going with the flow

Ahhh… my last post of the year.  I’m just going with the flow…

going with the flow in 2014

going with the flow in 2014

I sat down with a length of silk shibori ribbon some beads, a few pearls, a shell or two, some silk and before long a tide pool began to form…I just went with the flow.

Before long, an anemone appeared and a starfish crawled out from beneath some seaweed. The moon in the form of a shell (found on a walk along Hayama beach) turned the tides and the current swept sparkling bubbles of air along on the adventure. A bright star appeared reflected in the calm of one of the pools before waves washed over and changed the composition.  Seaweed grasses formed along the edge and swayed with the tidal surges altering my view of this seascape moment by moment.

I want to extend many thanks to so many people who traveled along with me this past year. From indigo and silk, to Japan and back, from show to show, over the internet via all the social networks and email, through workshops here and there, to the folks at the Japanese American National Museum– my, this list could get pretty long!  Through yards and yards of silk shibori ribbons I have come to know so many more of you and your myriad talents and passions. Thank you.

Of course there are friends whispering to me in the background like Jude and Dar, and Richard, and Donna, Velma and Wendy, and Kathleen in SF, Fumiko in Japan and so many more of you who put your whole self into this thing called life and making.

Of course I add to that gratitude thanks to Phil who puts up with the daily shibori report -speaking of going with the flow of things around here- and having to move shibori off the keyboards, the drums and the pan on a daily basis.  As I write this he and Trev are off surfing during his break from grad school.  And to the boys- thanks for being the people you are which allows me to be me and not worry (too much) about you as you find your way in life.
Believe we must-in ourselves and in others worth believing in.

So as the tide ebbs and rolls out on 2013, and 2014’s New Year’s tides surge and swell, I say- go with the flow- become part of it, let it carry you along, be swept away by your passions into a New Year of love, compassion and caring for our world and everything within it.

my what a proboscis!

Metamorphosis, transformation, balance, grace, and the ability to accept change. The monarch butterfly offers itself as a beautiful example of such ideas.  We have yet to know if the changes we humans are imposing on the world will end their beautiful illustration of these useful qualities.

You likely know that for the past few years I have been growing milkweed in the yard to tempt them into laying some eggs here.  Finally- this year, success!

monarch laying eggs on backyard milkweed!

monarch laying eggs on backyard milkweed!

on tattered wings...

on tattered wings…

this was in March..then, on June 21st (summer soltice!) I found these guys munching happily…

cat detail

cats munching on milkweed in yard

cats munching on milkweed in yard

Unfortunately, they ended up being overtaken by by other pests.  Some kind of orange bug. Even their friends the ladybugs couldn’t keep ahead of the deluge. But I am not daunted! Another spring awaits!

And in the meantime I went to Houston to do the show and teach and when I returned I had brought back a couple of friends-two to be exact.  They had been hanging out in the garden across the street from the Hilton. They were fine travelers.

one of two friends...

one of two friends…

By the next day the first one had exchanged his skin for a chrysalis and 24 hours later so had the second one.

monarch chrysalis

monarch chrysalis

I was in awe…such beauty to marvel at.  To observe…
The gold “beads” that developed intrigued. They were like real gold. More beautiful than any gold ever seen.  I wondered at their relevance (as if beauty needs relevance to exist).  I searched google trying to find an answer… almost glad not to find any real consensus.  Ahhh…beauty just because.

But reading that it took 10 -12 days for the butterfly to emerge I waited-the kitchen table once again the scene of discovery, science and nature observatory.  Finally, one morning I came into the kitchen and discovered that one of the two chrysalis’ had turned black! Horrors! What had I done?  I was a monarch killer.  I decided to go look it up online and see what had happened.
Delightfully, I read that this is what happens when they are about to emerge!  So for the next two mornings I dutifully watched the two beings emerge.  It was amazing, gorgeous, inspiring and riveting…soon, the chrysalis turned more papery and transparent and you could see through-

prior to emerging

prior to emerging

and then…

it begins

it begins

feet first!

feet first!

head down!

head down!



a monarch emerged!

a monarch emerged!

