Following a path with no real plan. Going day to day. Having ideas and letting them float around until something takes hold. Willing to change direction…
As a followup to the last post, I continue with the weaving portion of my trip to Amami.
On the way to Higo Dorozome Friday, I saw a sign that read “Oshima Tsumugi Village” so we decided to start there on Saturday. I didn’t realize until afterwards that this is where Jackie did her mud -dyeing workshop (we later compared notes). Since I had already done the sharimbai/dorozome workshop we opted for the basic tour and focused on weaving. They have a good but short tour of the weaving process but the real highlight was the addition of a weaving session on one of their looms where you could weave and keep a length of Oshima silk tsumugi. This was purchased at the beginning of the tour with the entrance fee.
Of course, the plain weaving of a piece of silk oshima tsumugi is a fairly basic process even for a novice. The real work as most weavers know, is in the preparation of the warp and the set-up of the loom. Oshima tsumugi takes this to new heights with its complicated pattern drafting, the precise dyeing of both the warp AND the weft threads prior to measuring and warping the loom. In addition, starch is also applied to the silk threads prior to “shim-bata” weaving as well as after the dyeing prior to warping. the starch or glue is made of specific types of local seaweed.
The process of dyeing the threads:
Prior to the late 1800’s, the threads were wrapped with banana plant fiber to resist the dye and form the kasuri patterns. Other methods, from various areas dyeing resisted threads for kasuri weaving, include tying and clamping the threads, but in 1907 two men from Amami in Kagoshima prefecture invented a new method. This consisted of weaving the warps and the wefts temporarily with cotton threads on a special shim-bata loom which resulted in more precise and complicated patterning as well as improvements in production quantity and quality.(The tightly woven cotton wefts over the silk warps resist the dye in shibori-like fashion.)
We saw the preparation of the warping threads-the weaving of the patterns from a precise draft of the pattern desired as well as the additional colored dyeing of the wefts post-dorozome dyeing. Apparently there are 28 (!)preliminary processes that take place in preparation of the actual weaving.
Once the loom is warped (we did not see that process) the weaving begins and the weaver takes over. The weaver handles the shuttles adeptly and quickly, stopping every 7-10 centimeters or so to adjust the threads with a sturdy needle and correct any errors in the pattern caused by tension issues, by adjusting the warp threads before continuing on.
I was sat at a loom and after a brief instruction in Japanese and (international hand waving) I wove about 20 centimeters of beautiful plain woven silk, alternating shuttles filled with a variety of solid and multi-colored silk bobbins. It was like magic! The finished piece was a simple striped pattern and the resulting cloth was very smooth and lightweight.
It really is amazing how the skills for this type of silk fabric came to be developed, practiced and cherished by the Japanese of Amami Oshima and beyond. You can really appreciate the very high prices of this fine silk cloth once you have seen it first-hand. You can read about it, see photos & videos, but to experience it first hand- even for a short time is precious. One of the weavers told me she had been weaving for over 40 years. She said that anyone could do it but that it takes 4 years of 8 hours a day weaving to achieve the correct quality as a weaver of oshima tsumugi. I actually thought that might be understated. I told her I have a lot of catching up to do!
The whole process is such a team effort and the failure of the materials or quality at any point in the process has the potential to ruin the work of all the prior steps taken by the other artisans to that point. Everyone is very focused on a good outcome.
A couple of other points to note- the silk used is not filature silk, meaning that it is not reeled from the cocoon. It is referred to as a yarn, meaning that it is spun from a silk like mawata.
Apparently, sericulture was (is?) practiced on the island but I did not get to see any of that this time. Further research ahead…
I’m interested in seeing how the silk used for the Amami oshima tsumugi is spun and prepared for weaving here, who does it, and where.
Another note- during our tour of the tsumugi village, our guide/driver Kounosuke tells us that his mother was a weaver on the island before she had children (4). AND that his grandfather was a dyer….he has lived on Amami his entire life and had not seen the weaving process before.
