Tag Archives: silk study tour

Silk Study Tour to Japan 2017

This past week has had me busy on a number of things.  I finally updated the events page here on the blog.  Sheesh. You’d think that would be a priority.  It use to be! These days with Facebook and Instagram I also list events there as well and things seem to fill anyway.  Thankfully! But I do resolve to get back to keeping it more updated.  Promise.

Also, I sent out the information on the upcoming Silk Study Tour to Japan 2017 last week.  That takes quite a bit of time.  I had promised to get that out in March but… well, things happened.  But now it is done and last night I even played around a bit with my iMovie.  Made a little trailer.  For fun.

The tour info can be found here.  Signups are ongoing and in the first week it is halfway filled with another 25% corresponding and wondering.  So if you had your eye on this trip before, better to wonder earlier than later.  We will keep a short wait list just in case.

Mata ne!

marking time

Seasons mark time like nothing else.  The visual signs all around us are unmistakable.

fall

persimmon

-the feel of the air in the morning and again in the evening. Sounds also turn the corner into fall.

And here at my desk I also must mark time.  The time that orders must ship, the time that show prep begins and materials must be sent off.  Schedules for next year are already filling in.  I do that as if I know how things will be when that time rolls around.  I laugh.  Ha!  What if?  We don’t know at all but here we are making plans.
The world seems so uncertain.

Just in case,  Richard and I are planning a new in-studio workshop (details coming), I’m planning dates for shows and other workshops in the new year.  And also a couple of trips are in the works.  I’ve been asked to coordinate two adventures in Japan next Spring. One is a private group of friends returning to the past in a way- sharing old memories and getting to know each other again in the present.  A reunion tour.  I hope to make it a very special time for all.
The other, is coordination of a short extension tour for Maggie Backman‘s Cross Culture Tour.  I have to say, when and if I get to be Maggie’s age, I hope I have her enthusiasm, energy and spunk.  This is an idea she has had for some time now.  It grew out of her love for sharing Japan, silk, and learning with others.  For quite a number of years now we have realized that while we are introducing gaijins (foreigners) to Japan through our own “Silk Road” via the Silk Study Tour to Japan, there were an equal number of Japanese who were interested in what we were doing.  And while Maggie was bringing in teachers from Japan to teach in the Silk Experience classroom at the Houston Quilt Festival and while Japanese visitors to the show were signing up for silk classes…she wondered…

-what if…? What if she organized a tour that combined US teachers and Japanese teachers and included both Japanese and American/foreign students in a bilingual workshop in Japan.  So here is what she has put together:

Cross Culture Tour to Japan

My job is to lead and coordinate the tour extension but I will also be around to lend a hand when needed during the workshop portion.  The US teachers are Katrina Walker and June Colburn.  Japanese instructors are Masako Wakayama and Noriko Endo.

So take a look and wonder…and imagine marking time between now and then.

summer indigo dyeing blues

I know that many of you are finally coming into your spring – with things warming up, plants budding out; gardening and planting might be on your mind.  As you get some of that done and look forward to summer are you considering some indigo dyeing?

indigo flowering 4/30/13

indigo flowering 4/30/13

If so, you might consider taking my online indigo dyeing class “Let’s Dye with Indigo“.  Now is a good time to consider starting your vat as the weather warms up.  I just started a new 40 gallon natural fermentation vat and within one week it was already producing beautiful blues.  My class consists of two parts- the 5 lesson workshop plus the student forum. Both are very informative.  You can easily jump from one to the other through links in the sidebar of each.  Four (4) types of vats are explained and maintained.  You choose which one is right for you.

adding the wetted out indigo into the new vat

adding the wetted out indigo into the new vat

Although this workshop covers 4 different vat types, continuing posts will focus on the fermentation vat. There have been a lot of things fermenting around here over this past year. Many having to do with how we go about our lives- what we add to it and what we take away from it; the marks we make, the marks we leave behind, perhaps leaving no mark at all!  Fermentation has produced many of the best things we can enjoy in life- wine, beer, miso, bread, yogurt, cheese, pickled vegetables and so much more (even compost!).

Fermentation is a cellular process that occurs in an environment lacking oxygen that converts organic matter into simpler compounds and releases energy as a result (along with the byproduct of many delicious and useful things).

Pretty cool huh?  Simplifying organic matter to create energy and other good things.  I’m gonna stick with that.   I’ll also be adding posts about growing and using indigo as well.

So let’s continue to dye indigo by fermentation this year.  Let’s Experiment. Let’s Wonder. Are you in? If so, sign up here:

Let’s Dye with Indigo-online workshop

Why should you sign up now?  For “This Week Only” (sounds like an infomercial!) I am adding in the Shibori Techniques on Silk -Self Study Online Workshop (usually sold separately for $25). The principles in the shibori techniques class can be applied to your indigo dyeing as well. This sale will be available only until this Saturday   – giving me enough time to add you into the class before the Silk Study Tour to Japan departs. So both classes for the price of the indigo class.  A sort of Sayonara Sale!

the daily dyer preview

Additionally, if you have been a part of my series the daily dyer for the past 5 months, you know we are entering the final month which will be broadcast from Japan.  Thank you to all who have participated in that little experiment- I hope you have found some of it useful or at least entertaining.  This last month should prove to be an exciting month.  I have decided to continue there as well and will be offering  two options for the daily dyer in the shop:

option one: continuing. for original subscribers only. this will secure your subscription through the end of the year.  cost is $35

option two: new subscriber. here you will get access to the full year; the upcoming Japan Silk Study Tour posts and whatever lies beyond that.  the past, the present, and the future. cost is $95.

