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.

practicing darkness

I’ve been practicing darkness on moons lately.

20130112-173003.jpg

tonight’s moon looks more like this though

20130112-173902.jpg
it was more of an indigo day here despite the cold.
I just heard frost is to be expected on the beach to tonight- a rarity here.
I believe it though- my fingers are freezing and ready for some inside computer work tonight.

planting seeds and wondering into the new year

seeds.  i’ve written about seeds a number of times this past year. and things related to seeds.  seeds are the beginning of things. they contain the wonderful possibility of life,  sustenance, beauty and even of freedom.   i’ve always been a seed saver.  when i was a kid it was fun to collect seeds to play with-to make things with. i remember having great fun collecting nasturtium seeds- so plentiful and easy to gather.  all sizes, shapes and colors.  string them,  glue them, count them, eat them, plant them.  seeds.

edible nigella seeds from the summer garden.

edible nigella seeds from the summer garden.

a couple of months ago i had the good fortune to be in Santa Clara for a family wedding and came across the Luther Burbank  home and gardens.  if you are ever in Santa Clara try to make time to stop by (the docent tour was also fantastic). I was so intrigued by this man- i bought this book –A Gardener Touched with Genius and have been reading it off and on…so interesting! The place is beautiful, gardens diverse and the house is quaint and wonderfully restored.  but my favorite thing was this:

Luther Burbank's seed vault

Luther Burbank’s seed vault

this is how he thought of his seeds.  precious. so much so that they were kept in a vault. there also was a small shed with a little window from which he sold his seeds to neighbors and to the public. a walk around the neighborhood reveals that many of the yards still contain plants grown from his seeds. charming!  he also had an experimental farm at nearby Sebastopol. i hope to visit it sometime this year.  this video really speaks to who he was:

now i have mentioned once or twice before that silk moth eggs are called seeds by the Japanese.  and they do look like seeds.  i have a fair collection myself in the butter compartment of the fridge. i wonder if and when i will have a chance to raise silkworms this year?

silkworm eggs-seeds

silkworm eggs-seeds

of course i will grow indigo again, in fact it is already growing! seeds that dropped while collecting the flower stems have already sprouted in this mild climate of ours.  we had some nice soft rain that coaxed them…  i gave away most of my extra indigo seeds -i like to send them out into the hands of those who take the indigo workshops. i wonder how many will plant them?

sometimes seeds are dropped- sprout and grow! we don't always know how or where they will bloom

sometimes seeds are dropped- sprout and grow! we don’t always know how or where they will bloom

I am also growing something new this year- madder.  i will be experimenting with it. with combining  madder and indigo.  i thought it might be about time to add a second color to the natural dyescape of my studio.  i’m not one to try anything and everything- i like to delve into things fairly deep and that means taking my time with it and not rushing.  madder grows rather slowly and it will take  couple of years for it to mature to the point where it can be harvested.  honestly, i wonder if i will even get to that point with it.  but i have some madder root here now that i have purchased and watching some grow will only add to my knowledge base.  i was intrigued by madder several years ago when on the silk study tour we visited a natural dyer who showed me his experiments with it and some madder he had grown. he planted a seed in me that started me wondering.  it’s taken a while to germinate… i wonder what new things will come of this.

Natural Dyeing Master Youjiro Takezawa shows us his madder root from the garden (Mr.Takezawa passed away 2 years ago. His wife succeeded his studio)4-388 Umedamachi Kiryu city, Gunma japan japan,silk

Natural Dyeing Master Youjiro Takezawa shows us his madder root from the garden (Mr.Takezawa passed away 2 years ago. His wife succeeded his studio)
4-388 Umedamachi Kiryu city, Gunma japan japan,silk

seeds are a good way of spreading wonder i think.  that is what i intend to continue with this year. spreading wonder  and planting seeds in small ways.  there’s a lot to wonder about. may the ground be fertile!

happy new year!

practicality

Image

Image

just working with some vintage kimono lining silk and came across a piece that still had it’s tag on it.  these tags were placed to identify the owner when the kimono was taken apart for cleaning.  often, they were never reassembled.  i removed this tag and realized it was washi (handmade paper).  i loved that the end of it was just twisted into a string/cord and run through and tied into the silk’s selvedge. 

practical.  and lovely. 

 

 

year end announcements…

I am tying up some loose ends on things that have been in the works around here for a while.  Everything takes longer than expected it seems-especially around the holidays when there are lots of comings and goings.

Today the wind died down a bit (not completely) but the surfers were devoted to getting into the water which leaves me in complete and blissful silence to work on these unfinished details.

workshop

First- the In Studio Workshop with Richard Carbin and myself  is available in the shop. Just click here to visit the listing and read through it carefully. If you have any questions,  just use the contact form or email me.  Leaving a comment here is OK too- I can reply privately via your comment.

arashi shibori    ++++  mandalas  ===?????  

I’m excited to collaborate with Richard again.  Ours has been an wonderful pairing of interests and talents. We met virtually via Flickr several years ago becoming fans of each others work.  Richard is an ex-pat living in Nagoya Japan with his wife and two boys. In June 2009 when Phil & I visited Nagoya for the Arimatsu Shibori Festival, we made a pact to meet up and get to know each other better and in person. We visited late into the night and although our work is completely different we shared a passion for Japan, silk, and dyeing.  Afterwards, we continued getting to know each other online via Facebook and via email and decided to create a collaborative workshop. Our online workshop Indigo Mandalas (born of the original In Studio workshop last year) was the first internationally collaborative online workshop as far as I know.  We continue to inspire and draw on each others experience and interests using the internet & media, learning as we grow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Secondly, the Silk Study Tour to Japan is filling nicely.  We only have 4 spots (out of 20) left so,  if you think a trip to Japan to see silk sericulture, beautiful textiles, a natural dye workshop and more are in your future for May of 2013-contact me soon.  We never really know if we will repeat this tour-so far our third biennial tour. Life has a way of keeping us on our toes and in the present which is a good thing and keeps up from putting off those things that we really want to do but somehow don’t. More and more I realize that today is the day!   Click the link for details and feel free to contact me if you you have any questions at all. I’m getting excited all over again.  New things await us in Japan every time we go!