spring moons and hummingbird silks

wisteria has a mind of its own and i haven't the desire to tame its wild wanderings

these past two weeks have been a bit of a blur around the studio and it seems i am struggling to keep up with some things.
in the midst of the indigo dyeing for jude and others, the new bigcartel shop, ribbons, and workshops i feel more than a little scattered which is not a good thing for me.
when i am more focused i can infuse more energy into the work and paying closer attention to the nuances brings me closer to the work i want to do. this is where i really prefer to live when it comes to my work.

i enjoyed and completed teaching the 5 week online shibori dyeing class which took a lot of energy over these past few weeks. two workshops at the Los Angeles Japanese American National Museum (JANM) were great fun and they have asked me to confirm several more dates. while all this is good and helping to keep the bills paid around here it does make dedicated studio time all the more precious. long days in the studio, one after another is where i really do my best work and this past month and a half have made my studio time much more dischordant.

nonetheless, i have devoted most studio time this past month to the indigo vats. yes, vats! i started a new natural fermentation vat about a week ago and it is coming along. spring warmed things up and the new vat started turning green a couple of days ago. by yesterday it was smelling pretty “good”. i even dipped a sample which turned blue but isn’t quite there yet. this sort of vat is all new to me so i am being patient with myself. keeping the indigo vats working on a daily basis adds a rhythm and a structure that i like. like keeping pace and a practice of noticing. i am much more aware of its nuances when i work with it on a daily basis. mostly i leave the stitching (other than the silk shibori ribbon!) to jude and others but in one of those little synchronistic dances this flag began to emerge. it is still revealing itself to me as i practice some stitching while studying the history of some past cloth makers from Japan. perhaps it is a flag of remembrance, of seas and tides and moons. of fishermen and farmers and the women who wove their fabrics and stitched them with a million tiny intentional stabs into precious fabric. at least these are the things that i think about while working on this piece. also part of what slow cloth is saying to me.

jude has noticed it too and although our collaborations might appear recent, it has been 3 years now i have been sending her pieces of silk. some of the first pieces i sent to her were from shibori demonstrations i did with kids at the LA Cherry Blossom Festival- she used some of them here-

when i see the back side of the piece i think of all the fabrics sent back and forth and remember how she used a small scrap of some early arashi shibori to represent a stand of trees, her small stitches rooting it to the ground and tiny embroidered leaves growing from the treetops.

over time we’ve patiently watered and fed those roots, watching and learning from each other. like she pointed out in her most recent post-often our best work comes from focusing on what we do best and letting others do their own magic once it leaves our hands. i have been doing this for a very long time-some of you might remember these, or these, and these. there were many more and people STILL ask me about them!

over the past three years we have built on those early exchanges constructing a communication that is verbal, visual and often meandering . an openness to communal “what-iffing” (something i found early on to be central to shibori itself and something jude explores regularly in her other blog-what if?)

with spring and a feeling of lightness forthcoming, even in places where the cold and wet try to hang on a little bit longer (those of you like Elaine of slow cloth and red thread studio who live in CO know all too well from last weeks snowstorm) jude started stitching up things using some of the lighter silks i had been sending which of course led to me making more and more gossamer watercolor silks, light floaty transparent silks that even attract the hummingbirds as they float in the air to dry.
just loaded up my bigcartel shop with collections of lovely spring colorways to get you started. no two just alike as always. 3 sets of some and ones on the more decadent sortings.
i can also do full yards of silk gauze in the colors shown. will be posting up some full yards soon.

there’s much more that’s been going on but most of it will have to be said in pictures on flickr for now. that’s what happens when i allow for too much at once. some slowing down is required. time for a visit to the favorite surf spot with the kids who are off for spring break now and making music all around me.

18 thoughts on “spring moons and hummingbird silks

  1. shiborigirl Post author

    i wondered but knew you’d remember once you saw it. many moons and many stitches ago.
    when i first started reading your blog back then i remember thinking- “i believe she’ll know e x a c t l y what to do with these” and boy, was i ever right about that! amazing and thoughtful things~ so thanks for that.


  2. jennlui

    oh wow! what beautiful silks! must be quite the sight to have all these hanging to dry, a daydream more like it!

    hope you find rest and rejuvenation!


  3. Alice

    So beautiful! And the blue flag is perfect. When I read what you write and what Jude writes and how you speak of your collaboration, it’s like peering in the window of your friendship ~ thanks for sharing that!!


  4. shiborigirl Post author

    nice to hear from you- the swirly ones are really monoprints-dye floating on water. in my list of things to do is a one lesson class on this technique with video. it’s not difficult but does require some space and set-up. when i get some time i’ll put it together and let ya know.


  5. Jacky

    Lovely to see the earlier piece made by Jude using your beautiful shibori’d fabrics. You two are the most wonderful collaborators!
    The silks are so beautiful, I would love to see them all hanging out to dry, what a sight.
    I wanted to let you know that my boro’d and blue pack arrived … what a beautiful selection of your indigo dyed fabrics. I have been looking at them and stroking them… I can now imagine how soft the cloths of Judes are using these wonderful silks.



  6. Dee

    how fun to hear about the history of collaboration between you and Jude — it seems to share the process of both of your works, which is to say, adding, caring for, seeing what happens next, creating a thing of beauty, all very organically.


  7. shiborigirl Post author

    yes, seems that it works well- and like you said, all very organically. we’ve kinda grown on each other you could say. it’s the kind of thing that can happen if you let it do its own thing without pushing or forcing things. just wondering and asking what if.


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      you know- i am in no mood to have the comment section junked up with advertising spam comments from the likes of entities like this-American Quilters Society. i have removed all your links. please keep your oh so insincere spam comments off this blog. thanks!


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      if that were the case you would have known that i don’t quilt and you wouldn’t have put up your obvious spam link to your site- and said “keep on quilting!”

      seriously, let’s just be honest here. i appreciate the beautiful blog comment- it has been said many times. i can recognize a spam comment when i see it.

      i am seriously tired of the big guys taking advantage and trying to commercialize and commodatize us small creative types over and over. sick to death of it! all you do is kill us off slowly while you marginalize what we do.
      no thanks.

      who are you exactly? what is your position in the company?


  8. American Quilter's Society

    We are not trying to commercialize you, we were trying to encourage you. We apologize that it came across the wrong way. We wish you the best.


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      again- who are you and what is your position in the company?

      you were trying to encourage me?? encourage me to spend $ on your site perhaps.

      may i suggest you were trying to get my blog traffic to click your link and make a purchase? duh. if you were trying to “encourage” me then why put a link to your own “blog” which by the way is nothing more than a shopping cart type site.

      no one else does it. i have hundreds and hundreds of comments on this site. perhaps you just don’t know any better than to blatently self promote on someone else’s site. but i doubt it.

      Ya know- i am just sick to death of the illusion.
      just stop it. now.


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