Category Archives: shop talk

indigo,vintage,and shibori shop update

OK- seems like the shop was desperate for a little restocking and reorganizing so here are some links to the recently requested items-

more indigo boro fabric collections-


indigo_packindigo boro packs

NEW! indigo dyed vintage fabric collections- all vintage fabrics…

indigo vintageindigo vintage collection

more of the vintage whites are in stock:

detail whitevintage whites 

vintage silk collections are available for pre-order.  these will be shipped mid June and will be limited so I am taking pre-orders. (add this to any order in the shop and it will ship free in June)



vintage kimono silk linings

and the ever popular silk shibori ribbon scrap bags. many of you have asked me to email you when they are available again but honestly- i just don’t have the time to hunt down you all.  i’ll give it my best though…

composition in C major borealis

composition in C major borealis

shibori ribbon scrap bags-$20

also added-

indigo sky fabric

shades of indigo

silk satin bias ribbon (white) for dyeing


and there will be more 3 way color shibori ribbon packs in a week or so.  start thinking color!

that’s it for this Monday- またね!

is it spring yet? それはまだ春です?

apricot blossoms' sweet promise...

apricot blossoms’ sweet promise…

there are days.  then there are THOSE days, yesterday being one of them.  i was reminded of the toll mental illness can take and where it leads to in a society with heels firmly dug in against the costs of creating solutions-or at the very least putting into place a safety net for people who are in no condition to make decisions for their own health, safety, and welfare without going to extremes.  but no, once again we must wait for the bottom to fall out before we can affect some sort of solution.   in that waiting period, we trust;  what else can we do?

on another front, i am reminded that even if you do your best work over many years,   you share that work far and wide,  you teach that work, that this does not assure education managers of trade shows won’t pass over your teaching proposal in favor of someone who signed up for your online class a year ago; someone who has no body of work on the subject at hand to back it up but has an “in” with the right crowd.  just know that to be true.  i am reminded to remember this when choosing shows and teaching venues.  sometimes i am naive and forget these things,  being in the bubble of my studio here.

then, as if that were not the end of a very, very long day, a late email arrives effusively deriding (even threatening!) me for a mistake on an order. crestfallen, i make haste in correcting the error, reshipping the order via express mail and emailing back all pertinent info and an even more effusive apology AND refunding the original order (although, admittedly, in the back of my mind thinking- ya know, i really don’t need this sort of treatment from a customer even if i did make a mistake). 

waking up this morning, i see an email from said customer. the order WAS correctly received.  oops.  sorry.  her mistake.

i had sent a small gift of a silk shibori ribbon scrap bag with the order and for some reason she thought it was all she had received. ahh…nice.  a gift turns into this?  perhaps we should not be so hasty next time…beauty takes time. even the buds on the apricot tree are slowly bringing us their beautiful sweet bounty.   

have a little sympathy for us who make for a living.  we are not robots,,  walmart, or even craftsy.  we will make a mistake now and again.  we might get a little behind, trying to balance all the things we must do to keep the ship afloat. but the makers i know will go above and beyond for you, making each item by hand.  and we will often tuck a little something extra into your package just because we like to imagine your surprise when you receive the order.

all i can say is, i’m glad it is a new day… is it spring where you are yet?

maybe it’s just spring fever!

is it spring yet?

in the shop 

ad free…again

you may or may not know this.  but having a free WP blog comes with costs.  there are lots of upgrades one can purchase to keep your blog running the way YOU want it to.  one of those things is the “ad free” upgrade.  i will gladly keep paying the $30 a year to keep ads off my blog.  so today, I hereby devote the next $30 of income from selling my shibori and indigo work to WordPress to keep this blog ad free.

Yippee!!  ad free- it’s just so much nicer this way.

indigo silk scarf

this is the last of this roll of narrow width silk i brought back from Japan last time. it is so lightweight and loves the indigo.  i don’t get too fancy with it as it’s delicacy speaks for itself.  it will be in the shop.

and Richard will be here soon.  we still have 2 spots left so if you are feeling inclined to join us on a whim pop over to the shop and sign up.  we will be having a couple of trunk shows as well.  the first one being private for those in the workshop and the second one will be open (will announce this on the Facebook studio page too since many locals watch that daily and it’s bound to be quick and last minute.  make sure you *like* the page so it shows up in your stream…).   we will also be doing some of what we did last time- selling some of the collaborative pieces online in the shop so if you are not a local you can still join in on some of it.  he’s also bringing over some special vintage items.  can’t wait!

