feel smell remember
silently falling earthbound
we rejoice again
I was struck by a nostalgic feeling this morning as I went out to retrieve the paper. I love that. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the place or time but it was a good sense-one of those ones that can transport you places. I tried to hold on but it was fleeting. It rained in the early hours before I awoke and left silently.
I have been working hard getting out ribbon orders ahead of the trip to Japan. No recent indigo to report but all the rain has me wishing a bit that I had planted some. I make do with the edible greens in all practicality. They are delicious! We eat them every way imaginable and more.
Hirata san sent me a map of our upcoming adventure. We always stray a bit as occasions arise but maybe you would like to see it? This does not include the the trip to Yokohama and Kamakura.
I am still stitching on the traveling moon piece. The little indigo I have been dyeing has centered around overdyeing vintage indigo scraps. Really enjoying the serendipity of that. I just bought a vintage cotton yukata bolt from Richard’s etsy shop that had some interesting patterns I might do some overdyeing with. Additionally interesting to me was part of his description:
This is a vintage bolt of yukata cotton, a printed indigo. It is unused and still bound up. There is a rather cute vintage tag on the front, an image of a young lady wearing the yukata that this fabric is dyed to become, basically, modeling it. On the tag, the name of the fabric pattern, shio matsuri, or tidal festival. The pattern seems to be a bit of a play on Hokusai’s waves, which are ubiquitous throughout japanese aesthetic.
This is enough fabric to become a yukata, which means it is at least 11 meters of fabric. As is sometimes the case, this fabric has markings and lines to cut along marked on it. It is printed so each piece is obvious and separate, there is not much guesswork involved. The way to make a yukata is pretty standard, so it makes sense, to print it like that , make it easy. Each section has the name of the piece it will become along the very edge. See the fifth photo above.
In any case- I look forward to examining it.
And before I end this, we went to see the poppies…it was glorious! Even inspired a new base dye session…
the rain will surely extend the poppy season…weekdays are the best as big crowds on the weekends.
It’s been a whole moon since that last post- a record of sorts here. One that I don’t plan repeating often in the future. Life happens though and one never knows. In this past month there have been some significant events- a death in the family and a marriage too! Balancing the sad with the happy, blurring the past and the future.
Plus we both had the flu which also complicated things. Hence, no posting here. Just living.
Spring here is glorious this year thanks to the rainfall received. So much blooming! A simple walk around the backyard is proof that Nature is pleased (at least for now, politics be damned!).
I’m finally back in the studio daily this week and working on orders again. As if to remind myself of the whimsy that can occur while dyeing, I over-discharged 80 yards of pink shibori ribbon the other day. I was working on the final color for a large order that included the colorway Pink Storm and when it went into the discharge bath it discharged deep and immediately! I tried to correct on the second pole but *poof*…color disappeared immediately. This pink is very easily discharged (a medium pink using mainly polar red) but the discharge bath was too hot and strong for a controlled discharge. SO, I took the 80 yards and dyed some new and fun colors with it. Now, I am back with a new batch of ribbon all base dyed and pole wrapped for some careful discharging today. Here’s some photos of what went on, and what I was trying to achieve.
The fun part is that now I have some yardage of really pretty colors to play with and sell. I’ll be taking some photos today and putting some of it in the shop. I’m also trying to get together a small selection of ribbon to take with me to Japan in May to sample some of my customers while I am there. Yes, Japan. The Silk Study Tour to Japan is coming up soon! May 16th to be exact. I’m really looking forward to it. Each tour is filled with unique experiences created by the harmonic blending of people and places. We will learn so much, see many extraordinary things, and make new friends and connections for today and tomorrow.
It is my great pleasure to facilitate this tour and watch many people experience Japan for the first time- much of it through the eyes of the silkworm! This year’s tour is full with many interesting people, most who are visiting Japan for their first time. Exciting times ahead! Hirata san and I have added Kyoto to this years experience and our faithful charter bus company will soon be whisking us from place to place while we enjoy some beautiful scenery from the comfort of the bus and its large panoramic windows. In addition we will walk, ride trains and eat lots of great food! Get ready to follow along as I update from Japan along our silk road.
Indigo dyeing has been taking a back seat for the moment- the fermentation vat is back to misbehaving and with all the disruption around here lately I have not been able to concentrate on it. One thing though, I will be spending several days with my indigo sensei Fumiko Satou in Japan after the tour is over. I have lots of new questions and hope to be of help to her (as studio helpmate) as she prepares for an upcoming event. I am really looking forward to this.
The next couple of weeks is devoted to clearing out some of the orders, making a little stock, and getting taxes done. Then, final preparations for Japan will be in full swing. That, and a day trip to see the beautiful wildflowers in bloom here in California-where we are thankful to continue the quest for clean air, water and energy (again, politics be damned!).
