I am doing lots of repetitive things in the making of this shibori ribbon. Lots of measuring, counting, winding, ironing and pot stirring. Waiting for pots to heat up, things to cool off, dry up, unwind. In the in-betweens and during the repetition I have time to think. And wonder.
People often ask me things at workshops like “What kind of brush do you use” or, “what brand of “x” do you buy?” I try to answer the best I can but really it’s not about these things. It’s more about your commitment to what you are doing, the time you devote to it, your willingness to repeat something over and over than to anything else. Take my brushes for example:
They are simple, basic and acquired over time. Some are repaired, most not very expensive. But it’s more about HOW I use them and how they’ve become part of my daily routine. I get used to these simple tools and I like things that last- especially under the duress of the dye studio. Most of these are made by hand and the maker has also taken care and added their skill to the process.
This past month two of the family cars have been sent to the scrap yard. They were each around 30 years old. I really hated to see them go. They have served us well -one was already a salvage vehicle when we acquired it over 10 years ago. We got an additional 10 years out of it! But we were faithful and repaired them many many times. I seemed a shame to not! They were replaced by two *new* cars 5 years younger. I saved a memento…
Looking around the other night while folks were in the back studio rehearsing my eyes settled on this-
You might remember these from some time ago. I was actually thrilled when my son fell in love with this. It works and he has used it here and there. As a recording engineer, I think he wanted to recreate the fidelity of past recordings in some of his current work. It gave me the chance to tell him about how my dad had one of these at home and how I learned to splice tape back in high school for a “video” project I did about the Kent State killings and the Vietnam War. Must have been around ’74-’75. I made a slide presentation of images I collected from books, newspapers, drawings I had done etc. and had made into slides. To this I set music, radio news recordings and overdubbed my voice recorded on a Sony reel to reel. I didn’t think it was really a big deal as I had watched my dad put together such things many times but when I presented it in class apparently, it was a big deal. I wonder who owned this machine in the past? I hate it when useful things become obsolete. I like it when folks find a way to use the obsolete.
A good musical instrument never becomes obsolete. One recently came our way and it will be repaired and played. This definitely has some spirit and a story. We will find out more soon.
It’s late now, and the pomegranate tree casts its shadow on the back fence as the last of today’s silk steams.
The next post, in which I introduce you to Squirrelly Gurl ( for those who don’t follow FB), is forming in my mind…