73, 75, 81…

I was thinking that this post would be about looking back to various Silk Study Tours to Japan and when I started to go through photos of trips going back to 2009, I became overwhelmed. So many photos, so many memories…I think this weekend I will add some new photos to this page. There is also the small blog I did in 2011 on the tour. Perhaps this will do for now.

So, I went and fed the silkworms instead. Then I pulled some cocoons out of the freezer and reeled about 60 or so. Not too many, just 60. I want to get better at this so…practice!

I also want to get to the point where I am adept at twisting them to create something akin to 8ply. That would be about 240 individual strands of silk as I reel about 22-25 cocoons at a time.Perhaps I will dye them in the ferm vat and embroider or sew with them. perhaps I will save up for my desire to actually weave a bit of cloth from cocoons I raised, reeled, and dyed. The reeling went well after initially working out a couple of bugs. Then I realized I need to get a few more itomaki (bobbins) in order to really do this. I found that one of my antique ones actually works with my newer zakuri, so that’s a start. I will go forward with these two just to get a sense of going and a direction. Doing this while raising a small batch of silkworms seems appropriate and even more interesting to me.
I had my friend Nobue Higashi on my mind the entire time as she is such an expert at both sericulture and silk reeling. She is now feeding their first set of silkworms of the season. They have reached their 4th instar now. See her latest blog post here.
I don’t post much to IG these days but a recent post of a time lapse of the silkworms eating brought the attention of someone I was not familiar with and found very interesting. Lisa Onaga has some very interesting writings and research on her blog. It’s more for the “silk nerd” but I know there are some of you out there because some of you have gone on the silk tour-and some more than once!
I’ve been reaching out to some of the past participants to check in with them and touch base- very nice to connect! It’s a long list so won’t get to everyone but feel free to reach out in this direction as well.


The other day I was working on the new indigo vat (update- it’s doing great!) and realized I was really upset about something I had read on twitter earlier. I read the words “human capital stock“. It stuck in my head as I worked and I started to wonder …
This can be viewed as political if you wish, but referring to people as “human capital stock” leaves me nauseated. Regardless of who is doing it. I was in the middle of dyeing some indigo cloth for something I am working on (a background piece for something Spirit Cloth -ish). I was ripping some edges which I was piling up and using in the garden to tie up the tomato vines. I then heard the current reported COVID death stats for my city (Long Beach,CA) which was 73. I kept on ripping. It was strangely satisfying. I even did a short video of it. The sound, mesmerizing…

Then I started counting the strips, as I approached 73 I started wondering…then I started tying them to the bushes in the front yard. I added 2 more the next day-75. Now, I must go out and add 6 more-81. It’s become a somber and thoughtful visual representation for me. People walk by and wonder. There is no explanation out there. But if you know me and follow this blog, I always say, we need more wonder in the world…

As the “opening” continues, so does the dying and tying on. Take care everyone…

16 thoughts on “73, 75, 81…

  1. kelly1949

    Oh Glennis, you gave me the wet eye with your ripping, tying, counting. We have lost two here in the mountain communities….two too many. The winding is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Suzi Drew

    I also feel a deep sadness. Your ripping, tying and counting have quietly demonstrated our common humanity in this global health crisis. People, souls, not statistics, not really expendable.
    On a positive note, my favourite moment of the 2015 Silk Study Tour was stepping inside the Itchiku Kubota museum and seeing for myself those exquisite works of art, his exhibition kimonos! Stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. shiborigirl Post author

      i hear you sister from another… each person unique and memorable. i have the sweetest little handmade pincushion on my table right now…
      each group i have the honor of traveling with to Japan on the silk study tour is a blessing and cherished! thanks for checking in! xo

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      Reply
  3. margo

    The overall numbers are just unbelievable. It’s to be hoped the people will take charge of the safety measures going forward .
    Japan is so unique and beautiful, can’t wait to go back.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. Liz A

    four souls lost in our county … but our daily case numbers are going up in double digits after many weeks of single-digit growth … sorrow will surely follow

    thank you for this insight in how that reality might be honored, how lives lost might be counted

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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