Love to all… may your path lead you to places unknown. Keep wondering, always wondering…
I have started in on the ribbon orders that have patiently been waiting my return from Houston. So far, I have dyed the base colors on about 750 yards. Next will be the pole wrapping and over dyeing in all the favorite colors. They will find their way across the country as well as to many other countries as soon as they are finished.
I also finished up sorting out and organizing the recently dyed indigo and pomegranate fabrics and moons which are in the shop now in limited amounts. After the holiday I will add more if needed.
I will have them there until Wednesday night when I will close both shops for the Thanksgiving holiday. I am a participant every year in Buy Nothing Day (so called Black Friday) where I don’t purchase or sell anything. Apparently, Black Friday is the new Thanksgiving Thursday according to Walmart and some others. It this really necessary? (Black Friday, who ever gave it that name anyway?)
The shops will be re-opened on Monday so please, have a great holiday. Enjoy your families and friends with great and shared thanks-giving.
YUM! And no, you can’t order a slice of cake with your order!
This is a thought I’ve had on my mind for oh-so-long. Sort of a marriage of the past with the present.
I was playing around with some sample making for my upcoming shibori ribbon brooch class in Houston and started on this. It answered some questions but once I got started I realized it is a little too complicated for the class project which must be completed in large part in the 3 hour time frame with most students being fairly novice to bead embroidery. So I must simplify. I realized it fairly early on so I decided to just let this one take me away. I’ll be making a few more for the class, smaller and simpler but with enough technique that one can carry on and wonder after the first class piece. Sometimes these classes are a real challenge.
So in the meantime, since I still have to pay for the last half of my booth by Monday I am listing a few things in the shop. So far, I have the booth deposit paid, the airfare for 2, and the AirBnb apartment (more economical than a hotel) for 10 days paid for. Phew! Now just the second half of the booth and any electricity, lights, pipes, and freight. These show costs are a killer. And not to mention I have to have all the inventory made and paid for up front. The money from all this doesn’t arrive until mid to late November. It’s a long game.
On the other side of life, the night blooming cereus cactus is putting on its evening show with at least 12-18 flowers open every night (for over a week now and on into one or two more from the looks of it). The bees hang out until almost dark in anticipation, buzzing from 15 feet up and drawing your attention as you pass by. Once the dark has settled in, the flowers glow their fluorescent yellow under the moonlight. In the early morning the bees are back at it, eager for every last bit of pollen they can collect until the sun signals the flowers to close, once and for all, before dropping to the ground below and perhaps leaving behind the prospect of a delicious jewel.
Juicy like a watermelon, crunchy black seeds and just sweet enough with a flowery mouth perfume finish!
There are some things which are truly a gift.
Here we enjoy some cooler than usual weather this week. That and some great clouds and broken sunlight. I say that since we usually have all sun all day until June when in a good year we along the coast are protected by what is known as “June Gloom”(somewhat a misnomer unless you want to go to the beach). This offers us some coastal fog and cloud cover in the mornings until the sun comes out to heat us up until sunset.
This weather is my favorite weather of the year-where it is temperate even inside my garage studio where it can easily reach over 100 degrees on many days. Still one must shibori on!
The big distraction (my enjoyment on mini-breaks I take throughout the day) is a wander through the yard to notice. So many things in bloom, creatures crawling, wings fluttering, birds in song. I wonder.
and from a distance…
In between. That’s where real things happen. Where one can slow time down a bit and wonder. Test out some new thoughts and answer some questions. In between making shibori ribbon for orders I did some more wondering about the silk shibori ribbon tailings with beads, some thread and a needle.
Let me be the first to say I am not a beader. I dabble. Through my shibori ribbon I have come to know and really appreciate the artistry and craft of beading. I have enjoyed dabbling in the in-betweens. I am too hands-on to really follow instructions and patterns in the several beading books I have acquired. I’d really rather enjoy just exploring an idea until something credible happens. One day I’ll take a workshop and learn some basic beading techniques. Until then…
more shibori on silk.
I’ll keep dabbling.
Wondering about the persimmons that are self thinning as you can see by the photo earlier, I saved the tiny fallen kakis to see if I could extract and ferment them to gain some color. Next step will be the food processor and some straining. Fall seems a long way off from here.
I love what Deb is doing here with her indigo. My vat has been drained and added to the compost. A new one will be started soon. I am devising a method for keeping out the flies. Hopefully…
In Silk Study Tour to Japan news- we are 3/4 of the way there with the minimum number of participants. Still room for more if you are interested. I’m looking forward to getting this part settled earlier than usual this time. Hirata san sent me some fun photos and we “facetimed” with an interesting vendor at the Kitano Tenmangu flea market in Kyoto which we will visit next year (me here and Hirata san on the street in Kyoto- gotta love it!). Hopefully the next blog post will detail that visit.
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.