Category Archives: me

wordy wondering…again

Sometimes I wonder.

As of late, in the curious world we are living in, I feel more and more that I am an outsider. More than just an outsider ( I have always been that) but as I have talked about before, the sort of species that is on the endangered list.  Something that is becoming extinct. As someone who for SOME reason believed I could become anything I wanted to to be (and I became an independent artisan) I feel that choice is in rapid decline in our world.  Maybe it is just me-I admit, I do have a weird perspective. I mean really, how many people do you personally know who has been able to make a living making things by hand and selling them for their entire adult life (40+ years so far)?  Any?  I’m not saying this to amaze or impress you.  Trust me, it’s not everyone’s gig-  THAT is for sure.  But the fact that it was even possible and at some points in history (all over the world) quite common, is interesting. The fact that it is in extreme decline is regrettable to me. I really don’t think that it is something that most people think about at all.

I think about it all the time.

hands

Why does this concern me?  I ask myself this question and it is not an easy answer.  I believe that a certain amount of distance from the norm is good for society in general. It can provide an example, a path to follow, or even inspiration.  It provides a balance of sorts. This kind of distance and independence allows for different thinking, different perspective and different choices.  Not to mention the benefits to many of working with your hands, of creating daily, of experimenting and problem solving, and for many-better mental and physical health.

I can only continue to be, to exist as I am.  All this outside the norms- whatever those are. It seems that that is really the best I can do at this point.  I am very fortunate to have a roof over my head.  Some sort of forethought allowed for that at least.  If I were to do this today, it would look very different I am sure (if I was able to do it at all). That is the point of this post in the end, I guess. It seems as if this choice is becoming so unavailable, so rare-a choice I once took for granted without even knowing what an extravagance it really was. I didn’t know because I just did it. One day at a time, every day-until it was my normal.

The rising cost of living in general seems to necessitate rushing to a job-the sort of job that can pay the bills and leaves little time for much else.  Once one has money coming in, there are the expectations of society, others and even ones self.  A car- a payment, a house-a payment, taxes-payments, health-payments, family-$, etc..  It is a cycle that once one arrives at, is very hard to disengage from.  Only if one can become very creative, frugal, and perhaps fortunate, can you craft a situation that allows distance from the norm. I see people all around me longing to disengage from the desk chair, the screens, the keyboards, the commutes.  Yet the lifestyle that has been created makes it difficult to do so.  The actions needed to disengage are overwhelmed by the changes needed to make this happen.   One is thought of as irresponsible (if not just plain crazy) for not fully engaging in this cycle.

All I can say at this point is find a way.  Just find a way. 
beautyI love Soetsu Yanagi‘s thoughts…

This exhibit is still up at he Mingei Museum in San Diego until Oct. 2nd. I’ve seen it three times now and loved it all three times.

silk shibori ribbon

Ahh….the first Monday of 2014!  And it starts off with a bang!

the original silk shibori ribbon

the original silk shibori ribbon

About my silk shibori ribbon-many folks are asking and wondering…

It was 2006 when I first started practicing and learning shibori techniques. Having closed my porcelain company of 30 years, I wanted a new challenge and a new product to make and sell. Something to continue to sustain me over the next many years. Something highly artistic, beautiful, creative, something that would excite and inspire others to make and create-I know how making can be so very strengthening both mentally and physically. I wanted to continue to be part of that but in another way.  I looked for a way.  After practicing the arashi shibori technique daily for about 6 months, I wondered.  I wondered if one could make ribbon with it.  I had never seen it done so I started searching the internet.  Nope!  Not one image or one mention anywhere that I could find.  I searched extensively.  Excited, I found a little bit of silk ribbon I had nearby and wanted to wrap it. Around what? Looking around me I grabbed a pencil.  Wrapping the ribbon around it my eyes scanned the room for something to wrap it with- some thread.  I ran downstairs ( I had been in the bedroom with my bathrobe still on) and went outside and poured some dye over it.  Steaming and drying it I opened it up- Shibori Ribbon was born-really way to small and thin and not all that beautiful.  But the beauty was in the eye of the beholder, me- and I could see all the glorious possibilities.  So it has been a long and interesting path.  Littered with miles of beautiful silk and more.

