refocusing my lens-toward Japan

Now that the Chicago show is over, I have 2 short weeks to prepare for the silk study tour to Japan. Several of us from the Silk Experience group were in attendance at Chicago and had a little time to visit prior to meeting again in Seattle where we will depart to Narita.
Just what is “The Silk Experience”?
It is a consortium of creative designers,teachers and authors interested in furthering the usage of silk. These fiber artists are eager to explore new processes and to produce and/or introduce products that are necessary to achieve the their discovered processes. Most of all, this group of talented artists wish to share their experiences with other fiber enthusiasts. Thus the title ‘Silk Experience’.
In conjunction with various classes built around utilizing silk as a medium for all kinds of art, craft, and fashion applications, we also network with the various silk related businesses that wish to promote the increasing use of the silk and the materials, tools and supplies that are needed for specific silk techniques and processes.

At the show we had the opportunity to meet and discuss some ideas for future projects and collaborations- more on that later!
Jude has been blogging lately on adding shibori to quilts as well as exposing her readers to a variety of shibori artists that have tweeked her interest.

Here is one who inspires me with her sculptural shibori shapes. I have my own collection of work along these lines that I am developing on the side and found some new products at the show that will help me solve some of the challenges I have come up against lately.

The blog will take on a distinctively Japanese flavor over the next month and a half as I prepare for the trip and blog as we travel, learn, and take in all sorts of information and sights which I will share here with anyone who wants to tag along. In a sense, I plan to take you all along with me so stay tuned and feel free to ask questions, offer suggestions, etc. as we add to our knowledge of silk, Japan, and the textile crafts of Japan.
One place I am hoping to visit is the Nara National Museum where the oldest piece of Japanese shibori is occasionally shown in the annual Shosoin exhibit which is held every autumn. I don’t know what this year’s exhibit will focus on but perhaps while I am there I will find out and post here. The Shosoin is a world heritage collection of over 9000 objects of which only a few select artifacts are chosen to be exhibited each year. Each item is only allowed to be exhibited once every 10 years and are never loaned outside the country.
I won’t have the opportunity to see this revered piece of shibori but I look forward to seeing many other wondrous objects.

The Chicago show held it’s own-even with people holding back a bit. I learned a lot about the midwest quilter and will be back next year with new and exciting things to entice them even further with the beauty and excitement of adding silk shibori to their work. Sometimes it takes just doing a show to figure out the customer a bit and learn how to best serve their needs. The shibori class went really well- was great fun and we had a room of really great students who brought such creativity to the class. I know it’s been a great class when they also teach ME a thing or two! I also demo’d at the Saturday nite Sampler which is a great event that brings 20 or so teachers into a ballroom for two hours ($10 entry fee) where you go from table to table and get a taste of what each teacher has to offer. That way you can get an idea of what classes you might want to sigh up for at a future festival. All teachers are paid for their presentations. So as you can see, between Preview nite, working the booth, teaching the shibori class, doing the sampler nite, packing up at the end- it’s been a busy week here. Just waiting for my flight and on to preparing for the next two weeks.
Sorry, no photos or eye candy today but just go to the links within for a taste of beauty-especailly the work of Yvonne Wakabayashi.

5 thoughts on “refocusing my lens-toward Japan

  1. shibori girl

    Thanks for the link to Yvonne’s site – Just another example of how important simplicity of design can be!

    I’m glad you had a good show. I found that first show I did was a huge learning experience. I sold little of what I brought, mostly took orders. I asked the customers what it was they were looking for, what they didn’t like as far as my inventory went, etc. I listened to them and brought different things the next year, and wound up bringing lots of empty boxes home.

    Good luck next year!

    Your upcoming Japan trip sounds amazing…



  2. jude

    glad to hear the show went well and excited about new adventures with shibori. i think i will spend next weekend doing more with silk itself too. quilting with silk needs to be expanded. i have a fabric sample to send you,


  3. mendofleur

    Fascinating read. Interesting how one does a show and teaches with this give-and-take between instructor and student. The Saturday nite sampler was one I would have loved to join. Great way to explore other interests.

    Japan is such a rich and varied culture. Hope your trip is just that, and I will keep focused on your commentary as you travel.



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