-kind of fat and wrinkly, all this from inside that small chrysalis.  Liquid in the plump abdomen gets pumped into the wings and they hang, dry, and rest.

my what a proboscis!

my what a proboscis!

So off to the backyard they went to finish resting, first one, then the other.  When they met it was nothing short of a joyous reuniting! (see the video for how exciting…)

we meet again

we meet again!

the full monty

the full monty

almost a full 4″ fully spread!  they played together a bit in the lemon tree where I draped a few blossoms from around the yard.  They were all excited when I placed the flowers near them and immediately they rushed toward them to nourish themselves.  It had been a very long trip…

Eventually, after about an hour they flew to the persimmon tree and one at a time after circling above they headed over the back fence and away.

I also did a short video of the emerging monarch-

Monarch habitats continue to be in decline significantly in parallel with the rapid adoption of glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans and, since 2006, the rapid expansion of corn and soy acreage to accommodate the production of biofuels (Brower et al, 2011a,b, Pleasants and Oberhauser, 2012 and Taylor, 2012). Additionally, roadside spraying of pesticides and herbicides impacts monarchs and their habitats.

What else can we do to improve monarch habitat? We need to change our mowing practices. Protect our roadside native vegetation. Stop spraying herbicides, and mow less frequently or not at all. Speak up and tell city officials that we do not want them to mow or spray, and pat them on the back when they listen. Ask local plant nurseries to carry milkweed and native plants that are pesticide-free. Volunteer on nature preserves and at city parks—encourage management to plant milkweed. Collect milkweed seeds. Monitor a milkweed patch. Educate the public—through school programs, talks at local libraries, displays at nature centers, articles in the newspaper or on radio—by any means we have at our disposal. Realize that no one person can do it alone, we all have to pitch in—and every one of us has a voice that is valuable. (from monarchwatch.org)

Alone, we cannot do much. but each of us in our small part can together do a lot. This year, I am devoting the back corner of the yard to milkweed.  And I’m planting more butterfly friendly plants.  I already have milkweed sprouting up everywhere in the yard.  (Once you start growing it, it just keeps on coming back…the seeds are windblown and prolific.) I even gathered some seeds from another type of milkweed when I was up north this year.  I wonder how they will do down here…

Want a job related to preserving and monitoring monarchs?

more info and a great interview regarding the current state of monarch population.

a video on monarch migration

(having a little flu-induced down time and feeling a bit better today.  cleaning out some photos and writing a bit…back to it in a day or so me thinks…)

mata ne!


seasonal silk shibori ribbon colorways


everything has a season, and right now it is the season of the ginkgo here in my yard. many moons ago we planted three small 5 gallon ginkgo trees in a line out front. it must have been about 33 years ago. the center tree outpaced and eventually overshadowed it’s siblings although seemingly healthy. the main difference in the three trees being that the center tree grew wide and strong-it’s trunk parting low as if to say “climb me, climb me-do it!”. over the years cats , kids, squirrels and raccoons all obliged.
one day in a “rearranging” I decided to remove the two end trees to make more room for the center tree.
halfway through removing the second tree i wondered- what if I just moved it?
so thinking this I dug it out and planted it in the far back corner of the yard
where it has remained for over 20 years and now is twice the height of its brother tree out front. yes, it is a female and the front tree a male. each fall they both put on a spectacular show and mark time and memories for us all.
in the end they drop their bounty of gold upon the garden mulching spring bulbs and winter crops.
life is golden that way with the gingko and we.
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about 20 years younger…

and last Friday…same tree, same boys, different grandma.(plus Meagan)

and the back tree?

and did you know that the gingko tree is the official tree of Tokyo and it’s leaf Tokyo’s symbol? each fall in Tokyo there is a spectacular fall viewing and festival surrounding this stately tree.

so, introducing the colorway “ginko” and my small tribute to it’s changing leaves-a rearranging of sorts from fall to winter here.

it seems as if

Is it?
I don’t know.

But I did finally finish this piece. I had to. Some things just can’t be left undone.

can they?

He asked me if it was too late to send a thank you card.
I said “it’s never too late to say thank you. or to say I’m sorry-or I love you for that matter.” It’s really a gift to yourself.