About the guided tour at the Amami Oshima Village:
If you are not there to do a workshop, the tour seems quite rushed. They have a specific amount of time devoted to each group before ushering them into the gift shop. I get the impression that there are a lot of casual tourist that go through there by the busloads in the high season. The gift shop does have two parts- the VERY expensive side featuring full kimono, full bolts of woven silk, obi, and various other very fine clothing items and also another side which is filled with fine but more affordable and smaller items- all beautiful and interesting to see.
Kounosuke told us that the high season is of course Golden Week, July and August (when school is out and workers have vacation time) as well as during the Hatchi-matsuri or August festival. He said that was his favorite holiday of the year in Amami. Our other guide who did speak English was Yui who grew up in Yokohama (!)and came to live in Amami one year ago after visiting it on vacation. It’s that kind of place.
Here is a photo gallery from the tour:
As before- there is a lot of video to edit so perhaps on the plane I will do some of it. To follow, the rest of the day tripping around Amami and then time traveling again back to Kyoto.
Other online resources:
this site gives a very good explanation of the tsumugi dyeing and weaving process by Kyoto Women’s University
So much lately, I feel at a loss for words when approaching the blog. My inner self is exploring why. I continue in the studio, trying to find my way yet feeling a bit lost. But I am Here.
But this IS the way, the path, and I am looking to find it again. Everything up to this point has been a vehicle that brought me to this place. It’s always that unsettled and uncomfortable place that leads me on, leads me forward…to Here. I am not a stranger to this feeling. When one is self employed (for over 40 years now!) one recognizes this feeling. Part of it is the unknowing of what comes next, or how to continue. But we do continue.
I’m actually feeling sick to my stomach this morning, a state of anxiety overwhelms. Who are these politicians who cravenly use their donors dollars for personal gain while demeaning others and darkening lives? Do they vote for the greater good, or for their own monied interests? I’d like to just walk away from it all but feel the pull to do SOMETHING. So I do a little, locally. That’s where I live. Here.
I’m hoping that when I get this post finally done, I will feel a little better. I have started so many posts over the last couple of months only to walk away from them unfinished, later returning to find myself unable to complete my thoughts. But that’s where I am…right Here.
This past weekend found me at the Japanese American National Museum, leading the shibori and indigo workshop. As always, it is such a warm and inviting environment with great people creatively working together, sharing, caring, and telling stories. I am so fortunate to have many continuing students always mixing in with new comers. For two days we learn and teach each other. We even started a Sunday morning “Breakfast Club” meeting prior to the start of day two of the workshop. (Great idea prompted by Komo-one of the museums biggest advocates who drives from San Jose for the workshops and brings mochi from Kogetsu-do!). I love when Keiko comes with her enthusiasm for shibori and the stories of her many family members who were interred in the concentration camps during the war-I learn so much from these women! Then there’s Cheryl, who is signed up for her second adventure on the Silk Study Tour to Japan and takes advantage of the trip to visit relatives there that she had not seen for many years and who are growing older all the time. I could go on and on but suffice to say, when I hear two of the newcomers tell me at the end of the workshop “this weekend has been the most fun I’ve had in years!”, my work is done and I go home fulfilled. So thank you all! Here are a few photos…
The new exhibit at the JANM is Kaiju vs. Heroes-a wonderful collection of Japanese toys from Mark Nagata who had an equally wonderful story to tell about his collection and how it inspired his life as an artist and illustrator.
I have one more workshop to give before the end of the month- I may have mentioned it before, I can’t remember. It was full but Beth Marx, who organized it just emailed me that there was one cancellation- so if you are interested you can email her Here. I am filling in for the other instructor who wasn’t able to make it.
So now I prepare for my classes and booth at the Houston International Quilt Festival. I’m hoping to be ready enough. Sometimes, enough just has to be ok.
And, the pomegranates are ready! It’s fall. Or as we call it Here, our endless summer.
When I write a post I never fill in the post title until the end, even if in my mind I have one roaming around my head. You never know what path a post might take. Speaking of paths… I’m putting my pathfinding and wondering skills to use in upcoming city elections. I feel that I would be disregarding reality if I didn’t volunteer to help. Most of my contribution will be in helping to spread the word on social media.
