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.