Category Archives: dyeing

things flow through

i have always liked figuring things out.  a production run is like a puzzle of sorts.
one must figure out and streamline the entire process.  thinking about such things as efficiency, energy, materials. the order of things.  and most importantly, the FLOW.  beautywood

the flow can refer to many things- the physical space in which i work-allowing me to move through my workspace without hinderance.  the flow of energy as i choose and mix the colors, prepare the silk, thinking several steps ahead of myself so as to maintain that flow.

the flow of work in and out of here as orders come and go, the flow of communication with all of those who email,comment,ask,etc..the flow of paperwork, money, and of course time.

but most of all i enjoy the process of transition. of taking something rather plain and mundane (although i can say that the miracle of the silkworm is anything but mundane!) and turning it into something else by hand.

so, lots of shibori ribbon being made here at the moment. if i have overlooked an email, been tardy in sending you something promised-please send me a little reminder nudge and accept a proforma mea culpa from me.  i appreciate your patience.

in all this busyness, i have quite forgotten to post here about the upcoming workshop with Richard!

speaking of flow. one also needs to refill the vessel and when Richard and I get together for a workshop that is part of the intention- to give you lots to wonder about- to get your flow going-or back into the flow.
good grief…in my mind i had done it!  but alas no- just on Facebook and constant contact. there are still a couple of spaces.  and several requests to Skype/broadcast the workshop which we will be accommodating as well (figuring this out now).  this workshop will combine itajime AND mandalas. you will learn both in the first two days.  on the third day you can work on whichever one (or both) is moving you-and get into your own flow.  patterns of time and space

of course we will be working on the process, the technique, of folding and dyeing and resisting-but also larger concepts of time and space in regards to patterns.  patterns are everywhere-in nature and in life.  sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture to see them.

-some of Richard’s recent work-it just keeps on getting better and better (of course). he recently completed his first continuous 10 meter cloth which is slated to be make into a summer yukata. now THAT’s impressive!
the amazing itajime of Richard Carbin

and just a reminder-  have a 2 day  indigo workshop coming up at the Japanese American National Museum Feb 1 & 2.  We will be working on shibori and indigo and creating a boro-esque indigo scarf from our bounty.  Call the Museum to register- 213.625.0414

じゃまた!

 

Long Beach Museum of Art

Today I gave as special workshop for the docents at the Long Beach Museum of Art.
30 people in a small basement room for 75 minutes.
Slideshow and videos then on to the Shibori.

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A simple project but enough to give them a sense of Shibori.

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These are the volunteers who take the children on tours through the museum when they come here on field trips.
Thank you Long Beach Museum of Art docents!! It was a pleasure.

silk shibori ribbon

Ahh….the first Monday of 2014!  And it starts off with a bang!

the original silk shibori ribbon

the original silk shibori ribbon

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!

 

Indigo fermentation vat

So if you want to really talk sustainable here’s something for you.

Handmade lace from France -probably 70 to 75 years old.

Dyed of course in the indigo fermentation vat.
I wonder how many people in the US are using a fermentation vat year round.

Of course, indigo looks great any time even when it’s not trendy.

By the looks of what I see there, I’ll be looking forward to when the trend wears off and we can get down to real indigo.

 

doing nothing is harder than doing something

a place to rest your mind...a distant shore

a place to rest your mind…a distant shore

Letting things fall into place or even fall apart before taking action can be one of the most difficult things to do. I am in that situation at the moment-and so far have resisted action. I realize that what I can do or want to do to alter the situation likely won’t have the intended result. Wanting to “do” something is culturally ingrained in us it seems. At least then we can say we “did our best” or “tried”. It might shield us from criticism or guilt. A wait and see approach is not highly valued these days. We are penalized for seemingly “doing nothing”.

An interesting study regarding soccer titled “Action bias among elite soccer goalkeepers: The case of penalty kicks” explores the emotional reactions to action vs. inaction.

While that might seem somewhat offtrack here, I makes me think of the differences between “instant indigo” and the fermentation vat. The fermentation vat gives me time to process the next move. To wait and see. To build upon what previously was. A chemical vat can be zapped back into action quickly while the fermentation vat needs time. Time to wait and see…

So while I let things fall apart a bit, I’ll be “doing something” out at the vats.

summer indigo dyeing blues

I know that many of you are finally coming into your spring – with things warming up, plants budding out; gardening and planting might be on your mind.  As you get some of that done and look forward to summer are you considering some indigo dyeing?

indigo flowering 4/30/13

indigo flowering 4/30/13

If so, you might consider taking my online indigo dyeing class “Let’s Dye with Indigo“.  Now is a good time to consider starting your vat as the weather warms up.  I just started a new 40 gallon natural fermentation vat and within one week it was already producing beautiful blues.  My class consists of two parts- the 5 lesson workshop plus the student forum. Both are very informative.  You can easily jump from one to the other through links in the sidebar of each.  Four (4) types of vats are explained and maintained.  You choose which one is right for you.

adding the wetted out indigo into the new vat

adding the wetted out indigo into the new vat

Although this workshop covers 4 different vat types, continuing posts will focus on the fermentation vat. There have been a lot of things fermenting around here over this past year. Many having to do with how we go about our lives- what we add to it and what we take away from it; the marks we make, the marks we leave behind, perhaps leaving no mark at all!  Fermentation has produced many of the best things we can enjoy in life- wine, beer, miso, bread, yogurt, cheese, pickled vegetables and so much more (even compost!).

