engendering balance

for Fumiko-tsuki no ai

i wrote about taring the scale and bringing about balance in my work a couple of posts ago and have decided that this is something i intend to place in clearer focus for 2010. i want to to thank my indigo sensei Fumiko Sato and dedicate this piece of cloth to her. she won’t see this post as she works and lives in isolation without email or internet in the mountains of Japan but my New Year’s gift to her is a small piece of cloth to let her know her time with me last year was much appreciated and that i continue on with all i learned from her.
i learn from my work with indigo the importance of simplicity and balance. that striking that balance with the vat means building a relationship with it and letting the work speak to me as i create it. this takes time. and while this work is where my heart is it is not where the money is at the moment. which brings me back to balance. the struggle of making by hand for a living continues and i do enjoy a good challenge, but in 2010 my intention is to come from service more and trust
that the rest will work itself out. try to panic less and balance more.

i have wanted to share a story for the new year that is also a reminder to me that no matter what, i must be on the right path even though some days i really do wonder. it is also connected to indigo and the moon and you too, might remember this piece some time back-

cary the moon indigo style

a little bag made of various scraps of indigo as i was practicing with the vat and various textiles.
i put this up for sale on etsy and sold to a gal who works with children helping them with various problems. the bag was to hold an assortment of other artist’s work which the children use and play with as she works with them. on a whim, when i sent it to her i filled it with various other silks and ribbons. over time this new friend sent me stories of how the children interacted with the ribbons and how fascinating they found them, which of course pleased me greatly. some of the stories were deeply touching and i came to learn that this woman really had a way of reaching these kids and that the various aspects of the shibori silks -the colors, the pleats, the feel, when used therapeutically by her seemed to contain a little magic that allows the children to open up and communicate. talk about inspiring!
one day i was cleaning up around in the studio after some particularly bad wind which had torn apart my shade cover and broken my cheap wannabe ez up frame, i grabbed a used drumstick (household of drummers here) and strapped the frame back together with a little duct tape. i had just received yet another touching story from my friend wendy and a little idea popped into my head. i drilled a hole into the end of the drumstick and dug into my box of odd and and shibori ribbons. stitching a long piece of ribbon to the end of the stick i made a wand like the ones we used to make and play with when the kids were little. i tested it out and decided to steam out most, but not all of the pleats to better catch the wind and open up the colors. packed up a bunch of second silks and the wand and mailed it away. it’s been a while since i heard from wendy but just prior to christmas on a day i was feeling a little down and wondering why i received the following story which she shared with me:

dear glennis,
i am hoping you remember me…..you generously gifted me many pieces of ribbon and a wild drum stick with a rainbow tail!

i wanted to send you a warm and tender hug for all that you have done in restoring many a young heart.
today. a child, four years old, kicked out by many other therapists arrived at my cottage, up here in the woods. the boy and i sat on the front stoop. he said nothing could help him. four years old.

the healing began on many levels. i brought the drum stick with the long ribbon attached, outside…in the cold, snowy, shortest day of the year, two o’clock winter time. he looked at me. took it and waved it. then he went into the snow. made track marks. flew around the front part of the forest. we walked into the forest. he wrapped it around trees, held it and marched. made circles and figures only your shibori could. and then he asked me to write a poem in the snow. it said this:

“the ribbon is the eye of a river.
the stick clicks on the trees.
i can hear the talking of trees inside.
when i knock like that.
i love this wavy talking stick.”

we walked back to my little cottage. we sat quietly. we sat together for a long time. he asked me if the stick was magic. i said: of course. he waved it. we were still for 30 seconds. then we saw the wolf, walking quietly. we got a picture just in time……

the little one said:” i think i am feeling better and will come back. tell my mother you and the drumstick lady are my goodest medicine.”

if you ever see josh freese, please let him know his kind gesture of a gift to you, has taken a most healing journey.

i am renewed , humbled, and rededicated to bringing more creativity into childrens lives in 2010. they really can see the purpose of art and craft in their lives.

