Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Perfect Indigo Stitches

Blue is the title of the Joni Mitchell album from 1971. It is the top female music album on the Rolling Stone magazine Top 500 Albums of All Time list. I've played it one zillion times.

"The Blue album, there's hardly a dishonest note in the vocals," Joni Mitchell told Rolling Stone in 1979. "At that period of my life, I had no persona defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world, and I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy." With song after song of regrets and sorrow, this may be the ultimate breakup album. Its whispery minimalism is also Mitchell's greatest musical achievement. Stephen Stills and James Taylor lend an occasional hand, but in "California," "Carey," "This Flight Tonight" and the devastating title track, Mitchell sounds utterly alone in her melancholy, turning the sadness into tender, universally powerful art.

It is the work of a genius. Why? Well because there is, hardly a dishonest note on the album.

The edges of Serge's last linen piece had holes in them from opening the shibori tied linen roughly when it was wet.  He asked me how to fix them. I started sewing precisely with some store-bought cotton thread. I stopped. Thinking about perfection. No. It wasn't right. He was asking me questions about how and why to repair textiles. I couldn't answer in textile talk so I answered in music talk. (We both play the guitar.)

"Think of Joni Mitchell Blue. There is not a single dishonest stitch or weaving pass on this piece of linen you dyed. The dyeing is perfect. My stitching stinks. It is the dishonest note on the fabric."

I took out the stitches quickly before there were any trumpets blaring and clouds opening and angels appearing, found some handmade indigo dyed linen and stitched it up with honest stitches. Safe.

This year I hope not to backslide too much.

You can listen to the full album on youtube:

I haven't posted the information for the spring workshop in a while. I have some openings as a few participants are opting for the autumn 2013 workshop.

Spring Indigo Workshops in Japan:


  1. I keep hearing how important mistakes are,as you make your way toward perfection....
    Happy New Year!

  2. hang on to that thought...!

  3. a new co-worker asked me what kind of music i like and i faltered and he said, "oh let me guess: joni mitchell. of course you do!" blue is special. one friend at work in my mill said to me: "you're a good teacher. you let me make mistakes." what could be better than a blue mistake?

  4. Oh, blue is the color of the sky, the depth of the sea...perfection in itself.
    I love your blue honest stitches, the breath of the cloth.

  5. blue -- the album -- is also one of my all-time favorites. So good to reflect on honesty in all we make.

  6. And I a bazillion times...had a white cat named Blue. A Case of You will always slay me. I am
    working on a year where mistakes are beautiful with no apologies for any of it.

  7. This is amazing work, that makes it a such wonderful master piece in textile work.
    Thanks fr sharing with us.
    Japan Tufter Carpet and Rug Market Report