Tag Archives: shibori girl

the heron and the hummingbird

I was prompted to write this post as a reply to a recent comment on a previous post about my online indigo workshop “Let’s Dye with Indigo“. comments here.

The commenter was suggesting that I apply to teach my online indigo class at Craftsy. This is not the first time someone has suggested this to me.  Now I know that “everyone is doing it”, and before I get more emails asking  why I’m not, I thought I’d try to explain my hesitation to do so.

First, it’s not “all about the money”.  But then again, it is about the money too.   About where the money goes. I prefer it to come directly to me for the work I put into my classes.

Craftsy is great for those who don’t want to or can’t set up their own system of teaching online.  They do it for you.  And I hear they do a fine job of it.  They even do your hair and makeup and send a limo for you.  (Somehow, that just doesn’t feel like me being me.) I’ve seen some of the promos and they are pretty slick.  Again, that doesn’t really feel like me either.  I don’t want to turn my indigo dyeing teachings into something that resembles a morning talk program.  I kinda like it the way it is, personal,real, and kinda funky.  Shot here in my own studio on my trusty iphone and edited in imovie.  Not so slick.

Yes, I probably could sell a lot of classes there.  I might even make more money (but like I said before, it’s not all about the money). But then again I might not.  I have spent a considerable amount of time and even travel teaching, learning, practicing, marketing my own  work and “brand” over the past many years and I’m not so quick to turn that over to someone else to take a cut off the top.  I am not so interested in becoming a class in a category on a site offering everything from decorating cupcakes to pizza making and parenting. I guess I’m a little weird that way.

As I look over Craftsy, I see that since their beginning offerings in 2011 they have grown to encompass so many topics- a clearing house of sorts. They make their money by being that clearing house.  Online learning is here to stay.  That much is sure. Coursera is now booming and their offerings are free!

For some of us that have been at this, teaching craft (or whatever you want to call it) online, for longer than that, I believe we paved the way for this sort of thing. The first one I was aware of was Joggles, where I taught a couple of classes in the beginning as a requirement for having my ribbon sold on the site.  It was a fair trade in the beginning.  Later down the road, I wanted to offer more (was told that it was impossible to teach dyeing online!) and I wanted to include video so I went solo and started developing my own methods and means.  Part of my intention was that I knew there were many folks out there like myself who couldn’t afford the trips to take in-person workshops with great teachers.  Whether it was a time or money issue, I thought that teaching dyeing online was a possibility. I also didn’t want to be limited by geography. I wondered. Things were changing. Technology was offering up new possibilities. I just started doing it.  I learned as I went and I learned from and with others.

Susan Sorrell   stands out in my mind as someone who was in on the online teaching very early on. Maybe as early as 2002 from what I could see on her website! I think my own first online classes were somewhere around 2006.  And of course, we include the masterful Jude of Spiritcloth for bringing us classes online that feed our soul, make us wonder, and have helped us in so many ways-stitch by stitch- by just being herself. There are many more I am sure.  We each have created a small niche for ourselves that supports us and our families. We are not rich by conventional terms, but we are independent and we are entrepreneurial. We also want to be ourselves. I  want to own my own materials, my own copyright.  I like being able to add to my class whenever I like-as I learn and grow with the students. Once a Craftsy class is “in the can” it is what it is.

feathered friends by Peg Mathes Yates

feathered friends by Peg Mathes Yates


Immature Great Blue Heron looking for dinner ©2010 Peg Mathes Yates

Immature Great Blue Heron looking for dinner ©2010 Peg Mathes Yates

I am reminded of a retelling of a Native American myth that I once read called  “Heron and the Hummingbird” where the two get in a race to see who will own all of the fish in the rivers and lakes. The hummingbird loved to eat small minnows and the heron loved to eat large fish. I think we are the hummingbirds in the story.

I imagine that at some point down the road Craftsy might be bought by some media company larger than itself.  Seems that is how many of these sorts of startups go. Big fish swallowing up smaller fish -the way of the world these days.

