Tag Archives: workshop

encouraging process

I have always been a process oriented person.

I like to take a material and make it into something else.  I like to figure out and create a process for that.  To repeat that process.  So many times…to create the process and then alter it. The process and the repeating keeps me balanced. Even when operating within the maze.

I like to discover via process.  I discovered this process after doing a lot of this.  It takes doing. And going there many times.  And still…

In the workshops I teach, I like to lead a path to discovering.  Not solve everything for you. Your path will be different from mine.  If I am rigid and demand that you follow my example you may not find your own path.  I like to encourage wondering- which in the end means experimenting and questioning.

Lately, life does seem like a maze.  We will get through. Life is a Maze ing.
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(3 available in the shop)

summertime, and…

I’m redoing my indigo fermentation vat this weekend.  It’s been a while in coming.  I emptied it out (25-30 gallons) about 2 months ago when I was redoing a fence line that it sat along and it needed to be moved.  At  the time I was also having some issues with fruit fly larva in the vat and wanted to have a fresh start and see if I could solve that issue.

The vat will take at least a week to ferment to a usable state and in addition I need to receive an order of ground indigo from Cheryl at Aurora Silks.  Coincidentally, she is having a sale on the 1 Kilo size ground natural indigo and offers free shipping.  I only had 4 oz on hand so made the vat up with that to get it started and will add the rest of the indigo when it arrives in a couple of days.

I am adding a fine mesh cover to the top of the vat since the lid to this container is not a complete seal.  Additionally, I am making a large net bag to drop into the vat while dyeing to keep all the organic materials and sludge to the bottom and away from the cloth as I work.  It’s really only an issue when working with larger open weave fabrics which I seem to use a lot these days.  It saves having to pick out the particles by hand or resort to lots of water wasting rinsing.  Water is precious here.

When I disposed of the old vat I balanced the ph with some citric acid down to about 7 and used the liquid on the ornamental drought tolerant landscaping.  The rest of the sludge in the bottom I added to the compost and was ready to start again. This vat had been in use for 4-5 years.

I am adding some video of the process of this new vat to the student forum for the online indigo workshop I have in my shop.   Here is a little bit of day two progress…

August 6-7 is the final summer indigo workshop at the Japanese American National Museum. Signups are through the museum here.
Last time this is some of what participants did…
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And likely,since Jude had been busy with moons, folks have been ordering the moon assortments which has kept me and my studio helper hard at work…
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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.

more on the spirit of a thing…

Today and yesterday was a combination of things.  Saturday and Sunday is the Shibori Fusion  workshop at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.  There might be a spot of two left but you will have to check with them. Sign ups are through the museum.  So that means a lot of preparation this week.

We are focusing on using silk and color (as opposed to the indigo workshops I often teach there).  I could have just ordered silk and been done with it, but I see these workshops as an opportunity for teaching more than just shibori dyeing.   So in that spirit, the last couple of days have been busy taking apart old silk kimono and nagajuban.

silk

These are some in progress of dismantling. Such careful stitching, some even sewn with twisted silk thread. Handsewn french seams…the drape of the silk…the sheerness of the lining silks.  Each one yields 12-13 meters and if lined twice that of two different silks. a few stains here and there but nothing that will be noticed after dyeing. In any case these will be pieces that will be practiced on and hopefully used in a future project.   So a day spent with these pieces pulling threads, ironing and organizing- all the time thinking about how we will be dyeing them.  No need for new fabrics when these ones already exist.  I hope to build an appreciation in the participants for these fabrics.  After sorting, cutting, ironing and bundling-they really are lovely!

kimono silk bundles ready for eager dyers!

kimono silk bundles ready for eager dyers!

Most of these are from interior kimono and nagajuban so are off white or very pale in color-easily over-dyed. They are also very soft as they were to be worn close to the skin as opposed to the outer kimono layers.  They have their own spirit from previous owners and the spirit of each dyer will add their own imprint to the cloth.

Other things going on here include the shipping of lots of orders. I put out a lot of silk shibori ribbon scrap bags this week to clear out the scrap box.  Thanks to all who ordered the scrap samples to play and create with- Buddy overseas all the final inspection of orders here:

I closed the etsy shop until next week- need a little break from that to concentrate on the workshop and wholesale orders for a bit – look for it to reopen in a week…or so. I have some fun little ideas I also want to play with and need a little mental space in which to do it.  I hope I can find some!

In addition, I finally heard back from the city on their approval of my re-landscaping plan which conforms to their Lawn to Garden water saving plan.  So I went to Home Depot to buy some heavy black plastic which I will lay down and cover with free mulch from the city yard to kill off the lawn- or what is left of it.  It will take at least a month to kill off this way but worth it. Apparently, most everyone else will be doing it another way and Home Depot has stocked up to take advantage:

Apparently we never learn…

I know I promised an introduction to Squirrelly Gurl for those who haven’t yet met her but this got in the way first.  Next time-for sure.

