this silk started out white, like winter snow
then it became dark-like midnight
lights and darks, hills and valleys formed
and greens in many shades and hues swept across the land.
Ahh….the first Monday of 2014! And it starts off with a bang!
About my silk shibori ribbon-many folks are asking and wondering…
It was 2006 when I first started practicing and learning shibori techniques. Having closed my porcelain company of 30 years, I wanted a new challenge and a new product to make and sell. Something to continue to sustain me over the next many years. Something highly artistic, beautiful, creative, something that would excite and inspire others to make and create-I know how making can be so very strengthening both mentally and physically. I wanted to continue to be part of that but in another way. I looked for a way. After practicing the arashi shibori technique daily for about 6 months, I wondered. I wondered if one could make ribbon with it. I had never seen it done so I started searching the internet. Nope! Not one image or one mention anywhere that I could find. I searched extensively. Excited, I found a little bit of silk ribbon I had nearby and wanted to wrap it. Around what? Looking around me I grabbed a pencil. Wrapping the ribbon around it my eyes scanned the room for something to wrap it with- some thread. I ran downstairs ( I had been in the bedroom with my bathrobe still on) and went outside and poured some dye over it. Steaming and drying it I opened it up- Shibori Ribbon was born-really way to small and thin and not all that beautiful. But the beauty was in the eye of the beholder, me- and I could see all the glorious possibilities. So it has been a long and interesting path. Littered with miles of beautiful silk and more.
Special thanks to all those who have been teaching and using the ribbon in their classes not just this year but in all the past years since I first came up with this crazy idea. My special thanks goes to the much loved Sherry Serafini who has spread her inspiration and the shibori ribbon all over the world. More thanks to the talented Melanie Dorman who passed on in 2012 and who introduced me to beaded needle weaving and embroidery while we sat back to back at our tables at the Pasadena Bead and Design show some years ago. I was fascinated with her work and she with the ribbon. I think she was the first to see and show me its potential in regards to beaded embroidery work and designed several pieces and classes with it. I was saddened-even shocked, when I went to contact her about something last year and discovered her passing- a reminder…we are here only for the blink of an eye. Adele Sciortino did her part with it in the doll world and introduced it to many doll makers. Art quilters found the ribbon at the quilt shows and put it to work in many inventive ways. It was a pleasure to have them come to the booth and tell me that their quilt entry with the shibori ribbon made it into the show. Crazy quilter Julie Craig of Attic Heirlooms(no website) along with Judith Montano both saw the ribbons potential when I first introduced it at the shows 6 years ago. Kate Tracton (also a Shibori GIrl) found it and made some lovely necklaces with it and her handwoven focal beads. Jude’s words and musings and of course Wendy who keeps a little pile of the ribbons in her therapy room and adds her wisdom to it as she heals. I could fill a whole page with such examples. I thank you all. It is an exquisite privilege to have something I make be part of something you make or do.
Now, entering 2014 there are many, many folks out there enjoying the possibilities and wondering. There are many shops- both online and on the street selling my ribbon. There are two Authorized Etsy resellers of my ribbon who are putting it into the hands of many more creative folks-Michelle, who has been at it for several years now and Lisa who just discovered it late last year and doing a great job getting the word out. This is putting the silk shibori ribbon in the hands of so many creative folks who are dreaming and wondering up so many possibilities. I am overwhelmed! I really couldn’t ask for more shibori love than that.
So it has been a good year and I look back at the slow and manageable uphill burn of the ribbon which makes life around here even possible. I intend as a result of the increasing demand for the ribbon, to be spending more time making the silk shibori ribbon than ever before. I like that it is also helping to support others who resell the ribbon as well as those using it to make things that they in turn sell.
I have been informed that there is someone copying the idea on etsy. I have been approached by a very large company who wants to “blow it up” and eventually have it made in China. No. It is true, there will be copyists- in it for the momentary buck or two. But in the end I will still be here. Know it.
One at a time and everyday- like I said in the beginning of this big adventure.
Now back to the poles. And speaking of poles, Keep warm out there friends. I know some of you are withstanding record cold spells. Janice just emailed me that it is -37 outside her studio in the woods right now. Stand strong-and STAY WARM!
When in mid August I saw pumpkins stacked outside the grocery store here and orange frosted cupcakes and pumpkin cookies encased in plastic containers upon entering the store I wondered if perhaps I had somehow missed a month or two. But no, it was still August. Really- Halloween already? Won’t those pumpkins be rotten and the cupcakes stale by then? One does wonder.
But now here I am not exactly marking time but struggling to organize it. Realizing that reminding you to think ahead if you desire to order a large scarf for yourself or as a gift for the holidays would actually be a good idea. This way, I can get a handle on how to better organize my time and material purchases in addition to not taking on more work than I can actually create. I really do hate to disappoint and don’t like to do “rush” orders. So I was thinking, how best to accomplish that…
And here is what I came up with.
