Saturday, July 30, 2011

To weave, to blog, to live life?

Well, it's been a busy summer so far.
We married off a daughter. I taught a summer class. I've been working out - seriously, with a trainer in a gym. The garden is growing - but not too happy now since the summer heat has them all resting.
A lot of activity - but none of it weaving. I've not even had my 'projects' on my lap in the evening. What's with that??

My daughter told me about a website that makes it super easy to be visually engaged:
One curates 'galleries' there and can ''pin" photos from wherever...

With all the hoopla, I feel like I've been percolating, simmering, the ideas are bubbling around but aren't yet fully formed. Hence, the utility of the Pinterest site. I'm thinking I may set up boards there for projects to help better visualize them - and to get them out of my head!
We'll see where that takes me. From inertia to momentum to, dare I say it, creation?
Check it out:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hummingbird Sage update

Wow - with the Google conversion of sites, apps, accounts, etc., I've been kinda locked out of here! I think I got it all straightened out.. Whew! Technology! Fun, when it works..
Hummingbird Sage

Anyway - what with summer on its way, my sage has been working its way through its blooming stages as seen in previous posts. The dried structures that it creates are just as fascinating as the blooms!

Friday, January 28, 2011

One bloom at a time

Nature continues to do her thing and the cycle of life continues!

My hummingbird sage is blooming even though it's only recently been planted.
I love the neutral (color) aspect of the stalk and leaves then the POP of color in the blooms...
Contrast seems to be the name of the game here to get our attention - especially if we are a hummingbird.
Thanks, Mother Nature, for the color lesson!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Unreliable Timing

Have you ever pondered the nature of TIME?
I do quite often because I have a terrible sense of time passing.
(That's obvious if you take a look at how often I post here!)

Nature has its own sense of time as the earth relates to the sun and moon, creating our seasons, tides, and other rhythms...
My brain, on the other hand, has no sense of time unless I have a schedule to follow. I don't wear a watch unless I'm working and have said schedules - thus, when I'm not working, time is elusive and abstract.

The nerd in me propels me to set up computer reminders and other such external time monitors yet I rebel against those by walking away from the computer. Oh well.

I planted my experimental California native (for the most part) garden last fall and some plants have begun to bloom even as most are dormant.
These photos are of my blooming Hummingbird Sage (salvia spathacea). The Theodore Payne Foundation has a great website to learn about California Native plants: They were indispensable in my garden project.

We've had some 80 degree weather so the plants are probably as confused as I am as to what time of year this really is!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Color... Culture... Meaning...

While my yard is in 'progress' (soaking in all the rain that's been falling), I've been thinking a lot about color and culture. Different societies use color in very different ways although there is a lot of similarity, too.
I came across this graph:
while looking at another of their graphs that a student had sent me! It's a wheel of cultures and colors by topic or emotion or issue. So - number 1 is Anger and Cultures A, B, G, & I all use red to reflect or express anger... these include Western/American (A), Japanese (B), Eastern European (G), and African (I) cultures. Anger is black for Hindu culture.
Interesting although I am curious as to the sources of information they used. They mention the website Color Matters but then I wonder what their sources are...

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Do you know what it's like when you get so busy with mundane things that you feel like you're not doing anything? That makes me restless with respect to my fiber interests since I've not been successful at carving out enough time for them.
In any case, the back yard project has been slowly evolving but other things have taken its place.
More intriguing to me (the land will wait - it's resting...) is the meaning of color.
What does color mean to us?
Different cultures have different approaches to color as do different individuals. While nature provides us with an amazing palette of color, our eyes, brains, and perceptions create different impressions.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back from hiatus - ready to plant!

I've been intentionally 'off-grid' lately - that makes it hard on the blog thing but one must unplug periodically.
We have a nice little backyard that is currently empty - I've been demo-ing what was there since it was time to clean it all out. There is a huge oak tree next door that shades part of the space but most of it does get sun either in the morning or in the afternoon.
I want to plant a weaver's garden (plus tomatoes) thus I'm in the process of identifying what I could plant in this environment.
Any ideas, suggestions, warnings?
Many types of bamboo are very useful for various things but they tend to take over and crowd out other plants. Flax?! Hmmm...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Vision of the Cord Skirt

Ancient cord skirts from the Bronze Age were used to accentuate women's movements, particularly in fertility rituals. These remind me of codpieces for men - they certainly accentuate and call attention to the same general body area as do cord skirts on women.

As the use of codpieces disappeared, some say that neckties found their function as they also 'point' to the same area that the codpiece decorated. Is the necktie a codpiece that migrated upwards??!!

In thinking about clothing, fashion, and function, it occurs to me to create a neck-piece along the lines of the cord skirt.
Something swingy that moves when the wearer moves - something that both current and ancient in its uses. Yet something that doesn't necessarily look ancient (!)

The cultures that made cord skirts used braiding, twisted cords, and inkle or tablet woven bands.

