Sunday, 30 June 2013

Koishimaru Silkworms

Those little guys are now this big and almost ready to make cocoons. Momo and Geiger were being guardpuppers this afternoon.

There is still a big bag of cocoons unreeled in the fridge. Their aunt's and uncle's hard work being reeled. Destiny awaits you friends.

The tea harvest is over and most of the tea hedges have been trimmed back for next year's harvest. One reason for the holes in the blog.

Mini's Three Month Indigo Adventure

Mini from Singapore left last weekend after spending three months here at the house. It was such a sad goodbye. We had so many experiences during her stay. Living under the same roof she could see all the chaos and fun and hard work that goes on around here so that things look and run smooth when guests and students are here. She wrote and asked to stay and seemed so earnest that I accepted.  I've had several emails asking me to stay at the house and study indigo and silk processes and I had always refused. I couldn't get a clear idea of the general mechanics of a long-term stay. I am comfortable with it now. Mini was soo easy. She is a designer and had a clear idea of what she wanted to achieve. She was easy to talk too. She took initiative and progressed. Aghh... Mini we miss you and are proud of all your hard work and progress. You must be back at work in Singapore. Think of us sometimes and the Geiger and the Momo are waiting for you to come back and visit.


Mini cut these two stencils using the leaf trace technique.

They dyed beautifully. Mini has a light touch, feminine look to her work and it came out in her shibori and stencils.

We set up this gorgeous warp of persimmon dyed silk and indigo dyed linen. Henri, Mini and I wove it up and made these drawstring Japanese bags after kumihimoing the actual drawstrings. 

Mini, your shibori work was sublime. 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Raising Silkworms in Japan: Year Sixteen.

There is too much work to do around the house. There are too many things to prepare for the autumn. It would have been good to give silkworms a break this year. Focus on more important things. I've never raised less than 2500 silkworms at a time. A few lots of 25 000. That takes a good five weeks of concentrated effort to do perfectly. There would be a hole in the seasonal rhythm of life here if there were no silkworms and cocoons so I limited the amount to a few hundred this spring. Gathering a few leaves instead of a few branches is anticlimactic. (And in  a few weeks time, a few branches instead of a few truck loads of mulberry every morning.)
Silkworms, cocoons, reeling silk and dyeing and weaving the thread have been central to my life for the past 16 years. It is very sad to put this on simmer on the back burner for a year or so. The knit studio in Atsugi is slowly coming into focus. There are only so many hours in a day.  The indigo seedlings are almost ready for transplanting to the (immaculately clean, thank you Daphne, Cameron, Tim, Anneke, Ken and friends for your meticulous weeding and tilling.) indigo field.