I just hope that the future will still hold a place for hummingbirds to flit free and enjoy the nectar. Some days though, it does feel as if the odds are stacked against it. Once, when I was in Mexico, I saw a hummingbird laying dead near a large window. I went over and picked it up and to my surprise it started to move.  It sat there in my hand for a few minutes gathering itself together and then flew right out of my hand- off and away! It had merely been stunned I guess, running into that large window.

I’d never bet against the hummers out there. We’re colorful, we can take a few knocks, and we keep on zip-zipping around tasting nectar from here and there. Plus, as my friend Peg reminds me, hummingbirds can fly backwards! (thanks for the photos Peg!!)

year end announcements…

I am tying up some loose ends on things that have been in the works around here for a while.  Everything takes longer than expected it seems-especially around the holidays when there are lots of comings and goings.

Today the wind died down a bit (not completely) but the surfers were devoted to getting into the water which leaves me in complete and blissful silence to work on these unfinished details.


First- the In Studio Workshop with Richard Carbin and myself  is available in the shop. Just click here to visit the listing and read through it carefully. If you have any questions,  just use the contact form or email me.  Leaving a comment here is OK too- I can reply privately via your comment.

arashi shibori    ++++  mandalas  ===?????  

I’m excited to collaborate with Richard again.  Ours has been an wonderful pairing of interests and talents. We met virtually via Flickr several years ago becoming fans of each others work.  Richard is an ex-pat living in Nagoya Japan with his wife and two boys. In June 2009 when Phil & I visited Nagoya for the Arimatsu Shibori Festival, we made a pact to meet up and get to know each other better and in person. We visited late into the night and although our work is completely different we shared a passion for Japan, silk, and dyeing.  Afterwards, we continued getting to know each other online via Facebook and via email and decided to create a collaborative workshop. Our online workshop Indigo Mandalas (born of the original In Studio workshop last year) was the first internationally collaborative online workshop as far as I know.  We continue to inspire and draw on each others experience and interests using the internet & media, learning as we grow.

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Secondly, the Silk Study Tour to Japan is filling nicely.  We only have 4 spots (out of 20) left so,  if you think a trip to Japan to see silk sericulture, beautiful textiles, a natural dye workshop and more are in your future for May of 2013-contact me soon.  We never really know if we will repeat this tour-so far our third biennial tour. Life has a way of keeping us on our toes and in the present which is a good thing and keeps up from putting off those things that we really want to do but somehow don’t. More and more I realize that today is the day!   Click the link for details and feel free to contact me if you you have any questions at all. I’m getting excited all over again.  New things await us in Japan every time we go!

cueing up the indigo vat

many moons ago

By now most everyone is aware that New Year’s Eve 2010 will not only usher in a new decade, but it will do so by the light of a rare NYE blue moon. (that is if the clouds that arrived last night clear out before tomorrow night) For those of you in the Eastern Hemisphere, you will also be able to ring in the new year with the addition of a partial lunar eclipse! Seems like some sort of special New Years Eve.

this was the place

(cutting some linen for the indigo vat)
Yes, this was the place 10 years ago that the boys were all 9 & 10 and we celebrated the new millennium (2000) with a boy sleepover party thus giving parents the night to go out and party themselves. I was happy to party with the boys and let them have their own little NYE party at home. Each boy was instructed to bring something to include in a “time capsule” that we would make and decorate using an empty oatmeal canister and various other odds and ends. This capsule would be opened 10 years from that night- an inconceivably lengthy period of time for them to comprehend back then.

Each year at New Years, especially in the early 2000’s they begged to open it up and see what was inside. As they got older (and realized I was NOT giving in) they asked less and less until recent years they have been enjoying the anticipation of the coming event. So, tomorrow is the night and each has been invited to join in or stop by to see what treasure they added to the capsule- seems none of them can really remember now. Dan will be missing out as he is in Australia on holiday- he even wanted to skype the event with us (my things have changed!) but he will not be internet available so we will take some photos and video for him.

