Friday, 15 November 2013

Japanese Indigo Vat In Vancouver

Monday, 11 November 2013

Exhibition at Diana Sanderson's Silk Weaving Studio in Vancouver.

I went to Vancouver for a month to have a small exhibition of some recent work at my friend Diana's gallery.

 Busy with carpentry work and workshops and teaching, there is never the time for creative work like the good old days. Having the exhibition made me focus on a practical use for the knits from the old knitting machines. The thread is linen paper thread knit on the sock knitter and then stencilled dyed with indigo and persimmon dye. They were well received and it always feels good to have people truly interested in what you make. 

I collected hundreds of old Japanese tenugui towels and painstakingly dyed them every sunny summer morning in the persimmon tannin. I sewed them together to remotely resemble old Buddhist Kessas. A friend made the boxes for each individual piece. They are humorous and funky. I hope Gale and friends  wear them for years, and leave them over the back of a chair for you guests to enjoy on chilly evenings by a campfire.

I've never been interested in showing my work outside the house. Any exhibition I've had somehow just happened for some other reason. Always someone else's idea and I end up thinking...'What am I doing this for?" I guess it is for amusements sake. 

Watching customers come into the gallery and listening to their conversations is interesting. Of course you can hear some truly idiotic comments and sort of fantasize about a trap door that would drop them directly into the ocean below.  The comments that make you fear for the future of humanity and cringe at the contracted consciousness of a strutting mean-eyed mother giving shopping advice to her daughter, "In a few years you can start to buy handmade scarves but you should always  think of them as an investment in your future."

But for the most part, I met warm and wonderful clear-eyed expansive people with heart-melting smiles and kind comments. I came back from Vancouver with a fuzzy warm feeling for all the people I met at the exhibition and workshops and around the city. I had time to strike up conversations everywhere I went. Sadly, I rarely have time in Japan to do that. 

It was great to meet up with dear old friends. Elizabeth and I lived under the same roof and studied painting together 20 years ago in Japan. To sit for a few hours with beer and catch up on all that life has thrown at us and we've enjoyed. Magical. Thank you all for dropping by the exhibition.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Ikebana Class for Autumn Workshop

Today Hiro taught the autumn workshop students ikebana upstairs.  I was hanging around watching how each person approached the work. Earlier in the day I had primed everyone with a few books on the subject.  I was almost moved to tears a few times watching how everyone concentrated so earnestly and almost childlike at a new world on the table in front of them.
An autumn walk to the local mountain udon shop was dreamlike. We were each in our own world and at the same time enjoying our time together. A few hours later everyone gave Japanese flower arranging a try. I could almost hear the newly configured gears slip into place with trepidation oiled with good faith.

William, Justin, Lauren, Dani, Makoto, Jen, Ann, Kathy and Hiro at the noodle shop for lunch. So fresh, talented and so beautiful..... thank you for being here.