Special thanks to all those who have been teaching and using the ribbon in their classes not just this year but in all the past years since I first came up with this crazy idea. My special thanks goes to the much loved Sherry Serafini who has spread her inspiration and the shibori ribbon all over the world.  More thanks to the talented Melanie Dorman who passed on in 2012 and who introduced me to beaded needle weaving and embroidery while we sat back to back at our tables at the Pasadena Bead and Design show some years ago.  I was fascinated with her work and she with the ribbon. I think she was the first to see and show me its potential in regards to beaded embroidery work and designed several pieces and classes with it. I was saddened-even shocked, when I went to contact her about something last year and discovered her passing- a reminder…we are here only for the blink of an eye.   Adele Sciortino did her part with it in the doll world and introduced it to many doll makers. Art quilters found the ribbon at the quilt shows and put it to work in many inventive ways. It was a pleasure to have them come to the booth and tell me that their quilt entry with the shibori ribbon made it into the show.  Crazy quilter Julie Craig of Attic Heirlooms(no website) along with Judith Montano both saw the ribbons potential when I first introduced it at the shows 6 years ago. Kate Tracton (also a Shibori GIrl) found it and made some lovely necklaces with it and her handwoven focal beads. Jude’s words and musings and of course Wendy who keeps a little pile of the ribbons in her therapy room and adds her wisdom to it as she heals.  I could fill a whole page with such examples.  I thank you all. It is an exquisite privilege to have something I make be part of something you make or do.

Now, entering 2014 there are many, many folks out there enjoying the possibilities and wondering. There are many shops- both online and on the street selling my ribbon. There are two Authorized Etsy resellers of my ribbon who are putting it into the hands of many more creative folks-Michelle, who has been at it for several years now and Lisa who just discovered it late last year and doing a great job getting the word out.  This is putting the silk shibori ribbon in the hands of so many creative folks who are dreaming and wondering up so many possibilities.  I am overwhelmed!  I really couldn’t ask for more shibori love than that.

So it has been a good year and I look back at the slow and manageable uphill burn of the ribbon which makes life around here even possible. I intend as a result of the increasing demand for the ribbon, to be spending more time making the silk shibori ribbon than ever before. I like that it is also helping to support others who resell the ribbon as well as those using it to make things that they in turn sell.

I have been informed that there is someone copying the idea on etsy.  I have been approached by a very large company who wants to “blow it up” and eventually have it made in China.  No. It is true, there will be copyists- in it for the momentary buck or two.  But in the end I will still be here.  Know it.
One at a time and everyday- like I said in the beginning of this big adventure.

Now back to the poles. And speaking of poles, Keep warm out there friends.  I know some of you are withstanding record cold spells.  Janice just emailed me that it is -37 outside her studio in the woods right now.  Stand strong-and STAY WARM!

 

intention

Seems like lately I’ve been in the employ of words ending in –tion and -sion. words like:

instruction, concentration, immersion, connection, destination, impression, revelation, fermentation
and the main one:

intention

All through the recent couple of weeks these words rolled around inside my head and I find that they apply to so many things throughout my day.  All of them though, bound up by intent. I am focusing more on intent these days. Maybe focusing isn’t the right word really.  At least being more conscious of it, wondering about it, taking it into consideration . Noticing it, within myself and beyond.

