wondering in silence

since my return i have had a need for more silence. i suppose in part due to all the energy expended in the job of delivering the tour and the need to re-gather energy and move forward.

this is something i did not calculate, as all things cannot be calculated or expected. i gave it my all, i planned, i gathered, i organized, i worried, and in the end found myself depleted which for me is a rather unusual feeling. and as a maker a bit unsettling. in the silence i can gather myself, re-adjust and tune in but life has a way of continually swirling around and silence has been a bit elusive.

in addition, i am questioning (once again) so many things. the road forward is not so clear, paths branching out at odd angles

none really offering any security or safe harbor but then again too much safety has never been my realm.

a quote by Jorge Luis Borges has been ringing in my head-

-don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.

and as of late, this has been my feeling. so for the moment i will share a few things that have kept me wondering…nature has a way of offering solace and beauty in silence.

the order of five

milkweed- a study of polygons

sometimes i think the moon takes hold of me and i overlook the stars…

-so just know that i am working on alignment of one sort or another and will be back again soon.


along with stories, thoughts, and a renewed passion- i brought back a few souvenirs. mementos really, of the past. but looking forward to the future. somehow.

note the price. this is the real stuff. and you pay for it. that translates to about $850 for the roll. i would guess these were done in Japan. all this cotton shibori is sold by the roll only (full roll shibori was beyond my budget and really i don’t have a need for it but really enjoyed looking at!). no cuts, unless it’s scraps you find around here and there (which i did buy a bit of and turned into some shibori collections for the shop). some others were about $225 for a roll. they were done in China and had typical patterns. an occasional shop (not in arimatsu though) sold the Chinese shibori by the meter. not indigo dyed. these here are specifically for yukata and are more complex…not just the typical kanoko. lots more stitching here. like in the samples i brought back. the really good stuff was available in the high end custom kimono shops i saw around Tokyo. oh my! just fabulous. and very exclusive. not done in China.

the souvenir shop is open again. have a few more things to post but this is it for now. time to be done with the computer.

fewer words…and thinking about time,

yes, i’m back. Japan was wonderful, of course. the tour was amazing. i’ve written a couple of post-tour posts but after re-reading them nothing really feels right. too many words. so for now, i’ll just leave you with this:

and this-

i’ll be selecting some of these to put into the shop in a couple of days but thought it would be fun to photograph them and put them up for inspiration. these were all numbered with their pattern numbers…some as high as the 7000′s.
these shibori samples were found in Arimatsu, Japan and remind me how skill can develop over time if one is willing to put time into practice. are we still willing to allow art and craft to be created in this way? these are things i wonder about these days… ~ these seem to focus on makiage, makinui,orinui,boshi,muira and kanoko techniques. there literally must have been 10′s of 1000′s made over time. mind boggling. and beautiful. part of their beauty is what this represents. at least to me.

a glimpse of Arimatsu

I just finished a post over on the virtual silk study tour page which I have left open (public). Mostly this blog is password protected but thought I’d be a bit of a tease and give you a glimpse. Also a video I shot the other day had some dialog that my friend Richard was kind enough to translate for me and seems important to share with all.

go here

so much beauty…

What can i say? I wonder how I can take in so much in such a short period of time. It is raining here now. every leaf and blossom is dripping but it only seems to enhance the beauty.
Later, the sun came out and the peonies lifted their faces up a bit to say hello.

These peonies were growing in the garden of Koyata san, the sericulture farmer who raises some pretty awesome silkworms- some even from the Edo, Meiji, and Taisho periods.
The purpose of this is to have silk that can be used to repair and restore articles from those periods that are held by museums- even the Shosoin!

He’s not getting younger but I must say, he doesn’t look any older than when I saw him two years ago. It must be all that clean living. We had a wonderful lunch at his home which included some fresh bamboo shoots they had picked that morning. Again, all this makes me wonder what will happen when these folks who hold so much knowledge are gone…I hope we are prepared.
Here we are during this year’s visit-

Skipping ahead a bit but still on the topic of beauty, I made a stop at the Sankeien Gardens in Yokohama after the visit to the Silk Museum there. This garden was an old haunt from my childhood as we lived quite nearby and went there many times. It is such a lovely place, it can really make you shed a tear or two. Turns out that Sankei Hara who built this place was a silk trader…who knew? As a child I just loved the beautiful views and glimpses, the koi, the cherry blossoms, and all that green. Here’s a little slideshow of Sankeien~

We spent the last two days at the Arimatsu Shibori Festival. Time to get some sleep but every time I close my eyes I see patterns, colors and textures.

just go to platform 9 3/4….

~the train leaves the station on Saturday May 21 PST (or Friday may 20th JST).

This will be the last post before the Silk Study Tour leaves for Japan. There are 16 of us who are participating and a host of people (over 100!) in Japan awaiting our arrival. We have overcome a number of obstacles on our quest to continue to study silk, it’s future in the world today, as well as discover it’s past.

For a while, we did not know if we would be able to go- but here, on the eve of our trip, the moon and the stars have aligned. Our intention is great, our interest is keen, and our bags are packed. We intend to be cultural ambassadors to the best of our ability, to learn, to see, to share our mutual interests with each of the people we encounter. We will take these experiences and this knowledge forward into our future works.

You can join us and participate in an enhanced virtual tour here. Posts and videos of the places we visit will begin Saturday May 21.

Of course I will be posting here from time to time as I can, but all this takes time and video is a lot more work. Writing takes time too. The virtual tour is kind of like a study abroad program. I hope you enjoy it.