Online Silk Shibori Techniques workshop

I thought I would remind folks newly interested in learning shibori techniques that my original online shibori techniques workshop is still available in my online bigcartel shop.  It has been there for over a year now  since I originally posted it- many have taken it.  After the first initial run of the class I reworked it into a self-study class for a very fair price of $25 (that’s $5 per lesson!).

Here is the intro to my online shibori workshop:

The beauty of shibori is that it was created in a much simpler time, yet resulted in some stupendous fabric designs and possibilities. It was created out of ingenuity and a desire to have decorative fabrics for the masses. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to make yourself some basic shibori fabrics. In fact, most of what you need can probably be found in your kitchen, your garage or just hanging around the house.

As an anniversary of sorts, I am going to include a 20 minute skype call with the purchase of this class through the end of October.  You can use this call for a review of your work at the end of the class, for one-on-one help on a particular technique, or just to chat.

It’s always a pleasure to encourage creativity and wonder through shibori. Shibori is good for that. It encourages problem solving and original thought-I think that is what drew me to it in the first place and has continued my interest. I am also going to go on into the class and update a few things, perhaps add a little here and there as well.  It’s been a while since I checked in over there.

As always, the online class is always there for you regardless of timezone and time of day. No commuting necessary.  There for you when you are there and ready to check in.  No roll call needed, and you’re never late to class!

My other online classes include:

Let’s Dye with Indigo!


Indigo Mandala Workshop with Richard Carbin and Shibori Girl

I give you the techniques and you make it your own! You can be assured that the images I post here, on my flickr, and in my classes are of my own work (unless noted) and not of the work of others. Some examples include:

I like numbers

I always have. Numbers help me figure things out.

numbers, my pretties, numbers

(new in the shop) 

They help me make better decisions when I might be tempted to do something out of sheer emotion or desire (there is a time and place for that as well). Numbers are handy when measuring dye and silk or clay and glaze materials. Numbers help me be more efficient. Some of these things can be downright destructive if I weren’t paying attention to the numbers. The whole world is based on numbers. Business, governments, science, music and even art and nature can be looked at through a number filtered lens.

Daily, we have occasion to confront some pretty disturbing numbers. There are so many of those these days that I could drive myself crazy with them.  Most recently in the news JPMorgan  “mishandled” some numbers. Here, Candida Abraham says the numbers don’t lie when it comes to servicing the needs of the mentally ill in our society. The numbers Abraham speaks of have some pretty dire consequences if we don’t pay attention to them.

The numbers in my own small world are really tiny compared to such things. But, like most of us, I have to pay attention to them or the bills won’t get paid next month.  So in addition to being visually and technically creative I need to engage the other side of my brain and pay attention to the NUMBERS!  This post is just a little reminder to myself that one day, a year or so ago, I wasn’t paying close enough attention and allowed myself to agree to something I shouldn’t have.  At least not if I had been paying attention to the numbers.  I am actually pretty good at the numbers thing which is why I’m still around, independently creating daily for over 35 years.  But not that day.  I share it here so others may learn from my mistakes if you have any notion of making an honest living -of making.

This situation involves a teaching gig. I was honored to be asked and should have left it at that. Said thank you and made an excuse or some such thing. There had been something about it- like a little voice that said no,don’t-but I went against the instinct and signed the contract. Silly me.

I won’t go into all the details but as I later looked over all the n u m b e r s  I was less than happy. Not only did I feel that I had been misled in regards to scheduling and my ability to take a booth on the vendor floor I felt that the n u m b e r s  took financial advantage of my teaching in great favor of the organization who’s stated purpose is to inspire creativity and encourage excellence in the fiber arts. Hmmm.

So here are the numbers. See for yourself how it feels to you.

