Category Archives: photography

enjoy, create, wonder

As a practitioner of shibori dyeing and maker of silk shibori ribbon for over ten years now, I continue to wonder about what I do for a living, and why.  It’s a good thing to wonder about consciously in order to keep ahead of things and remain independently viable.

Things I know that have been part of the cloth of a life woven with craft, at least for me are the following:
I was born to work with my hands and to make things. This has been true since I was a child and cannot be removed from who I am, except perhaps by a lobotomy. I learned at an early age I felt better when being creative and productive making things by hand and later on learned I also did enjoy the marketing of my own work,even though I hated it in the beginning and remember crying in my ’69 VW bug after an unproductive day of sales calls and appointments -I was about 19 at the time. I persisted. Forty years later now, I do it from behind a computer and the rare consumer trade show.

I seem to have a knack for creating things that others want to buy, and in enough quantity that at times I have had to employ quite a number of others to participate in this unlikely form of employment. I found a certain joy in being able to provide a living for others in addition to myself in handmade craft here in California.  It has been an honor really-because of the people I worked with.  Eventually (and after over 30 years), the joy of that was diminished by the burden of being an employer and the demise of manufacturing in the US. No problem!  I reinvented my life as a solo dyer and continued on my way. Even my shibori ribbon has the privilege of helping support many others as they resell it or make things with it which to resell. Kinda cool.

I enjoy the interaction with customers from all over the world. I love seeing other creative folks take something I made and add it to their own work in so many ways I never ever conceived. Some of the things they make are quite extraordinary!

-I wonder weekly, what comes next? Who knows? I just know that every day I get up and take the next step. I hope you do too. I enjoy the interaction with readers of this blog and the many who have followed and contributed here for so many years as I wondered, created, and thought out loud about things.

This week, I started thinking more about the most recent issues I had with image copyrights and decided to resurrect something I used to make and sell- blank greeting cards. Now, for some of you that go WAY back (even further back than this blog) I had a line of greeting cards with porcelain pins incorporated into them that were sold throughout the US.  When I first started doing shibori, at shows I also sold blank greeting cards with images of my shibori work as well as cards with small pieces of shibori attached to them.  I have been making them for my own and friends’ personal use over the more recent years. Sometimes I send them out with a personal note in an order or as a thank you for a small kindness afforded to me. Recently, someone asked me if they could purchase some and I wondered…

So, for now, I decided to reintroduce sets of these cards in my webshop. Right now I have two collections- Shiboriscapes and Indigo Moonscapes.  In the works are Shibori Flowerscapes.  This will perhaps, help even out the financial ups and downs every artisan has in their flow of work and money but also it feels good to know that I will be the beneficiary of my own work as I continue to hound Amazon into removing those sellers on their site that use my images without permission.

Here’s the link to the card sets. It’s nice to have a few blank cards on hand when you find yourself in need to send a thought or a thank you…

I get letters…

It was a great weekend at the Japanese American National Museum.  There were several returning students but the majority were new to both dyeing and to shibori in general. It is always a pleasure to introduce people to both.  Most indicated they will sign up again for one of the upcoming shibori workshops featuring indigo in June  and August (contact museum for reservations).  The force is strong in shibori…

Participants were fortunate to be able to see the last day of the exhibit “Two Views” featuring photographs by renowned 20th-century photographers Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank who each captured distinctive views of the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian incarcerations. I had seen it previously and encouraged everyone to take a break and go through the exhibit.

Early on Sunday I had the opportunity to view the other exhibit “Making Waves” before the museum opened to the public. It was really too much to take in in the amount of time I had- I spent a scant 30 minutes and knew I couldn’t do it justice so will go back before it closes the end of June.

In other news, I am feeling much better! The garden is blooming, vegetables growing. I also had a chance to see the current exhibit at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego recently.  (Thanks to Nadja for the hospitality!) One thing I was curious about was the attribution of this piece on display.

shibori yukata IMG_1862 IMG_1863
Obviously shibori dyed but yet annotated as printed.  Unless I am missing something…  I could see the needle marks. Anyway…there were some fabulous pieces there, like this detail from a fisherman’s raincoat woven with reed and seaweed.
woven reed and seaweed

I came home from the weekend to find a lovely letter from a customer. Honestly, I have to say this sort of thing keeps me going at times. I know that making things by hand is an incredibly personal and worthwhile endeavor. Sometimes a journey of the soul. Please teach any children in your realm this valuable gift.
i get lettersnow I’m crying…xo

a shibori picture show

Just thought I’d post a link to the top 50 flickr photos in slideshow format.
These are the top 50 photos from my almost 1500 photos I’ve loaded up to flickr- automatically generated as viewed by flickr viewers.
(click here)

kinda fun to see what’s “popular”. not all are my favorites but there are many i am quite fond of- for various reasons. for me, there are memories and lessons attached to most of them. it’s quite apparent that people like flowers and jewelry.
but i’m pleased to see the indigo moon rise quickly to the top 50. i am working on more. it takes time. enjoy the photos. you might want to poke around in some of my individual photo sets while you’re at it.
And if you are are already signed up for my upcoming shibori class you might want to start collecting some of the following materials:

resists

clamps

dye and water containers and applicators

Globalization-not all I hope for

Coming this October I will be in Houston, as usual, manning my booth at the upcoming International Quilt Festival selling my shibori creations. I will also be teaching a shibori techniques class which I am pleased to report is full. ( If you want to try to get into the class at this point you will have to be put on a waiting list or check the “classes for sale” board on site.)