Please look up and around your communities and city halls and make sure that people have a voice. Make sure that money, ambition , and politics are not sending down taproots that crowd out the voice of the city’s residents. It’s a volunteer thing and there will be a balance that needs to be struck so that work and bills get taken care of as well. More on that later…
It’s been hot here. Watering the edibles in the yard mainly. Into second rounds of crops since our summer is so long here.
I noticed some things around the yard that might be good for the dyepot or other meanderings so I collected them up. Will be testing them out on some old silk lining fabrics.
I started this post a few days ago and am only now getting back to it. The red dragonfly pictured above has been hanging out in the garden for at least a week now! I guess they are somewhat territorial. I also ate my first cactus fruit today. It was delicious- juicy, mildly sweet with a flowery flavor. Really amazing when you eat them right off the cactus with the warmth of the sun still holding on to the fruit.
I should back up a bit here and post a small gallery of photos of my amazing cereus cactus. It is a Queen of the Night (actual name used by about 4 different varieties of cereus night bloomers) and aptly named. I’ve been sharing these on my FB page for the last couple of weeks.
Some nights have given us over 100 blooms, others 80, 70, 50. I would say that we will have had around 1000 blooms this year when it is all over. I spend much time outside at night gazing up.
******** feel free to skip the politics down to the ****************
City politics in Long Beach have really changed over the years. Most of city council and the mayor are on personal political trajectories fueled by big money, developers, unions, PACs, and officeholder accounts (no real news here-how is your city government doing?).
The most current & egregious effort they have made is to place a measure on the upcoming ballot to change the city charter and afford themselves an extension of term limits (from 2 to 3 terms). And all by telling voters this is a strengthening of term limit laws! They claim they are doing away with a loophole where one can mount a write in campaign in the primary election when in fact regardless of whether it is two terms, three terms or ten terms the California Election code allows this write in effort. I’ll spare you most of the gory details but when hundreds of residents showed up in the middle of the day during the week for the final hearing where council voted to place this on the ballot (all but two who spoke were against and those two were LB govt. employees!) . They voted unanimously 9-0 in favor to place it on the ballot. They will spend about $700,000 of our tax $ on this self serving effort. They no longer listen to the people.
This has resulted in outrage to the point that many of the city’s resident/neighborhood advocacy groups are supporting a newly formed peoples PAC- the Long Beach Reform Coalition. This has meant many hours of meetings, emails, & phone calls in order to write the ballot measures’ opposing arguments and rebuttal statements. We were even sued by the city yesterday in LA Superior court with less than 24 hour notice for something that could have been handled in the local city clerk’s office -a correction and rewording of a couple of the statements! Writing ballot measure arguments and rebuttals is not for sissies! I learned a lot! The city is bullying the residents. This PAC is needed in order to pool resources and help finance opposition to such things as well as help new council candidates fund their campaigns against the overwhelming money of the entrenched incumbents.
I have spent far more time than I can afford to on this. It is cutting into my studio work time. In order to compensate a bit for this (and be able to pay my bills next month!) I am listing a few of my favorite acquired textiles from Japan. Some of these I have used as samples for students to view in my workshops or as show pieces in my booth in Houston. I treasure them all but it is time to pass them along to others.
First off, I will show you this wonderful tsutsugaki nobori I purchased in a small shop in Mashiko-the home and pottery studio of famed Shoji Hamada.
I honestly did not know what I was going to do with this piece at the time but had recently been given a beautiful book by a Japanese designer that inspired me and used all sorts of vintage Japanese textiles in her clothing designs.
This nobori is likely from 40’s- 50’s (Showa) and is very brightly painted. It is very large and was probably used in Boys Day festivals. I thought I might even fly it here for special occasions but it is so long and theft is an issue. I’d love to see someone put it to good use!
It is 21.5 ” x 204″. The cloth is hemp- it is more rugged than cotton and smartly so for its intended use. Not too tightly woven and slubs in the weave suggest it may be a home woven cloth. All stitching on it is by hand. As a purposeful vintage textile it is imperfect, but the imperfections are not objectionable (a few stains and unintended brush marks -no holes or tears). The image painted on the nobori is of samurai riding their horses- a familiar boys day banner theme. Let’s look at it!