Class #1 (3 hour class)

35 person max. capacity for a fee of $75 per person-that’s a total of $2625 for a sold out class

My pay for the 3 hour class-$210 flat rate. (that’s $6 per student)

Now if my class doesn’t sell out, I still get paid the same.  Not very smart on their part if you ask me (they didn’t).

Class #2 (6 hour class)

24 person max. capacity for a class fee of $150 per person-that’s a total of $3600 for a sold out class

My pay for the 6 hour class-$425 if the class has a minimum of 12 people. If not, then I get paid $35 per student. (otherwise for a full class I am being paid $17.71 per student on a $150 class fee paid by the student) I think I’d be happier to take $385 for a class of 11 rather than $425 for a class of 24! Again, not a very smart move on their part.

Numbers people, numbers.

Now mind you, this is all in addition to fees that all students pay to even attend the convention itself- which runs about $200 each not including any hotel or travel.

This whole scenario created a situation for me that made me ask why would I even promote my own event? When their scheduling of my classes ended up being during prime vendor market time, I had to decline taking and paying for a booth where I might have been able to make up some of that. Feeling that I was “chosen” since I was a local to the event and they would not pay any travel expenses as with many of the other teachers,  didn’t help matters.

And as if that weren’t enough- the contract states that I am not allowed to teach the class (in this case shibori and ribbonwork-the only two things I do teach) for 7 MONTHS (6 months prior and  one month post) within the CONTINENTAL NORTH AMERICA.  SERIOUSLY?? Get a grip.

I really doubt that folks who take classes have any idea about these things.  I think they’d be surprised.

So, to sum it up- choose your events WISELY unless you are NOT in this to make a living. Not everyone is. But if you are, make sure that each event makes financial sense and pay attention to the numbers and the details. Each event should stand on it’s own merit and produce a profit.  And certainly not prevent you from making a living in your own field.

If you are a 501C3-then it’s a different story. For an organization that took in over $1,000,000 in 2010 (according to Guidestar) they give a whopping $4000 out in annual educational grants according to their website. They do a bit more when you include grants for students to attend the biannual conference($11,000-ish altogether). Many folks work as unpaid volunteers but with one exec salary at almost $100,000, additional employee compensation at $117,000 and travel expenses for the organization at over $62,000 (2010) among other things, the $4000 seems rather paltry when it’s stated purpose is to inspire creativity and encourage excellence in the fiber arts. This sort of thing starts making me, the lowly teacher/vendor feel a little like a stepchild-no nostalgia for that one. After looking at their tax returns available online, I realized I am not interested in  partnering with these sorts of organizations. Although they offer some benefits, often 501C3’s are organized around benefiting few rather than many.

I once attended a local Arts Council  roundtable where one of the discussion table talks encouraged artists to form  non profit corporations so that wealthy patrons, uncles and relatives could give them money and get tax write offs!  I kid you not. Tax-free trust-fund-ism. And in times where tax dollars are in short supply-all endorsed by the Arts Council.
No talk about how to run a successful and profitable business. Very disappointing.

Fortunately,the Long Beach Quilt Festival is just around the corner (July 26 at 5:00pm until July 29 at 4:00pm) where I will have a booth with all kinds of silk shibori and indigo. I won’t be teaching since it falls in the no-no zone but I will be demonstrating for free so come on by!

Here are the relevant NUMBERS-

Long Beach Quilt Festival 2012

July 27-29, 2012
Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center
Long Beach, California

July 26: 5-9 p.m. (Preview Night)
July 27 & 28: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
July 29: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Ticket prices:
$10 daily adult
$8 seniors & students
Children 10 and under free.
$10 Preview Night (includes one free additional day)
$25 Full Show Pass (includes Preview Night)


