God's Creatures

Play Day

Hand-Painted Scarf by Catherine Rodgers

Do you ever take a day off to play?  Do something just for fun?

I did last Saturday. I took a Shibori Scarf class.

That was a big step for this girl whose only painting experience involves walls and woodwork. (Please don’t ask—you could not afford me.)

It all began when I admired a silk scarf Catherine Rodgers wore to Thanksgiving dinner. 

She just happened to be teaching the technique at the Arkansas Arts Center in January. (You creative types, wear your creations. You are your best advertisement.) 

Cathy assured me that I didn’t need a background in art to take the class. Anyone could do it. Still I was hesitant because sometimes people who find certain things easy project that ability onto those of us who aren’t so gifted in that area.

You know, “Oh, it’s easy. You can do it.”


I didn’t need to bring anything. She’d supply everything.  Easy-Peasy.

Uh-huh, you bet.

But before I knew it, I was saying I’d go online and sign up.

You know you’re anxious when you dream about an event the night before you go. To say I felt a little uncomfortable as I made my way into a large studio area is an understatement. But it helped to find that another friend, Nancy, was a helper.

The room was full of women and one guy, Shane, who turned out to be a soft-spoken and encouraging coach.

Probably all artists.

We picked up our packets containing five white silk scarves and one cotton bandana and found a spot at one of the tables.

(Silk—No pressure.)
Linen Place Mats class coming up soon
Cathy’s teaching style is laid back. First she gave us a little history about Shibori, an ancient Japanese fabric dying technique, and showed us some of her creations.

Lots of dye colors available
She talked about choosing our colors.
(Write those names down.) 


Then she demonstrated two techniques. The first involved separating areas on a scarf into poufs and securing them tightly with rubber bands. 

Effects of Folds, Blocks and Poofs

The second involved folding the scarf, applying rubber bands to separate sections and using a wooden block to cover an area.

After a scarf was folded and banded, she dipped it into a fixative—an important step if you want the dye to take. (But if you forgot and began the dye process without that step, which I did twice, you used a spray bottle of the mixture to soak it.) 

Wooden blocks on each side protect fabric

Next she dumped the wet clump of fabric into a plastic bag and micro-waved it on high for 
30 seconds.


Afterward, we followed Cathy back to an area with an industrial-size sink where she rinsed her creation until the water ran clear. Then she snipped off the rubber bands and dunked the scarf in a Tide wash and rinsed again.

Voila! The finished product.

The final step was to drape the scarves over a clothesline that she had strung down the middle of an aisle.

That community drying line proved to be inspiration in itself. 

As you admired someone’s creation, you could ask, “How did you fold it? What colors did you use? 

And everyone was accommodating with answers and demonstrations.

It wasn’t long before I realized some of the participants had already taken the class. They’d brought shirts and other items to work on in addition to the  scarves Cathy provided us. 

As I fumbled with my first scarf, I wondered if I’d even get through the six items in my packet.

Oh great! A talentless neophyte, among accomplished artists.

But with the help of Shane, I began.

And you know what? Once I tried my hand at that first scarf, I began to get over my inhibited self. (Before the day was over, I bought an additional scarf and two bandanas to dye!)

And I had a great time.

Here are some of my creations.

My Favorite

I know it’s difficult for confident folks to understand those of us who are timid about trying new things. Unfortunately, I seem to have been born that way. 

However, as I realize that I’ve already lived more years than I have in front of me, I’ve promised myself I will push past my discomfort and try more new activities that truly interest me. Otherwise, I may miss the joy of fulfillment. I don’t want to miss any joy in this life.  

How about you? Have you tried anything new recently? 

Want to take a Shibori class with me February 7 or March 7? 

Think about it.

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, 
a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. 
The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

Acts 14:14 

(Note: Cathy is a beautiful woman who isn’t fond of having her picture taken and asked me not to include a photograph of her. I reluctantly complied.)

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2015. All rights reserved

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