Gosh, has it been that long? The first quilt Journey started here. Further photos from the wayback time machine here on Flickr. And it has been a journey that has developed into an Odyssey. Journey was the original mooncloth.
Sometimes it’s funny to go back and read an old post. Notice how some things change and others remain the same. Like how I am still not a quilter. Blogging for over 10 years now and there are so many posts I still enjoy going back and re-reading- as a reminder. Others not so much- but still a good reminder.
In a much more recent post, I showed you how I was binding the edge of the test mooncloth Under One Moon in a little video. A couple of pics of the semi-finished piece:
under one moon
This was sent off as a gift with a hope of continuing. Some thread and a needle included.
Continuing on with the larger one I’m calling Odyssey, I’m realizing how much I like the feel and drape of this cloth in my hands as I stitch on it. And right now as I head towards Quilt Festival I also realize that about 90%+ of the fabric I see there is not fabric that I would want to hand quilt with. Of course quilting began with the reuse of scraps from clothing and household textiles that lived previous lives and had a softness built into them. Fabrics now are made for machines with tight weaves, bright colors, and slick finishes. This makes them harder to push a needle through by hand. And less desirable to hand quilters. I don’t know how others feel about this but I will be noticing next month at the festival and wondering about it more.
I hope I can get this one finished in time. Or near to-at least in a way that it can be continued on the road. Late afternoon light… Seems it’s a Nine patch. Just turned out that way.
And in workshop news… the upcoming indigo workshop at the Japanese American National Museum is going to be a little different. We will be making some small fermentation vats that folks can take home and continue with. We will also be using the pre-reduced indigo and doing more shibori. Perhaps you want to explore doing some more detailed stitched shibori on larger cloth?
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.
squirrelly boy teasing me
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…
Garden of the Heart
one of my personal favorites
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!
silk and cotton thread
more base cloth
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.
It’s a good thing I don’t share all the letters I receive as some just make me want to throw something and others make me want to shed a tear. Some are so uplifting, yet too personal or bittersweet at times to publish on the blog. This week so far I have received one of each. Just for balance.
Remember Balance? Balance has been a theme here over time on the blog and in reality, everyday.
Which brings me to an email I received this morning.
I ran across a piece of art that I thought was public domain but have traced it back to you. I work for Hanes, and was thinking about using the art “Indigo wall panel” in a panty print but doing it in different colors, modified digitally so that it can be rotary screen printed. Would you grant me permission to use? If not, I will do something different and try to create the look of the technique digitally and that’s perfectly fine. Have a great day.
Thank you either way,
So, basically he is saying that they want permission to use the image of my shibori work as a shortcut to a graphic design to screen print onto underwear. And if I don’t grant permission, they will “create the look of the technique digitally” and carry on. In my mind, I hear- “we will alter your image enough (digitally) so as to be able to call it our own or derived and skip your permission altogether. Have a great day!
So what happened to common courtesy? How about “I came across your work (while searching for patterns in indigo and shibori images online that we could glean for free use of artwork for our commercial product line) and would love to use your image and compensate you modestly (say $500) for it’s use.
I don’t know. I really don’t know anymore. Why? When a company that has reported net sales of $5.7 billion in their most recent report has their design staff searching the internet and basically bullying artists(my opinion) into granting permission for use of their works I just don’t know anymore.
So what say you, fair readers?
Should we say yes and allow them to use this artwork knowing that every time we see this pattern on Hanes panties (and we will see them) we will be reminded of the corporately owned world we must now operate within? It might be a good thing to remind ourselves of this on a regular basis. It is in all our lives daily in even the smallest of things.
Or should we say no, allowing them to feel like they did the right thing by asking and either remake my design in their own image (costing them a bit more) or even just to continue searching online for some other image they can use without actually having to do more than work the keyboard.
Indigo Blues was published in 2012. Like many images of my work, I find them regularly online without attribution. This is a detail shot of the full piece that was sold through my online shop quite some time ago. The full image here.
