It has been a while now since I created the silk shibori ribbon. Ten years to be exact.
When I first created it there was no such thing on the market. Now it is everywhere. There are a lot of stories to tell (and I have told some of them here on the blog over the years) and this post will add one more.
In the beginning when I made the ribbon, I wasn’t sure what it would be used for. I just was sure that it would be (used). And back in the day, I sent some around, made some things myself and went around showing it at trade shows. I started people wondering. A special friend (jude), in her special way, said something about it that really resonated with me.
“every inch is an adventure”
And it was. No two inches alike, the beauty was in part, in its imperfection. And I loved that about it. Of course this sort of thing creates certain challenges. As in how to communicate this aspect to the end user (relatively easy) and later on to the retailer (much more of a challenge!). As more people wondered, created with and enjoyed the shibori ribbon, I spent less time using it myself and more time just making it.
Over time some of the designers took to making fabulous things with it. So much more wonderous than I had ever imagined and this was really fun. I looked at what was being made with the ribbon and took cues from those who were using it by dyeing colorways I hadn’t yet made. Some designers love the freeform possibilities while other designers love the perfection of the pleating. Did I say perfection? OOPS. It is not perfect. But I try to make it the best I can. More recently, as jewelry designs pop up that feature perfectly pleated sections of the ribbon, retailers and some customers want only perfectly pleated ribbon. They didn’t want the interesting beginning or ends of the rolls, so I began cutting them off and saving them.
I thought they were delicious. So delicious that I refrained from putting them in scrap bags- to use them myself at some future magical place and time (when I had more time-ha!). Plus I didn’t want to hear back from folks who thought they were getting reject ribbon bits in scrap bags. Then over time, since I was cutting off the ends anyway, I thought- why not just go crazy with the ends of the rolls. So I did. And now I have a nice little collection of these weird scrappy “tailings”, as I call them.
They really are fun! More than an adventure…a happening perhaps. Each piece so unique and weird that it makes it great fun to create something with them. You can let go and really let the shibori ribbon lead the way. Really see something in a new way. What am I doing with this growing collection? I’ll be teaching a shibori ribbon bead embroidery class using my “tailings” in Houston in the fall. I think we are going to have a really good time!
And don’t forget- the upcoming workshop at the Japanese American National Museum is April 23 & 24. Sign up at the museum website.
Hope Spring has made its way to wherever you are. It sure looks great here.