Category Archives: memory

‘Tis the Season- Solstice

Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

I was reminded of this song (by Joseph Brackett in 1848) when I was on Facebook this morning and Maura posted some photos of Christmas making at a mental hospital in Calcutta, India.  They were making holiday cheer from colored paper- the paper chains being my personal favorite. They were sharing some sweet treats and gifts thanks in part to Mustard Seeds Kolkata.  The photos immediately gave rise to the first line of that song. (Judy Collins has a nice version of it here.)

I post this today as we turn the corner on the shortest day of the year to see the days grow longer. Thankfully, for there is much to be done ahead of us.  Simplicity might just be one of the answers don’t you think?  In that simplicity perhaps we can become freer, turning, turning and in the end, delight in the coming ’round right.

I think Joseph Bracket was onto something here.  Of course we are all familiar with the Aaron Copland version of this in Appalachian Spring.  Another favorite. And speaking of Spring….

It seems a good day to plant another kind of seed.  A sweet friend gifted me some of her native California milkweed seeds. (thanks Colleen!).  Meanwhile, outside in the garden I think the last monarchs are finishing their meals and heading for their transformations.
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A seed is like an idea- it needs planting and nourishing, sunlight, warmth, and sometimes protection. I will never forget my visit to Luther Burbank’s historical home in Santa Rosa. I posted about it here in December of 2012 and have gone back to this post many times. Take special note of his “seed vault”.

Luther Burbank's seed vault

Luther Burbank’s seed vault

As we move into the coming year, I think there will be some need for “seed protectors” in our communities. I wonder what you want to protect? A few things come to my mind…

Life, health, and human dignity are a few of the things that come immediately to my mind.  This will take a community of protectors.

On a personal level, I want to protect wonder, compassion, beauty, love and peace.

I will find these things in small corners.  They will be found in the piercing of a needle through cloth with hand dyed thread. I will find them in the tip of a brush where it meets with paper.  I will always find them in the small and large details of Nature where ever I am. I will find them in the people I surround myself with, the actions I take, the words I hear, write and speak.
I will find wonder, compassion, beauty, love and peace -and protect it.
Yes, I will.

Happy Solstice!
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this one’s for you…a glimpse of the morning garden

and especially for Judy.  faith, family, and persistence are her constant companions-plus a needle, thread, and some cloth.

it rained!!  and one of my favorite things is to walk around the garden the morning after. here is only some of what i saw…

also gone as well are the natural dyed fabrics i loaded into the shop yesterday- many thanks! the last payment on my little health interruption last Dec. will be paid off! took the whole year but DONE!! where would i be without you?

the shop will stay open for ribbon buyers only through Wednesday.

plus the squirrelleys say hello!

hello!

hello!

distilling essences

Yesterday,

Pom and Walnut.

Dyeing in the light of the Super Moon.

And Indigo, of course.

I gave them a Moon Bath.  For the shop soon. They are resting now.

Today, thinking about what something is really made of. What we are made of.  Looking closely. Distilling it down. Instilling  Reviving memory…

Yesterday I saw where Maura (of Mustard Seeds) took the kids out to their local area to ask about leaves from trees that grew around them (in Kolkata, India) and they learned so much! And in several languages. They learned by talking to people in their neighborhood. Then they went back and made posters and art works.  More of this!

 

 

moons and stars

Took a couple of days near the cooling beach with Phil and Trev to get away from the daily doings. Shore leave as it is sometimes called…

shore leave sunset

shore leave sunset

trevor surfs!

trevor surfs!

Brought this along. Maybe it is a traveling cloth, even if only a mind traveler.  Stitching on it again with the surf pounding in front of me, I wonder about our connection to water. A morning shoreline fisherman pulls up a silvery fish.  I imagine he is fishing for moons and stars.
The indigo seed is born of water, nourished by water, dissolved in water. The silk thread I am stitching with is connected to that water as well. The mulberry leaf received its water in the form of rain, the cocoon, the sericin softened and reeled with the aid of water.
clothmore clothThe early fisherman carries his silvery catch away as others arrive, and we move on. Here is a memory from another trip this way. moons, tides, memories

The Houston show is on the horizon ahead of me.  I am working towards that.  In addition, there is a two day workshop at the JANM.  There are other things too.  Too much really.  People who want last minute orders will wait until I return.  What can you do? I stopped posting on social media for a week.  Just needed a break from it.  FB and all its crazy politics with the election is disruptive.  I guess the most I will say about all that is go and vote.  Be prepared to take responsibility for what and who you vote for. The show in Houston is the weekend pre-ceeding the election.  Always a difficult and uncertain time for people.  I plan to make my booth as beautiful and peaceful as possible.  Come.  Hang out.  Get inspired. Working with your hands is good. Booth 1921.

