Category Archives: wondering

in the chrysalis of the corona

We are sure to emerge from the corona in an altered state. Some things are going to change completely (some of those things will be positive for sure) and other things will drift back towards a state of complacency. One of the positive outcomes will hopefully be our increased attention to hygiene, health and communicable illnesses in the modern era. Having spent lots of time living in and visiting Japan, mask wearing there is de rigueur, or essential- a responsibility and expected, especially if you are sick with even a minor cold. We could definitely benefit from this.
We are going to go forward with holes in our lives where people who held our hearts, hands and memories used to reside.
We will go forward with uncertainty, in our work, our play, our basic well being. I don’t imagine this will ever really “be over”. It will “be different”. I think it warrants imagining and wondering what that looks like now, so as to adapt, adjust, and plan for a different kind of future. I keep thinking of the analogy of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. It’s like we might have the opportunity to rethink how we want to emerge from life in the corona. The time to think about that is now. Looks like we will still have a couple more months to think about all this possibility and prepare!
There have been lots of monarchs emerging in the backyard lately. They float through the air as I am weeding out the grasses that have taken over here and there after the rains. There are lots of wildflowers blooming that have reseeded from past seasons. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of poppies back there (not that i would want to!).

These are just some of the thoughts that pass through my mind as I keep busy out in the studio and garden this past week.

One item of note, it was one year ago yesterday I tripped over the low dog fence in the backyard breaking my arm. It was an instantly regrettable moment. A not so funny April Fools Day. One year later now, there is no pain, and all has healed very well. But to ensure I don’t do any such silly thing again, Trevor has built a new fence with a wonderfully easy opening gate! Sometimes, isolation allows for chores that have been long put off, to be accomplished! Yay! Now onto the fence on the left side which has needed new posts for a long time, thanks to termites. Currently we are enjoying lettuce, beets, daikon, eggplant and herbs from the garden. Just put in some broccoli, zucchini, chilis and tomatoes and have other seedlings to plant out soon.

keeping the dogs out of the vegetable garden, and me from jumping the fence and breaking my arm!

But in the studio, I have been at a number of things, moons of course. And I’m adding a new tutorial for moonmates on the Moonmates page. One thing I realize while doing these, is that I will never run out of ideas for making moons. Each time I make some I want to try something different. It’s just how it goes. I have tried so many things over the years and it’s fun revisit some of them and to also try out new ideas. This is what I do love about shibori- the endless possibilities. There is always something new or different to try.

I’ve received some lovely emails and messages from you all upon receipt of your moonsets. Thank you. It inspires me to continue. My friend Mo in Australia who always makes love-ly and heart-felt objects put an indigo moon to work in her recent post Raggedy Blue Moon Heart. Jude was so kind as to put a link in her sidebar to the moonmaker page. If you haven’t ever visited Jude’s blog, Spirit Cloth, I would recommend it and subscribing by email. She’s been at it at least as long as I have (2006ish) so you have a lot of catching up to do over there!

In other announcements… all May and June workshops at the JANM have been cancelled and we are working on creating a schedule for July -Dec in the coming week. Stay tuned. Also, stay tuned for some new silk shibori ribbon in the shop. Haven’t got them photographed or listed yet…that’s next on “the list”.

You might be a fan of John Prine like I am and since hearing he was ill (COVID-19) I’ve been refreshing my play list with some of his music. Here’s one to get you started…I picked this version as it has a monologue about the song at the beginning.

One thing I have really enjoyed during this isolation time has been checking in with friends I don’t often communicate with. Some great catching up has been going on. A friend and I were texting re John Prine and other things (like how we’ve been friends for probably close to 20 years and she hadn’t subscribed to the blog (subscribe by email in the sidebar). She had a sweet memory of John Prine she shared (her husband has been a dealer of vintage vinyl albums forever) and she said I could share it here-

Workshops Around Quilt Festival Long Beach

Quilt Festival is returning to Long Beach this July 9-11 after a 7 year hiatus. Classes for this festival are all understandably focused on machine quilting. As an alternative to this I am adding a few in-studio workshops for festival goers to consider. They are all directly before or after the show dates to allow participants to consider attending a workshop without missing any of the show.
Here are the three workshops (held in Long Beach):

Of course anyone can attend any of these workshops but they have been scheduled around the festival to make them available to festival goers. I expect them to fill so if you are interested, I suggest you grab a spot!

I still have one more Arashi shibori workshop scheduled for the end of March (28-29) that has 3 spots open. I originally posted this as a 3 day workshop as a result of participant feedback after the first one, but seems like more people wanted a two day workshop due to time restraints on their part so I changed it back to a two day event.

The second workshop last weekend was visited by a brief downpour as we worked under cover outside. It didn’t put a damper on the enthusiasm for learning the process and the sun soon broke through and shined on the resulting work. My favorite photo was the communal pile of pleated silk shibori we made with all our pieces on day two.

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this is my second favorite photo… everyone enjoyed taking photos of the “communal shibori pile”. I also set up the light box for everyone to each photograph their own work.