On the other side of Balance, I received an order for moons the other day with an immediate email follow-up note from a fellow undergoing a very serious health challenge. Having been hospitalized for many recent months he tells me the following:
I have decorated each room I’ve spent time in– sometimes 4 to 6 weeks at a stretch — with fukuro obi hangings and other silk kimono fabrics, which have always brought pleasure to me and to visitors. A calming healing environment visitors would exclaim! I will continue this “tradition” of Japanese design in the rooms when I re-enter for hospital for the transplant, a “cure”, in early September. I plan to add your beautiful moons to the room. Many thanks.
and I reply(in part)…
It will be a privilege to make some moons for you. Thank you for your order.
I can imagine your room…your creating it with a certain peaceful attitude that promotes calmness, enjoyment, and healing qualities for both you and your visitors.
I will be thinking of this as I dye your fabrics. My favorite thing to do is to create intentional fabrics that I can infuse with thoughts and intentions for their recipients as I make them. Thank you. Be well, take care…
because we all exist under one moon,
because we all see the moon from our own perspective,
because it is a time traveler, a wave maker, a truth teller, a light giver.
-may its peaceful countenance shine in all the darkest corners
discharged moon-am i adding to or taking away? a moon divided or one finding ways to hold together? wondering…
it’s an old moon. we all become old moons eventually.
I am dyeing more indigo cloth, more moons, more threads to hold things together. I am stitching indigo mooncloths in the evenings and in-between times.
After a very productive and busy weekend at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo (Los Angeles) I had a little idea in my head I needed to get out.
A few more photos might be helpful.
marking and stitching
bound up for dyeing
releasing the stitching
the pattern field
Dyed in the fermentation vat.
At the museum we worked with a wide range of fabrics- many recycled. Fabrics included silks, cottons, hemp, linen, & bamboo in many weights and weaves. Much was learned about fabrics, shibori techniques and how to dye with the indigo. Next workshops at the museum are scheduled for Oct. 8-9 and Dec. 10-11. The new twist will be that we will also work with a fermentation vat and learn how to make a small one you can take home with you. Contact JANM to sign up.
And just a reminder- My three classes at the upcoming International Quilt Festival in Houston are taking registrations at the Quilts Inc. site. You can see the individual events on my FB events page or go to the registration site and see all the classes there.
…is kind of like watching paint dry. Having finished off some orders in this heat I am able to get back to the vat today. Dyeing a bit of this and that as needed. As for the vat- it’s a happy vat at the moment. My little experiment of sewing a big cotton scrim bag to put down into it (keeping any organic materials out of my more open weave cloth as I dye) has been successful. I placed a few round stones in the bottom to keep it anchored below (somewhat). I also found I could move it over to my smaller light vat as well when needed. It is not forming much hana (flower) but has a nice coppery sheen on top and is a deep green and dyeing well.
As a reminder- one needs to continue to stir the vat each day, especially when not using it. This action reintegrates the organic materials and any undissolved indigo in the vat. There are various theories on whether or not you want to get some oxygen into the vat while stirring (especially if the vat is in disuse). My particular theory is that since the bacteria consume oxygen they need at least a little bit ongoing to keep up the good work. That hana you see on your vat is a sign of good fermentation and the result of oxygen bubbling to the top and meeting with the air.
I am anxious to get on with it while I am in the mood but the thread I am dying to use is still wet. I am working on a show piece for Houston (as in “show”, I mean a piece for the wall of my booth) and it seemed to me that I needed to set it aside and work on a smaller, simpler piece to solve some puzzles and answer some questions I was running into on the larger one. I also depend on wondering here to catch a few thoughts.
Let’s just get clear on one thing. I am not a quilter. This may not even be a quilt. It is something.
So that being stated, I have lots to wonder about as I go down the path with this one. I will say that if you define a quilt as:
“layers of cloth held together with threads drawn through with a needle”
-then this is (a version of) a quilt. But maybe it is something else. Maybe it is a dyers cloth (run through with a needle)? Ahh…to define something. To categorize. To make it black or white. How can it be one thing and still be another? Two things at the same time? Or none at all. Maybe it is its own thing. That might ring true sometimes. Maybe for today. For now, it is a beginning. It is blue. Many blues. And it has moons. Many moons.
Some things take a long time to figure out. I wondered about this quite some time ago while participating in one of Jude’s classes. Then I set it aside. Recently while working on something new, I realized exactly what this was for. And now I’m wondering again. Getting into the Spirit of things.