It’s been a whole moon since that last post- a record of sorts here. One that I don’t plan repeating often in the future. Life happens though and one never knows. In this past month there have been some significant events- a death in the family and a marriage too! Balancing the sad with the happy, blurring the past and the future.
Plus we both had the flu which also complicated things. Hence, no posting here. Just living.
Spring here is glorious this year thanks to the rainfall received. So much blooming! A simple walk around the backyard is proof that Nature is pleased (at least for now, politics be damned!).
I’m finally back in the studio daily this week and working on orders again. As if to remind myself of the whimsy that can occur while dyeing, I over-discharged 80 yards of pink shibori ribbon the other day. I was working on the final color for a large order that included the colorway Pink Storm and when it went into the discharge bath it discharged deep and immediately! I tried to correct on the second pole but *poof*…color disappeared immediately. This pink is very easily discharged (a medium pink using mainly polar red) but the discharge bath was too hot and strong for a controlled discharge. SO, I took the 80 yards and dyed some new and fun colors with it. Now, I am back with a new batch of ribbon all base dyed and pole wrapped for some careful discharging today. Here’s some photos of what went on, and what I was trying to achieve.
The fun part is that now I have some yardage of really pretty colors to play with and sell. I’ll be taking some photos today and putting some of it in the shop. I’m also trying to get together a small selection of ribbon to take with me to Japan in May to sample some of my customers while I am there. Yes, Japan. The Silk Study Tour to Japan is coming up soon! May 16th to be exact. I’m really looking forward to it. Each tour is filled with unique experiences created by the harmonic blending of people and places. We will learn so much, see many extraordinary things, and make new friends and connections for today and tomorrow.
It is my great pleasure to facilitate this tour and watch many people experience Japan for the first time- much of it through the eyes of the silkworm! This year’s tour is full with many interesting people, most who are visiting Japan for their first time. Exciting times ahead! Hirata san and I have added Kyoto to this years experience and our faithful charter bus company will soon be whisking us from place to place while we enjoy some beautiful scenery from the comfort of the bus and its large panoramic windows. In addition we will walk, ride trains and eat lots of great food! Get ready to follow along as I update from Japan along our silk road.
Indigo dyeing has been taking a back seat for the moment- the fermentation vat is back to misbehaving and with all the disruption around here lately I have not been able to concentrate on it. One thing though, I will be spending several days with my indigo sensei Fumiko Satou in Japan after the tour is over. I have lots of new questions and hope to be of help to her (as studio helpmate) as she prepares for an upcoming event. I am really looking forward to this.
The next couple of weeks is devoted to clearing out some of the orders, making a little stock, and getting taxes done. Then, final preparations for Japan will be in full swing. That, and a day trip to see the beautiful wildflowers in bloom here in California-where we are thankful to continue the quest for clean air, water and energy (again, politics be damned!).
Love to all… may your path lead you to places unknown. Keep wondering, always wondering…
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.
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.
It was a great weekend at the Japanese American National Museum. There were several returning students but the majority were new to both dyeing and to shibori in general. It is always a pleasure to introduce people to both. Most indicated they will sign up again for one of the upcoming shibori workshops featuring indigo in June and August (contact museum for reservations). The force is strong in shibori…
Participants were fortunate to be able to see the last day of the exhibit “Two Views” featuring photographs by renowned 20th-century photographers Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank who each captured distinctive views of the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian incarcerations. I had seen it previously and encouraged everyone to take a break and go through the exhibit.
Early on Sunday I had the opportunity to view the other exhibit “Making Waves” before the museum opened to the public. It was really too much to take in in the amount of time I had- I spent a scant 30 minutes and knew I couldn’t do it justice so will go back before it closes the end of June.
In other news, I am feeling much better! The garden is blooming, vegetables growing. I also had a chance to see the current exhibit at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego recently. (Thanks to Nadja for the hospitality!) One thing I was curious about was the attribution of this piece on display.
Obviously shibori dyed but yet annotated as printed. Unless I am missing something… I could see the needle marks. Anyway…there were some fabulous pieces there, like this detail from a fisherman’s raincoat woven with reed and seaweed.