(a reservation system of sorts…)
You can order your own custom colorway of course by emailing me an image or two that include the colors you like or, if you have had your colors “done” send me an image of the set of swatches from that. Here are a few recent pieces to give you an idea…
I will be taking reserves for no more than 25 between now and Nov. 25th.
Let’s see how this works.
as soon as the taxes are finished, i can get back to wondering. and dyeing. it’s has been quite busy here as of late but a shop update is on the horizon! mostly ribbon to start out with but also some lovely old whites. Jude is also busy wondering in white. I’m going to go there for a bit too. But my wonderings usually end up turning blue.
In Japan, cranes have long been associated with longevity and good fortune. Often a wedding kimono will have cranes incorporated into the design. This old silk with jacquard crane imagery had me wondering if combining it with a moon might enhance its loveliness. The moon has long been associated with beauty and the appreciation of beauty in Japan. I think it makes a handsome pairing.
some wondering about more shibori texture. more of this soon.
and the indigo has had its first haircut which has been dried and stored! these plants volunteered themselves by self sowing.
and some old silk kimono linings had me practicing my itajime with the fermentation vat
which is really liking spring!
from the fermentation vat. i’ve been working almost exclusively with it since the beginning of the year.
the chem vat is off in a corner. i wonder if i will ever use it again?
and… i’m going to saturday school to practice my Japanese (hence the old かな cards). this old doll came out of the cupboard to help me design a piece for my friend Donna’s line of mannequins. it all looked interesting lying on the table soI snapped this shot for fun.
that’s it for now- back to finishing up the taxes. need to get them in asap so my son can figure out if he can get the appropriate mix of financial aid and scholarship funds so he can accept his graduate school acceptance offer from ………
…the San Francisco Conservatory of Music! (so proud of him….congrats Trev!) cross your fingers for him…it’s an honor and a really big deal. If he can swing it, he will be studying under Jack Van Geem and David Herbert the principal percussionist and principal timpanist of the San Francisco Symphony. He’s making his dreams come true through hard work, persistance and practice.
I am tying up some loose ends on things that have been in the works around here for a while. Everything takes longer than expected it seems-especially around the holidays when there are lots of comings and goings.
Today the wind died down a bit (not completely) but the surfers were devoted to getting into the water which leaves me in complete and blissful silence to work on these unfinished details.
First- the In Studio Workshop with Richard Carbin and myself is available in the shop. Just click here to visit the listing and read through it carefully. If you have any questions, just use the contact form or email me. Leaving a comment here is OK too- I can reply privately via your comment.
I’m excited to collaborate with Richard again. Ours has been an wonderful pairing of interests and talents. We met virtually via Flickr several years ago becoming fans of each others work. Richard is an ex-pat living in Nagoya Japan with his wife and two boys. In June 2009 when Phil & I visited Nagoya for the Arimatsu Shibori Festival, we made a pact to meet up and get to know each other better and in person. We visited late into the night and although our work is completely different we shared a passion for Japan, silk, and dyeing. Afterwards, we continued getting to know each other online via Facebook and via email and decided to create a collaborative workshop. Our online workshop Indigo Mandalas (born of the original In Studio workshop last year) was the first internationally collaborative online workshop as far as I know. We continue to inspire and draw on each others experience and interests using the internet & media, learning as we grow.
Secondly, the Silk Study Tour to Japan is filling nicely. We only have 4 spots (out of 20) left so, if you think a trip to Japan to see silk sericulture, beautiful textiles, a natural dye workshop and more are in your future for May of 2013-contact me soon. We never really know if we will repeat this tour-so far our third biennial tour. Life has a way of keeping us on our toes and in the present which is a good thing and keeps up from putting off those things that we really want to do but somehow don’t. More and more I realize that today is the day! Click the link for details and feel free to contact me if you you have any questions at all. I’m getting excited all over again. New things await us in Japan every time we go!
First- I forgot to mention that the daily dyer subscription will cover the time during the upcoming Silk Study Tour to Japan. So the added bonus is that if you sign up for the full 6 months you will get to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes tour. Sometimes dyers have to go to Japan! We are gathering a great group. There are still a few spots open so if you have been imagining yourself in the land of the rising sun…come on along! Not that you need a little tempting or anything but here is a fun flickr set of photos of past trips- and a little video just for fun…
Next- there will be a new in-studio workshop announcement next week. Dates look like they will be end of January/ early February. It will be a combination workshop featuring Richard Carbin’s mandalas and my arashi shibori techniques. Day one will be mandalas with Richard and myself (assisting) and day two will be with me learning arashi shibori techniques and Richard assisting . Day three will be a free dye/play day to practice some of the skills you have learned. We are still working out the details but you can sign up for day one, day two, day one & two (a little discount), and day three will be reserved for only those who have taken day one or two or both (both days will get you a nice discount on day three). We will work with procion (Richard’s fave), colorhue, and acid dyes and even the indigo vat. It will be limited to 6 people each day. I’m just getting things set up so I can list it in the shop sensibly. So much going on right now. Does it ever slow down? I wonder…what if we combined arashi and mandalas….