I like letters better. Sometimes, emails get weird.
It all started with an email. Well, actually it started with a $30 donation. Followed by an email.
“Hi I am interested in learning the folding technique of the feather arashi scarf. Anne Selby uses this technique. Do you know how its done.”
Hmmm… my reply:
“Thank you for contacting me. I see you already do quite a bit of shibori on silk. I have never seen Anne Selby’s work in person but online it looks very beautiful. I have been a fan of Karren Brito’s work for some time and I think she did this folded technique first. I have done something similar in the past but never did it on a large scale, however did discover how it was done.
I try to make my work unique through experimentation as I often find that this process takes me down my own path- one I would not have gone down by being told the exact process by someone who discovered it in their own way. Since it is a signature styling of Anne Selby- have you asked her? Perhaps she is not wanting to share that. It’s not that it’s a “secret” but I’m sure she went through many trials and errors in order to create it. Honestly, I wouldn’t feel very good about explaining how someone else goes about creating their signature look. I am very sure you could figure this out on your own if you worked at it through trial and error. In that process, you would likely discover something very new and interesting yourself! Try it!
Yes, there are shortcuts in life- but it is not unlike driving through the countryside at 100 MPH versus riding along that same country road on a bicycle…you see and learn so much more along the way.
I see you just sent a donation through my blog. I thank you. I hope you find the blog of use. If you feel that you want a refund of this donation based on this reply, let me know. Your work is lovely as well. Best regards.”
Then a reply:
“Thank you for replying so quickly. I gave you Anne Selby as an example to give you an idea as to what I was talking about. Anne Selby does not own the technique, yes I did see it in Karren Brito’s book. I guess there is not a copyright on the Feather Boa technique. Shibori is an ancient art form that goes back hundreds of years not only in Japan but in many other countries in the world. Yoshiko Wade has been working very hard to preserve the techniques of Shibori. She has been doing it by sharing, because she knows that is the only way to keep Shibori alive. Anne Selby did not invent this technique. She did invent the Arashi wrapping machine. Anna Lisa Hedstrom has put out 3 DVD’s, she has held nothing back.
Thank you for your words of wisdom. I am happy Yoshiko Wada and Anna Lisa Hedstrom do not think as you do. Shibori would be dead.”
Ok… “shibori would be dead?” my reply:
“No, there is no copyright on any shibori technique. I am still curious as to why you asked me about the technique Ann Selby specializes in. Why not ask her? Perhaps you have and she has not seen fit to share it with you. I don’t know. I am sure you have seen my work and that I don’t show this type of pleating online. Respectfully, I think this is a question for Anne Selby.
I find it interesting that you choose to characterize me as someone who doesn’t share what I know. As you know, I have free online shibori classes, I have been teaching shibori at museums, private workshops and international conventions for over 10 years now. I have literally taught 1000’s of people directly and in person not to mention the over 10 years of blogging on the subject.
I think that shibori is more widespread as a result of my work-not less. Saying that shibori would be dead as a result of my attitude is complete nonsense. Saying such things says more about you than it does about me.
Please consider what you say before you say it. I am returning your donation.
Thankfully, today is a new day. And I know what my own intention is-regardless of how it is viewed from the outside.
Oh yeah, I made these. Just experimenting with silk shibori felt and vintage silk. Wondering.
update…after seeing some other issues like this online (where someone was being derided for not “sharing” their signature technique) I am prompted to add that there are good reasons to doing something the hard way. The struggle, while temporarily uncomfortable, allows you to experience and overcome uncertainty and anxiety. As you increase your skills through trial and error you will be able to experience exuberant surges of your own creativity that you simply will not achieve through following step by step instructions.