, make samplers to learn the language, and then apply those aesthetics to personal art projects. These are the samplers, in progress:

This was a three day workshop and students all created impressive finished projects.
On the road to Ashland, OR: Mount Shasta

Next, I taught at the Ashland Art Center in Ashland, Oregon. Sometimes I get so caught up in teaching that I don't take pictures - this was one of those times. But, I taught the Boro Books and Boro Bags Workshops and you can see examples of projects for those classes here, here, here and here. And, these are some of the yummy samples I brought for inspiration:

I drove home through some beautiful scenery...

...spent a week at home unpacking and re-packing and then I was off to France to join up with the French General Getaway!

After a night and two packed days in Paris I took a train to the south and met up with the wonderful group at this gorgeous chateau.

 with this gorgeous studio to teach out of:

with a view like this:

I taught the group about Japanese boro textiles and then guided then through the Boro Bags workshop over the course of two afternoons and a morning session so that we could go at a nice gentle pace. 

 The week was full of visits to numerous brocantes, villages, markets, and included lots of wine and cheese!

We visited Albi:

Saint Antonin:


and Cordes-sur-Ciel:

What an experience - each town was right out of a story book.

I also found great inspiration in the mending techniques I discovered on grain sacks and old linen sheets:

and I got to play along with Denise Lambert who came to the chateau on our last day and taught us about the history of woad dye (often referred to as the European indigo) and allowed us to dye our fabric and garments in her woad vats:

A fabulous week with a wonderful group of people.

Oh, France, I hope to return soon.

As always, I post way more pictures on Instagram so please follow me there if you'd like: my instagram account


Upcoming this Fall are only two workshops and they are both full! But it never hurts to get yourself on the waitlist - you never know.

 Here is the information about my two Fall 2018 workshops:

Boro Bags at French General - September 9th

Japanese Mending at A Verb for Keeping Warm - September 29th

The best way to get information about my workshops before they fill is to check the Workshops page on this blog, follow me on Instagram and/or like my Wishi Washi Studio page on Facebook.

Thanks for following along!