I came home from the weekend to find a lovely letter from a customer. Honestly, I have to say this sort of thing keeps me going at times. I know that making things by hand is an incredibly personal and worthwhile endeavor. Sometimes a journey of the soul. Please teach any children in your realm this valuable gift.
now I’m crying…xo
time has seemed irrelevant lately. things just happen as they will.
take this sunflower for instance. during the summer i had these growing outside the kitchen sink window where i could admire their happy faces smiling at me while i washed the dishes. when they went to seed and needed removal, i cut the flower heads and dropped them in the driveway for the squirrels and the birds to enjoy (where i could watch them from where i work). now, months later in December, a volunteer from that act is blooming in the middle of the driveway with the ginko tree shedding its golden leaves behind-definitely fall.
all it takes is a seed to be dropped, or an idea to be planted on fertile soil to generate something beautiful.
i received two intriguing books on kanoko shibori yesterday from Japan.
some new seeds were definitely planted.
plus, he sent me an old apron from the Kyoto temple sale. we will visit there in 2017 on the silk study tour to Japan.
and no matter what time of year, squirrelly boy hears me at work and lets me know he is hungry and needs fresh water! i’m so lucky to have such in interesting studio friend.
ribbon orders are in full swing- thank you for being patient! there have been a few disruptions lately…
and thanks to those who have been emailing me and enjoying the Daily Dyer reruns. glad you find something useful there.
On this hot and muggy Sunday I finish up a large order of the shibori ribbon and wonder. Often when I wonder about what I am doing I take to the vat and gain some perspective. Besides, I have a couple of workshops ahead of me here-3 that involve indigo and need some wondering and planning time.
Starting off with some moons on old tattered asa (hemp) from Japan got me thinking about what ties us all together on this little planet we named Earth – as well as what tears us apart.
I figure I need to order 30 yards of cotton scrim for my workshop in Houston October 26- done and
crossed off the list. The rest of the fabrics to be used are remnants and scraps I have been collecting of some very lovely old and reused fabrics brought back from Japan. We will dye them in indigo and apply different techniques- shibori mostly, as well as use our imagination before stitching them to the indigo dyed scrim. Kits will also include swatches of vintage kasuri, katazome, and shibori. I will have several very nice vintage boro textiles on display for students to study as well as a selection of books and photos from my recent visit to the Amuse Boro Museum in Asakusa, Japan.
Pressing on, I make my sample by my own hand, I cut the fabrics, collect the swatches. As I dye the new sample I think about the room that I will be teaching in, the number of students, the problems that will be encountered by restrictions of such a setting and must be solved before anyone walks through the door to make things go smoothly and find success for all who gather that day in that room. I aim for a version of perfection knowing full well that there will be less than that achieved but aiming high is where I like to begin. I am already looking forward to teaching this class and its myriad lessons.
My class is called Indigo dyed and Boro Stitched and can be signed up for by going to the Quilts Inc. site for the Houston International Quilt Festival. The class is # 117 on Monday Oct. 26, 2015 in the online catalog.
I am teaching two other classes there as well- Shibori Mandala Magic on Silk (class #217) and Splendid Silk Shibori Poinsettias (class # 611).
The Mandala class is an outcome of working with Richard Carbin and combines the folding techniques I learned from him with a completely different method of resisting and applying the dyes.
Richard’s presence will be felt in the vintage silk fabrics we will use which were collected by and purchased from him.
The Silk Shibori Poinsettia class is a fun Friday evening class- a good sit down and relax class at the end of a busy week. Many lovely pieces are sure to be made as gifts for friends and family on this night.
I tried to upload an image of a great little boro piece I brought back from Japan but WP is being fussy right now so it will have to wait until later. Until then, I’ll add a couple of photos of something I made the other day just to satisfy a need I had-a small bag that snaps open by pinching the sides and holds all I need. I used some obishin between the cloth layers.
It’s raining again now- hardly can believe it! It has been such a gift. I have somewhere I’m supposed to be so until later-