Well, I was hoping for a little live steel drum music but the band just got a last minute NYE gig for a private party so we will rely on the ipod and the rest of the musicians for music while we spend the evening dipping into the indigo vat which I have been prepping and testing these past couple of days.

We’ll have some food, a hot soup or two, music, a backyard fire, various imbibements, and of course the indigo vat will be available to dip into and take a bit of blue away with you into the New Year. Stop on by if you like but be sure to RSVP me and let me know you’re coming!

coming up blue

just working…

bad hair day or good shibori day?

bad hair day or good shibori day?

never underestimate the time it takes to remove all the stitching

working on stitch technique samples for workshop in houston

working on stitch technique samples for workshop in houston

thinking myself so smart for finding and ordering the perfect thread to use when practicing stitched shibori, i ordered black.
which is just fine.
except when dyeing black.

the great thing is that is won’t break, is very visible while stitching and drawing up threads, and doesn’t take the dye.

what if?

I added my first block to the crazy quilt revisited pool last weekend but never got around to getting it up here-until now-

I know many of you who read this have already seen this over at flickr but I had a couple more things to add here.

silk shibori ribbon and textiles, crystal teardrop,thread

what if it was all silk shibori?
what if it isn’t square?
what if it wasn’t flat?
what if i made up my own stitches?
what if i added flowers and spiders?
what if i used lava rock shibori ribbon as a binding?

I did kind of go crazy with this one. It’s all silk shibori scraps (except for the outside edge-about 24″ of lava rock shibori ribbon) left over from either flower making or from workshop demos. I thought- what
if I used the shibori ribbon as a seam binding? I have been wanting to do this for some time. I purchased some black cotton seam binging in Houston last year that I polewrapped and discharged and ironed flat for a somewhat more traditional shibori binding using my discharged swatches from Karren Brito’s makiage challenge last year.

I was whatiffing back then- noticing that the two black cotton fabrics had discharged to completely different colors- I thought-what if i just used them together anyway? WHOOAAA.
Which leads us to the current CQR block…..what if I used the ribbon and let the sculptural pleating create an undulating edge that I can’t really control? In the makiage sampler, I ironed the binding flat (traditional) allowing more control of the edge. At the time I thought- I want it to be squared off, neat, done “right”. Not really being a quilter, I really had no idea what right was but hey, I’ve seen lots of books (even have a few) and many ,many quilts and had always admired their crisp edges.
So here, one year later, I am looking at life a little differently, enjoying the undulating and ravelly edges, letting things stray further from my control (as if i really had control in the first place), letting them take shape as they will. I guess that is why I like the CQR’s so much. It is forgiving, allowing, all inclusive and you never know where it will lead you. And I am enjoying seeing others in the pool delight in the same prospect and view of life. Jude posted on a recent block by jeana’s 3 year old E which really brought back memories of making things with my boys when they were young. We had such great times whatiffing back then. And I must say, it really paid off! Which is why I am compelled to continue on with the 4th grade room over at elementary art. What if I stopped going?

One last whatif….what if I started stuffing parts of the shibori flowers with silk batting?

just a reminder…

If you want to receive email notices of Shibori Girl events you have to sign up in the sidebar. I mention this because I am getting ready to send out a notice with lots of good info on the event and trunk show I’m doing next Saturday May 3rd 11AM to 6:00PM at a great bead shop around the corner from here (Pudgy Beads).

When I look at my stats for this blog I’m always pleased that the readers come from far and wide geographically. But at the same time if you live on another continent you probably don’t want to hear about a sale or event I’m advertising. But if you’re a local or just have an interest by all means sign up to receive the announcement via email by Monday.

Making flowers for proms and getting ready for next Saturday. Monday is week two of the sculpture project in the fourth grade classroom and I haven’t even added the pics from last week to Elementary Art. Oh well…..