These two photos are one half of the piece. The painting is detailed on both sides as they were meant to be seen from both. Below, the simpler portion which has the crests.
The hangers on the side are hand sewn on and could be removed without damage to the main cloth itself.
Tsutsugaki is a paste resist technique used to draw on the design outlines and the colors and detail features are hand painted. The crest portion is probably done using a cut stencil like katazome with the black being screened on (i’m guessing on this).
some detail shots:
So now for some photos from the book I was gifted…
Aren’t those great? So now I post the nobori in the shop. I will add the other items, hopefully tomorrow and do a shorter post (much shorter) on where I found them and their history.
Thought I’d do a little (or maybe not so little) post on whats been going on behind the scenes here lately. Lot’s of various things- like workshops, studio work, a little flu (all gone now!), RAIN!, and working on the Silk Study Tour to Japan for 2019.
I received the Newsletter from the Fresno FiberArts Guild where I gave a workshop recently. What a great guild-very energized and involved in the community. It was wonderful to see the many resources and skills available within the membership. Plus, they were a delightful group to work with!
In the studio, ribbon making continues…
The flu came and went -thankfully, not too bad. Hoping the same for you out there! So many have had it in one form or another.
We did get rain this month-so big YAY on that! Rain barrels full and the garden is refreshed. Snowpack increasing…
There are a number of milkweed plants out back with caterpillars on them but one in particular has about 15 large caterpillars about ready to form crysalis’. I never get tired of watching them.
All the other critters here are well…
And finally, I sent out the information packs, itinerary, and registration forms for the upcoming Silk Study Tour to Japan 2019 last week to those early birds who had signed up via the Constant Contact newsletter. Already 1/3 of the spots are filled. If you need info, you can access the newsletter here. Here are some highlights from last year:
Next post I will list upcoming workshops both at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and my November workshops at the Houston Quilt Festival.
Hope you are well and wondering daily!
This post is like looking into the rear view mirror of last week. It’s the last Monday in August now and in some places (not here really) Summer is connecting with Fall. Here though, it seems summer is colliding with Fall.
Not even out of August and the pomegranates are ready! So we (Trevor and I) picked about 25 and he seeded them for me. What is left will produce some beautiful golds and greens (when added to to some indigo blue).
And if that’s not enough evidence of climate change for you- the persimmons are starting to go off as well! This is unprecedented here (in the 36 years I have lived here and been the caretaker of this garden). Generally, these are not ready until November when I return from Houston and peel and hang them for hoshigaki. They are smaller this year (more work) and I should have thinned them. I never have had to before. A few had dropped and while the tip is orangey-the top is still green. Softened, they are still delicious. So this means I’ll keep my eye on them to try to determine the right time to pick and peel.
And if that isn’t enough, the ginkgo tree is dropping nuts. I’m sharing with the boys who like to sit up in the tree and drop the outside parts on my head while I sit in the shade under the tree. A few years ago, Richard showed me how to prepare them.
And just so happened that Saturday was the NM hatch chile roasting at the nearby market…so of course I had to go.
It took about 3 minutes for 25 lbs! They put them in a bag inside a box where thy seated for a while and Trevor and I spent about 2 hours peeling and seeding them.
Whole and chopped and in the freezer in recipe sized portions. Some went to neighbors as well. We had to wear masks while doing this and should have worn gloves as well. The burning on the backs of our hands didn’t start until we finished and lasted for hours but is all gone now. Next time…
The veggie garden is minimal at the moment. Mostly kale, cukes and a new crop of heat tolerant tomatoes (a second tomato crop this season) which I wondered about but is doing as promised and setting lots of tomatoes-currently golf ball size. I added some vermiculite to the raised bed to help even out the moisture and conserve on watering. It appears to be working well especially with the new basil I planted- lots for delicious walnut basil pesto. Never have done that before except in pots.
