Tag Archives: dyeing

the way i do it…and baby squirrels too!

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.

organizing dye work

organizing dye work

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.

cute...Buddy

cute…Buddy

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.

colorway-acorn

colorway-acorn

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.

shibori inspiration

shibori inspiration

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!

wondering leads down new paths… and back again

It’s true, my blogging sabbatical is over.  It was never really “official”, whatever that means, but in the 9 months in which I haven’t blogged here I have been missing it.  Missing you, those of you who don’t partake in the flurry of other social media offerings.

What exactly do I miss about it?  I miss the wordier, more thoughtful, slower pace of writing a blog post as opposed to the quick quip on Facebook or a clever (maybe) image on Instagram.  If I want to give myself a sorry excuse, I will say I have been very busy these past months. I am quite thankful for that as there have been times when I wondered…financially speaking, if continuing was the way to go.  But being my persistent self, yes, once again persistence was the way.

Often over the past nine months I have thought- “Oh!  I should blog about that.”  Then I let it be and carried on in my work and the moment passed.  (Sometimes for the better I will admit.)

Blogging is more like a homemade meal, often with ingredients right out of your own garden. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the rest are more akin to a fast food joint- you’re in and you’re out. Things can happen in fits and bits.  That is what I have noticed.  And while I work out in the dye studio I can keep up with all that on my phone in a staccato-like way.  I can even throw up a photo ever so easily as I work.(Squirrelly Gurl says Hello!) Throw out a comment or two, commiserate, cheer on, congratulate, and send birthday wishes to people (some of whom I actually know!)  But in the end,  it’s the words and thoughts I miss.  Expression in a different form.

So, even if you can only stop in for a home cooked meal every now and then, come on by- I’ll be here stirring the pot a bit.

Some images from 2014 on your way out, great thanks to all who were a part of it- enjoy, create and wonder!!  We need more wonder in the world…

acorns in the dyepot

recently when i was up north, i gathered a small amount of acorns.  i wondered how they would work for a little shibori workshop i might teach next year. here is a page from the notes and swatches journal- (on old silk)

fall dyer's notebook-acorns

fall dyer’s notebook-acorns

and who knew how good simmering acorns smelled?  (jude of course…)
their beauty astounds.

acorn dyepot

acorn dyepot

so, a little wondering while i continue packing up for the show.

 

 

 

 

a few announcements-

First- I forgot to mention that the daily dyer subscription will cover the time during the upcoming Silk Study Tour to Japan. So the added bonus is that if you sign up for the full 6 months you will get to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes tour.  Sometimes dyers have to go to Japan!  We are gathering a great group.  There are still a few spots open so if you have been imagining yourself in the land of the rising sun…come on along! Not that you need a little tempting or anything but here is a fun flickr set of photos of past trips- and a little video just for fun…

Next- there will be a new in-studio workshop announcement next week. Dates look like they will be end of January/ early February.   It will be a combination workshop featuring Richard Carbin’s mandalas and my arashi shibori techniques.  Day one will be mandalas with Richard and myself (assisting) and day two will be with me learning arashi shibori techniques and Richard assisting .  Day three will be a free dye/play day to practice some of the skills you have learned.  We are still working out the details but you can sign up for day one, day two, day one & two (a little discount), and day three will be reserved for only those who have taken day one or two or both (both days will get you a nice discount on day three).   We will work with procion (Richard’s fave), colorhue, and acid dyes and even the indigo vat.  It will be limited to 6 people each day. I’m just getting things set up so I can list it in the shop sensibly. So much going on right now.  Does it ever slow down?  I wonder…what if we combined arashi and mandalas….

arashi shibori

+

mandalas

who knows?

 

 

in studio arashi shibori workshop

Lines, pleats, patterns, texture-this is arashi shibori now.

Many have been asking for this- an in studio workshop focusing on arashi shibori technique-

here it is!  (click the link to sign up and for more info…)

limited to 4 only

2 days

Nov 30 -Dec 1, 2013

arashi on silk gauze

double arashi detail

saying goodbye-

indigo mandala on silk organza

well, we are down to the last night. we have had a blast and shared a lot of things. our hands are blue and a few other colors to boot and most of what we made together is on its way to some of you to be stitched and wondered about. we thank those of you who came to the workshop, those of you who stopped in to meet Richard and sample his dye work. we also thank those of you who cheered us on here at the blog as well as from our facebook pages. it was an experiment, a longshot, an idea we had a year ago and now here we are at the end and thinking of some new beginnings. it’s been great working with another dyer this way- gonna have to do this again!

we have added the last of the fabric mandala sets to the big cartel shop and are covering up the indigo vats for now.

mandala 1

mandala 2

mandala 3

mandala 4

and one in silk…

mandala on old silk kimono lining

Richard’s wish for dinner tonight is pizza delivered so there you are! Gonna go look the take-out menu over and make a salad…
mata ne!

the age old question- “what if?”

a comment on a recent post reminded me of this story:

“According to legend, silk was discovered in 2640 BCE by Empress Leizu. One day, the Leizu was drinking tea under a mulberry tree and a silkworm cocoon fell into her cup. The cocoon became loose and the fiber could be unwound: by twisting together fibers from several cocoons, she made a thread strong enough to be woven into cloth. Silk making (sericulture) is even older than the legend suggests. Archeologists have found ancient cloth and even a 6000-7000 year old cup decorated with pictures of silkworms.”

basically, however it came to be, sericulture surely was a result of someone asking “what if?”. a unique moment when things all lined up and a person wondered…

(a brief excerpt from View from the Dyepot, available here.)
meanwhile, the Silk Study Tour to Japan is picking up steam…get on board while there are still spaces! it’s exciting to see the wide variety of folks coming along.