Austin’s tradition of supporting artists and musicians is legendary. Austin City Limits festival of music just wrapped up and now artists who work on the East Side of Austin are preparing for the EAST AUSTIN STUDIO TOUR. The majority of artists’ studios are located on the East side of Austin, and it’s a 4 day event spread over two weekends – Nov. 15th – 16th and 22nd and 23rd.
A catalog with a map is produced featuring all the artists’ studios that will be open and Canopy, where our studio is located, will be packed. We expect over 1,000 people to visit. My husband, a photographer, will be joining me this year presenting his photography portfolio.
I am busy hanging new work, freshening up the studio and completing projects. I am looking forward to this time of year, and I hope if you are in the Austin area, you will visit.
I have long debated with myself about the use of the descriptions “digital printed cloth” and “printed pigment ink cloth” when describing fiber pieces I have made and then manipulated the design using software such as PhotoShop. The design is original and then re-designed using digital software, but is the printing of the manipulated design digital? When I check with the sources I use, they define the process as “printed pigment ink cloth”; the action of printing a digital design piece.
If I am answering (a call for entry) into an exhibit, how do I best describe the work; a digital design, a digitally printed design or the use of another term possibly. Maybe it’s semantics, but I debate how to explain it to the public or a collector. If I take a manipulated image and screen print or embellish it, does it change it back to an original.
If I take this one step further, am I a fiber artist, mixed media artist, indie designer… all three?
This piece is called “Galaxy”. It is a combination of shibori “larch” design in indigo and deconstructive screen printing. I enjoy adding different techniques into one piece. It expands the possibilities of creating a work that is truly original.
Makume (wood grain) is a wonderful Shibori technique that creates a multiple of images; abstract designs, motifs, animals -whatever you like. This is a small piece that I created in my residency studying with a Shibori artisan. It is created by sewing, jumping spaces and then the thread is gathered and dipped in indigo.
Gathering Thread for Makume
Solo Shibori Exhibit
Please visit lynnebrotmanfiberart.com to view the show online beginning September 25th
Shibori is all about the process. The Shibori artisans divide up the labor of producing beautiful cloth. Each studio plays a part as well as each person. The cloth is first tied into a variety of designs which is usually done by women. It is a long tedious process but the women have been doing it for so many years that their fingers fly when knotting. If it is an arashi piece (pole wrapping), it is usually done by men and often with women to help them push the cloth down the long poles. If the work is to be clamped, the folding is done by a woman and clamped into place by a man.
If it a wearable piece, it might stop in the process to be stenciled (katazome) by a very skilled artisan who designs and cuts the stencils or by a Yuzen artist who may use stencils and color to adorn a Kimono.
After this process, the piece goes to the dyer’s studio where it is washed, dyed, and rinsed (rinsing was usually done in the rivers, but no longer) in a long troughs of water. It is then dried.
This is of course a brief description. There are many other steps depending on the use of the article. Each artisan is known for their own designs and processes, and they are closely guarded secrets. The majority of older artisans build their own equipment often made of wood. The tools are simple but many have changed to more manufactured tools.
I was able to watch each of these processes and it is very humbling. The work is hard and requires skills to master.
Follow link to my website: lynnebrotmanfiberart.com to see samples of the Shibori pieces I made in Japan.
I have been working in my studio fast and furious preparing an indigo vat for my Japanese traditional Shibori designs. The first vat I made included non-reduced indigo, hydorsulpahte and lime – pretty potent. All of my fabrics came out a blue-black color with little distinction between the resist. I changed to a pre-reduced indigo with soda ash and thiox, and I had more control over the indigo concentration in my fabric. I have been working primarily with linen and the color is gorgeous. I plan to move forward with silks and hemp fiber. I have currently been dyeing samples with not only indigo but MX Procion dyes as well.
I had a stand made by a carpenter in order to do binding. I believe it is the hardest process of all. When I was in Arimatsu, Japan (the home of Shibori) I watched two women in their 90’s do binding, and they work at a blinding speed. I asked if they could slow down so I could see their hand motions and the knotting of the fabric. It will take a long time to become even moderately efficient at one type of tying on. It was humbling.
I am working on a solo exhibit that will be held August 21st through September 25th at the Tokyo Electron headquarters in Austin, Texas. Very exciting.
I have been in my studio for over a year now and find myself very lucky to have found such a great space; diffused northern light, lots of wall space and peace and quiet when I choose it to be. Otherwise, I put on my Ipod and sing to Delta blues.
I just returned from Japan after 6 weeks where I studied with Bryan Whitehead, a master Shibori artist. It was an incredible experience, and he is a wonderful instructor. As a result of my studies, I will have a solo exhibit in August of 2014 at Tokyo Electron in their US headquarters in Austin, Texas. The exhibit will display traditional and westernized interpretations of Shibori.
We began stitching and binding lengths of cloth to create traditional Japanese designs as well as more complex and unusual ones. Next step was to understand the process of the indigo vat. Bryan grows his own Indigofera plants and a combination of other substances to create a glorious blue that can’t be duplicated with chemical dyes or synthetics.
We then moved onto pole wrapping (Arashi) which creates watery stripes. Arashi means “storm” in Japanese and its application fits the name well. Bryan’s technique is critical to creating the most beautiful and fluid cloth. Clamp dyeing was our final process and produced a variety of unusual shapes.
Of course, I was able to travel around central Japan visiting the museums, shrines and artisans of lacquer, paper, gold leafing and yuzen dyeing. Many of these processes will be difficult to carry on as new apprentices are difficult to come by.
“Fiber on the Edge” exhibit is quickly approaching, and it will be wonderful to see. Don’t miss it.
I have a piece juried in”Fiber on the Edge ” ‘Vanishing Woman’ that I’m very proud of and is a new technique for me.