The fruit trees all have soaker hose rings on them and even then are wanting more water than I am giving them. Lots to adjust to as we get hotter and drier.
And in the studio- lots going on there too. Ribbon orders and lots of indigo in addition to a little more beading trying to get to the right mix for the class project in Houston. Here’s the latest addition to the shop– garden inspired with a remnant from the past…
I always loved this porcelain button and its garden theme. The sense of something about to happen yet it lets you wonder. I chose green shibori ribbon of course- some tailings. The picot edge beads are like drops of dew. I stopped and started a few times on this, letting it tell me where wander.
I restocked the shop with indigo at the beginning of last week and mostly it is gone now- thank you! The second part of my Houston booth now paid for. Phew!
I also received a nice stack of old linens from a friend. They belonged to her mother who passed away some years ago. I knew her well back then and it will be a treat to work with them. They will be showing up soon.
…is kind of like watching paint dry. Having finished off some orders in this heat I am able to get back to the vat today. Dyeing a bit of this and that as needed. As for the vat- it’s a happy vat at the moment. My little experiment of sewing a big cotton scrim bag to put down into it (keeping any organic materials out of my more open weave cloth as I dye) has been successful. I placed a few round stones in the bottom to keep it anchored below (somewhat). I also found I could move it over to my smaller light vat as well when needed. It is not forming much hana (flower) but has a nice coppery sheen on top and is a deep green and dyeing well.
As a reminder- one needs to continue to stir the vat each day, especially when not using it. This action reintegrates the organic materials and any undissolved indigo in the vat. There are various theories on whether or not you want to get some oxygen into the vat while stirring (especially if the vat is in disuse). My particular theory is that since the bacteria consume oxygen they need at least a little bit ongoing to keep up the good work. That hana you see on your vat is a sign of good fermentation and the result of oxygen bubbling to the top and meeting with the air.
I am anxious to get on with it while I am in the mood but the thread I am dying to use is still wet. I am working on a show piece for Houston (as in “show”, I mean a piece for the wall of my booth) and it seemed to me that I needed to set it aside and work on a smaller, simpler piece to solve some puzzles and answer some questions I was running into on the larger one. I also depend on wondering here to catch a few thoughts.
Let’s just get clear on one thing. I am not a quilter. This may not even be a quilt. It is something.
So that being stated, I have lots to wonder about as I go down the path with this one. I will say that if you define a quilt as:
“layers of cloth held together with threads drawn through with a needle”
-then this is (a version of) a quilt. But maybe it is something else. Maybe it is a dyers cloth (run through with a needle)? Ahh…to define something. To categorize. To make it black or white. How can it be one thing and still be another? Two things at the same time? Or none at all. Maybe it is its own thing. That might ring true sometimes. Maybe for today. For now, it is a beginning. It is blue. Many blues. And it has moons. Many moons.
I think the thread may be dry now.
Here we enjoy some cooler than usual weather this week. That and some great clouds and broken sunlight. I say that since we usually have all sun all day until June when in a good year we along the coast are protected by what is known as “June Gloom”(somewhat a misnomer unless you want to go to the beach). This offers us some coastal fog and cloud cover in the mornings until the sun comes out to heat us up until sunset.
This weather is my favorite weather of the year-where it is temperate even inside my garage studio where it can easily reach over 100 degrees on many days. Still one must shibori on!
The big distraction (my enjoyment on mini-breaks I take throughout the day) is a wander through the yard to notice. So many things in bloom, creatures crawling, wings fluttering, birds in song. I wonder.
and from a distance…
In between. That’s where real things happen. Where one can slow time down a bit and wonder. Test out some new thoughts and answer some questions. In between making shibori ribbon for orders I did some more wondering about the silk shibori ribbon tailings with beads, some thread and a needle.
Let me be the first to say I am not a beader. I dabble. Through my shibori ribbon I have come to know and really appreciate the artistry and craft of beading. I have enjoyed dabbling in the in-betweens. I am too hands-on to really follow instructions and patterns in the several beading books I have acquired. I’d really rather enjoy just exploring an idea until something credible happens. One day I’ll take a workshop and learn some basic beading techniques. Until then…
more shibori on silk.