I think that the silks that Richard brought over made it ever clear. These fabrics have intent. Working with them I can feel and see it. Even though most were produced many decades ago (and maybe especially because they were) the intent seems clear to me.  They are still here.  They were saved all this time. The intent was carried on through many hands into their present form.

old silks

old silks

And over time here, I have been wondering not only about silk, but about indigo too. Last year I grew indigo-cut and dried it, even saved the seed.  Eventually I composted the leaves into a claylike mass. Now, I have made a fermentation vat with the homegrown indigo.  I think the past is about to meet the future, blending the past with the future, sustainably.

silk boro indigo

silk boro indigo

This intention has been brewing in me for a very long time. Some days I think maybe since the dawn. I am only beginning to recognize it as such. I can be a slow learner…

one year, one day at a time

It all started here one year ago. So much thanks to give for all that has transpired this past year. I started this blog with one thing in mind and ended up with so much more. Initially, I viewed it as a place to keep track of what I was doing, sort of like a journal for myself. I was interested in learning this “blog thing” as well. I soon came to discover that this was a learning tool, a teaching tool, and most rewardingly, a community.
I want to say thank you to all of you who visit and especially those who comment, leaving behind inspiration, encouragement, questions and teaching. Most of you I know only online, a few of you I’ve met in person but the beauty of blogging is that we can connect with others around the world to share and learn and discover. I look forward to meeting more of you as I travel this path.
Special thanks to my kids and Phil who are constantly subjected to shibori on a daily basis- it surrounds us here as we all share this house, artists and musicians alike. My special nickname around here is “shibori-head”. Kinda fits, don’t you think?
More thanks to the special people who populate my blogroll, Karren, Jude, Paula, Yoshiko, Juanita, and a few others I’ve been meaning to add but haven’t gotten to yet- Heather, Tricia, Bruce……..you have been invaluable in my education. Not to mention all the blogs I follow as best I can- I’ve appreciated the many points of view.
And then there’s Flickr…..what inspiration! So many folks sharing their worlds through the lens of a camera or the bed of a scanner-wow! Of course there’s the “all things shibori” photo pool on Flickr. Many thanks to all the participants there and the time you take to post and comment and discuss this thing called shibori. I feel that we are only scratching the surface- there’s so much more to discover.

Thought I’d share the stats I pulled down from WordPress this morning:

    Blog Stats

Total visits: 10,667

Total Views: 28,610

Best Day Ever: 337

Posts: 116

Comments: 250

There are some great new opportunities ahead as well as the trip to Houston for the Quilt Festival at the end of the month.
I’m looking forward to seeing lots of past porcelain button customers and creating new customers for my shibori work. I have a class there to teach on using the shibori ribbon as well as an online class at Joggles coming up.

Color me thankful and grateful all days, but extra on this day. Use the Safesubscribe button in the sidebar and send me your snailmail for a special thank you from shiborigirl!

natural art

Maybe it’s just me, but I see shibori possibilities in so many things. I enjoyed a week away from everything surrounded by nature, beauty, and quiet. I had some books, some paper,paints,& pencils, and my camera and the time to spend with them without interruption.
Some of the things I saw-
brown-troutdetail.jpg
beautiful red dots on scaley, shimmering brown trout
base dyed red, clamped, discharged,clamped/resisted some more, overdyed in grey browns….

altdragonfly2.jpg
-hundreds of dragonflies in reds, blues and greens..
In North American Indian lore, the dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change, representing the messages of wisdom and enlightenment; and communication from the elemental world. The dragonfly possesses the ability to see through illusion. They bring prosperity and harmony. The dragonfly totem teaches skillful action while maintaining a free and joyful sense of being.

The dragonfly in samurai lore is said to represent unwavering loyalty by its tireless flying.

farewell-to-spring.jpg
wildflowers of all kinds…this is “farewell to spring”
i see an itajime piece in my mind’s eye…. or perhaps a shibori silk flower

ponderosa-pine-bark.jpg
and this detail of some ponderosa pine bark…delicious!

bedrock-mortor.jpg
-bedrock mortar for grinding acorns into meal. Southern Miwok Indians. This was a deep one- almost 10″ deep. I counted 12 “squaw holes” over this particular bedrock…just sat there a while imagining…

acornsbedrock-mortor.jpg
and painted acorns hanging from the trees above…

back and ready to work…