while i can appreciate the unplanned or willy nilly aspects of many hand dyed fabrics, i have myself a desire to go beyond the happenstance. i like to set intention before making and work towards it. i like when people wonder…now how did she do that? then i feel the work succeeded on some level. often in the experimental stages i need to “just see what happens” when i try out some new idea or technique but after the initial plunge i try to refine, perfect, and replicate the things i consider successful. i’m sure part of this comes from the fact that i have made a living making now for (dare i say it?) 35 years. making for a living often requires making more than one of something and while each handmade item is unique in some way there is a usually a condition of mass making on some level that allows for the endeavor to become self supportive. i bring this up in reference to the above indigo on silk piece as it is a technique i created with indigo that is unique to me (as far as i know). my vat recently seemed in the mood to do some more of these pieces and while seeming rather unplanned and willy nilly, it really isn’t. some things i don’t have the desire to teach for various reasons and this is one of them. but i do love the results… i think i will pleat the ends only. i can’t bring myself to completely bury the mesmerizing pattern of the indigo in the pleats-but some will give it some shape. we will see…

silk shibori ribbon rolls

in between the wild colors of silk ribbon i’ve been dyeing and working on, i’ve managed to get some indigo into the mix. the 3 vats taunt me as i walk past them several times a day and the deep green of their reduction as i stir and adjust them each day really tempts me even when there are so many other things i *should* be and am doing. when i am dyeing, steaming and wrapping silk i usually manage to take some time to dye some yardage and that is what i did this past week. i’ve broken it up into prepacks like this and listed them in the shop:

it always amazes me how much time goes into dyeing with indigo to create the different shades. here i have been experimenting with several vats: my basic vat started over 3 years ago using natural indigo in a chemical reduction and added to as needed, and two newer vats both using indigo from aurora silk- the sky blue indigo and a super fine cosmetic grade indigo. at first, i wasn’t really noticing the difference with the sky blue indigo but with further practice i’m getting to know it better and see some differences in the colors i can obtain on different fabrics. the fine cosmetic grade seems to be able to produce some unique shadings along with some very dark darks. as usual, there is always some mystery to the results…

next to hit the shop will be some indigo moons, some dragonfly pins and kits to make your own…soon.

best intentions-clearing away distractions

ya know, some days just don’t go the way you expect. i actually have spent an inordinate amount of time writing, reading and responding to emails today. the blog post i was preparing is very disjointed and rambling due to numerous interruptions in my day (not complaining-too much) and simply not fit to post at the moment. thoughts are gathering and rearranging themselves in my mind hopefully to reach some clarity tomorrow which was actually supposed to be a studio day (and still is!). thankfully, stitching is beginning on some cloth for the indigo vat. not having enough studio/making time lately is making me a bit edgy. in fact, it occurs to me that despite the fact that the money is very welcome and needed i think i may close the etsy shop until after the first of the year-it’s a distraction at a time when i need to gather my energies and focus.
really, i need three full days in the studio uninterrupted in order to make a dent in things. a small dent. will post pics and fewer words (i think).
so there you have it, my blog post today with 12 minuted to spare!


As a diversion this morning, I delved into chaos theory, randomness, and the butterfly effect via various links and searches wondering where to find true randomness in our everyday lives. It was harder than I thought!

Along the way I came upon this quote by writer Gordon Webber which expresses something that helps me stay in a creative state of mind:

To dare every day to be irreverent and bold. To dare to preserve the randomness of mind which in children produces strange and wonderful new thoughts and forms. To continually scramble the familiar and bring the old into new juxtaposition.

To remain mindfully child like can really help foster creativity. Helps to see the ordinary in a new way.
-me messing around with some base dyed hankies and some finished shibori pocket squares-getting into a playful mind in order to come up with some new marketing ideas.

Surveying the back yard to see what transpired in my absence I saw this-
which reminded me of all there is to be thankful for.
Then, I visited with Timmy3 (see Timmy2) who was recently delivered to us by a neighbor who found him struggling at the beach. (He’s a red eared slider and lives in fresh water.) I enjoy his company now that there aren’t any kids running around the yard anymore-
this little scene actually brought a tear to my eye thinking about all it was speaking to me. has some testimonials on how their random number generator is used by creative folk here.

Well then, here are my numbers as generated by for the OHOW giveaway:

-which translates into:

Diana at Idaclare
Christy at Sweet Tidings
Diane at Lavender Dreams
who have all been contacted and asked to send in their shipping info. They will each receive one of the items pictured here.

There were just so many (272) responses that I haven’t really been able to do the project justice by visiting some of the other participating blogs until recently. Here are a couple that moved and inspired me and maybe you will like them too:
Tammy at Spirithelpers- great photography!