I’ll keep dabbling.
Wondering about the persimmons that are self thinning as you can see by the photo earlier, I saved the tiny fallen kakis to see if I could extract and ferment them to gain some color. Next step will be the food processor and some straining. Fall seems a long way off from here.
I love what Deb is doing here with her indigo. My vat has been drained and added to the compost. A new one will be started soon. I am devising a method for keeping out the flies. Hopefully…
In Silk Study Tour to Japan news- we are 3/4 of the way there with the minimum number of participants. Still room for more if you are interested. I’m looking forward to getting this part settled earlier than usual this time. Hirata san sent me some fun photos and we “facetimed” with an interesting vendor at the Kitano Tenmangu flea market in Kyoto which we will visit next year (me here and Hirata san on the street in Kyoto- gotta love it!). Hopefully the next blog post will detail that visit.
This past week has had me busy on a number of things. I finally updated the events page here on the blog. Sheesh. You’d think that would be a priority. It use to be! These days with Facebook and Instagram I also list events there as well and things seem to fill anyway. Thankfully! But I do resolve to get back to keeping it more updated. Promise.
Also, I sent out the information on the upcoming Silk Study Tour to Japan 2017 last week. That takes quite a bit of time. I had promised to get that out in March but… well, things happened. But now it is done and last night I even played around a bit with my iMovie. Made a little trailer. For fun.
The tour info can be found here. Signups are ongoing and in the first week it is halfway filled with another 25% corresponding and wondering. So if you had your eye on this trip before, better to wonder earlier than later. We will keep a short wait list just in case.
As I sit here tonight writing this, the silk is steaming out in the studio and I go out every 30 minutes to change out the poles. In between, I check the chicken roasting in the oven, think about doing that final sales tax return due in a few days, answer emails, and listen to the bees. Out back the guys are recording the weekly groove. I’ve taken to doing my weekly blog post when that happens. A schedule of sorts.
Listen to the bees? Yes, the bees are back. Actually they never really left but now they have become problematic again since I need to do the landscaping out front and they gave my helper a sting yesterday. Turns out he is somewhat allergic so last night we foamed up and screened off all their entrances and exits. And today they are just downright mad.
Oops, timer just went off so time to change out the poles. Be(e!) right back!
OK. Where was I? Where I sit at my computer is right above where the bees have fashioned their hive underneath the house and I can actually hear them through the electric outlet…buzzing up a storm! Yes, I have had the beekeepers out and it was decided that they are just too smart for us (thankfully) and the hive is completely inaccessible for removal, so that is that. They’ve had a good run here (8 years off and on) and have minded their own business for the most part. So, enough about the bees.
The dogs have been groomed as of yesterday and I was reminded via mail today that the whole pack of them including the cat need their rabies vaccines updated or I will face all kinds of fines and such. So another thing on my “to do” list beckons. Apparently, I can send my child to school unvaccinated but there is no “belief exemption” for dogs and cats. Milo TOLD me he really, really, does not believe in the rabies vaccine. He heard it gives him an odor that mice can detect from 50 yards. I said, “Sorry, no go-it’s off to the low cost vaccine clinic with you!”
I promised a sort of SOTU address of sorts in this post, so here goes. Fact is that I am fairly overwhelmed with ribbon orders. I’m sorry you are having to wait but that’s just the way it is at the moment. There are no shortcuts to take here in regards to making it and besides, that would be somewhat contrary to the point of it all wouldn’t it? I have my own way of prioritizing the orders too. I try to honor the FIFO scenario but I can and do make exceptions. I believe in honoring the most longstanding and regular customers whenever possible as well as those who are going out on the road with the shibori ribbon incurring show fees and travel costs- I know what that entails and I do appreciate you meeting up with the customer face to face. Small folk and designers also get an extra point and larger entities who only sell online may have to wait a bit more. Agree or disagree, that’s just the way I do it.
