giving new life to old silk

once upon a time there were many many kimono. some were worn daily, some were worn for special occasions and when they needed cleaning, they were taken apart, cleaned, then sewn back together.  as time passed, many of these kimono were no longer being worn. the outer fine colorful silks were often stripped of the inner linings and resold to be remade into other things. but the lowly inner lining silks-though also fine, but often plain and with little pattern or color, were set aside (if not discarded!) since no one knew what to do with them.

Richard has been collecting them and remaking them into his beautiful silk mandalas.  he is here once again to give a workshop and for the past couple of days we have been preparing things.  today, we took some pieces out to get a few photos and some video for the daily dyer.

mandalas group

my, they looked glorious! so alive & revivied.

detail mandala

for this workshop, we decided that we wanted to concentrate on using some of these silks and show what can be done with them . we will be using them freely both for the arashi  and the mandalas.  if they don’t start being used, they are simply going to be discarded.   silk was used as a form of currency at one time, so it is interesting to me that something that was once so highly valued is now being cast away.

i like the intention of these pieces we are making.  some of the silks are quite old.  they were important enough to have been saved by someone all this time.  some appear to be hand loomed, even hand spun!  imagine throwing that away.  some are simple but perfect for dyeing.  some have spots or stains. all are unique in various ways. most of the blemishes were no longer noticeable once they were dyed.  my favorites are the ones where you can see the slubs, tyoffs and the uneven tensions from the weaving. like these-

there was more than enough for the workshop so i spent some time today sorting and ironing and packaging up some to put into the shop.

i like that we can use this silk from the past in our work today. i can learn things just by looking at it! and some of it is here now in the shop.


preparation is essential

It seems like preparation is sometimes the biggest part of getting something done.   This week my desk went through what was akin to an archeological dig(out).

invoices/orders from last year

invoices/orders from last year

Due to a printer breakdown, its replacement inspired a whole clean out of the “office” area.  Since the sales tax returns have to be filed by the end of the month  this was a good thing.  I had been avoiding it.  But it did get me wondering about printing a copy of each order to include in your box when I send it.  Since we all get an email or have access to our own online purchase activity I am no longer going to include this with each shipment.  I think the planet will thank me for “going paperless” .  Woohoo…50% less printing just like that!

Moving on, I cleaned every nook and cranny- every slip of paper- no drawer escaped my wrath!

sensitive information..

sensitive information..

-and in the process I unearthed a few things- fun things!  like some old family photos-

(and i do mean old!) greats and great-greats

(and i do mean old!) greats and great-greats

And although it wasn’t “lost”, it had been shelved-a gift from an old friend so very long ago.  A bound set of an old Japanese publication from 1925 called “The Graphic”  or “The International Graphic” published by Kokusai Johosha.  At some point while Ricard is here we will sit down and look this over.

bound set-Feb. 1925-Dec. 1925. Vol 1 Nos. 1-11

bound set-Feb. 1925-Dec. 1925. Vol 1 Nos. 1-11

Inside there are may colorized photos of western women, geisha, politics, foreign culture as well as ukiyo-e prints and a couple fold outs.  My guess is that these are not woodblock but early litho reproductions.  Still very beautiful-and suitable for framing if one wished.  Here is one I thought you might find interesting-

artisans making katazome fabrics

artisans making katazome fabrics

And in the end, the desk was cleaned (and I feel so much better!) So the rest of the evening was spent working on tour business. I am getting excited for everyone!

waku waku suru!

waku waku suru!

Richard arrives tonight and we will be in the studio for a few days before next weekend’s workshop.


silk shibori ribbon shop update

yes, i did get it done today- mostly.  aside from making the actual ribbon, there’s the sorting, cutting, choosing the combos, photographing, uploading, naming, photoshopping in the color names/titles, uploading and listing. phew!

in the shop now.  and thank you!

arashi ribbon

oh, and a really lovely scarf too…

arashi sea dragon

arashi sea dragon

some more indigo moons made it there also…

ad free…again

you may or may not know this.  but having a free WP blog comes with costs.  there are lots of upgrades one can purchase to keep your blog running the way YOU want it to.  one of those things is the “ad free” upgrade.  i will gladly keep paying the $30 a year to keep ads off my blog.  so today, I hereby devote the next $30 of income from selling my shibori and indigo work to WordPress to keep this blog ad free.

Yippee!!  ad free- it’s just so much nicer this way.

indigo silk scarf

this is the last of this roll of narrow width silk i brought back from Japan last time. it is so lightweight and loves the indigo.  i don’t get too fancy with it as it’s delicacy speaks for itself.  it will be in the shop.

and Richard will be here soon.  we still have 2 spots left so if you are feeling inclined to join us on a whim pop over to the shop and sign up.  we will be having a couple of trunk shows as well.  the first one being private for those in the workshop and the second one will be open (will announce this on the Facebook studio page too since many locals watch that daily and it’s bound to be quick and last minute.  make sure you *like* the page so it shows up in your stream…).   we will also be doing some of what we did last time- selling some of the collaborative pieces online in the shop so if you are not a local you can still join in on some of it.  he’s also bringing over some special vintage items.  can’t wait!

mon 紋 もん

itajime mon indigo

mon are emblems used in Japan to identify groups or individuals.  also know as Japanese crests, Wikipedia states that mon

may have originated as fabric patterns to be used on clothes in order to distinguish individuals or signify membership in a specific clan or organization.

some indigo itajime pieces i have been working on remind me of these mon.  perhaps a shibori no ai mon 藍搾り纹 is in order. will be wondering more about this.  i think they would make nice pillows…

these pieces are an outgrowth of what i have learned from Richard, who is due to be here shortly.  we will have some more time together, standing on common ground, and under the same moon.  we have 2 spots still open if you are in the neighborhood…

meanwhile, Susan over at ito de has been incorporating thoughts of kanji into her work.  lots of good posts over there.

it got warm here today. i peeled off the outer layers and …

composition in C major borealis

composition in C major borealis

it almost felt like spring!  song was in the air~

by monday, i should have the shop restocked with ribbons in all sorts of colors.