Fermentation is a cellular process that occurs in an environment lacking oxygen that converts organic matter into simpler compounds and releases energy as a result (along with the byproduct of many delicious and useful things).

Pretty cool huh?  Simplifying organic matter to create energy and other good things.  I’m gonna stick with that.   I’ll also be adding posts about growing and using indigo as well.

So let’s continue to dye indigo by fermentation this year.  Let’s Experiment. Let’s Wonder. Are you in? If so, sign up here:

Let’s Dye with Indigo-online workshop

Why should you sign up now?  For “This Week Only” (sounds like an infomercial!) I am adding in the Shibori Techniques on Silk -Self Study Online Workshop (usually sold separately for $25). The principles in the shibori techniques class can be applied to your indigo dyeing as well. This sale will be available only until this Saturday   – giving me enough time to add you into the class before the Silk Study Tour to Japan departs. So both classes for the price of the indigo class.  A sort of Sayonara Sale!

the daily dyer preview

Additionally, if you have been a part of my series the daily dyer for the past 5 months, you know we are entering the final month which will be broadcast from Japan.  Thank you to all who have participated in that little experiment- I hope you have found some of it useful or at least entertaining.  This last month should prove to be an exciting month.  I have decided to continue there as well and will be offering  two options for the daily dyer in the shop:

option one: continuing. for original subscribers only. this will secure your subscription through the end of the year.  cost is $35

option two: new subscriber. here you will get access to the full year; the upcoming Japan Silk Study Tour posts and whatever lies beyond that.  the past, the present, and the future. cost is $95.

Sign up in the shop here.

intention

Seems like lately I’ve been in the employ of words ending in -tion and -sion. words like:

instruction, concentration, immersion, connection, destination, impression, revelation, fermentation
and the main one:

intention

All through the recent couple of weeks these words rolled around inside my head and I find that they apply to so many things throughout my day.  All of them though, bound up by intent. I am focusing more on intent these days. Maybe focusing isn’t the right word really.  At least being more conscious of it, wondering about it, taking it into consideration . Noticing it, within myself and beyond.

I think that the silks that Richard brought over made it ever clear. These fabrics have intent. Working with them I can feel and see it. Even though most were produced many decades ago (and maybe especially because they were) the intent seems clear to me.  They are still here.  They were saved all this time. The intent was carried on through many hands into their present form.

old silks

old silks

And over time here, I have been wondering not only about silk, but about indigo too. Last year I grew indigo-cut and dried it, even saved the seed.  Eventually I composted the leaves into a claylike mass. Now, I have made a fermentation vat with the homegrown indigo.  I think the past is about to meet the future, blending the past with the future, sustainably.

silk boro indigo

silk boro indigo

This intention has been brewing in me for a very long time. Some days I think maybe since the dawn. I am only beginning to recognize it as such. I can be a slow learner…

planting seeds and wondering into the new year

seeds.  i’ve written about seeds a number of times this past year. and things related to seeds.  seeds are the beginning of things. they contain the wonderful possibility of life,  sustenance, beauty and even of freedom.   i’ve always been a seed saver.  when i was a kid it was fun to collect seeds to play with-to make things with. i remember having great fun collecting nasturtium seeds- so plentiful and easy to gather.  all sizes, shapes and colors.  string them,  glue them, count them, eat them, plant them.  seeds.

edible nigella seeds from the summer garden.

edible nigella seeds from the summer garden.

a couple of months ago i had the good fortune to be in Santa Clara for a family wedding and came across the Luther Burbank  home and gardens.  if you are ever in Santa Clara try to make time to stop by (the docent tour was also fantastic). I was so intrigued by this man- i bought this book -A Gardener Touched with Genius and have been reading it off and on…so interesting! The place is beautiful, gardens diverse and the house is quaint and wonderfully restored.  but my favorite thing was this:

Luther Burbank's seed vault

Luther Burbank’s seed vault

this is how he thought of his seeds.  precious. so much so that they were kept in a vault. there also was a small shed with a little window from which he sold his seeds to neighbors and to the public. a walk around the neighborhood reveals that many of the yards still contain plants grown from his seeds. charming!  he also had an experimental farm at nearby Sebastopol. i hope to visit it sometime this year.  this video really speaks to who he was:

now i have mentioned once or twice before that silk moth eggs are called seeds by the Japanese.  and they do look like seeds.  i have a fair collection myself in the butter compartment of the fridge. i wonder if and when i will have a chance to raise silkworms this year?

silkworm eggs-seeds

silkworm eggs-seeds

of course i will grow indigo again, in fact it is already growing! seeds that dropped while collecting the flower stems have already sprouted in this mild climate of ours.  we had some nice soft rain that coaxed them…  i gave away most of my extra indigo seeds -i like to send them out into the hands of those who take the indigo workshops. i wonder how many will plant them?

