Category Archives: moon

tides, moons, memories

weaving motifs into cloth (and life)

There are certain motifs that have always captured my attention.  Of course you know the moon is one of these motifs but the other two that captivate me are water and cloud imagery.  Who hasn’t laid back and watched the clouds move across the sky, felt the sun come and go across our skin…listened to the waves, a nearby stream, a roaring river or waterfall…seen the moon rise and fall?  I like that these motifs are universal and shared across the globe regardless of where or who you are.  It reminds me of life’s beauty, and our connectedness to each other. These things give me perspective.

I think this is why these nature based motifs have been given so much regard in design over time and space.  Often each motif is imbued with a special meaning or symbology. I enjoy studying all the meanings behind the motifs and the cultures which bestowed these interpretaions.

I recently was very taken with old silk which had these images woven into the design.  I purchased a couple of rolls of these silks from second hand shops recently with a few things in mind.  First, to study them and then to create something out of them.

japanese vintage silk damask -indigo dyed

japanese vintage silk damask -indigo dyed

Aside from the cloud and water motifs, this one has bamboo, maple leaves and what looks to be cherry blossoms.  Sort of covers it all!  Originally, this sort of fabric was used for nagajuban -the ankle length under kimono which used the softest and finest silks worn next to the skin.  The weight and design complexity of this silk suggests that it was to be used in a nagajuban worn for a very formal occasion. It has a beautiful hand and a lovely drape.

I saw moons in it of course…

silk moons for the supermoon

silk moons for the supermoon

flowers on the moon-indigo and silk

flowers on the moon-indigo and silk

I used a piece of this fabric for a nice indigo dyed scarf with diagonal ends and hand stitched hems- ombre dyed on one side. I think I will add an interesting bead to the two points…

indigo scarf

I finally completed a little shop update that includes the following items- enjoy! Most items ship free with any other item.  Now back to the studio to finish up a couple orders that need to go out asap!

the wondering wall

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.

cranes in the moon-indigo on silk

cranes in the moon-indigo on silk

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.

double arashi

some wondering about more shibori texture.  more of this soon.

first indigo

and the indigo has had its first haircut which has been dried and stored!  these plants volunteered themselves by self sowing.

itajime on silk

and some old silk kimono linings had me practicing my itajime with the fermentation vat

which is really liking spring!

mokume wondering

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?

on my table

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.

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…

practicing darkness

I’ve been practicing darkness on moons lately.

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tonight’s moon looks more like this though

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it was more of an indigo day here despite the cold.
I just heard frost is to be expected on the beach to tonight- a rarity here.
I believe it though- my fingers are freezing and ready for some inside computer work tonight.

this and that

Some days, the only thing to do is to clear the fog from your head with a walk on the beach.  Even if it’s foggy there- and doggy, as in dog beach.  So I did (or we did).

And when it’s time to get back to work even if the silk doesn’t want to sew itself and looks like the fog in your head and the fog at the beach, it isn’t. It’s just silk and it’s slippery and finally you manage it somehow even with your very lacking sewing skills and a crappy machine.  Not bad.

So when it turns out that you base dye it purple and discharge it, and overdye it with every color of the rainbow and it turns into purple haze, and ends up paying a bill or two (made 2, paid 2)-the fog starts to lift.  Color can always do that for me. Plus paying a couple of bills doesn’t hurt. Plus when you know that the recipients of the results of such hazy days are such kind folks and so thrilled to receive their pieces, the fog continues to lift.

And the garden continues to feed us and shower us with flowers, and the air is scented with jasmine, sweet peas and the baby birds have flown the nest- then we relax a bit.

In all of this I can’t seem to remember if I mentioned that I removed some eggs from cold storage.  Some silkworm eggs…   Nothing happening with them  yet but I’m still hopeful. It’s been about a week. Maybe they are not going to hatch. This is the first time I have hatched eggs from my own moths. Time will tell.

And I didn’t entirely abandon the vats this week. A little derangement occurred.  The 1-2-3 vat was quite cranky but I think I cured it yesterday with a bit of heat, upping the pH and some more fructose.

I also played around with some hana from the PR vat.  Was just wondering a bit.  What could one do with the hana… this experiment yeilded no answers. But it looked kinda cool in the process. Still I have other thoughts on the matter.

