Wednesday, July 15, 2020

In the year 2020 . . .

Don’t you love calendars and journals ? It is a good way to look back at notes and drawings and see them in a new light.

Here is an entry from January in my calendar/sketchbook for 2020, it looks like a premonition of what was to come. So much uncertainty in the world now, I am finding purpose in art making.

I participated in the portfolio review at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) in San Jose, before Covid. I came away with . . . create your own opportunity; be comfortable with being out of balance; and be okay with the work and try not to make it so precious. The precious part is hard. I like the back sides of the recent thread drawings I made, as they seem loose.

This thread drawing is from a photo of Kwesi Young in Content Magazine. Capturing a face is a challenge, but I am up for it. It may take two maybe three attempts to make something I like. I use heavy cotton water color paper and add color with water color and/or Biohue Inks. Black thread details are from my Featherweight sewing machine.

You can find me on Instagram @kimmeulibrown.

Be well. ~Kim

Sunday, April 15, 2018

My Art Resources Interview

Such a honor to be interviewed as a feature artist. My Art Resources is a great place to find business tools and practices for artists.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Teaching Indigo Dyeing

Five years ago I took my first Indigo dye class.  It was the beginning of what has been years of exploring the magic of Indigo and the art of Shibori. And there is always more to learn.

But . . . today I taught Indigo Dyeing Level 1 at Wilson Adult-Community Education Center in Santa Clara, California. And it was a nice experience to pass along what I enjoy so much. The students were focused and ready to learn and I always learn something new myself.

It’s so fun to see the ways in which people choose to experiment, once you provide the tools and knowledge.

I am thankful to have studied Shibori and Indigo dyeing with artists like Melissa Arnold, Maggie Leininger, and Ana Lisa Hedstrom. I really appreciate what these woman have done and continue to do by teaching. Teaching any fabric dye class is a crazy adventure, challenging and rewarding.

Here are some images from today. The classroom setting, which reminds me of an home economics room has three kitchens. Nice to have a projector to show slides introducing indigo, my work, and provide inspirational photographs. It is a nice set up.

And on a final note it was fun to look back at one of the first classes I took at the Tin Thimble taught by Melissa Arnold. Melissa wrote a blog post which you can find here:

Thank you Tin Thimble, for hosting Melissa Arnold:

And thanks for the supplies at Dharma Trading:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Indigo Dyeing with Family

With family from Salt Lake City in town for a visit, I decided it would be fun to have an indigo dip day, and teach my niece and mom a bit about the Japanese art of Shibori and dyeing fabric. They each picked a silk chiffon scarf blank. I showed them two Shibori techniques, Itajime fold and clamp with a rectangular wood shape, and a gathering technique around a thick string.

Thanks Britta for the “snap chat” photo showing the finished products. It is so fun to share my love of textiles with family. And speaking of family, Britta is wearing an apron with a silk screened image of my maternal grandmother, Doris Duncan.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Kakishibu Persimmon Dye of Japan

My San José Rose Garden home, built in 1926, has a persimmon tree in the backyard. It was there before we purchased the house in 1982. Most people think we are crazy to have kept the tree for so long, as it creates such a mess in spring, fall, and summer. It’s a large tree, and it produces a copious amount of persimmons. Our tree is the larger variety called Hachiya, the fruit of which is unpalatable until completely softened. We have dried the fruit and made persimmon cookies and breads. In the fall we put out a box filled with persimmons and a “free” sign so neighbors can also partake.

Who knew that for all these years, this tree was able to offer much more than fruit for delicious dessert treats like persimmon pudding with lemon sauce? Who knew that the persimmon tree had even more to give than also providing me with the joy of watching the cedar waxwing birds as they came to join in the annual feast?

My persimmon tree

At the end of July 2016, I took a class at Cabrillo College taught by Jody Alexander, called “Boro Textiles: Books, Bags, Zokin and Zakka.” It was very inspiring in many ways. Our instructor showed us slides of textiles dyed with persimmon and brought some actual pieces that she had purchased in Japan, many of which were very old. This was the first time I put my hands on these lush brown and gold fabrics dyed with persimmon. The texture and depth of color were like nothing I had seen before. The pieces were not only rich in color, but they were functional as well: resistant to mold, moisture, and insects, Japanese farmers used the dyed cloth as protection from the elements. Bags created with the dyed fabric were used to store rice.

As a fiber and textile lover, I was hooked, and determined to use the fruit from my own tree to dye fabric. I researched online and came across the links listed below to get started. Turns out that August is the perfect time of year to harvest the green persimmons for dyeing. So I began.

I ordered the book Kakishibu: Traditional Persimmon Dye of Japan, by Chris Conrad, and I reached out to her for guidance. She was very kind and willing to share her knowledge. Her website link is:
Japanese Textile Worshops blog, written by Bryan Whitehead, who lives outside Tokyo, was also helpful. He also responded with answers to questions that I had.
Check his website out :

Unripe persimmons from my tree

I learned that it is the liquid from the unripened green persimmon that is used. Sometimes it is diluted, but it is most effective in a pure form. It also becomes stronger the longer it ferments. Persimmon dye needs ultra-violet light to change into a golden brown color. I collected the small, golf ball-sized green fruit, grated them, and squeezed the pulp through cheese cloth to get pure persimmon juice. Next I dipped some linen, cotton, and a piece of silk tule into the juice. These pieces of fabric sat out in the sun every day for the next few weeks. Each morning I moistened them again with plain water and set them out in the sun. They definitely changed color over time, and you can see the results in the photos below. The tannin in the persimmon hardens and binds to the cloth, and the sunlight makes the color change to brown. I am happy with the cotton and linen, and with the beautiful orange color. Interestingly, the cloth is stiff. When washed, the cloth won’t soften too much. It gets creases in the material which gives a slightly distressed look. The linen made a perfect cover for one of my Boro Books. Hope you enjoyed reading my blog. I will continue to experiment and see what new things I can create using natural elements from my own backyard: my favorite persimmon tree.

Persimmon dyed cover for one of my Boro Books.

Grated green persimmon

Mashing with an industrial potato masher.

Smashing the pulp with my feet. Pulp is in cheese cloth.

Left in the sun, the pulp starts to turn color.

Fabrics laid out in the sun.

Vintage lace piece on top of cotton.

Linen and vintage cotton pillow case dyed with persimmon.