emerging from my cocoon- japan, part two

I am still itching the 20 mosquito bites I got in the mountains of Japan as the blue slowly fades from from my fingernails. Who knew mosquito bites could itch for so long?? They are still showing no signs of fading although the blue is slowly disappearing.
indigo hands

As I begin to emerge from my silk cocoon to spin this tale of my silk experience (and more!) I am somewhat daunted by the task. It is almost overwhelming in its magnitude that I’m finding myself avoiding it somewhat. There are the over 1200 photos to sort through to decide which ones to use- which ones tell the story. The videos need editing before I release them which is more work than I have time for right now. I’ll just have to get at it all bit by bit.
cocoons
(cocoons boiled,soaked and ready for reeling by hand)
Complicating matters is the fact that although I managed to carry a notebook/journal with me the entire trip I left it at Fumiko’s (the indigo dyer’s) house on my last day-so I am waiting for that to arrive. I’ll also admit to deleting an entire days worth of photos so only have video and a few pics to share with you from that day. I had two cameras with me-my Nikon SLR and a small Fujitsu with video capability. Taking pictures at Fumiko’s turned out to be quite a challenge. Most of the time I was up to my elbows in indigo and working very diligently so taking pictures was out of the question- not to mention rude. So, many images will have to remain in my mind’s eye which is fine. Upon reviewing many of the ones I did get there, I was disappointed in the quality. The lighting was poor and the lights that were there were bare bulbs that seemed to always be in the wrong place. Dim lighting resulted in images that are just not as sharp as I wanted and left the color wanting. You will get the idea though. There are no photos of me as I was behind the camera when that was even possible. More importantly, I chose to concentrate on the matter at hand and realized that the camera was messing with me and that what I really wanted was just to enjoy the moment-which I did-immensely!
Someone asked in a comment on the previous post, What was the “silk experience”?
Briefly, the silk experience tour was masterminded and organized by Maggie Backman from Silk Things. It was organized around the idea that the people who would attend would have an interest in learning about silk from the ground up and also have an interest in Japan and textiles. All of the 14 who joined the tour were artists, writers, designers, textile teachers, collectors, educators and all around fabric people. Maggie imports silk threads from Japan and is the distributor of her own line of silk dyes (Colorhue).
(by the way, the silk threads are really fabulous too!) Maggie really put together a fantastic trip packed with all sorts of visits to unknown and out of the way (some previously unvisited by foreigners) locations. The group was well thought out and well matched as roomies and at the end we became known as the “SEx sisters”.
(SEx standing for Silk Experience!). So, there you have it!

Now this all seems so long ago at this point but our first day out we went to the Tokyo Hobby show at Big Site- I eliminated the sound since if was mostly just people talking in the background.

We saw some interesting things but all in all it was a hobby show. Here are some of the things that caught my eye-

some really nice silk textiles from gunma prefecture here-we have samples and conact info

some really nice silk textiles from gunma prefecture here-we have samples and conact info


just an interesting kimono-like garment made using a double weave knit-unique

just an interesting kimono-like garment made using a double weave knit-unique


product we don't see here in the hobby industry-dye impregnated transfer paper for silk fabric

product we don't see here in the hobby industry-dye impregnated transfer paper for silk fabric


-Katrina & I bought some samples
booth selling parts and patterns to make your own umbrella. umbrellas are big and a fashion accessory in Japan

booth selling parts and patterns to make your own umbrella. umbrellas are big and a fashion accessory in Japan

Katrina & I had a nice curry lunch and headed back to the Ginza area where I needed to check my email to see if I had heard from Masae.
A few weeks before leaving, I received an email from a gal in Japan wanting to come and visit me. She has been reading my blog for a while and wanted to come and visit. She was traveling to Canada and not knowing how far So Cal was from Calgary she thought it might be possible to visit. I told her that it was quite a distance and I was going to be in Japan soon so perhaps we could meet there- in Tokyo if that was convenient for her-so we did. I invited Katrina to join us and we had a marvelous dinner-
dinner with Masae
over delicious yakitori and some of obasan no umeshu (grandmother’s plum wine) we learned of her interest in shibori- her family comes from Narumi and has a 200 year history producing shibori. And that is REALLY where this story begins…..

4 thoughts on “emerging from my cocoon- japan, part two

  1. whereishenow

    wow wow wow it’s getting better and better.

    my neighbor just gave me a kilo of (green) plums today and told me how to make UME SHU… so I am going to borrow a big jar from another neighbor, buy a big box of shochu and a kilo of rock sugar and make up a batch of ume shu to age for 6 months…

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  2. jude

    glennis, glad to hear you are home safe and happy to see your blue fingernails! it is a great story in itself. and thank you for documenting little pieces of the trip. we all know it isn’t that easy to do when you are involved with the experience.

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  3. nicole

    Thank you for your reportage about silk and abpout your trip in japan..
    I love doing embroideries with silk thread..One of my daughter brought me back silk threads from Mekong, I think they should be used for weaving, because they are very thin,nevertheless, they cover surfaces very well

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