Magpie (just magpie) at A New York Magpie’s Beads- images, thoughts, and moments added to the thread

Still catching up- filled all my backed up Etsy orders today-

Participated in a live Etsy store critique to see what that was all about. Good intentions don’t equal results. Sorry, but it’s true. And not everything is wonderful. Doubt I’ll do that again.

Made a Shibori Girl Studios fan page on Facebook.

I have to say, I’m into FB. Not only can I keep up with family, the kids who are off to college hither and yon who have been part of this household since kindergarten, I am making new connections with customers and artists around the world. I’m planning on meeting up with a fiber artist FB friend in Japan this coming May when I go on a tour with the Silk Experience (more on that next post). I’m also “friends” with several of my new male pocket square customers. One of which I see each day wearing one on CNN! Kinda cool! Also one of my latest customers is an appraiser on one of my favorite TV shows- Aniques Road Show.
So, how’s THAT for random?

Houston Quilt Festival report…long post-part 1

Finally. I’m back, unpacked, and working in the studio again. Waiting for my shipment from the George Brown Convention Center to arrive (more unpacking). The show was great. For so many reasons. First, there was a decent turnout. Maybe not as many as in recent years but still respectable/impressive numbers of quilters turned out for festival. It is a little hard for me to judge the numbers by looking into the isles as my booth was located on a corner on the main isle (widest isle in the show which connected the quilt exhibit area to the food pavilion). Quilts Inc. usually publishes the actual numbers on their website. I’m used to being on a smaller isle which can give the illusion of more people- no complaints about that!
I had the opportunity to introduce many many more quilters to my shibori ribbon as well as see some of the things customers from last year made with the ribbon. Thanks to those of you who took the time to come by and show me the wearables you created and images you took of the quilts created which included the ribbon.
The make & take went fine- thanks to Virginia who manned the booth in my absence. There were quite a few in the class and all completed their shibori ribbon flower pins and proudly wore them around the show. Thanks to all of you for that as countless people visited the booth curious about the ribbon, many purchasing a kit or two to make their own. Here’s a pic of several of the gals from the class-

Now speaking of Virginia…..she was a lifesaver! Not only did she (and Duke-the standard poodle) pick me up and take me back to the airport, stand in for me at the booth on occasion, drive me all around Houston, make sure I arrived at the GBCC at 8 AM for my workshop, remind us to turn the clocks ahead, give us a lesson in cosmetology, bring us coffee, lunch and more, she wore this fantastic hat of her creation (one of many) which you can see here:
We have plans for some shibori hats….can’t wait to dye up some silk for that!

Set up went smoothly, again, thanks to Virginia who carted me and my 5 large boxes (that were shipped in via DHL and arrived as scheduled at the hotel) to the GBCC in addition to my limit of two large suitcases. Mental note: add an additional $80 RT to my expenses for checking luggage. My small carry-on held my clothes and sundries for the entire week! I spent Wednesday setting up my booth and we were open for business at 5 pm for Preview Night. Although there was a pretty good crowd the sales were modest (as usual) as people wanted to get “the lay of the land” and see where they were going to spend their money over the next 4 days. Wise decision as there were certainly lots of ways to spend it! After this very long day we finally left the hall about 10:30 pm. I can’t even remember if we got anything to eat that night or not….
Up early to get into the hall and ready to open! Had the first Make & Take at 11 and then worked the booth all day until 7 PM. Here’s a photo of the booth I snapped at the end of preview night- the ribbon bins were looking a little shabby by then. Thank goodness I thought to bring my ball winder as I was continually re-rolling the ribbons throughout the show. Normally I would have had the ribbons in their clear boxes but in an effort to save space I eliminated the boxes. Will have to rethink that next time…
I didn’t really get very many photos as I was just too darned busy all the time to do it! I’ll add some of these to my flickr page and add some notes over there…..
It was a real kick to meet so many people who came up and introduced themselves to me as flickr contacts and bloggers! Fun too, to watch people look at the shibori in person when all they have ever seen are the photos online. Even though the photos aren’t bad, it’s not the same as seeing and touching in person. I think that’s one reason I will always continue to do shows. I do like to get out of the studio and see the customer face to face. It drives me to create something FOR the customer. As a maker, if I want to stay in business, I MUST make things my customers want to buy and meeting them face to face is important for me. I learned a lot about what I will be making in the next six months by doing this show.
I really don’t like posting photos of myself, but here’s one taken by a passing quilter when she saw me snap the previous pic and insisted I needed one with me in it…