Sign up in the shop here.

thinking ahead-and wondering a bit

~just wanted to let you know i have added two pages here on the blog.
both require some thought, consideration and planning ahead so take your time to wonder a bit.
you can reach the new pages through the links below in this post or by clicking their links in the header above.

giant silk moth display from the Silk Center Takasaki, Japan


the first one is for the High Desert Silk Experience workshop/retreat in St. George Utah. a great opportunity to take some classes all about silk in a beautiful location. Signups are ongoing until Dec.1 or when the classes fill. i think we are about halfway there now…

the second page is for those of you who might want to consider joining us for the 2013 Silk Study Tour to Japan in May of that year. that might seem like a long way off, but planning ahead is the key to a successful tour.

in other news, i’m going to start raising a new crop of silkworms. hopefully, they will be the ones we will use in the workshop in UT to demonstrate the silk reeling skills we have learned on the previous two Silk Study Tours. i’m waiting for the weather to cool slightly so my eggs can be shipped-apparently, it is too hot for them to be delivered now.

ohayo gozaimasu-gurenisu desu! おはようございます

I took some inspiration from this photo (turns out it wasn’t taken at the LA Arboretum but in Herefordshire England-my son was pulling my leg) and also from an email I received from someone wanting me to make some special silk shibori flowers for a sacred event. I dyed up some spring wisteria- summer wedding (kekkon no natsu) colors.

Then I heard the sea calling me. Maybe it’s a pisces thing. Definitely a water (mizu) thing.

rising tides

Check out the link in the first line to see the current schedule if you didn’t get the newsletter direct to your email inbox. You can sign up for my ribbon and dye class in Cincinnati or the indigo workshop at the Japanese American National Museum by using the links and info there. The online class is gathering and there is just one week left before i close the registration. If you want to see what the supply list looks like, you can see the class setup here. All workshop material kit orders received to date are shipped so look out for yours if you ordered one.

The Silk Study Tour to Japan is filled and I am busy with various details. The gathered group is excited and we are getting to know each other a bit.

I just discovered that I am going to still be in Japan for the annual Arimatsu shibori festival! Held the first weekend of June every year, this is just too good to miss! While searching online for a nearby ryokan, I discovered that Yoshiko Wada has a tour planned to Japan for this event, if you are interested. I did not know of this tour before! It is quite a bit different from ours although it looks like they will also be going to Kiryu. Looking at the page it appears as if there are spots available. I don’t know much about her tours except for what I have read online here so check it out!

So now it’s off to finish taxes and get ready for Puyallup and more…
mata-ne! (listening to Japanese POD101 daily now…)

makiage, indigo, and a new Japan silk study tour!

a recent trip to Seattle allowed me to have a little stitching time, something that seems to elude me when i am home at work with all the other things there are to do around here. but in anticipation of the short trip i prepared a couple of things i could work on should i be fortunate to get the chance. i did, and was able to stitch up one makiage piece on a fine lightweight cotton. something someone sent my way that was no longer of use to them. a lovely piece of fabric.

here is the piece in progress- shot next to some lovely hosta leaves at maggie’s house. we don’t grow these in socal-probably too hot and dry i expect-and they were just magnificent.

it is now confirmed and i can now announce some exciting news- the formation of a second Silk Study Tour to Japan in may of 2011! details are in the works and the tour itinerary and costs will be available in PDF form around June 1st. i was in Seattle to work out details and meet with our Japanese coordinator. we had a planning session at maggie’s-

(i started a facebook page for the tour which i will add to soon. feel free to visit it and “like” it if you want to see regular updates in your feed.)

while i was there we practiced degumming silk cocoons and making silk mawata. mawata is a japanese term meaning “spread out”. each mawata consists of a number of degummed silk cocoons stretched over a frame. these mawata can then be used in various ways- for spinning silk yarns, creating silk paper, felting and stitching projects. maggie is teaching a class at the Houston show on how to do this and we were practicing what we learned in Japan last year on the silk study tour. see the complete list of silk experience classes here.

so today i unpacked and got back to where i left off and started pulling up threads on my stitched makiage piece. it is approximately 1/2 yard of 45″ cotton. pulling up the gathering threads is always a little anxiety ridden-one broken thread and poof! fortunately the shibori gods were on my side (plus a little experience and patience) and this is what i was left with-

several dips into the natural indigo vat-

here you can see the piece while it is oxidizing-note the greenish color

and finally-

the exciting part is releasing the fabric from the stitches to see the result- hopefully without cutting any holes in the fabric. i managed to get past this pitfall as well resulting in this:

the whole cloth drying-

just a reminder, i am giving an indigo workshop May 28 & 29. there’s still a spot available if you are tempted…