rayna gillman's blog         improv quilts & an improv life

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

Saturday I treated myself to an indigo workshop at the art center! I never take workshops, but I was due for a break. I had never done indigo dyeing and of course it involved shibori, so I couldn't resist. (unintended pun). I wore gloves, so don't ask me how one nail on each hand turned blue.

But it was worth it! I came away with six pieces, all different and all interesting. I had grabbed a bunch of scarves to experiment with. Silk, cotton, rayon, and linen in various sizes and weaves.

What I love about shibori is its unpredictability (are you surprised?). You never know what you're going to get and unfolding every piece is like opening a gift!

I took a shibori class a few decades ago but it involved a lot of heavy buckets and some stitching and it wore me out. I did dye some beautiful fabric, but shibori doesn't play well with others so for the most part, I find it difficult to use. However, wearables are a different story. I can't wait to wear my favorites of these. Scarves are great for making a plain old solid t-shirt into an outfit. Ask me how I know.

Indigo is beautiful but I'm going to do my dyeing with MX dyes. I am in the midst of tossing, organizing, and generally cleaning out the supply closets in the studio. Of course it gets worse before it gets better, but I'll be there again today doing more. The place is a serious mess, especially because my kitchen there is in the middle of being redone and on the floor there are bags and boxes of canned goods and every other non-perishable from my cupboards.

I'm headed over there now to wait for the plumber.

Stay tuned.


Yes, I am in the studio: accidental photo. I must have just come in, dropped my purse on top of the pile of Curated Quilts and Quilt Folk magazines, and am contemplating what is on the design wall across from me. (The cardboard box contains a cabinet for the kitchen, all of which are scattered around waiting for the rippers-out/installers to call me).

But alas, I cannot seem to concentrate on any one thing. Ever have the same experience?? Six different ideas and I am too scattered to start something new. So I am working on a third panel for this future piece, which you are probably tired of seeing.

Top left will not be staying there -- I am just getting started making and plunking on the wall. It has been sitting around for months until I was in the mood to work on it.

Meanwhile, back at the apartment I have been busy in the kitchen. My brother Jon had sent me his baguette recipe after he was here for a visit. Haven't tried it yet because I got it into my head that i needed to make sourdough baguettes. In any case, I bought a baguette pan. Have you ever seen one? Neither had I, until now.

Many years ago I made sourdough starter by mixing flour and water and putting it out on my porch. Before I knew it -- bubbles! I fed it, it grew bigger, and so on -- in just a few days. Fast forward about 40 years... from New Jersey to Florida. It has been about ten days and my sourdough starter still isn't where it should be. Plenty of bubbles but it hasn't grown any bigger. Climate? Water? who knows? But I've learned patience since living in Florida (everything and everybody is slower and the traffic lights last for five minutes (only when they are red!). So, I figure that eventually the starter will move.

Here are two batches, sitting in the oven with the light on to give them some warmth.

Tomorrow morning around 8:00 I will dump out most of it, reserve 4 oz, add 4 oz flour and ½ cup of water and wait another 12 hours to feed it again. Eventually, maybe I will have something that will work.

What has your bread-baking experience been like?


I started to post more than a week ago but the app kept freezing - so here it is, unfinished. Am back in (chilly) Florida, so am finally checking in and editing - a bit behind schedule.

I was in New Jersey visiting family and I’ve made three trips into New York City to see my Gillman kids and grands. Fortunately, the weather was mild and sunny — although “mild” means in the 40’s and low 50’s instead of the 20’s, which it was when I arrived.

Normally I take tons of photos when I am in New York but this time I was lazy. However, here are a few from this week.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal decked out for the holidays.

Iconic sculpture by George Segal. Everyone loves it because we can all identify! It has been here for almost 40 years.

When I'm there I realize how much I miss the energy of the City, but when I am back in Florida I have to put it out of my mind.

Back in the studio now, so stay tuned.

 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019