The Practice of Shibori

Since attending a workshop at the Esker Foundation last Saturday, I’ve been reading a little about the practice of Shibori and discovering the many ways that one can, using Indigo, create brilliant patterns on fabrics.

Keep in mind that this was my first experience.

Esker’s workshop presenter was Lyn Pflueger, generously assisted by Jeri, also from Bragg Creek.  Borrowed from the 2009 Annual Report for the Immigration Services of Calgary, this beautiful photograph by Fritz Tolentino.

Lyn 2

Everything about this workshop reminded me of working side by side with my mother…learning to crochet, knit, sew garments, embroidery and basket weaving.  My mother loved these things.  One of my biggest regrets is that I never had opportunity to learn the skill of weaving on a loom with Mom.  She was an inspiring person for so many reasons.  Lyn and Jeri demonstrated the same patience and the Esker programming staff was so wonderful, providing materials and a smooth pacing of the event.  Thank you.

While I stitched a running stitch (the first technique described) I thought about Mom and while I evidently did NOT pull my stitches tightly enough (optimally, you achieve a beautiful white to contrast with the deep colour of the indigo), I enjoyed every minute learning the methodology, with intention of pressing forward with such exploration.

I decided to explore a gesture of the bush that I visit and document every day at the pond.I felt a lot of strength in my surroundings.  I was emotional, I must admit.  The technique at the bottom of the image is called binding, in this case, around soya beans.  In the end, I wrapped these tightly enough so that the ink did not manage its way into the cloth.  My running stitches, on the other hand, were not so successful.






Kath Stitching Esker Shibori 2

Photo Credit: Esker Foundation


Kath Stitching Esker shibori

Photo Credit: Esker Foundation

Break here for a song that came to mind…I had heard the St. Mary’s University choir do a version of it…and I was thinking how I’d like to be with my Mom.  She would so enjoy Shibori techniques!


The samples that Jeri and Lyn showed us were so absolutely beautiful.  I liked the connection between the exhibit, Colleen Heslin’s work and the process.


The technique used for the samples below is a clamping technique.  I have not yet documented my clamped sampler, but was pleased to learn this second technique.



An amazing process of dye baths and oxidation…all timed.  It is easy to get absorbed by the interesting process of it all.



I managed to catch the gesture of the bush…very strong sense of the rock with the bound soya beans…a  strong border, but the loss of some branches, likely by a pulled thread or two or three, lost and not knotted properly.

Kath's Canon April 11, 2016 Shibori and Black Bird and Crow 002Kath's Canon April 11, 2016 Shibori and Black Bird and Crow 013

We enjoyed the various fabric samplers that demonstrated the limitless possibilities of applying these techniques and more to other types of fabric…felting, organza and others.


Thanks to all, for a beautiful morning at Esker! There was a powerful bonding to fabric artists, both present and those who have left this world…to feel that spirit of connection and creation was awesome!

About a Rumble

A quick post before Max and I head out.  The light fades so quickly these days.  Last night I attended my first rumble at the Rumble House.  Some of you remember when I announced on my blog, the closure of Gorilla House and my last live art battle.  Well, the next project to bust wide open after much love and effort on the part of a lot of people, is the Rumble House.  Located at 1136 8th Ave, SW, the soft opening (whatever that is) occurred last week, Wednesday, to be followed, I guess, by the ‘hard opening’ last night.

This photo…taken by someone else.

Rumble House 2I decided to GOOGLE the word Rumble and paint whatever came up. Rumble, League of Legend’s mechanical menace came slightly ahead of WWE’s Royal Rumble .  It’s as simple as that.  I do not develop caricatures or work in any form of animation.  The only two times I have ever tackled such subjects have been at the Gorilla House and now, the Rumble House.  These have been places of exploration, so why not?  Master Chief was the last subject I took on of this nature.

Master ChiefThe TRUE excitement of the evening was re-connecting with friends who paint.  The hugs were contagious.  I treasure the connection, the stories and the creative energy that abounds during these experiences.  Nice to connect again with painting buddies, Belinda Fireman and Jennifer Stinson!

Last night’s painting, Rumble, was picked up at auction by a fan’s father.  Wisdom, thanks for visiting me throughout the evening and giving me the encouragement to keep going.  You don’t know how wonderful it is to receive the insights of our guests throughout the two hour painting frenzy.  Thanks, Aaron! (and forward me a fantastic photo of your son that I can include here, please)

Of Rumble’s Lore, I learned…

“Even amongst yordles, Rumble was always the runt of the litter. As such, he was used to being bullied. In order to survive, he had to be scrappier and more resourceful than his peers. He developed a quick temper and a reputation for getting even, no matter who crossed him. This made him something of a loner, but he didn’t mind. He liked to tinker, preferring the company of gadgets, and he could usually be found rummaging through the junkyard. He showed great potential as a mechanic. His teachers recommended him for enrollment at the Yordle Academy of Science and Progress in Piltover, where he may very well have become one of Heimerdinger’s esteemed proteges, but Rumble refused to go. He believed that Heimerdinger and his associates were ”sellouts,” trading superior yordle technology to humans for nothing more than a pat on the head while yordles remained the butt of their jokes. When a group of human graduates from the Yordle Academy sailed to Bandle City to visit the place where their mentor was born and raised, Rumble couldn’t resist the temptation to see them face-to-face (so to speak). He only intended to get a good look at the humans, but four hours and several choice words later, he returned home bruised and bloodied with an earful about how he was an embarrassment to ”enlightened” yordles like Heimerdinger. The next morning he left Bandle City without a word, and wasn’t seen again for months. When he returned, he was at the helm of a clanking, mechanized monstrosity. He marched it to the center of town amidst dumbfounded onlookers and there announced that he would join the League of Legends to show the world what yordle-tech was really capable of, without hiding behind a foreign banner.”

Here is the painting…

?????????? DSC_1774Here are the people…

?????????? ?????????? ???????????????????? DSC_1753 It was good to be back.


Gorilla House LIVE ART: August 15, 2012

Thanks to Rich Theroux for realizing his vision! Photo credit to Doug Wong.

Photo courtesy of Doug Wong

Great fun, collaboration and creative energy was exerted in another action-packed art battle at the Gorilla House.  I was pleased to meet another blogging-artist in the mix and think that Belinda creates intensely coloured and dynamically patterned works. (she also takes amazing archives and I appreciate her loan of a photograph)  Welcome to the battles, girlie!

Belinda, Courtesy of Calgary’s Doug Wong

The three concepts of the evening were 1. science and progress 2. she left me for another and 3. angels.  As I began to ruminate about the first topic,  pattern came to mind.  I think that what we have discovered as scientists and engineers has much to do about the discovery of patterns…I assembled bits of cast off pattern pieces that I inherited from my seamstress-mother and applied them to the surface of my panel.

Photo Credit: Doug Wong

This base informed the remainder of the piece….as I contemplated lost love, my mother, progression through life, of any sort and finally, in the literal sense, an angel.  I stylized her to a great extent.  I think that the part of the process I most-questioned was my colour palette.  I suppose it felt ‘cotton candy’ for me.  It was a tad too sweet for my liking.  I am very grateful to Laurane who generously purchased this piece at auction.  I also thank my mother who seemed to be informing this piece.  The only text I wrote in gold metallic pen was, “Your love was enough.”

Photo courtesy of Belinda.