(note** i changed the publish date on this post because Ann had her husband wrap this up for christmas- she won’t see it until then so didn’t want to spoil the surprise!)
yes, i have a confession to make. but before i do i have to set up the story a bit.
one of the things i really like to do is dye a scarf for a custom order. it gives me a chance to see color through someone else’s eyes and dye a color combination that i might not think of doing myself. usually i like the result and always end up learning something new about color. it usually starts out with an email describing the desired color combo like this:
“I’m a purple/lilac/blue/green person.”
so we go from there. and it helps if i have met the person face to face and in this case i had. (in fact, she came along to Japan with us and brought her husband who was delightful and a good sport as well -there were 15 women and just him and our guide Hirata san).
i received the email just a couple of weeks shy of the houston show where we would meet up in hopes of getting together as well as adding this scarf to her wardrobe.
admittedly, i was rushing things but got a piece done in the requested colors. it was lovely but somehow, it didn’t feel quite right. in the rushing i didn’t feel that i had captured her spirit. i have known Ann for a while-since 2008 when she discovered my silk shibori and from the Japan trip and knew her to be playful and light with a touch of pixie in her (no mystery as to why she is a dollmaker). being no time for a “do-over” i packed it up and off to houston we went.
expecting to see her at the preview night, i had her scarf out but tucked back in the display. it was a busy sales night and while i was attending to another customer someone found the scarf i had made for Ann. this gal was looking several over and i decided to just let it play out. surely she would choose another? in the end, she came up with 3 scarves chosen as gifts for very special friends who had helped her through some tough times this past year. and yes, one of them was Ann’s scarf. having made the mistake of having it out i was now faced with figuring out what to do for Ann. i still had many nice scarves available, just not one made with her in mind. some small part of me was saying “now you have the opportunity to make Ann “her” scarf- when you get back and can better focus.”
again, i decided to just let things play themselves out. perhaps another one might catch Ann’s favor when she saw them in person…or she would grant me the extra time to make one more.
it wasn’t until late the next day that Ann came to the booth to visit and see if i had been able to get one made up for her. i told her it had been difficult, to look over what was on hand and if she didn’t see one that spoke to her we would settle on a colorway and have one made for her when i got back to the studio. she found a silk scrap pack that had the colors in it that she wanted and we used that as the guide. interestingly, it was quite different from the one that i had originally made.
so this time i was able to really focus on Ann as i base dyed her scarf a pale lavender, as i ironed, folded, and polewrapped it, as i lowered it into the discharge bath and finally as i painted on the overdyes. my mind went to the times we had shared in Japan, to her husband Doug who graciously took so many photos and shared them with us, to the dolls she lovingly makes. i also loved the name she chose for her business-Ann’s Inner Child. (i don’t think she has kept her website but if she sends me a link i will share it here later.)
this is the way i like to do custom work- with intention and space to conjure up the essence of the person as i work on the piece. many of these are done for special occasions or events, as special gifts for someone. there is a desire to integrate what i can gather about that person as i am making.
so in the end, it all worked out and her scarf is on the way. i am writing this ahead of her receiving it so won’t publish it until she opens it as there is a little surprise in there as well. hate to ruin the moment you know…
(you can order one for yourself or another here)
there is also the gift certificate option…
around here we don’t get a white christmas (unless you count the freak hail storm last week that left some places in long beach looking like it snowed) but out back in the garden the stately ginko is showering us with its bounty of golden leaves.
the fan shaped leaves are the perfect and beautiful mulch that i look forward to replenishing the veggie patch and keeping the weeds down in the pathways. it’s such a happy color- that golden ginko leaf. standing under the tree when the leaves are this color i swear i can feel the energy that color gives off. i think it could ward off the deepest depression-just being near it. this year the leaves hung on longer than usual and are only dropping now.
took a trip to the the beach with bella one morning last week to clear my mind and think some things through. that ever-changing edge where sea meets shore is also a healing place for me and bella is getting used to playing nice with others there. i think she’s beginning to feel the same way about the beach, finally! in the beginning she wanted to run up and terrorize some of the other dogs…
and then i’ve finally had a few moments to thread a needle and take a few stitches. oddly, i tucked this project into my bag that beach morning with bella- not really knowing why but wouldn’t you know it, the car broke down on the way back and i had time to stitch a bit while waiting for the tow truck. bella doesn’t take well to getting into cars with strangers so we had a nice long walk home-a little over an hour away.
a few more sessions with the needle and thread and this is what it all led to- an indigo stocking to celebrate the winter solstice. moons and stars, sea and sky. things bright and shiny that catch the eye and things that fall from the sky or wash ashore. if you order it by tomorrow morning you should receive it by the 22nd. and as these things are, there is only one. (i should mention that the front side base is a bit of boro from japan-likely a refurbed futon cover made from bits of this and that)
i had a little decorating ceremony under the ginko before bringing it in and putting it in the shop– in case someone is in need of a last minute something.
“Create the look of traditional, hand-work stitching passed down through generations on the Sashiko Machine. Replicate this distinctive and celebrated stitch and add a hand-stitched touch to any project with a machine that is truly the first of its kind.”
somehow, replicating the look of celebrated traditional handwork by purchasing a $2000 machine to reproduce a facsimile just doesn’t work for me. if i want to make something that has the appearance of hand stitching, then i will hand stitch it. machine stitching looks like machine stitching. regardless of stitch length.
i’m sure that there are many fine uses for a sachiko (long stitch) type sewing machine. i could probably invent a few of them myself. but let’s leave sashiko to the hand stitchers. there is an inherent beauty and wisdom in sashiko that cannot be replicated by machine- no matter how you flower up the marketing.
of course if you aren’t willing to invest the time to study, practice, and observe what traditional sashiko has to offer then you will never know- not all things are meant to be diminished for the sake of speed and profit. i hope that anyone purchasing a sashiko machine for making sashiko has been able to experience the real thing just to know the difference. because we do.
for a little history of sashiko you can go here.
and then of course there is jude’s work. can you imagine it done by machine? i can’t.
for more images of sashiko, try google images.
i think natalie said it perfectly :
“really, sashiko is a walking meditation with thread.”
i don’t think you are going to get that with a sashiko machine.
and if you were wondering, shibori has utilized some sashiko designs:
this left me wondering, which came first- the shibori design or the sashiko design. guess i’ll have to do a little more research on that.
anticipating the early morning eclipse (a full moon too), i spent the last couple of days working on moons and wondering how it will appear to us here. NASA explains that the red color is a result of dust in earth’s atmosphere and that additionally a slim turquoise edge may appear towards the beginning of the eclipse.
my head is filled with moon making, moon shadows, moon dances, i’m just plain over the moon…
AND, i finally updated the shop with moons and eclipses.
and wouldn’t you know it? as i was working, a star appeared. it was on its way to becoming, something else–
i think we’ll take the dog on a moon walk tonight. i’ll be looking up-will you?
“What ever it is, that girl put a spell on me” -jimi hendrix
i love working with deep colors and discharging them on silk gauze. i can really get into a haze or fog while conjuring up the overdye colors i want to use. the freedom to just go with the experience as it comes to me without too much forethought while at the same time using past experience to lead me into some magical color divining.
this one is available here
i must have been hungry when i went to the Fullerton College student art and craft sale…
i bought this lovely bowl by ceramist melanie donegan…
it has a nice feel to it, a nice balance, a lovely glaze.
you can go there too.
**also, i just added a free shipping discount in the bigcartel shop– for orders over $40 type in the code SUKIYAKI when you check out. expires on Dec. 10th.