My Mossy, Seaside Town December 09 2014


Will you please excuse a quick moment of pride?  So happy to see our Polar Bear DIY kit in Martha Stewart Living Gift Guide 2014.


You've likely heard me refer to my mossy, seaside town.  It's a saying I am quite fond of, both because it sounds charming and also because it is accurate.  Moss grows on any horizontal surface that is not in direct sunlight this time of year.  And there is little direct sunlight this time of year.  When the wind stops howling (the not-so-charming aspect of the "seaside" part), I can hear the bells on the buoys ringing to remind boaters that they are dangerously close to this piece of fog-shrouded land that juts into the Salish Sea.  I love my mossy, seaside town for these reasons, and many more.

Near the top of the "things that I love about living on the Quimper Peninsula" list is the arts community here that I get to mingle with when I'm not too busy with orders and relegated to my stitching couch.  For a small town, we boast a remarkable number of artists of all types. 

I interviewed my friend and fellow crafter Lisa Leporati of Mabel Maker.  Lisa was one of the founders of Hand Work Studio, a local cooperative studio space where I will be selling next weekend at a holiday sale.  Lisa uses Shibori techniques, originally from Japan and Africa, to dye cotton and linen.  I recently asked her a few questions about her work.

AK: What is the technique that you are using with the indigo dye called? What is the process? What appeals to you about it?

LL: Shibori is the art of stitch resist dyeing. Traditional folk patterns are sewn on fabric by hand and then pulled tight and knotted, bound, to create a resist in the fabric for the dye, much like wax resists in Batik. It then enters the dye bath in a sweet little bundle to get thoroughly soaked. Often this step happens a few times depending on the depth of color you are trying to achieve. Pulling the Shibori bundle from the vat you feel a surge
of excitement.  What will the pattern look like? Will it have a clear resist? I love that sense of wonder each time.
I am most attracted to  the Japanese folk patterns in Shibori.They mirror the repeating patterns in the natural world with names like Mokume [wood grain] and Arashi [wind on water].

AK:  Describe the dye and what is unique about it.

LL:  One of the magical aspects of working with Indigo is that the blue is revealed only when the fabric is pulled from the vat into the air and oxidizes.It comes out of the vat a yellowish, citron color and changes before your eyes. Indigo is a natural dye and the fermentation process to set up a natural Indigo dye bath can take months to create.

AK:  Your family of origin seems very creative- how did they influence your work and your path to becoming an artist?

LL:  I was raised in N.Y. surrounded by generations of talented craftswomen. As a small child at my great-grandmother Mabel's knee I would watch their creativity come to life. It is for them and others like them that Hand Work Studio was named.

I'm glad to share this mossy, seaside town with Lisa and so many other talented artists.  I hope to introduce you to more of them in the future.  Best wishes and many thanks to you all this season.

-Alison Kaplan, Founder of Kata Golda