Tag Archives: silk shibori ribbon

karamatsu shibori

the way i do it…and baby squirrels too!

As I sit here tonight writing this, the silk is steaming out in the studio and I go out every 30 minutes to change out the poles.  In between, I check the chicken roasting in the oven, think about doing that final sales tax return due in a few days, answer emails, and listen to the bees. Out back the guys are recording the weekly groove.  I’ve taken to doing my weekly blog post when that happens.  A schedule of sorts.

organizing dye work

organizing dye work

Listen to the bees?  Yes, the bees are back.  Actually they never really left but now they have become problematic again since I need to do the landscaping out front and they gave my helper a sting yesterday.  Turns out he is somewhat allergic so last night we foamed up and screened off all their entrances and exits.  And today they are just downright mad.

Oops, timer just went off so time to change out the poles.  Be(e!) right back!

OK.  Where was I? Where I sit at my computer is right above where the bees have fashioned their hive underneath the house and I can actually hear them through the electric outlet…buzzing up a storm! Yes, I have had the beekeepers out and it was decided that they are just too smart for us (thankfully) and the hive is completely inaccessible for removal, so that is that.  They’ve had a good run here (8 years off and on) and have minded their own business for the most part.  So, enough about the bees.

cute...Buddy

cute…Buddy

The dogs have been groomed as of yesterday and I was reminded via mail today that the whole pack of them including the cat need their rabies vaccines updated or I will face all kinds of fines and such.  So another thing on my “to do” list beckons.  Apparently, I can send my child to school unvaccinated but there is no “belief exemption” for dogs and cats.  Milo TOLD me he really, really, does not believe in the rabies vaccine.  He heard it gives him an odor that mice can detect from 50 yards.  I said, “Sorry, no go-it’s off to the low cost vaccine clinic with you!”

I promised a sort of SOTU address of sorts in this post, so here goes.  Fact is that I am fairly overwhelmed with ribbon orders.  I’m sorry you are having to wait but that’s just the way it is at the moment.  There are no shortcuts to take here in regards to making it and besides, that would be somewhat contrary to the point of it all wouldn’t it? I have my own way of prioritizing the orders too.  I try to honor the FIFO scenario but I can and do make exceptions.  I believe in honoring the most longstanding and regular customers whenever possible as well as those who are going out on the road with the shibori ribbon incurring show fees and travel costs- I know what that entails and I do appreciate you meeting up with the customer face to face.  Small folk and designers also get an extra point and larger entities who only sell online may have to wait a bit more.  Agree or disagree, that’s just the way I do it.

colorway-acorn

colorway-acorn

Again with the timer…back in a sec…

OK- back again.  Chicken is smelling good, fed the dogs, made a salad, wine now in hand. So back to the SOTU.  Making the ribbon has become my “day job” -a good thing since it supports the household and keeps things flowing here.  I don’t want to minimize it or take shortcuts with it because something gets lost in that.  It needs to be beautiful, and that takes time.  I don’t want to farm it out which takes the specialness from it.  Each inch IS an adventure- in the making of it and the using of it.  I have seen that over and over and respect that.  A good roll of the shibori ribbon reveals that sincerity, that intent.  It matters who is involved in the making of it and why.  So I continue making and sending it- for the enjoyment and wonderment of the end user.  In my “spare time” I stir the indigo vat and dip a little here and there.  I have my personal projects on the side for now.

shibori inspiration

shibori inspiration

Last weekend was the shibori workshop at the Japanese American National Museum.  It was wonderful as usual.  Great folks, each coming together to gather some new information and practice. It was really nice to see many familiar faces mixed in with the new ones. I really enjoyed hearing the snippets of conversation between participants getting to know each other a little bit.  By the end of the second day they were exchanging info and planning to get together outside the class and visit each other.  I like that too.  With 20 people in the class I was a little envious I couldn’t get to know more about each one of them- I was so busy! But it felt good that everyone enjoyed themselves so much! One thing I wanted to stress about the workshop is that we were mostly dyeing old kimono fabric. Many of the samples I had around the room were vintage pieces.  I wanted to remind them of the beauty of aging.  That is also a very Japanese concept especially when it comes to craft.  Things of beauty DO age.  That beauty is lasting, evolving.  A good thing to remember.

Ahhh… the last timer has sounded…now to finish up and set the fans.

Back again.  Dinner served and cleaned up. Guys back outside recording.  The rest of the night is mine!

