We’re trying… well, at least some of us are.
We’re trying… well, at least some of us are.
feel smell remember
silently falling earthbound
we rejoice again
I was struck by a nostalgic feeling this morning as I went out to retrieve the paper. I love that. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the place or time but it was a good sense-one of those ones that can transport you places. I tried to hold on but it was fleeting. It rained in the early hours before I awoke and left silently.
I have been working hard getting out ribbon orders ahead of the trip to Japan. No recent indigo to report but all the rain has me wishing a bit that I had planted some. I make do with the edible greens in all practicality. They are delicious! We eat them every way imaginable and more.
Hirata san sent me a map of our upcoming adventure. We always stray a bit as occasions arise but maybe you would like to see it? This does not include the the trip to Yokohama and Kamakura.
I am still stitching on the traveling moon piece. The little indigo I have been dyeing has centered around overdyeing vintage indigo scraps. Really enjoying the serendipity of that. I just bought a vintage cotton yukata bolt from Richard’s etsy shop that had some interesting patterns I might do some overdyeing with. Additionally interesting to me was part of his description:
This is a vintage bolt of yukata cotton, a printed indigo. It is unused and still bound up. There is a rather cute vintage tag on the front, an image of a young lady wearing the yukata that this fabric is dyed to become, basically, modeling it. On the tag, the name of the fabric pattern, shio matsuri, or tidal festival. The pattern seems to be a bit of a play on Hokusai’s waves, which are ubiquitous throughout japanese aesthetic.
This is enough fabric to become a yukata, which means it is at least 11 meters of fabric. As is sometimes the case, this fabric has markings and lines to cut along marked on it. It is printed so each piece is obvious and separate, there is not much guesswork involved. The way to make a yukata is pretty standard, so it makes sense, to print it like that , make it easy. Each section has the name of the piece it will become along the very edge. See the fifth photo above.
In any case- I look forward to examining it.
And before I end this, we went to see the poppies…it was glorious! Even inspired a new base dye session…
the rain will surely extend the poppy season…weekdays are the best as big crowds on the weekends.
It’s been a whole moon since that last post- a record of sorts here. One that I don’t plan repeating often in the future. Life happens though and one never knows. In this past month there have been some significant events- a death in the family and a marriage too! Balancing the sad with the happy, blurring the past and the future.
Plus we both had the flu which also complicated things. Hence, no posting here. Just living.
Spring here is glorious this year thanks to the rainfall received. So much blooming! A simple walk around the backyard is proof that Nature is pleased (at least for now, politics be damned!).
I’m finally back in the studio daily this week and working on orders again. As if to remind myself of the whimsy that can occur while dyeing, I over-discharged 80 yards of pink shibori ribbon the other day. I was working on the final color for a large order that included the colorway Pink Storm and when it went into the discharge bath it discharged deep and immediately! I tried to correct on the second pole but *poof*…color disappeared immediately. This pink is very easily discharged (a medium pink using mainly polar red) but the discharge bath was too hot and strong for a controlled discharge. SO, I took the 80 yards and dyed some new and fun colors with it. Now, I am back with a new batch of ribbon all base dyed and pole wrapped for some careful discharging today. Here’s some photos of what went on, and what I was trying to achieve.
The fun part is that now I have some yardage of really pretty colors to play with and sell. I’ll be taking some photos today and putting some of it in the shop. I’m also trying to get together a small selection of ribbon to take with me to Japan in May to sample some of my customers while I am there. Yes, Japan. The Silk Study Tour to Japan is coming up soon! May 16th to be exact. I’m really looking forward to it. Each tour is filled with unique experiences created by the harmonic blending of people and places. We will learn so much, see many extraordinary things, and make new friends and connections for today and tomorrow.
It is my great pleasure to facilitate this tour and watch many people experience Japan for the first time- much of it through the eyes of the silkworm! This year’s tour is full with many interesting people, most who are visiting Japan for their first time. Exciting times ahead! Hirata san and I have added Kyoto to this years experience and our faithful charter bus company will soon be whisking us from place to place while we enjoy some beautiful scenery from the comfort of the bus and its large panoramic windows. In addition we will walk, ride trains and eat lots of great food! Get ready to follow along as I update from Japan along our silk road.
Indigo dyeing has been taking a back seat for the moment- the fermentation vat is back to misbehaving and with all the disruption around here lately I have not been able to concentrate on it. One thing though, I will be spending several days with my indigo sensei Fumiko Satou in Japan after the tour is over. I have lots of new questions and hope to be of help to her (as studio helpmate) as she prepares for an upcoming event. I am really looking forward to this.
The next couple of weeks is devoted to clearing out some of the orders, making a little stock, and getting taxes done. Then, final preparations for Japan will be in full swing. That, and a day trip to see the beautiful wildflowers in bloom here in California-where we are thankful to continue the quest for clean air, water and energy (again, politics be damned!).
Love to all… may your path lead you to places unknown. Keep wondering, always wondering…
These words struck me today
The first sign of disintegration — in a writer — is that the writing loses the unique stamp of his/her character, & loses its inner light.
I think it can apply to all sorts of creative endeavors and is a good reminder. Something (else) to be vigilant about.