sometimes seeds are dropped- sprout and grow! we don't always know how or where they will bloom

sometimes seeds are dropped- sprout and grow! we don’t always know how or where they will bloom

I am also growing something new this year- madder.  i will be experimenting with it. with combining  madder and indigo.  i thought it might be about time to add a second color to the natural dyescape of my studio.  i’m not one to try anything and everything- i like to delve into things fairly deep and that means taking my time with it and not rushing.  madder grows rather slowly and it will take  couple of years for it to mature to the point where it can be harvested.  honestly, i wonder if i will even get to that point with it.  but i have some madder root here now that i have purchased and watching some grow will only add to my knowledge base.  i was intrigued by madder several years ago when on the silk study tour we visited a natural dyer who showed me his experiments with it and some madder he had grown. he planted a seed in me that started me wondering.  it’s taken a while to germinate… i wonder what new things will come of this.

Natural Dyeing Master Youjiro Takezawa shows us his madder root from the garden (Mr.Takezawa passed away 2 years ago. His wife succeeded his studio)4-388 Umedamachi Kiryu city, Gunma japan japan,silk

Natural Dyeing Master Youjiro Takezawa shows us his madder root from the garden (Mr.Takezawa passed away 2 years ago. His wife succeeded his studio)
4-388 Umedamachi Kiryu city, Gunma japan japan,silk

seeds are a good way of spreading wonder i think.  that is what i intend to continue with this year. spreading wonder  and planting seeds in small ways.  there’s a lot to wonder about. may the ground be fertile!

happy new year!

the daily dyer

something new...

something new…

Lately I’ve been so very thankful to everyone who has been turning out for classes both online and in person. It is a real pleasure to see so much interest in dyeing, silk, indigo and just general interest in what I do.  It is wonderous to see you the students come to these classes with your own intentions and desires and then take the information off to create on your own.  Some of you create just for the sheer pleasure of it, some with the intention of starting your own small business.  It is great to know that many are thinking in that direction-thinking independently. Just keep going is what I have to say about that.  It takes time.  Do not expect things to happen immediately, instantly, or forever. Start small. Grow it.  You are the seed. You have to keep plugging away at it. Inventing, creating, wondering on a daily basis. Seeds need nourishment and so will you.

This leads me to the next thing.  With this level of interest the daily emails with questions grow. The requests to go here and there increase. Some of the questions sound like this:

-when is your next class?(working on that…deciding…figuring out finances…)

-will you be teaching near me soon?(dunno-where are you?)

- can I come work for you-for free-so I can learn! (surprisingly, many of these offers! thank you so much for the offer-but I can’t do that for many reasons)

-can you come teach here in Israel/Japan/Canada/? (wouldn’t that be cool?)

-I’m in your neighborhood, can I stop by? (uh, sorry-no)

-we’d love to have you at our show will you come? (unlikely-many to consider and many financial considerations are involved)

-I need to turn in a report on my favorite artist-will you answer these 20 questions?(most of which the answers can be found by reading a few pages on my blog-but thanks for thinking of me)

-and myriad questions about dyeing,shibori, silk, indigo, growing indigo, seeds, shows, orders (YAY!- helps pay the bills!) and so much more. Time!  I need more time (maybe time traveling is an answer)!

I wonder how to divy myself up in enough pieces to satisfy more- to spread my growing knowledge further and the daily practice of it in a way that serves us all? In a way that helps me and helps you.

I tested this idea out some time back but I wasn’t quite ready for it.  I am now.  Things come with their own time and place and I think now is the time.  So here it is:

the daily dyer

-a place for daily snippets of dyeing for a living- which is what I do. Even I don’t know what each day will offer- that is part of the lesson. But come along and get a glimpse. This doesn’t take the place of the other more technique based classes or in person workshops (or the blog here either). It’s meant to teach in a different way.  And I think we all know that there are many ways of learning and that people learn in different ways. Along the way. Yes, along the way. As I write that, I realize that is what this is about. Globe trotting is very costly- the teachers costs must be covered-  and thus workshops for those sorts of events are expensive and understandably not in the budget for everyone.

For you, it will give you a part of me and my work that hasn’t been available so far. It will give you another way to learn. $60 for 6 months. That’s about 35 cents a day- the cost of a daily good cup of coffee when I was born-over 50 years ago…or the cost of two overpriced cups of coffee a month now ( I may have been listening to too much public radio these days..).

For me, it allows me to reach further, deeper, and continue serving in another affordable way for all of us. Also, it’s a daily commitment, a practice of daily teaching and learning.

But really, what have you got to lose? You can sign up for a one month subscription for $25 which can be applied towards the 6 month subscription if you add it before the one month ends. (kind of a layaway plan of sorts.)

The daily dyer begins December 15 and continues through June 15, 2013.

Subscriptions for the first 6 months will be available now through Dec 15th only. I’ve also added the possibility of gift certificates in the shop- and some are conveniently set at the price of a daily dyer subscription.   I wonder if you’ll check it out…