This is getting to be a long post- hang in there!!  I am doing some organizing and work on the Silk Study Tour to Japan as well. (So many things to do!!) It is getting exciting.  We still have some spots open so please contact me if you *think* you might like to come along.  Yes, I know it is a bit of pocket change.  I don’t take that lightly, but believe me travel is always rewarding- and life is short. Looks like it will be a smaller group this year which in itself is nice for participants and easier on me. Financially, we will squeeze by.   I never know if we will do this again.  Can we ever know the future? The dollar is good against the yen right now so we are fortunate.  I remember back in 2011 when the earthquake in Japan on March 11 resulted in the tidal wave that wiped out the coastal areas in Miyako in Tōhoku’s Iwate Prefecture as well as created a level 7 meltdown  at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. That night it so happened I was online with friends in Japan and was informed about the strong earthquake.  As the evening proceeded, video of the tsunami in progress appeared. Devastating and hard to comprehend.  In the following weeks we were not sure we would continue the tour but kept an open mind.  As it turned out we went on May 14, 2011.  We were practically the only foreigners touring in Japan at that time.  The Japanese were somewhat in a state of shock still but very glad we were there as so many (most) tourists had cancelled plans- the economy suffered.  I cannot express how grateful and hospitable they were towards us.  We were not in any danger as we did not venture into areas of concern but of course there was much media coverage of possible dangers.  Two years later we went again and brought forth a whole new group of “silkies” ( those interested in sericulture and silk).  Now, 4 years later we plan to go again.  We will learn and see many things. Some of the artisans we visit are aging rapidly.  We may never see them again.  We visited with a very interesting natural dyer in 2009 that had passed away in his late 80’s by the time we visited again in 2011. His specialty was natural dyes and their UV resistance. Fascinating!   Time is of the essence sometimes…

In finishing up the lengthy post here I will end on the Adventures of Squirrelly Gurl.  As it happened, it seems she became a Squirrelly Mom on the day of the last post- National Squirrel Appreciation Day! Go figure.  Leave it to her to make a big deal out of it.  I hadn’t seen her that day and wondered. The next day she came out and visited me quite late in the day and was very frantic- wanted her food and wanted it NOW! Then she was off.  I thought it odd but accepted.  The next day the same.  I got suspicious as she seemed a bit more svelte than usual.  Sure enough, we have been hearing babies up in the palm tree when she leaves them to take a break and come down for food and a stretch.  They make a loud screech, almost like a bird.  So today they are one week old! We won’t see them for months yet- when they are almost ready to leave the high rise nest!

in the Spirit of things

I am doing lots of repetitive things in the making of this shibori ribbon.  Lots of measuring, counting, winding, ironing and pot stirring.  Waiting for pots to heat up, things to cool off, dry up, unwind.  In the in-betweens and during the repetition I have time to think. And wonder.

People often ask me things at workshops like “What kind of brush do you use”  or, “what brand of “x” do you buy?”  I try to answer the best I can but really it’s not about these things.  It’s more about your commitment to what you are doing, the time you devote to it, your willingness to repeat something over and over than to anything else.  Take my brushes for example:

brushesThey are simple, basic and acquired over time.  Some are repaired, most not very expensive. But it’s more about HOW I use them and how they’ve become part of my daily routine.  I get used to these simple tools and I like things that last- especially under the duress of the dye studio.  Most of these are made by hand and the maker has also taken care and added their skill to the process.

This past month two of the family cars have been sent to the scrap yard.  They were each around 30 years old.  I really hated to see them go. They have served us well -one was already a salvage vehicle when we acquired it over 10 years ago. We got an additional 10 years out of it!   But we were faithful and repaired them many many times. I seemed a shame to not!  They were replaced by two *new* cars 5 years younger. I saved a memento…
*volvo
Looking around the other night while folks were in the back studio rehearsing my eyes settled on this-

reel to reelYou might remember these from some time ago.  I was actually thrilled when my son fell in love with this.  It works and he has used it here and there.  As a recording engineer, I think he wanted to recreate the fidelity of past recordings in some of his current work.  It gave me the chance to tell him about how my dad had one of these at home and how I learned to splice tape back in high school for a “video” project I did about the Kent State killings and the Vietnam War.  Must have been around ’74-’75.  I made a slide presentation of images I collected from books, newspapers, drawings I had done etc. and had made into slides. To this I set music, radio news recordings and overdubbed my voice recorded on a Sony reel to reel.  I didn’t think it was really a big deal as I had watched my dad put together such things many times but when I presented it in class apparently, it was a big deal.  I wonder who owned this machine in the past? I hate it when useful things become obsolete.  I like it when folks find a way to use the obsolete.

old banjoA good musical instrument never becomes obsolete.  One recently came our way and it will be repaired and played.  This definitely has some spirit and a story.  We will find out more soon.

shadows

It’s late now, and the pomegranate tree casts its shadow on the back fence as the last of today’s silk steams.

The next post, in which I introduce you to Squirrelly Gurl ( for those who don’t follow FB), is forming in my mind…

going with the flow

Ahhh… my last post of the year.  I’m just going with the flow…

going with the flow in 2014

going with the flow in 2014

I sat down with a length of silk shibori ribbon some beads, a few pearls, a shell or two, some silk and before long a tide pool began to form…I just went with the flow.

Before long, an anemone appeared and a starfish crawled out from beneath some seaweed. The moon in the form of a shell (found on a walk along Hayama beach) turned the tides and the current swept sparkling bubbles of air along on the adventure. A bright star appeared reflected in the calm of one of the pools before waves washed over and changed the composition.  Seaweed grasses formed along the edge and swayed with the tidal surges altering my view of this seascape moment by moment.