The upcoming Indigo Shibori workshop at the Japanese American National Museum on March 14-15 still has a few spots if you want to join us. Signups are through the museum.

So as you can see, it’s been busy around here. Baby Dean is a regular visitor and although we don’t share photos of him on social media he is already 9 months old! He loves to play the piano, drums, and guitar (like his mom and dad, uncles and others who frequent his world). It’s so darn adorable! He has red hair just like both his grandmas! And big blue eyes. Ever curious, and now on the move, he’s already has taken his first steps- watch out world!

sometimes hearts happen!

I went out into the studio today and found this beautiful heart shape in which crystals had formed on my work table.
It was a result of a session of making indigo moons in the chem vat. I had to run out and take care of some things without cleaning up my table outside. I had made a few indigo hearts too.

I added more moonsets to the shop

so fascinating and beautiful! I think of Gudrun when I look at this.
filling mooncloth orders today…

Still lots going on here. Helping someone transition to hospice is walking sacred ground isn’t it? It can be everything…exhausting, peaceful, frustrating, loving, giving, taking and more. But doing a little each day… day by day…

and then a crystalline heart just appears…to remind you.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

Have to clear my head and get into the correct frame of mind to write a new post here. Things are shifting as always. I’m trying to find my way through it all with my sanity intact and without losing my mind.
This song came to mind…

The weekend arashi shibori workshop was wonderful. They were a great group intent on experiencing the process of pleated silk shibori. None had done discharge work so that was interesting to me since that is what I have done so much of all these years. Many had taken workshops with all the greats out there so it was interesting to me to hear of those experiences as we worked. So many things to learn out there! And each participant came with their own goals and intentions which is always fascinating to me. The outcomes were beautifully varied and while I think everyone had one piece that was not their favorite, those were the pieces that taught the most.

There is one more workshop scheduled for this month (which is full) and I am working on putting together another one for March 28-29-30 (listed here). There was one resounding request at the last workshop- that it be expanded to 3 days in order to allow for another piece to be made after seeing the results from day one. I understand this request and will give it a try at the newly listed workshop. It will also give me time to demonstrate additional ideas for anyone who is taking the workshop over again. As I explained to the group, I really enjoy it when people take a workshop more than once as it allows them to build their skill and knowledge, which is important in order to master anything. This is why I enjoy the workshops at the Japanese American National Museum so much. Participants return over and over again to work on shibori…in fact, some have been coming for years! By the way, the next workshop at JANM is March 14-15. Sign-ups are through the museum.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/avfw02bmijae053/Screenshot%202020-02-06%2012.55.28.png?dl=0

Of time and changes, we are in the middle of so much right now. Trying to find the path forward, searching for a way. So many conversations, looking for the balanced path. Listening…
The universe feels out of balance here and somehow, somehow, we must find a way back. For all of us. For the world.

Higher ground…moons forever…

Sweet Peas for Wednesday

Caught some wind in my sails and I’m busy prepping the studio for the workshop this weekend (lots of cleaning!). There are folks coming from NY and TX plus a couple from here in CA. Prepping equipment, materials, and space.

I had a need for a couple of new moons for something I’m working on so made a batch for us all. I’ve got 10 sets of five in the shop so please help yourself.

When I’m dyeing the moons, I’m reminded that the majority of humanity can look up and see the moon and wonder. I try to remember to look up every night or day to catch a glimpse.

As for the cloth, old silk, cotton, hemp, wool pulled from my “save for moons” clothbox. Several special fabrics were used in this batch but one stands out for sentimental reasons. It’s a simple cotton toweling that had a sweet embroidery in one corner and along another edge there was my mothers name written in black marker. Most likely a practice piece done at the instruction of Nana, her mother.

So not sure the backstory but I saved the embroidery section to use elsewhere and used the rest do dye these moons.

Who knows? (not I)

New Year, New Post.
Who knows what to expect this year? I know I certainly don’t. Some days it feels as if the wheels are coming off the bus, other days, I can remain hopeful. What to do but continue?
Beyond this, it seems like the new decade (apparently depending on how you count your years) will bring lots of changes. As far as my studio work goes, shibori, cloth and indigo remain a focal point. But then again, who knows? What about you?

