Tag Archives: mom

wow! back from Japan and catching up-


zakuri gears

zakuri maker mark- from Omiya

What a time I had!  So much to tell and so busy with things to catch up on.  Not to mention the Mandala Workshop which is posting and uploading as I write this.  Back and forth on two blogs- multitasking…

OK- a few high points just to get things started:

I was very lucky and found an Edo period zakuri. (Edo was the shogun period when Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa family, 1603 to 1868.)   This is a silk reeling machine all handmade out of wood-even the gearing!.  There were literally thousands of them made in the later part of this period for the purpose of encouraging the cottage silk reeling industry in Japan-according to Michel Cook of Wormspit. Mine is in quite excellent condition and was found in a flea market at a very fair price.  I have to mention that before I arrived in Japan my intention was to find one of these.  I didn’t know if I would succeed- I didn’t even know what they were called!  But I had seen them in museum displays on earlier Silk Study trips to Japan.  Seeing as I am collecting a fair amount of my own hand raised cocoons I really wanted to have one- for practical purposes-reeling my own silk.

My friend Makoto likes to visit flea markets on the weekends looking for various things and so the day after I arrived in Kokubunji, we went to the first of 4 markets I was to visit during my remaining stay.  At the very first one, at the very front of the market, there it was!  I was kind of astonished.  I thought, maybe I better walk around a bit and see if there are any more to compare it with.  It was front and center in the small space of an older fellow who also had some other nice and quite interesting items (but no textiles).  I decided to wander the rest of the market first wondering if I would find another.  I did find a few small boro pieces and saw some other very nice textiles quite out of my budget but no more reeling machines.  I went back to the fellow and asked if there was a rocker arm which seemed to be missing. To my surprise- he dug around and came up with it! We bargained a wee bit but since it was such a fair price I accepted his first offer of  サビスです(a sort of complimentary service of a price reduction).  Makoto also found a very nice porcelain piece for his collection and a good indigo kimono with hand loomed cottons and a bit of boro.

Fortunately as well, I bought it because I did not see another one of any sort at any of the remaining markets or temple sales I ended up visiting.  I suppose it had been waiting for me.  Since I had traveled lightly to Japan I was able to find a box and boxed it up as my second bagage to return home at no extra cost. It arrived in fine shape and there are 1000 silk worms finishing up their cocooning  in egg cartons on the bench next to the piano…(i’ve decided that the silkworms prefer piano to drums, which are in the other room-always improvising around here…)


i like the music book on the piano- improvise. kind of a mantra around here…

Speaking of silkworms- “cat momma” Delia and sons did a great job of watching over the silkworm farm in my absence and upon returning they are all mostly spinning-some done and a few last ones just getting into it.  I am hoping to try a little fresh reeling with some of them…Thank you Delia!

So here’s a little video from today-

 In other news, mom survived my absence. My sister checked in with her while I was away. Only (??) 2 other mobiles burned down in the park in the past 10 days- no one was hurt apparently.  They last one she reported to me tonight that they ate pizza while watching the firemen respond-there are a few other hoarders in the ‘hood but rumor is that they were “cooking incidents”. Also, her longtime cat Mr. Orange died while I was gone. He was showing some signs of something before I left so we set the mobile vet up to go for a visit-  he had a “mass” and had to be put down. Yay for mobile vet services- a great help! After that sadness, someone presented her with two small kittens. Oh dear! Will keep on top of this one. She also managed to screw up her banking so have implemented strict restrictions on that after sorting things out. So, for the moment, peace has been restored!

Tomorrow, the garden will be surveyed and dealt with.

feeling the warmth

it has been a bit of a struggle to write this first post since returning. i had to give myself a little space so i could have some perspective on the trip north from which to write this.

seems that winter most definitely arrived while i was away, both here and there. while at this very moment i can’t tell the whole story (for reasons of time and sanity-my own-trying to look forward and not backward) but i will begin by saying my mom is safe today and we work day by day on this. so many people have a part in this it is hard to know where to start but many, many thanks to all you who sent their love and energy, wisdom, wishes and concerns as well as the many shared personal stories via email and through comments here on the blog.
it was a testament to prayer and energy in action.

part of returning here has involved several days of continued work on her behalf from a distance as well as picking up the pieces around here. there is a lot of picking up to do. mentally and physically. after the enormous task of cleaning out her place-really, against all odds and belief- it was once again transformed into a home. i have concluded it is likely the biggest physical task i have accomplished (along with sis of course) and kinda rivals this.

a supreme thanks to phil as well for steadfast support, subbing out gigs and driving ol’ Posey (the volvo wagon-previously owned by an artist gal into her 80’s who only drove her on sundays) there and back and for the many other things only those who were there will ever know. his birthday occurred on the way back home so we celebrated at a favorite eatery along the way- at the beach of course!

one thing i will say is that just keeping our focus on her safety as our
main concern throughout everything is what carried us through.
the big picture ruled supreme and no details were allowed to stand in the way. it continues to be so.

once i was in the cleaning mode i continued when i got back home-after the absence it was definitely needed and cleaning things up always has a therapeutic effect on me. so with that done i start in slowly.

stirred the indigo vat- it had become completely deranged. ahhh….there it is again- life and work all mixing together as one. i’m bringing it back to life now, nurturing and stirring it, checking it, adding to it, warming it. maybe tomorrow i can get in a dip or two. i did manage to bring back a couple of things that belonged to my grandmother that seemed suitable for indigo. i’m looking forward to a little ceremonial indigo dip…

speaking of feeling the warmth- i put the gas oven on low and have been drying some of the beautiful persimmons that were kind enough to wait for my return. even the backyard squirrel (nicknamed “pesky”) knew enough to leave me some.

their natural beauty also warms me.

i also have to thank those of you who placed prepaid custom orders at the Houston show as well as a couple of you who ordered some things on etsy in the midst of all this and have been patient enough to wait for me to catch up. i will be in the studio making your pieces with a new perspective starting today!. for those of you to whom i sent refunds on your orders, thank you for understanding and i hope you will have occasion to order again sometime. i’ll be here.

even though i am working on just what is in front of me at the moment (lest i get to overwhelmed) the backyard is crazily mixing winter with spring.
-and the scent of it is intoxicating!

(take deep breath, smell the narcissus, feel the sun’s warmth)

((oh and ps…..lest we forget amid all this love and light, our mentally ill brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers are simply not getting the help they need. nor are their families. while we fight foreign wars, bail out millionaires, are awash in cheap trinkets, they suffer the unlucky circumstances of organic brain disorders such as schizophrenia. there are no easy answers to mental illness- especially those with the most severe and difficult types, but certainly we can do better than we are currently doing. most certainly. ))