Day one down and three to go….
We left the building around 8:00 PM and headed back across town to our hotel located in the Galleria area. Cheaper hotel located further from downtown but since we had cars it was no problem. Not to mention we had to drive by Central Market each night ………….
…….where we stocked up on healthy food and snacks for lunches at the show and chose from an awesome expanse of gourmet salads, soups, and entrees at the deli section. (I bought some of those gorgeous tomatoes to snack on in the booth) If you ever get to Houston, a stop at the Central Market is a must. Here’s a few more pics-
the breads and bakery goods will take your brath away!
I don’t think I have ever seen as much variety (not to mention volume) of cheeses in one place!
(of course-had to get a bottle of wine to go with!)
DAY 2 (Halloween)
Up early and Virginia drove me in to get to the GBCC early to set up for my workshop starting at 9AM.
I was a little anxious and excited at the same time. The class was sold out and I had already met several of the students who came by the booth the previous day to say hi and tell me they were in the class. After an introduction by Maggie Backman of the Silk Experience we got started on the class. Each class has a “teacher’s pet” who helps out by taking roll, passing out materials and anything else that is needed. She was a real godsend and darned if I can remember her name right now…but thank you thank you thank you!! She received a shibori presento that didn’t begin to convey my thanks.
We practiced various stitching on different kinds of silk fabrics which were then dyed using the Colorhue dyes. We worked with 8mm habotai, organza, broadcloth, 3mm gauze, & silk satin. Even though this was a stitch resisted workshop, we covered several other methods as quilters are interested in combining techniques. Here are some of the results- again no time for many photos- I took these as we were cleaning up…
various stitched effects
the organza was really interesting as it can be layered over another hand dye creating a very interesting effect.
another organza sample
loved the simplicity of this too..




Everyone took away numerous samples of silk suitable for inclusion in one type of project or another as well as an enthusiasm for silk and the Colorhue dyes – not to mention shibori itself!

The students in each class fill out a critique survey at the end of the workshop and I was glad to see that everyone was satisfied and gave good marks on the presentation. Several were kind enough to leave additional comments on areas to improve on which were much appreciated and very helpful. Many of these students are professionals in one field or another and have taken numerous workshops related to textiles so your input was very valuable! Thank you!

At this point it was only 12 noon and there was still a whole day of selling ahead down on the show floor which seemed like it was about a mile away from where the classes took place so off I went to the show floor to sell my wares….
I can see that I will have to make this a two part post so stay tuned………
mata ne!

artistic focus

although this blog is mainly focused on my practice of shibori, the other intent here is to communicate the the process of creative practice. when i first started tripping around the internet, i was reading a much wider variety of blogs- mostly creative craft/artist/maker blogs. these days i have pared my reading down to a smaller number of these blogs, realizing that part of what i am looking for in a good blog read is an understanding of the artist/bloggers process and the ability to follow it over a longer period of time.

i think about this when i go to a gallery or museum. i want to know how an artist arrived at a certain point in their work. seeing one or two pieces rarely satisfies-it’s out of context for me- i want to see what led up to it. how it was arrived at. where the twists and turns occurred. wonder where it will lead.

when it comes to my own work, each piece is a culmination of previous experiences with the materials and ideas. this sort of work happens over time. some of it in the in between times of more production oriented work. it’s a balance between the two. one informs the other when i get the balance just right.
sometimes i am the only one who sees the connections-that’s ok. but it is a large part of what interests me when i am looking at the work of others.

when someone says to me that my work “lacks focus”, i wonder what they are not seeing. perhaps it’s not the work itself but my ability to communicate that is lacking. or even (not that i’d mention it) their lack of willingness to take the time to look into the creative nucleus of the artist/maker to better understand the genesis.