80+ silk mandalas forded for the workshop. have to do this ahead for them as there is not enough time and space for a whole class to do their own.

80+ silk mandalas forded for the workshop. have to do this ahead for them as there is not enough time and space for a whole class to do their own.

they will practice on paper and go away with the instruction sheet.

apricot tree in bloom is confused with our 106 degree weather.

apricot tree in bloom is confused with our 106 degree weather.

Our hot spell has subsided now and both myself and perhaps the apricot tree are feeling a little less crazy. I could not work well outside during those days. Hence all the mandala folding and other workshop kit making after sunset.

bright spot in the garden

bright spot in the garden-I think he liked the hot weather! 

Jude is rerunning her suns,moons and stars. Take a look. Wouldn’t hurt to go here too.

ozone & indigo

Recently, in the workshop at the Japanese American National Museum one of the participants brought some fabric that she had dyed in another workshop somewhere.  It had faded radically and even more so along the folds and creases.  She wanted to know what had happened.
This is something that also came up a couple of times in the online indigo workshop and was struggled with over there.  Occasionally, I have seen it in my own indigo dyed pieces and strive to do those things which I find help to alleviate the problem.
As far as I have been able to understand, and the experiences I have had with this type of fading have led me to the following understandings.  Please feel free to jump in here and correct , inform and add to our knowledge on this for other folks as well.
The issue:
-fading of the fabric along exposed areas and folds where the cloth is exposed to air and or humidity. I have even seen fade lines on indigo cloth that I have hung (flat) to dry outside overnight that had a bit of a sway in the hung cloth. It seemed that in this case the overnight humidity was the over-riding factor.

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three shades from the fermentation vat ready to assemble into the cloth packs for the shop

What is happening?
– ozone in the atmosphere is reacting to the cloth and any chemicals left in the fabric and additionally with UV light to produce an oxidizing effect. Smog and humidity also figure into the mix even in cloth that is well washed out.

At first, I thought that only fabrics dyed in a chemical vat or a pre-reduced indigo vat were susceptible to this.  Not true.  They may be MORE prone to it but fermentation vat dyed indigo is also affected.

What to do to minimize this?
– wash out your fabrics well before dyeing to remove any chemical treatments.
-build up your depth of shade over many dips in the vat. Have a light vat and a dark vat to produce various shades of blue through repeated dips and really work the dye into the cloth.
-rinse your indigo dyed cloth well between dips into the vat and then finally wash them well with a good rinse in the end.  You may have seen photos of Japanese dyers planting their indigo dyed cloths along a river or stream to let the water run through- this would definitely do it!  Getting out any chemicals that can react to the ozone is beneficial.
-once dried and ready for storage until use, you can keep your indigo cloth in a drawer or wrapped in a towel to keep the edges from fading.

Finished pieces (such as a quilt on a bed, a pillow, a wall hanging) will fade more evenly and possibly without notice as they are more evenly exposed to the atmosphere. All indigo will fade with use (think denim).  Well dyed dark shades built up by many dips seem less susceptible.   This is one reason I prefer the fermentation vat over the pre-reduced or chemical vat-more work but a more satisfying process and result. Also, be aware that different fabrics will fade differently. Think about the weave and the fiber.

There are even products out now for commercial dye houses that speed indigo fading (ozone finishing!) with the use of ozone related treatments said to be less labor and water intensive. Consulting companies work with manufacturers to troubleshoot their process and diminish the fading (or even speed it up!).

What if it’s not a problem at all?  It’s a matter of perspective.

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Yesterday’s moon- on an open weave linen

 

a moon memory…

On this day forty seven years ago I was 11 years old and living in Yokohama, Japan.  Our family had earned the privilege  of a home leave visit back to the US after having been there since 1965 and my dad having signed up for another stay in Japan.

It was the day my obsession with the moon began.

I had been dropped off to visit at the house of one of my best friends (prior to leaving WA) in Gig Harbor WA.  Her mom put on the TV to watch the moon landing which for us -in and of itself something of a novelty since we didn’t watch TV in Japan.

In the closet was her very pregnant cat having a whole box full of kittens.  We ran back and forth from the closet to the TV reporting with screams of delight, “There’s ANOTHER kitten!!” Running back to the closet, we named each kitten after the moon mission.  We started out with Neil, Apollo, Moon, Lunar, Armstrong, Rocket and others.  We started to run out of names!  There ended up being 9 kittens in all.  Such an exciting day.

It stayed with me all my life. Cats and moons.  We can all relate to both in some way. Last night was another full moon. I hope you looked up, just for a moment.  If not, don’t worry- it will still be there tonight.
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