 

things flow through

i have always liked figuring things out.  a production run is like a puzzle of sorts.
one must figure out and streamline the entire process.  thinking about such things as efficiency, energy, materials. the order of things.  and most importantly, the FLOW.  beautywood

the flow can refer to many things- the physical space in which i work-allowing me to move through my workspace without hinderance.  the flow of energy as i choose and mix the colors, prepare the silk, thinking several steps ahead of myself so as to maintain that flow.

the flow of work in and out of here as orders come and go, the flow of communication with all of those who email,comment,ask,etc..the flow of paperwork, money, and of course time.

but most of all i enjoy the process of transition. of taking something rather plain and mundane (although i can say that the miracle of the silkworm is anything but mundane!) and turning it into something else by hand.

so, lots of shibori ribbon being made here at the moment. if i have overlooked an email, been tardy in sending you something promised-please send me a little reminder nudge and accept a proforma mea culpa from me.  i appreciate your patience.

in all this busyness, i have quite forgotten to post here about the upcoming workshop with Richard!

speaking of flow. one also needs to refill the vessel and when Richard and I get together for a workshop that is part of the intention- to give you lots to wonder about- to get your flow going-or back into the flow.
good grief…in my mind i had done it!  but alas no- just on Facebook and constant contact. there are still a couple of spaces.  and several requests to Skype/broadcast the workshop which we will be accommodating as well (figuring this out now).  this workshop will combine itajime AND mandalas. you will learn both in the first two days.  on the third day you can work on whichever one (or both) is moving you-and get into your own flow.  patterns of time and space

of course we will be working on the process, the technique, of folding and dyeing and resisting-but also larger concepts of time and space in regards to patterns.  patterns are everywhere-in nature and in life.  sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture to see them.

-some of Richard’s recent work-it just keeps on getting better and better (of course). he recently completed his first continuous 10 meter cloth which is slated to be make into a summer yukata. now THAT’s impressive!
the amazing itajime of Richard Carbin

and just a reminder-  have a 2 day  indigo workshop coming up at the Japanese American National Museum Feb 1 & 2.  We will be working on shibori and indigo and creating a boro-esque indigo scarf from our bounty.  Call the Museum to register- 213.625.0414

じゃまた!

 

linkedin

a weird but short post.

for all those trying to connect with me on linkedin- I don’t do linkedin.

so all those unanswered requests will remain unanswered. sorry. it’s just too much.

I also understand that some or those requests are auto sent- another reason I don’t do linkedin.
but in other news-

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have a great holiday week with friends and family.
see you on the other side.
(plus, I’ll see you in Yosemite next year- the week of Sept 15th. )

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

gathering or collecting? (a workshop with Julia Parker)

Yosemite meadow-the Native Americans kept this area free from trees and saplings, it is now filled with trees that encroach on the meadow where materials and acorns were once gathered.

Yosemite meadow-the Native Americans once kept this area free from trees and saplings, it is now filled with trees that encroach on the meadow where materials and acorns were once gathered.

I am still gathering my thoughts here- it will take some time for them to settle in and find a place to live. but in the meantime, a few photos….

Among the very many wonderful pieces of wisdom shared at the recent basket workshop in Yosemite with Grandmother Julia Parker, her daughter Lucy, and granddaughter Ursula was the distinction between gathering and collecting.  Am I a gatherer or a collector?

Lucy explains the valley floor-how Yosemite indians tended it and kept it free of non native plants.

Lucy explains the valley floor-how Yosemite indians tended it and kept it free of non native plants.

Am I gathering things with intention of using them in the short term or collecting things to have them for some other reason-perhaps without a specific purpose?  Often we get caught up in the collecting of things-for various reasons.  But what if we only had what we needed now- in the present?  My, the world would look so much different!

bracken fern roots were carefully dug with a digging stick, dried and prepared for basketmaking.

bracken fern roots were carefully dug with a digging stick, dried and prepared for basketmaking.

sedge grass is used in many ways in basketry- here you can see sedge, bracken fern and milkweed

sedge grass is used in many ways in basketry- here you can see sedge, bracken fern and milkweed

detail of milkweed pod- the stalk is used.  these are different than the ones i grow-

detail of milkweed pod- the stalk is used. these are different than the ones i grow-

three generations- Ursula, Julia, and Lucy.  it was a beautiful experience.

three generations- Ursula, Julia, and Lucy. it was a beautiful experience.

Lucy demonstrates working with the willow under Julia's watchful eye.

Lucy demonstrates working with the willow under Julia’s watchful eye.

some of the participants finished baskets

some of the participants finished baskets-using twining technique. tule,willow and cattail. small example of a burden basket.

Other highlights of the three days include walking through the wonderful basketry exhibit with Julia herself (i’d provide you with a link but since the federal “government” is shut down there is no link!)  Just trust me- it was fantastic and walking through it with Julia and Lucy was really wonderful.  A special visit into the roundhouse where Julia and Lucy performed a special happy dance and song along with a blessing. Sitting outside under the trees making baskets while deer wandered through and hearing stories-priceless!

And on another exciting note- the first copy of Julia’s new book  , Scrape the Willow until it Sings  was delivered to her during the workshop.  We all got to look at it and it will be available soon from Heyday Books. It looks wonderful.  I had a copy of her previous book, It will Live Forever which is a wonderful introduction to not only acorn culture in Yosemite but also includes the baskets used to gather and process the acorns into food.  She graciously signed my copy.  She will be in San Francisco Oct. 20th for a book signing if you are fortunate enough to be able to go.

A basket can hold many things- food, objects, water-even thoughts and ideas. I gathered some cattail while I was at my friends cabin.  They are drying out in the driveway on top of the car (the dogs can’t get them there).

I intend to make a cattail basket when I return from Houston mid November-and fill it with memories from this time.  To use in the garden- a gathering basket. We all gave away our first baskets as tradition dictates.

There is a lot to do now to get ready for Houston.  I don’t even know where to start today….

just somewhere i suppose.