Thursday, 17 May 2018

Time is contagious.

I held four workshops at the farmhouse so far this spring. I have a few week break to harvest tea and catch my breath.

The first three workshops were the regular introduction to indigo use in Japanese textiles. Wonderful easy-going friendly participants. It actually snowed one day in the first workshop. We had a few participants from the southern hemisphere who were really excited to see snow for the first time.

The last workshop was a two-week hanten jacket making course. All eight members were back for the second time or more. It was just wonderful to have a group of eight intelligent talented women at the house.  Special thanks to you Molly, Melissa, Camilla, Harriet, Jacky, Jo, Alex and Sophie. Looking through the pictures this afternoon I was overwhelmed with the hundreds of moments you captured. The house and gardens. The food. The cats and Momo. The indigo dyeing. The construction of the jackets. The immense immense amount of creative effort. Just brilliant. Thank you all. Thank you.

We were all exhausted by the end of two weeks. Sorry.

The mountains and trees transformed day by day.

Busy days. It takes effort to take time to appreciate the transformations around the house. What a show. It is beyond words.

On a sad note...

Many of you have spent time at the magical Noguchi stencil studio with me in Hachioji. 
Mrs Noguchi has been a friend for twenty years. It seems like time stands still in that place. Her friendly no nonsense sturdiness. She was there one day as always greeting and lending a hand, hospitalised the next day. I went to visit her and she looked perfectly fine. We laughed and joked and  teased each other as we have for twenty years.  She went a few days later. Pancreatic cancer.

Her husband and children and grandchildren are in shock. I took the hanten making course there last week and there was a sombreness that hurt our eyes in the hash afternoon light. There was a wistfulness as the day wore on. It was a tough day with everyone working on different jacket projects. I think the husband and son were relieved to have some structure again. No time yet to grieve. Still in shock. We will miss you Fumiko Noguchi.

Some pictures from the hanten making course. Thank you all for the cluster photos. My apologies for not crediting each picture. 

I am so proud of the work produced by you all.

Your storage cubbies waiting for you.

What are we going to make? That first attempt to get it across.

Thank you for helping plant some indigo, safflower and cotton. It is all up now.

I love you all behaving so inconspicuously like the Japanese on the train...

That hot morning at the antique market.

We bought so much stuff we had to box it up and send it by special delivery back to the house.

Our lovely Yazaki san with endless patience. 

And those beautiful jackets came together almost magically.

Each of these individual pictures deserves a story. The days of spring just overwhelm us with beauty and all these flowers and people have such special stories to tell. 


  1. Hello hello dear B,
    As always, I'm happy to see you're still alive and kicking and making beautiful things and spreading the gospel of indigo. I'm very sorry to read about the passing of Fumiko Noguchi. I have so many good memories of learning and making at their place. I hope you'll post more regularly in the future so I can get my eye candy fix. Who knows when I'll be in Japan again? *cries Anyway, best wishes to everyone at the farmhouse.

  2. so very sorry to hear about Mrs. Noguchi, she was such a strong, quiet presence for those of us fortunate to visit her home/family,life. My condolences to her family. Nice to see Yazaki sensei hasn't given up on all the gaijin. Take care, don't work too hard.

  3. Hi Bryan,
    So sorry to hear of Fumiko's passing. So sudden and a shock for you all. I LOVE the pictures of the hantens. I am just starting two more and am so inspired and will do something very different this time. This was a very talented bunch of people. I am resuming semi-e painting again with a Japanese tutor/friend here.
    Claudia F.

  4. I'm feeling sad for Noguchi san. I still remember her quiet presence. This song for you Bryan (I Grieve, Peter Gabriel)
    With love, Jill

  5. Hanten love. Sorry to hear about Fumiko san. I still have your tea from 2014. Green spring southern Swedish breeze, hugs Lena

  6. Claire Gaffney23 May 2018 at 16:12

    These pictures bring back great memories, very sorry to hear about Fujino san. That was my fabric pictured above that she helped us dry that day when the tray and coals were brought out because the weather was too cold and damp to dry our rice paste designs ready for dyeing. Amazing experience, thank you x