26 thoughts on “engendering balance

  1. Lainie

    Glennis, the beauty you give the world is indeed the goodest medicine. This story is amazing. Thanks for sharing it with me last week and on your blog today. It is very healing. happy new year to you!


  2. whollyjeanne

    i love the way you send your work out into the world freely, unencumbered with strings of reciprocity. that’s why gifts like this story come back to you. stories of how you have helped heal the world. happy new year, my friend.


  3. Deb G

    At first glimpse I was going to say “oh what a beautiful indigo moon.” But, as someone that works with children, the gifts you gave are even more beautiful to me. I think most children of today need all the help they can get finding magic… Wishing you balance.


  4. velma

    how great that you were the source of this strong story. through the magic of internet your hands connected with this child. how honored you must feel, how gifted that therapist, and the child, well, he’s connected again. this is good, good. i’m so glad i read your story. hold on to it. i will.


  5. Karin

    Such a moving story – we never know how a simple token or gesture will deeply change a life on the deepest level. Your gift and the power of one being present for another; creative expression and nature, what better tools for healing? So glad I came by (via spirit cloth) to be inspired.


  6. dyedianadye

    Glennis, thank you. You’ve touched my heart.

    There is magic in what you do. This story is just one part of it.

    Balance. Yes. A nice mantra for this fresh new TwentyTen year.

    I can hear the talking of trees inside.


  7. Janet Wright

    What a wonderful–hope filled story. I taught 6 and 7 year olds for 35 years. They are filled with wonder but not much of that wonder is nourished. Maybe we each should adopt or mentor just one child and expose them to art and materials and story ( theirs and ours). It isn’t too late. Even in public school, I have seen children blossom with the wordless wonder of art.


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      you are so right. i do have a special child in mind this year. she is a bright star in the constellation of people who surround me now and when i see her, there is just something in her eyes that is calling to me…


  8. coral-seas

    The Wolf Moon is a full moon that occurs in January. The Blue moon on New Year’s Eve may be a day early to be a Wolf Moon but somehow every thing here seems to connect.

    Stories like these may not pay the bills but they feed the soul.

    I wish you a Happy and Properous New Year.


  9. Jacky

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story of your shibori drumstick and the little boy … it makes you stop and “think”. Such a beautiful gesture and obviously something that was meant to be.

    I wish you the balance you are seeking in 2010.

    I love your indigo pieces and this latest moon piece is beautiful.



  10. deemallon

    What a lovely story and poem and series of images!

    While this is a more pedestrian observation about teaching young people using fabric and threads, I have discovered that they invariably are drawn to the best and most beautiful fabrics… a big bin brought up for supplies that is full of quilting cottons and a couple of vintage silks? They’ll go for the vintage silks every time! I’m not sure why it amazes me, but it does.

    I’ll check your link as I am newly intrigued by slow cloth.


  11. stephen v cobleigh

    Glennis, Great story, moving, it has a simple approach to the truths of life that we somehow lose touch with in our journey, leave it to a 4 year old to sense it intuitively. Yea, it seems the creative path is a challenging one and a path we must walk alone.
    The moon theme is Great.
    Stephen v. cobleigh


  12. shiborigirl Post author

    Stephen- keeping child-like vision although difficult in our adult world – definitely has it’s rewards!
    and dee- the tactile nature of silk is irresistible, no matter the age!


  13. Ramona Gault

    Glennis, my first visit to your blog, and I find this amazing story. But why should we be amazed that the natural world speaks to us and helps us to heal? As a shamanic practitioner, I would tell Wendy that the wolf might be a guardian spirit for this child, and that the wolf is very powerful medicine. I’m so grateful to you for sharing this, and to Wendy for helping all of us, but especially these children, to find healing and balance with the spirits of nature again. Goddess bless us all!


  14. Pingback: textile therapy | Shibori Girl

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