Again with the timer…back in a sec…
OK- back again. Chicken is smelling good, fed the dogs, made a salad, wine now in hand. So back to the SOTU. Making the ribbon has become my “day job” -a good thing since it supports the household and keeps things flowing here. I don’t want to minimize it or take shortcuts with it because something gets lost in that. It needs to be beautiful, and that takes time. I don’t want to farm it out which takes the specialness from it. Each inch IS an adventure– in the making of it and the using of it. I have seen that over and over and respect that. A good roll of the shibori ribbon reveals that sincerity, that intent. It matters who is involved in the making of it and why. So I continue making and sending it- for the enjoyment and wonderment of the end user. In my “spare time” I stir the indigo vat and dip a little here and there. I have my personal projects on the side for now.
Last weekend was the shibori workshop at the Japanese American National Museum. It was wonderful as usual. Great folks, each coming together to gather some new information and practice. It was really nice to see many familiar faces mixed in with the new ones. I really enjoyed hearing the snippets of conversation between participants getting to know each other a little bit. By the end of the second day they were exchanging info and planning to get together outside the class and visit each other. I like that too. With 20 people in the class I was a little envious I couldn’t get to know more about each one of them- I was so busy! But it felt good that everyone enjoyed themselves so much! One thing I wanted to stress about the workshop is that we were mostly dyeing old kimono fabric. Many of the samples I had around the room were vintage pieces. I wanted to remind them of the beauty of aging. That is also a very Japanese concept especially when it comes to craft. Things of beauty DO age. That beauty is lasting, evolving. A good thing to remember.
Ahhh… the last timer has sounded…now to finish up and set the fans.
Back again. Dinner served and cleaned up. Guys back outside recording. The rest of the night is mine!
This is getting to be a long post- hang in there!! I am doing some organizing and work on the Silk Study Tour to Japan as well. (So many things to do!!) It is getting exciting. We still have some spots open so please contact me if you *think* you might like to come along. Yes, I know it is a bit of pocket change. I don’t take that lightly, but believe me travel is always rewarding- and life is short. Looks like it will be a smaller group this year which in itself is nice for participants and easier on me. Financially, we will squeeze by. I never know if we will do this again. Can we ever know the future? The dollar is good against the yen right now so we are fortunate. I remember back in 2011 when the earthquake in Japan on March 11 resulted in the tidal wave that wiped out the coastal areas in Miyako in Tōhoku’s Iwate Prefecture as well as created a level 7 meltdown at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. That night it so happened I was online with friends in Japan and was informed about the strong earthquake. As the evening proceeded, video of the tsunami in progress appeared. Devastating and hard to comprehend. In the following weeks we were not sure we would continue the tour but kept an open mind. As it turned out we went on May 14, 2011. We were practically the only foreigners touring in Japan at that time. The Japanese were somewhat in a state of shock still but very glad we were there as so many (most) tourists had cancelled plans- the economy suffered. I cannot express how grateful and hospitable they were towards us. We were not in any danger as we did not venture into areas of concern but of course there was much media coverage of possible dangers. Two years later we went again and brought forth a whole new group of “silkies” ( those interested in sericulture and silk). Now, 4 years later we plan to go again. We will learn and see many things. Some of the artisans we visit are aging rapidly. We may never see them again. We visited with a very interesting natural dyer in 2009 that had passed away in his late 80’s by the time we visited again in 2011. His specialty was natural dyes and their UV resistance. Fascinating! Time is of the essence sometimes…
In finishing up the lengthy post here I will end on the Adventures of Squirrelly Gurl. As it happened, it seems she became a Squirrelly Mom on the day of the last post- National Squirrel Appreciation Day! Go figure. Leave it to her to make a big deal out of it. I hadn’t seen her that day and wondered. The next day she came out and visited me quite late in the day and was very frantic- wanted her food and wanted it NOW! Then she was off. I thought it odd but accepted. The next day the same. I got suspicious as she seemed a bit more svelte than usual. Sure enough, we have been hearing babies up in the palm tree when she leaves them to take a break and come down for food and a stretch. They make a loud screech, almost like a bird. So today they are one week old! We won’t see them for months yet- when they are almost ready to leave the high rise nest!