Starting with basic weaving and Viking braiding (using loops & fingers - very portable), I created some little potential pendants - but the weight isn't right.
The Viking braids (hanging down) can be weighted with beads but the top square piece is too flimsy to hold it all. Unless I mount it on something, this ain't gonna work!! (And mounting it on something doesn't sound good - too bulky & too many 'parts'...)

Saturday, May 15, 2010


What happened to April?! As a teacher, the spring is my busiest time of year: papers to grade, reports to complete, hiring to do.. Not enough time for fiber, art, or nature!

That said, I have been fiddling around with various things.
Updating my father's genealogy has taken me into Viking and English history.
I just wrote a Sociology blog related to this issue and it's taken me into fiber history as well.
Evidently, the vikings were big on making braids and band weaving (inkle, card weaving, etc.) - techniques I've been playing with for years.
The Danish National Museum has a great online exhibition of cultural finds - including The Egtved Girl and her string/cord skirt (among other things). You can see all the detail of the clothing!
I'm not planning on making a cord skirt - but the idea is intriguing.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Color Shifts in my creatures

Meet my little dragons! or Sea Horses! Birds?! or whatever they look like to you..
These are another result of my Simultaneous Contrast explorations.. I used the same green/blue for both, then used orange or red (the complement of the neighbor of green-blue) for my ply-splitting experiment..
I like the way the colors interact - and the way the creatures seem to be commiserating about something.
I may have created them but I not sure I speak their dialect since they haven't told me what they are!

The next photo is of their older cousin who started out as an initial "S" for me - but took on a life of its own.
In ply-splitting, you can pull on the threads - or not - as you pull them through, to shape what you're making into something quite unique.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Simultaneous Contrast, update

If you saw my earlier post about doing a project based on Simultaneous Contrast, you might have wondered what became of that?
I did finally get some things done that I'm happy with..
Here's my study in yellow/green - with braids for each original color (Yellow, Yellow-Green, and Green) and then with the near-complement on each side.. Thus Yellow with Red-Violet (makes the yellow more orange) and Yellow with Blue-Violet (which makes the yellow more green). Cool, huh!?

The Yellow-Green is with Red (more yellow) and with Violet (more green).
The Green is with Red-Orange (more yellow-green) and with Red-Violet (more blue)..
I think I got that right.. it does get confusing!
I wove all these into some black silk so that the colors would be framed in a bold way.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Working Holiday

Egads, where does the time go?

I've been offline far too long but I did get some things done!

This is my "Spectral Contrast" project - one of my Simultaneous Contrast items...

I've got monochromatic kumihimo braids woven into black silk - for each primary and secondary color - so that one can see what light and dark shades do to the colors. Although this is a tiny photo, you can see the effects..

These are 7 strand braids - moving from 4 dark/3 light to 4 light/3 dark in gradations.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sunrise 3

DSCN3349, originally uploaded by srraskoff.
Blurry but that makes the colors blend in interesting ways.. in my opinion..

Sunrise 2

DSCN3363, originally uploaded by srraskoff.

Sunrise 1

DSCN3356, originally uploaded by srraskoff.


Sunrise today inspired me.
Inspired me to take pictures of it.
Inspired me to think more about simultaneous contrast.
Inspired me to notice how the oranges and blues reinforce each other.
Inspired me to post these pictures so you could see them!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Simultaneous Contrast

"Simultaneous Contrast" is quite a phrase and quite a concept. I'm in a study group on this topic and I am in awe of how many ways there are to address the issues that it presents.
A fella by the name of Chevreul was the first to present his "law" of simultaneous contrast (among other things). Basically, this means that if two colors are next to each other (and are roughly the same size in area), each will shift as they are are affected by the (near) complement of the other.
So - if you look at red and green, the red looks more red and the green looks more green - since red and green are complementary colors!
It's easy to see if the colors are complmenetary colors to begin with - since they jsut intensify each other.
That's why red&green, orange&blue, yellow&violet are so eye-popping - all because of simultaneous contrast!
If you have colors that are not complementary, it gets a little more complicated.
Keep in mind that one color is affected by the neighbor of the other color's complement - thus the yellow surrounded by red will tend to shift towards a yellow-greenish tinge (green is red's complement and yellow green is nearer to or the neighbor of green when you look towards yellow. If you isolate that little yellow petal, the yellow looks like yellow - if you see it with the others around it - it shifts a tiny bit towards greenish. the red isn't affected since the yellow is so small.

If you don't see that, how about the purple and green succulents - the green should look more yellow-green and the purple should look more red-purple since they are so plentiful and close in proximity.
Again, if you look at one color with the other blocked off and then compare the entire image, the colors do shift a bit.
This is your brain on Simultaneous Contrast!

How about this yellow with orange? The yellow should shift towards blue-green and the orange towards red-purple.

I'm having such fun with this and how it expresses itself in fiber. I'll have some photos of those project soon - they're not yet finsihed enough to make sense in a photo!