Additionally, I will be presenting a one hour lecture Thursday morning from 9-10 Am before the show begins speaking to the global issue of connecting traditional crafts and craftspeople to contemporary artisans and their work.
My talk, entitled Silk and Shibori-Touching the past and moving forward requires registration and an $8 fee. If you are a teacher at the show or have other special affiliations I believe the talk is free but you still have to register. I have been doing a lot of thinking about this topic-not just recently but really ever since I started this shibori adventure.

WARNING! Reading beyond this point might bore you to death, cause seizures, bring on depression, or other unforeseen malaise.
(don’t say I didn’t warn you)

Over the past 3 years I have used the internet to learn, inform, and share many aspects of shibori-mainly focusing on Japanese shibori and contemporary artisans as well as my own work. I have happily devoted myself full time to this endeavor and am doing my utmost to make a living at it-combining studio work, marketing and selling, and teaching to make ends meet. I also try to be aware and respectful of the work of others as that is how I too would like to be treated. I find that to be the case at least 95% of the time which adds to my faith in humanity. But sometimes that faith fails me and I feel slightly abused as I did this morning while sifting through my email.

Here is what I saw:

Globalization breathes new life into Shibori craft

Globalization breathes new life into Shibori craft


-most if not all the shibori shown here are photo-shopped copies of my textiles. Their website claims:

“It has been a long and successful journey for fibre2fashion since our inception in early 2000. From 1000 visitors a month we have grown to more than 1.9 million visitors.”

As I have also mentioned before, I am a big fan of Google alerts. Once again I was alerted to an article on shibori-Globalization breathes new life into Shibori Craft-sounds interesting no?. Clicking over to see if there was any new info I might glean from the article (there was not), or to see if it was worth posting a link for my readers here (not in the context I would like it to be), I was no longer surprised to find a commercial entity trying to make a dime off of the use of my copyrighted shibori images. I could go through the usual machinations- contact them, ask for monetary reimbursement for a one time use, request removal, ask for attribution, SOMETHING! I could wait for a response that likely will never come and if it does it will claim they didn’t know they weren’t permitted to use it, didn’t know how to get hold of me, think I should be happy for the exposure-and on and on.
If you get the PDF version of the article, you will see this-also my image:

I might feel differently if there wasn’t a profit motive on the part of the grafter (graft-unscrupulous use of one’s position to derive profit or advantages; extortion.) but the “article” covers no new ground and simply looks to take advantage of the rising interest in shibori to sell membership and advertising on their website. The company, based in India, can’t really claim ignorance as a look at the BOD’s claims a long impressive list of law, marketing, management, and IT degrees (to name a few). One of the board members even specializes in “workshops based on modern research in management, semantics, psychology, behavioral sciences, Western thought and Eastern wisdom. They motivate the participants to realize their full potential, and facilitate successful business agreement, increased productivity and teamwork.” I am sure that my images are not the only ones being “borrowed” nor will they be the last. But I have contacted them and suggested a price for use of my images. Only seems fair. I’ll even gift them some of my silk shibori pocket squares to wear to their next board meeting should they decide on some monetary compensation.

I also might feel differently if I wasn’t working so hard to make things fall into place and create the $ to make the final booth payment, buy my airline ticket, pay my phone bill, order supplies, blah, blah, blah.
So I guess this is another bitch session- sorry about that – just feel the need to get it out and expose this sort of thing once again as it keeps cropping up and getting under my skin. I know I shouldn’t let it. Perhaps they will surprise me and restore my faith in the last 5%-I’ll keep you posted.

On the brighter side-
As a maker I am thankful for so many things including:
-Stampington for seeing the value in the artists they feature in their magazines by actually compensating us for articles and features we write.
-other bloggers (too many to name-you know who you are) for the networking they provide
-Quilts Inc. for careful and knowledgeable management of their shows throughout the years and their appreciation of both vendors, customers, artists and teachers equally.
-for customers who pay on time and allow me to continue my work
-to my etsy customers around the world! including all the men who order pocket squares from me- so nice to include you as members of my shibori world (shipping an order to Dubai today!)
-to the universe for allowing me to be me and do what i do

Thank you!

just working…

I know I have so much more to write about but simply have to be working right now- trying to take and post few pics in the process to keep the flow going here-enjoy!

click to enlarge..

just some pics-

click on images to view larger

gauze-web-flat

24

enter-site
(playing around with some new images for the website redo)

web-lavender
some lavender filled pretties for Chicago-$16 each silk shibori dyed with ribbon flower and 2+oz of fresh lavender
thinking spring….

Oh- I will also be at the Saturday Evening Sampler in Chicago- 6-8 pm demonstrating shibori ribbon techniques….