Family new and old gathered ’round here these past few days. As far as I am concerned, whoever graces our table at Thanksgiving is added to the list of “family”. My “family” is really akin to a crazy quilt. Made by hand of the finest and scrappiest of materials. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

As far as this piece goes, it goes way back to 2007 when Karren Brito started a makiage challenge on flickr and I was learning discharge. It was just a practice piece. It resurfaced from time to time and I wondered about it here and there. At one point I decided to practice some quilting on it so I discharged some black seam binding with the arashi technique.
At some other point it resurfaced again and I started doing some hand stitching on it. Eventually, the binding and the quilted part were reunited and half the binding was stitched on. A couple of years ago it surfaced again and I started hand finishing the binding. This past summer it made it’s way into my Yosemite bag and I finished the binding.
Yesterday, I stitched on a couple of hangers to the back and cut a stick onto which to mount it. Finally. Done. Only took 5 years.

Seems I’m in this for the long haul.

-and finally it makes it’s way next week to San Francisco. As a reminder. Of many things.


a weird but short post.

for all those trying to connect with me on linkedin- I don’t do linkedin.

so all those unanswered requests will remain unanswered. sorry. it’s just too much.

I also understand that some or those requests are auto sent- another reason I don’t do linkedin.
but in other news-

have a great holiday week with friends and family.
see you on the other side.
(plus, I’ll see you in Yosemite next year- the week of Sept 15th. )

once again…

earlier this year i posted about “living in the shadow of the wind” where

the time after a show is my favorite time.  the busy preparation time is over, the workshops given, information imparted, items sold, people met, much talking, boxes returned, unpacked, put away.  and best of all,  bills paid for the coming month from proceeds of the show.

this is the time when i can “live in the shadow of the wind”. a small space in time of seeming protection from outside forces.

this time it seems though, that the shadow has grown shorter. maybe it is the shorter winter days among other things but even though the above remains true, the time i have to spend on lingering and seed planting has diminished for now.

there are many orders to create and dye for, proposals to submit, emails to return and more- but yet it was important yesterday to just take a day off and go for a bike ride, see the ocean, and have a little dinner out with phil.  he is busy too, music directing a theater production for a local HS in between gigging and private students so both our schedules are limited.

a little about the show- it was good to see so many folks excited about the silk shibori ribbon. after a long road paved with endurance it is finding a home with creative types of many colors. it really is fun to watch people approach it at the show with wonder and say “what is it?”. “i want some”, they say.  “it is beautiful-i will figure out something to do with it”.  i love when it sparks their imagination.  when it causes pause and wonder.  i love it when women bring their kids along because children simply CANNOT resist it.  they want to touch it immediately.  my favorite thing to do with kids at the show is to ask them how old they are.  it goes something like this:

me-how old are you?

them- 8 (6,10,12, etc)

me- Really!?

them- yes…

me- well it just so happens that just for today all 8 year olds get to pick out a color and get a cut of this ribbon to wonder about!

them-(eyes wide and not sure… looking at their moms or grandmothers…)Really??

me- yes! pick a color-any color….

and then of course we go on from there and they wander off stroking a length of ribbon..

and wondering.

ribbon disarray at end of day

ribbon disarray at end of day

Monday, November 4, 2013

i don’t think i have ever reblogged someone’s post before but it just doesn’t seem right to not share this one. a really, really wonderful piece of amazing indigo shibori.
(yes, i’m back and sorting through that which must be sorted through…)

Daily Japanese Textile


Shibori, stenciling

This is a woman’s cotton kimono, not an informal yukata. The huge ship, with sails billowing in the wind, is entirely rendered in several types of shibori. A great deal of planning went into the execution of this piece, which has very little in the way of repeat designs. The designer has done a masterful job of using positive and negative space.

The different positions of the three sails keep the viewer’s eye moving from place to place. Varying shades of blue show that the design underwent multiple dippings, increasing the amount of labor involved, and raising its cost.

shibori ship - sail detail Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1041

The ship itself, and the waves, are suggested with a bare minimum of lines, while the background is covered with miura shibori.

shibori ship - prow detail Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1042

Only the so-called Genji wheels at the shoulders and the jagged pine bark lozenge are repeated. The pine bark lozenge motif (matsukawabishi) frames the…

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