It was written by Ted Hughes to his aspiring teen age daughter/writer- and daughter of Sylvia Plath. I have been following the blog Brain Pickings and have been enjoying the reading there. I love letters- they are so revealing…
Introducing the post, Maria writes:
“Read good books, have good sentences in your ears,” the poet Jane Kenyon counseled in what remains some of the sagest advice to write and live by. But if literature is essential to our moral development, as Walt Whitman believed, and reading enlarges our humanity, as Neil Gaiman asserted, then attunement to good sentences is vital not only to our writing style but to our core sensibility of character.
You can make a donation there of any amount in appreciation. I always appreciate a good ad-free blog.
“Inner light” struck me as I have been working on this piece incorporating an earlier “traveling moon” and some other small bits of indigo cloth. The moon leads the way, just stitching and adding intuitively, lighting the path as I go.
In between, I had a little time this week to make a couple of sets of indigo sky cloth and a moon for each. Just 2 in the shop…for now. Maybe someone wants to start something…
Truly, the best escape. Even if it is a small one out to the back yard. A daily observance. It keeps me sane. That, and moving my hands and body.
Lately, I’ve been weeding-by hand. We have rain! LOTS of rain, and with that, lots of weeds. So many weeds that my sanity is assured far into my future.
Weeding after lots of rain is especially gratifying. With the ground soft and malleable, the feel of roots pulling out intact without breaking off in the soil (leaving them to regrow into next weeks weeds) makes this work satisfying. Things that are growing and sprouting up all over will reward us with lots of beautiful blooms in coming months. (Hopefully, in about a month as there will be a small family wedding in the back yard. I think I can at least count on the California poppies and the alstroemeria to cooperate.)
Some of the weeds are even edible-so there is that. And the fact that the greens planted out back are taking full advantage of the rain and fresh salads are a regular thing right now. It is such a relief not to have to water. In fact, I have been dyeing exclusively with rainwater. What a luxury!
Needing to take a day away from the house, we went to the arboretum and the beach. Going to the arboretum on a wet and misty day one day after a major wind and rainstorm is recommended. There was no one there! It was like having our own private garden. Trevor tried to find a surf-able local break but had to give up and join us for lunch after a visit to the beach where the ocean was in powerfully in charge. The ocean always deserves respect. Don’t turn your back on her (google kookslams if you need to remind yourself). At the arboretum…
Feeling refreshed- back to the dye studio! There is work to do. Always of course. And I haven’t mentioned the Silk Study Tour to Japan lately but all is settled and the group is looking forward to a rewarding and inspiring time in Japan. I hope to be adding to the Japan blog as we travel. Will let you know. At least, stay tuned to my instagram account while we are there beginning May 16. More on that later.
This little moon fragment carried me north recently to lead a shibori and indigo workshop for the Central Coast Weavers. It was a wonderful group of women who weave and share an enthusiasm for fiber in many forms. The workshop space, a large private studio affectionally known as “The Barn” kept us warm with a wood burning stove in one corner, fed with a kitchen area stocked with home baked breads and more, and busy with a large working area. Rosemary and Kay, the owners and creators of The Barn, have the second floor space lined with rows of large floor looms- maybe 15-20. I don’t think I have ever seen such a variety of large working looms in one location.
Previous to the workshop day, I gave a lecture on silk at their monthly members meeting where they have a “show and tell”. Some of the things that they brought to share with members included this wonderful rug that was woven by one of the women. I think it was my favorite!
I can’t remember her name but she is the one holding the rug at the far end. They also had a little fundraising raffle at the meeting where members bring something fiber related they no longer need and if it is something you would like to re-home you can put some of your raffle tickets in the cup for that item. Everything found a new home-plus the guild got some money for new books for their library. Lovely to see and thoughtfully purposeful!
There is a new package being prepared for Wendy. It will contain a set of needles and indigo threads.Someone might have a desire to add to the cloth in their own way, to hold the needle in their hand and feel of the thread as it is pulled through the cloth. It might just start someone wondering.
Right now though, the 3rd storm of the week here is drenching us-as if trying to wash away and clear out all the drama of this past week. I welcome it. I just hope all my monarch cats are finding refuge out there somewhere. And that the sun will come out next week and dry out my poor flooded studio space!
I am seeking to set a mood in my life this coming year. The mood is peaceful, healthy, green (my favorite color!), with blurred edges mostly (but with some straight lines and hard edges for structure). I will fight when necessary, keeping the path in focus through all times.
If I seek to change something in or about the world around me…I will think of this quote:
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”
Additionally, I will remind myself that to recognize life’s beauty is a gift, to share it a treasure. I will seek treasure.
Wonder up- not down.
It’s been a belief of mine that we need more wonder in the world. We need it now more than ever. Apparently, Socrates said, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” I looked it up and it has been argued that this was actually said by Aristotle, or even Plato as he was interpreting Socrates’ ideas on the matter. Another interpretation yields this- “Wisdom begins in wonder“. No matter who said it, when or where , it is a timeless thought, don’t you think? The Greek word “filosofia” means “lover of wisdom” as in philosophy.
So, I will continue to seek wisdom through wonder. To ask the question- “what if?”
Turning the page now…see you on the other side.
Love, enjoy, wonder-