what’s in a word?

Yes, I’m back. Somewhat. Not feeling completely whole I’ll admit. When the person responsible for 50% of your DNA has been given a few scant weeks to remain on this planet it takes an emotional toll. As humans and artists there is just no way for it to not show up in our everyday work.

It seems that 2008 ended for me with my some of my more personal shibori work (as opposed to the more commercial ribbon, scarves, pocket squares, etc.) exploring the concept of impermanence. Little did I know then that that word would become my personal touchstone word for 2009. Seems every little thing I do now seems touched by this thought. I’ve found amusement in the fact that after 30 years of making things out of porcelain-which in it’s fired vitreous state has remarkable longevity- I have transitioned to textiles-mainly silk- and shibori at that! Textured silk shibori has a “permanence factor” of about “1” compared to vitreous porcelain which I would give about an “8” , all things considered. While this rating system is far from scientific, it reminds me that whatever I create today will be soon gone, it’s meaning and relevance exhausted. Meanwhile, those little hand painted porcelains will show up in archeological digs for centuries to come!

In part, shibori on silk with texture imparted is really the most fascinating thing to me. How to alter the shape of the cloth. How to meld it with color. How “permanent” to make it. The texture can always be removed and altered. I also like the idea of making a more “interactive” textile for other artists and designers to alter in order to suit their own whims. Such as the ribbon.

Now that I am back in town, I’ve got one scant week to prepare for the Road to California show in Ontario, CA. Penny came over yesterday to help with some of the “silk inspiration packs”, those little scrap packs of silk shibori that include color coordinated swatches of dyed shibori silks and ribbon. They’re great for small projects, embellishing, and just inspiring a creative thought. They went fast in Houston and sold out by the second day! I’ve got about 15 2009 calendars left so I’ll also have those on hand. Of course there will be oodles of shibori ribbon, piles of colorful and pleated silks, and anything else I can manage to prepare between now and then. As usual, I’ll have free handouts on making flowers with the ribbon as well as the Friday night ribbon class (spaces still available!).

I’m interested to see the exhibit that will be on view, touring from NYC entitled Metro Textural.
Details of the exhibit from the website read:
“The Manhattan Quilters Guild, a group of professional quilt artists meeting in New York City, premiered MetroTextural: Art Quilts from the Manhattan Quilters Guild there in December of 2006. This new touring exhibition of twenty-one quilts celebrates the visual feast of New York City, from serendipitous juxtapositions of signage and advertisements to the surface ornamentation of historic buildings. The works created specifically for this exhibition include vibrant abstractions, architectural details, witty interpretations of the grid, and the visual rhythm of New York voices. Techniques range from scintillating piecework and illusionistic appliqué to painting and photo transfer. Diversity in the urban scene is a common thread that unifies the quilts in MetroTextural, which will tour through 2009.

The artists in MetroTextural are Ludmila Aristova, Teresa Barkley, Jeanne Lyons Butler, Beth Carney, Randy Frost, Iris Gowen, Tatiana Ivina, Emiko Toda Loeb, Ruth Marchese, Paula Nadelstern, Elizabeth Poole, Jeri Riggs, Diana Goulston Robinson, Robin Schwalb, Sandra Sider, Arlé Sklar-Weinstein, Daphne Taylor, Barbara Jade Triton, Ludmila Uspenskaya, Erin Wilson, and Adrienne Yorinks. Most of the artists in this group have had quilts juried into national exhibitions during the past decade, and several have had solo shows and retrospective exhibitions.”

Many bloggers write about their New Year’s traditions and I thought I’d share a memory of a tradition celebrated in Japan for the New Year which actually doesn’t occur until February 3 this year and coincides with the solar New Year. You can read more about Setsuban here. As a child living in Japan, we had a Japanese maid as was the practice for many foreigners while living there. She became a pat of our family and taught us kids (there were 6 of us) many things about Japan, their culture, and their language. On Setsuban, we cleaned the house and swept every nook and cranny extra clean. Then we threw mame (beans) in all the corners while saying Oni wa Soto; Fuku wa Uchi (Get out Ogre! Come in Happiness!) We thought it was great fun and Yuki and her daughter Junko were happy to know the house would be free of evil spirits for the year! I think my house could use a dose of this around the beginning of February-at the very least, the cleaning out of all the corners!

So, for 2009 as I explore the theme of impermanence I expect to weave life with art and just let it carry me where it will.

11 thoughts on “what’s in a word?

  1. jude

    i suppose that theme is as really as any we could choose. i was with that one for a while a year back. good to hear from you and looking forward to another year of beauty.


  2. Liz

    Sorry to hear about your dad. I lost two grandparents this year and even though we knew it was coming that doesn’t make it easier. I hope he is as comfortable as possible.


  3. coral-seas

    Hi Glennis, I am really sorry to hear about your Dad, that is really rough! I’m sure it is easy to say than do, but enjoy the time you have and say all that you want to say.



  4. Jeri Riggs

    Dear Glynnis:
    As an era in your life ends, so a new one begins. I’m sorry to hear about your Dad, and I hope you can find comfort in having time to say goodbye.
    Unfortunately, Metrotextural was shown last year at Road 2 California, and in fact, had its final exhibition here in New York last month. All things must pass.Thanks for the mention anyway.
    Best wishes to you.
    Jeri Riggs


  5. shiborigirl Post author

    I was looking forward to that exhibit. Guess they haven’t updated the website in regards to the exhibits.
    Thanks to all for your kind thoughts. We are indeed thankful to have the time to say what needs to be said and spend time now. Fortunately, he is not in too much discomfort at the moment.


  6. Chris

    It is pretty hard to face impermanence and to feel our lack of control, our trouble to define what is right from wrong… our human condition… Otherwise (and poetically) that is what forces us to try harder to disconnect from what is really not important, and focus on transforming our possessive and egoistic love into a fresh one… unconditional, forgiving and less attached love. And that my dear friend is evolution of a human being.
    My best wishes of light and peace in your hearts.


  7. The Ardent Thread

    Here’s a sincere cyber hug (sorry if that sounds trite) from someone who has recently been in your position and knows how difficult, mind bending and torturous it can be.

    My mother, my quilt guru, teacher and mentor, passed away last October, four months after she’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was young and healthy, full of life and art. I like to think she’s still creating, just without physical limitations.



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