“Moon maker, time keeper ~ I enjoy creating things that make people wonder. Not an artist...but arts apprentice.”

Glennis Dolce

United States
The Shibori Girl
About Glennis Dolce (California)

Her Shibori silk ribbons are a fancy ingredient in many renowned jewelry artists' works. See Perlen Poesie #20, page 87. 

“From the pleats that tease you to open and close them, to the colors that change along the hills and valleys, the silky cool feel of the silk invites you to take some into your hands and create!”

Perlen Poesie asked her a few questions:

How would you describe yourself?

That is a difficult question. But in a minute I can answer that I am pretty practical and very independent (to a fault at times).   

How did you start handcrafting? 

I am a ceramicist of over 30 years who changed majors to textiles in 2006. Why craft? As an independent sort I never was satisfied with the idea of working for someone else-of executing someone else’s thoughts or ideas. Since high school I have made and sold my own work. Silkscreen prints, watercolors, calligraphy, weavings, hand made porcelain beads are some of the items I made and sold back then. From early on it was apparent to me that this was part of my nature. I started a porcelain company while in college studying for a ceramics degree but didn’t finish the degree as I became too busy with orders and never looked back. (Although, to this day my stepmother and adopted family are still sure I need to get a “real job”!) Odd that even after all these years of independently supporting myself and raising my sons they can’t give up on that. Perhaps the WHY goes to this: to prove that I COULD! That and because there is something intrinsic about making and working with your hands that goes to your core. It is centering. It is not an easy balance to figure out — this making and living without outside income.  But a very worthwhile endeavour if you have the stamina. Perhaps you could say that I owe it all to those who didn’t believe! Believe — believe in yourself.

Where do you receive inspiration and ideas from? 

Everything and nothing. Nature is the true artist and everything around you can become an inspiration if seen through the eye of creation. Plants, animals, insects, fish, the ocean, forests, deserts… so much to draw from. Poetry, books, photography, music… and even dreams sometimes. Also, since I also do this to support myself, I listen to people. I write my blog, I pay attention to what moves and inspires others. Sometimes I lead the way, sometimes I follow.  

Is there anything fascinating also in beads for you?

Not being a beader this is a difficult question. I have actually made porcelain beads by hand on a piecework basis many moons ago. I like the nature of handmade beads. One of my favorite places combines both beads and shibori. Itchiku Kubota (famous shibori dyer) has a museum near Mt Fuji that displays his fantastic collection of trade beads in one building and his shibori kimono work in another. I love to take people there and watch their reaction to so much beauty. It is quite overwhelming. 

How does color influence your life? Do you like trends in colors, do you work more with your own best colors, do you design for a broad spectrum or do you go with trends?

Color is HUGE! Again, I watch for Nature to lead the way. I love to visit botanical gardens, nurseries, parks or anywhere there is a bounty of plant life. I look to see how Nature arranges her palette. I notice how color affects me as I dye — especially in regards to the base dyeing portion of the process. I had never noticed that before since I had never dealt with large fields of very saturated color as a ceramicist. After dyeing for a while, it started to dawn on me. I had very distinct reactions of euphoria while looking at all that color. It remains a favorite part of the process for me. As for trends in color… nah. Whenever I look at the news regarding “color of the year etc.” I just can’t make sense of it. I recently saw that this year was the year for the color “orchid”. It looked dull and flat to me, almost depressing. Combinations of colors excite me.

How do you work? Is it more the spontaneous way you work, chaotic creativity or a very orderly disciplined way of working?

Of course since this is my livelihood there is a need for a certain amount of order to keep things from falling into chaos. But I am not one of those that needs to have everything in perfect photoshoot status in order to carry on. My workspace isn’t pretty. I am also the sort that can make do with the leanest, most simple, and invented workspace and necessities in order to get the job done. Not having had the luxury of much free money has made me quite inventive! I do enjoy process. Always have. To me it is part of the design. Designing the process. Making it work. Making the design work within the process, inventing process to accommodate design and ideas. Can you really separate the two? This is one reason I like doing what I do. I can see something from beginning to end. And do it.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

The future is very unpredictable. These days I try not to project too much and just rise to the occasion as each hill presents itself on the horizon. Keep pedalling. Shift gears as needed. Stay adaptable. Be willing to refocus. As far as wishes go, I wish that more people spent time wondering about the possibilities (I always say we need more wonder in the world). If you start with wondering, and take it slowly from there, who knows what can happen? Success comes in many forms over time and with lots of patient practice when it comes to making. At least when speaking of making for a living or quality making for sure.

Do you love exhibitions, galleries, museums?

Oh gosh — I do wish I got out more to see more exhibitions. I like to see retrospectives when it comes to things like painters and sculptors so I can see the breadth of their work. Seeing where they started as well as the path they took — the process of their development. I like craft (of course) and recently saw an excellent basketry exhibit in Yosemite and took a workshop with the wonderful basket maker Julia Parker — what a joy that was! I enjoy fine craft that is used in everyday life.  I am looking forward to seeing the Calder exhibit at LACMA soon. I have a desire to visit the annual exhibit of National Treasures at the Shosoin in Nara, Japan one year. Last year I finally saw the Amuse Boro Museum in Tokyo as well as the Mingeikan.

Thank you, Glennis!