I want to extend many thanks to so many people who traveled along with me this past year. From indigo and silk, to Japan and back, from show to show, over the internet via all the social networks and email, through workshops here and there, to the folks at the Japanese American National Museum- my, this list could get pretty long!  Through yards and yards of silk shibori ribbons I have come to know so many more of you and your myriad talents and passions. Thank you.

Of course there are friends whispering to me in the background like Jude and Dar, and Richard, and Donna, Velma and Wendy, and Kathleen in SF, Fumiko in Japan and so many more of you who put your whole self into this thing called life and making.

Of course I add to that gratitude thanks to Phil who puts up with the daily shibori report -speaking of going with the flow of things around here- and having to move shibori off the keyboards, the drums and the pan on a daily basis.  As I write this he and Trev are off surfing during his break from grad school.  And to the boys- thanks for being the people you are which allows me to be me and not worry (too much) about you as you find your way in life.
Believe we must-in ourselves and in others worth believing in.

So as the tide ebbs and rolls out on 2013, and 2014’s New Year’s tides surge and swell, I say- go with the flow- become part of it, let it carry you along, be swept away by your passions into a New Year of love, compassion and caring for our world and everything within it.

once again…

earlier this year i posted about “living in the shadow of the wind” where

the time after a show is my favorite time.  the busy preparation time is over, the workshops given, information imparted, items sold, people met, much talking, boxes returned, unpacked, put away.  and best of all,  bills paid for the coming month from proceeds of the show.

this is the time when i can “live in the shadow of the wind”. a small space in time of seeming protection from outside forces.

this time it seems though, that the shadow has grown shorter. maybe it is the shorter winter days among other things but even though the above remains true, the time i have to spend on lingering and seed planting has diminished for now.

there are many orders to create and dye for, proposals to submit, emails to return and more- but yet it was important yesterday to just take a day off and go for a bike ride, see the ocean, and have a little dinner out with phil.  he is busy too, music directing a theater production for a local HS in between gigging and private students so both our schedules are limited.

a little about the show- it was good to see so many folks excited about the silk shibori ribbon. after a long road paved with endurance it is finding a home with creative types of many colors. it really is fun to watch people approach it at the show with wonder and say “what is it?”. “i want some”, they say.  “it is beautiful-i will figure out something to do with it”.  i love when it sparks their imagination.  when it causes pause and wonder.  i love it when women bring their kids along because children simply CANNOT resist it.  they want to touch it immediately.  my favorite thing to do with kids at the show is to ask them how old they are.  it goes something like this:

me-how old are you?

them- 8 (6,10,12, etc)

me- Really!?

them- yes…

me- well it just so happens that just for today all 8 year olds get to pick out a color and get a cut of this ribbon to wonder about!

them-(eyes wide and not sure… looking at their moms or grandmothers…)Really??

me- yes! pick a color-any color….

and then of course we go on from there and they wander off stroking a length of ribbon..

and wondering.

ribbon disarray at end of day

ribbon disarray at end of day

booth 1620

being well prepared is half the victory

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arashi shibori on silk

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vintage kasuri and taiten

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some smaller bits

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materials for the indigo workshop

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Shibori ribbon flower kits

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Shibori ribbon, of course…

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indigo, always indigo

and thank you for the overwhelming response to my workshops. when they fill 2 times over  I understand they get to automatically repeat the class next year.  that would be nice!

and…while I am leading the indigo workshop the very talented Mary Alice Sinton of Blue Bonnet Studio will be working the booth. Mary Alice is a certified teacher of both Traditional Japanese Embroidery and Japanese Bead Embroidery. She travels and teaches many classes. Come by and say hello!
Houston Quilt Festival 2013

silk shibori ribbon shop update

yes, i did get it done today- mostly.  aside from making the actual ribbon, there’s the sorting, cutting, choosing the combos, photographing, uploading, naming, photoshopping in the color names/titles, uploading and listing. phew!

in the shop now.  and thank you!

arashi ribbon

oh, and a really lovely scarf too…

arashi sea dragon

arashi sea dragon

some more indigo moons made it there also…

Sayonara sale

silk shibori ribbon scrap bags

This time I’m only going as far as Houston but the Silk Study Tour is just around the corner.

Typically in Japan, when one moves, one has a sayonara sale. That’s just the way they do it there. Also, a sayonara sale is a great place to pick up stuff you need when furnishing a new apartment.  It’s easier to sell your stuff to someone moving into the area and buy stuff from someone moving out of the area you are moving into-get it?  Check out the sayonara sale ads in the Tokyo craigslist. Garage sale- Japanese style.

Here we have 10 silk shibori ribbon scrap bags.  A highly coveted item.  2.5 yards of assorted silk shibori ribbon for $20.  Donna was here today and took control of my scrap box.  In her words she  had a “kinda sorta maybe plan”.   For  like “walking around money“.

Listing will expire in 24 hours.

Mata ne!  thanks Donna!