In between I needed to sit and do some therapy stitching as well as make a pile of silk flower broaches for the San Jose Quilt Museum gift shop ( I also sent them some ribbon packs and flower kits if you stop in to the shop looking for such things). On the recommendation of my son, I watched a movie while I worked called Melancholia. He loves Wagner and the film features Richard Wagner’s prelude to  his opera Tristan and Isolde.  Tristan (my son Tristan) loves romantic orchestral music and Wagner’s Tristan is credited with  laying the groundwork for the change of direction of classical music in the 20th century as well as influencing the development of film music. I really did enjoy this dark film about the end of the world as well as the galactic imagery enhanced by the music.  It had me thinking in moons, and the mokume I stitched while watching it became this-my shibori version of the planet Melancholia.

mokume meloncholia moon madness

I’m working on another shop update which will include an in-studio indigo workshop this June (only a month away!) as well as the coming online mandala workshop.  Gotta go!

 

indigo shop update…

Yes, it’s time for a shop update! A few things have already flown the coop-or maybe I should say vat, since this update is mainly for new indigo pieces.

there is (or was) some silk…

and then some cotton, with some patches stitched with silk. and a silk velvet moon.  a great summer weight scarf for casual wear.  boro-inspired- a reminder that no scrap is too small to use or dye.

and then some more silk…double edge ombre’d of course!   100% silk, a japanese narrow width open weave~

~double arashi plus ombre on a silk cotton blend. the ombre is across the width, not the length-I like a challenge…

and how about some moons?  or circles? or circles in squares? or any which way arashi?

all on lightweight silk habutai.

    

     

there’s a few more things but you get the idea…most 2nd items ship free with the first…

Like I said in the last post, the online indigo class is continuing and a new group is joining in. Fermentation is in progress!

The weather is warming up here a bit and the indigo vats are liking it.  There’s a bird’s nest under the eve of the house in the star jasmine and all day I can hear them while I dye. The babies yelling for food and the parents yelling at Milo the cat who loiters in the driveway, every now and then getting dive-bombed by the mockers just making sure he keeps a distance…I’m keeping an eye on him as well. Even Milo is wondering. Must be spring.

taking stock and making it

the time has come again to restock the shop with ribbon and to that end my friend donna came by yesterday to help.  we do a little time-trading now and again which suits us both and helps get things done.  many emails ask me to let you know when more scrap bags are available and when new ribbons get added which is a difficult thing for me to do-except by saying so here.

click over to the shop to see what is available (generally 3 of each) plus a pile of scrap bags:

there is also a bit of indigo left- one pack  and this one has a dragonfly in it.  these are samples made to show techniques in the online indigo workshop.

and while i was at it i made some more moons.   it was night time by then.

drying by moonlight

High Desert Silk Experience

With everything going on here it seems I neglected to do a quick write-up on the HDSEX (as we call it). It was a great drive out to Utah where we met up with friends new and old. Even old moon friends. Spotted this old friend when entering the canyons outside St. George on the way in.

canyon moon


The class set-up at Superior Threads was excellent and in the second session June Colburn, Katrina Walker and myself held our session in a round robin format with everyone rotating among the three of us. My focus was shibori dyeing and we even did a bit of indigo. Everyone was treated to a bit of history-we used the kanoko stencils and tools which are about 100 years old to transfer designs for stitched shibori.

old tools of the trade

we did some pole wrapping on silk…and discovered it takes more than two to tango-

it takes 3 to pole wrap!

or maybe it takes 4

really, it justs takes a little practice.

We had a great time with Noriko Endo who enjoyed some dyeing fun too! as many teachers know, you don’t get a chance to TAKE classes very often and Noriko took time after teaching in session one to take our session. I got to teach her some shibori!

noriko does shibori!

June treated everyone to a great presentation on kimono and had lots of kimono to illustrate her stories. I tried to take some video but the light in the room was too low but trust me, if you get a chance to hear her lecture on kimono you should do it. One day, she will write a book.

june spells out the history of kimono

and as in all things, there is an end and we said our goodbyes to Utah and will all meet again in Houston in October!

maggie, bob, me, katrina, noriko, & june

and a drive through zion ended the stay-