Garden at Dusk

Here is my new piece, Garden at Dusk. I chose two dark values of blue/green and indigo for the final colors. I brushed these on in four layers on the open areas of the cloth (i.e. not covered with rice paste resist), drying between each layer. I then added a few accents/shadows using a very dark value of indigo and black pigments.

After about 5 days, the paste was soaked off in water. I wanted to keep this piece simple and high contrast because I think the design works pretty well with just two values–dark and light. The paste crackled a bit and so you can see lines across the surface of the background where the color got through. The pattern you can see around the edges is the pattern woven into the linen (damask).

garden_at_dusk

Back to my original inspiration – this Robin’s nest, the second one of the season under our back porch roof, was left after one bird fledged. Three perfectly formed beautiful blue eggs in a nest of mud, twigs, grass, and other dried plant material from the garden.

nest_eggs

 

 

The Colors

Imagining a “garden at dusk” led me to paint several layers of dusky colors in a very light value on the entire surface of the cloth, using soy milk and natural pigments. I would never have used the vintage white damask formal linen tablecloth for dining purposes. My cloth is long enough for two instances of the stencil, which was created from a full sheet of stencil paper. The finished image will be approximately 16” x 30.” Placing my stencil on the cloth before pasting allows me to see where the background colors fall within the stencil design. Before pasting the design (rice paste through the stencil), the stencil and the bamboo stretching sticks–“shinshi,”–soak in water.

Garden Imagery, Stencil Design

My new katazome stencil was inspired by the Robins I wrote about in my last post and by the late spring/early summer garden. I started with sketches on newsprint of plants and a nest, and then chose the shapes I liked best. For the plants, I settled on Hosta from the garden and Wood Anemone, a native wildflower that I discovered growing just down the street in a city park. I worked out the composition by drawing shapes on black paper, cutting them out and arranging them on a white background. I then transferred this design to the back of the stencil paper (shibugami). I found these really great white opaque ink pens called Uniball Signo, which show up very well on the dark brown stencil paper. The nearly-final stencil in the bottom image still has a few narrow bridges that will be cut away during the next step of the process, which is to reinforce the stencil with silk netting, or “sha.”