Tag Archives: nature

Solstice Silkworms

On this solstice, I think of Nature and the natural world. I think of the passing of time, our place on this planet and the global environment. The sun is not standing still, nor is time.  Recent days have seemed very, very long and dark- even at a time when light lingers. I let the change flow over me knowing it WILL change. All things change.

I am watching the silkworms change every day. They are my daily reminder.

I am sorry to report that this weekend’s workshop titled Moth to Cloth at the JANM has been cancelled due to low enrollment.  I’m a bit sad about this as I was really looking forward to it.  I guess the topic was a little esoteric for the venue. I feel like I’m taking it a little personally though.  Everyone wants indigo and shibori workshops.  The August offering there is already sold out with a waiting list now.  So for now, my 500 silkworms and I will just carry on…marking time.

Love Letter

Dear Earth,

We’re trying… well, at least some of us are.

Love you!



Escape to Nature

Truly, the best escape. Even if it is a small one out to the back yard.  A daily observance.  It keeps me sane. That, and moving my hands and body.

Lately, I’ve been weeding-by hand.  We have rain!  LOTS of rain, and with that, lots of weeds. So many weeds that my sanity is assured far into my future.

Weeding after lots of rain is especially gratifying. With the ground soft and malleable, the feel of roots pulling out intact without breaking off in the soil (leaving them to regrow into next weeks weeds) makes this work satisfying. Things that are growing and sprouting up all over will reward us with lots of beautiful blooms in coming months. (Hopefully, in about a month as there will be a small family wedding in the back yard. I think I can at least count on the California poppies and the alstroemeria to cooperate.)

Some of the weeds are even edible-so there is that. And the fact that the greens planted out back are taking full advantage of the rain and fresh salads are a regular thing right now. It is such a relief not to have to water.  In fact, I have been dyeing exclusively with rainwater.  What a luxury!

Needing to take a day away from the house, we went to the arboretum and the beach. Going to the arboretum on a wet and misty day one day after a major wind and rainstorm is recommended. There was no one there!  It was like having our own private garden.  Trevor tried to find a surf-able local break but had to give up and join us for lunch after a visit to the beach where the ocean was in powerfully in charge. The ocean always deserves respect. Don’t turn your back on her (google kookslams if you need to remind yourself). At the arboretum…

Feeling refreshed- back to the dye studio!  There is work to do.  Always of course.  And I haven’t mentioned the Silk Study Tour to Japan lately but all is settled and the group is looking forward to a rewarding and inspiring time in Japan.  I hope to be adding to the Japan blog as we travel.  Will let you know.  At least, stay tuned to my instagram account while we are there beginning May 16.  More on that later.


working through nature


After doing quite a bit of walking through nature recently, I found myself wanting to move more towards working through it.  After wondering about the possibility of weaving baskets with cattail (inspired by being away), my friend sent me a link that got me very excited.  So excited, that after wondering about it for a couple of days, I signed up!  This will be the first workshop I have attended as a student.

Julia Parker, 85,  leads the 3 day workshop along with her  daughter and granddaughter. I understand there are still spots available.

“Take from the earth and
give back to the earth, and don’t forget to say please and thank you. It is the fiber and not the weaver who makes a beautiful basket.” ~Julia Parker

(The currently expanding Rim Fire in Yosemite is far away from the workshop location and park and fire officials are hopeful that life and structures will be spared.)

In preparation, I am studying a bit on the following topics: Yosemite Valley basketry, Paiute and Miwok people, among other things. I found a copy of Earth Basketry on my paperbackswap.com account and it should be here soon. I also ordered a used copy of Tending the Wild online and will add that to the study list.

I have been fascinated with California’s indigenous people for a while now. Every trip up and down the coast adds new understanding.  I have only scratched the surface but hope this workshop will add depth and more understanding.

The exact location where we stay in Mariposa was a summering home of local Miwok as noted in many historical documents as well as evidenced by the abundant granite mortar holes nearby (used as acorn grinding sites).  I have blogged about that before…here in 2007. I have spent many summers wondering about them and their lives, in this place.


So it’s back north at the end of September for a short stay.  This means that much work must get done in the meantime since the Houston Quilt Festival is looming.  One of my two workshops is filled- the other only had two spots left as of last week (#708 Indigo in the 21st Century).  However, there are 5 spots left in the two day workshop upcoming at the Japanese American National Museum August 31 -Sept.1.  Contact the JANM to register for this workshop.




While I was away recently, I was taking notice of some small things. One thing kept appearing so often that I decided to make  special note of was…

where feathers fall:

So often it is the small things. And while I was away, I made this:

over the course of many hours, in between wooded walks, between essays in this book, dinners around the table, and some hammock time.

Berry says that we should never have trusted our economy to economists:

“In ordering the economy of a household or a community or a nation, I would put nature first, the economies of land use second, the manufacturing economy third, and the consumer economy fourth.”

I was in a good place to read this book. And a bookmark for it seemed useful.

I posted a picture of it online. Michel spoke up quickly and wanted to have this bookmark and asked its price. Such a difficult question. Some things defy putting a price on them and are best given as a gift. A simple bookmark on the face of things, but so much more to me. As I stitched the tiny x’s I thought of gravesites-one like this I came across in the woods:

an old homesteaders grave in the woods

the spiral stitching of a single strand of silk floss reminded me of the ponds surface broken by the multitudes of dragonflies touching down on its surface.

a patch of x’s and o’s- a little game to represent child’s play

contrasts of light and dark, night and day

layers of intention.

the feather of a blue jay found along a path. a couple of dyed pumice beads in memory of the Miwok who walked here many summers ago.

miwok grinding hole in granite bedrock under the oaks along the stream

I’m sure they noticed where feathers fell (and acorns too).

jude knows a little something about where feathers fall too. 

one of the pond’s nesting great blue herons

Shortly after posting a photo on my FB studio page of this bookmark, someone quickly posted their version of it.  I never quite know how to feel about this. So much thought and intention inspired a quickie redo of it. I’m glad it inspires but somehow much gets lost in the translation and creates a sort of devaluation of the original . It’s a reminder that although you can replicate an object you can’t replicate what is beneath the surface. Like the soil and what lies below the surface. And I thought some more about it-

do your best with each small detail. craft it with care and intention. be unique and creative. give it meaning, a story, a place and time.

The much appreciated break was welcomed and we’ve now all returned to our places. The garden went a little crazy while I was gone so have been tending to that as well.

Upon returning I discovered yet another HD failure so am working to get things back in order. If you are waiting on me for anything, have patience and mercy-and a kind reminder email would be helpful!  I’ll get it back together soon…