Over the transition from 2019-2020 I had some ideas that I just could not stop thinking about. You know, those sorts of ideas that you just have to actually do to get them out of your system…and see where they might take you. It was one of those sort of things. So I did it once and am about to do it again just to see. At first, I wasn’t sure about it so let it hang around for a while just to let it settle in. I’m still not sure about it (or much of anything these days to be honest), but after letting it be for a while, I’m ready to do another one. It might be “ART” , so I am cautious…

In other activities, the New Year is always a time when I want to obsessively clean, organize and clear out things. A perfect opportunity arose as there is about to be a new instrument brought into the house. You might be thinking a guitar, or something larger like a piano or drumset (but no, we already have plenty of those). It’s a marimba! Being quite large, it required the cleaning out and removal of the space I was formally using as a desk/office area. Which led to the next room, and the next…you can see where this is going. Huge swaths of things have been removed, sorted, relocated, and cleaned to within an inch of their lives. It really is a great activity for the magical in-between-time after Christmas and before New Years. Also, having the local version of whatever virus is going around helps, as it can be done bit by bit without leaving the house yet leaves one feeling incredibly productive. One last corner needs sorting-the dreaded bead and flower making corner. Perhaps tonight. Tomorrow. One day…

As seems to be the way lately, another week has passed before I finish this post. A welcome and steady stream of overnight visitors, the latest virus going round with the never-ending cough, and a workshop at the JANM. Not to mention local politics as we try to rally around some new blood in our local city council as well as put down a couple of tax increasing ballot measures. All this takes time and the studio work has been suffering!
So, here’s to getting this thing done today!!
NOTE*** Nope! Didn’t happen… Had to call 911 for grandma who is now in the hospital and also take the cat to the vet for an emergency. I live to post another day…

The workshop at the Japanese American National Museum this past weekend two weekends ago was focused on mandala dyeing on silk. I really do love teaching textile dye techniques and watching the participants skill levels improve. Each person comes with their own direction and focus and my job is more of a coach and facilitator. I always demonstrate throughout the workshop so as to give everyone a sense of the possibilities. Here are a few of the mandalas that were made…

I demonstrated a mandala start to finish to begin with so everyone could have a vision of where they were headed. We begin by folding (be as precise as you can!), then drawing our design(stay simple-don’t try to overthink in the beginning!), stitching the design, and finally dyeing (make sure that dye penetrates through all layers-take your time!).

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Sample demo mandala made in the workshop

And then some variations on fold and dye-without the clamping as in itajime…some with stitching, some without.

Not sure if I ever added this here but I did make a couple of useful objects using the silk mandalas and various old silks I had here. The mandalas make a lovely pillow cover.

And now, a glimpse of the garden. Since we had quite a bit of rain recently there are lots of seeds sprouting, many of which are weeds and crowding out the wildflowers. (Winners will be determined in future posts.)


We also had a day where we visited the beach with our guests and saw the sea lion rescue center, herons and the tidepools. Whales were spouting as they traveled along the coast.

Fly free !

fragility

I started working on this piece of cloth in order to add it to a larger piece I am stitching. The whole cloth itself is made from reclaimed, recovered, and salvaged bits of cloth-some redyed, restitched. This one in particular is from a couple of those categories.

Time stitching is time to think and reflect…
When the fabric of our lives seems to errode and threads are laid bare, those of us who have the means, the desire, or the ability to strengthen the surrounding cloth/life can help hold it together. Stitching around the red silk, the cloth/wound was revealed, memorializing it’s existence, strengthened and preserved. The still fragile and ever eroding stripes/lives are grounded by solid yet invisible (on the front side) tiny stitches. The back side shows the structure and the pieces and stitches added in an effort, though impossible, to make the cloth/person whole again. Scars/tears will remain, lives lost and forever altered.
This cloth is a small tribute to those who lost their lives this past week in Long Beach CA. In quiet moments of handwork, these thoughts rise up.

I chose this piece as it showed the story of the cloth from several perspectives. It had been reused previously (most likely as a cushion or futon cover) and taken apart. With several holes in it perhaps, the intention being to patch and reuse again.

As I handled the piece to think about how to apply it to the larger piece it became apparent that it needed some stabilization first. Using that same red silk I’ve shown you recently, I decided to highlight a couple of the duty worn areas. As I turned it over in my hand, I realized that the wear on this piece was really only in the warp areas of the brown dyed sections. This being a mainly indigo piece, it was warped in a couple of shades of indigo and what looks to be kakishibu (persimmon) dyes. The weft is indigo in two shades. What you notice is that only the kakishibu dyed sections are deteriorating- telling me that this dye was more damaging to the fibers over time. Was it treated with an iron mordant and not well rinsed? Not sure. But it’s very clear that only those sections broke down over time telling me it is dye related and not wear related.

I applied the lightest weight stabilizer to the back of the very fine red silk which I used. First stitching invisibly (front side) to stabilize the section and then further stitching the open areas revealing a bit of the red silk. Holding it up to the light, reveals its strengths and weaknesses.

I further decided that it needed more stability and added a larger piece of thin indigo dyed cotton to the backside. Copying methods I have seen on some of the vintage boro I have, I stitched the edges and again along either sides of the deteriorating stripes. It’s now ready to be part of the larger piece.

Above is just the process I used to stabilize the worn scrap. As I said in the video (last post), using the red silk to highlight patched areas reminds me of the Japanese ceramic technique generally called kintsugi. Looking up the translation of that word it contains the kanji for tsugi which means “inherit, succeed, continue, patch, graft”. So carrying this further, tsugimono would be something that is in need of patching.
Yes, the patchwork that is our life, our clothstory. Stabilized, but not made whole.