Monday, 14 May 2012

Student's Invisible Work

Students can work for months incrementally on a shibori or weaving project at the house and when finally completed the work vanishes forthwith.  It is like pulling teeth to get it back at the house to get a decent photograph. Kamei san worked away for a few hours each week for one eternity last year in the cold half- finished broken floored center room.  The blanket and the construction came to completion within minutes of each other and then the blanket was mysteriously gone. It had been a constant in the chaos peeking from under a separate dust protecting blanket thrown over the top of the loom. After a good nettling she sent some pictures of her first twill indigo-dyed blanket with the flawlessly twisted fringe.

So many wonders come out of the indigo vat as well. In the rush of cleaning up and the excitement of having made something the piece of work seldom gets the attention it merits. Set on the table with a round of green tea with praise and observations. Taking time......some quiet silent time to observe... where the object made is the subject, not the maker or the mistakes the maker felt they made.

For the past year with the nuclear accident and then the house construction and then the tour coming the subjects have been: the disaster, the victims , the radiation , the cedar plank flooring , the necessary extra bathroom, the mysterious coming guests, the unfinished electrical wiring. Now the subject is: me, me, me. I didn't finish this. I spent too much on that. I didn't listen to instincts. I need to get this done, etc. Life is exhausting with "I" as the endless subject. Somehow a shift took place. Where is the 'caps unlock' button for this?

Maybe in observing the finished piece of indigo work on the table and figuring out why it turned out so good or why it was a bit of a flop.

Good work Kamei san. The light is playing cooly off all those indigo dips and shuttle passes.


  1. "Taking time......some quiet silent time to observe... where the object made is the subject, not the maker or the mistakes the maker felt they made."
    why does this speak to me?
    thanks for bringing it up.

    1. This seems to be the theme coming up in my life these days. After visiting the Japanese Folkcraft Museum again and seeing all those 'egoless' (Yanagi Soetsu) works of art that never bore you and hold endless allure. Too many lights and too much noise in our lives. It takes energy to stave off the flood of energy around us. Like untying knotted thread. Working with in some parameters keeps us honest and the work integral.

    2. even when one lives simply as possibly, and intentionally, one must battle the endless noise. maybe why fiber work is antidote to that.

  2. What a gorgeous textile! I love the colors and the way they are used in the pattern. Wow!

  3. How beautiful! Bryan, your words span the globe and paint pictures in my mind of a culture so different from my own. Please pass on to Kamei San my thanks for bringing beauty, wonderful colours and the magic of a far land to a cold, rainy north-east Scotland.

  4. onesmallstitch15 May 2012 at 03:09

    Kamei-san's blanket is beautiful, I hope she enjoys it for many years. Your observations on the finished work are so true, I'm often in such a rush to get the weaving off the loom and start something new it is sometimes months before I really look at the piece. Maybe this is a weaving thing? I hope the "mysterious guests" weren't too much of a shock.

  5. beautiful color, a fine, fine blanket.