Saturday, December 31, 2011

Almost Forgot...

Tonight is New Year's Eve 2011, which means tomorrow is New Year's Day 2012. So I was thinking, would anyone like to do another round of A Day in the Life of Looms again? If so, take picture/s of your loom/s on January 1 your time and post one per loom and send me a link to your post, or send me JPG file/s.

(Oooops, three of my five babies look the same today as they did at the start of this year!)

EDIT: Naked looms are beautiful!  It's not so much about us and our work, but more in appreciation to our looms.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rainy Thursday

This morning, (OK, almost midday,) I weeded and cleaned my flower pots in the rain, (because I didn't get out earlier).  I was going to start earlier but I had a wee tour of favorite book-selling sites, culling Wish Lists, and a bit of shopping around for weaving and art books.  I ended up buying one detective story from for 1p - with postage, it cost me 7.01 pounds; I put it on the list while in Japan because its translation got a favorable reviews on my fav book review TV program.  I'm enjoying buying inexpensive used books.  Did I tell you I bought four design books while in Japan for Y1 each, (Y251 including postage,) and another for Y53?

* * * * *
My homework cloth is sitting in the rain.  I've been wondering if I should put a dirty pot on top of it so it will get stained, but that felt not at all like me, so it's just sitting in the rain.   We've been warned that we're going to get terribly lot of rain, so I might have to put something on it so it won't get blown away. 

* * * * *

I found a few things relating to Randy Darwall's I hadn't been aware of: 

The First is a short radio piece from September 2009, on their local (I think) radio station. 

The second is the start of an article in Ornaments magazine from December 2010.  Then I discovered 23 issues of Orgaments magazine can be downloaded for US$3 - there is a Goddess after all!

I would love to take his workshop again sometime, perhaps in 2013.

* * * * *

Here are a couple of websites/pictures I came across in the last couple of days.

AUT is an Auckland tertiary institution.  I was particularly taken by the blue piece at the bottom; I saw a lot of lovely manufactured felt ornaments delicate shapes cut out in Japan and first I thought it was felt, but it's leather!  

The other is about a Moroccan exhibition.  Looking at the thumbnail photos at the bottom, I felt so at peace that weaving is a slow en devour, and that it's OK if I'm not a prolific weaver.

* * * * *

I've been reading "The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art" by Mark Rothko.  More accurately, I'm stuck in the long introduction by his son, editor and psychologist Christopher, who was six when Rothko died.  Mark Rothko's words were written in late 1930's/early 1940's before he arrived at his brand of abstraction, and he never finished the book.

A few Rothko links:

Christopher relates a Rome exhibition with the book (in two parts - Sister Kate has two clips as well.)

2008 The Guardian interview with Kate Rothko on the eve of Tate Modern exhibition.

Cashed 2008 The Independent interview where Christopher recalls stories about his father.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Resolutions - Do I Need One??

With my 2011 summary out of the way, (or so I decided), I've been wondering if I need to consider goals and/or resolutions for 2012. Then, this morning, I found this post by Connie Rose.   Though I love her work and would love to have a quilt piece by her, what's been puzzling me has been, "one new thing you envision for yourself or your art in 2012." 

The first thing that came to me was to not worry about the big picture and concentrate on each piece/series on hand, but in my making, I do concentrate on the piece/series on hand; it's only when  blogging that I begin to worry about the big picture, some of the time. In my making, I either have always been, am, or have become more relaxed and in-the-moment, which I may not have known until today.

Ben and I weeded a bit this morning; my lettuce patch and half of the veggie patch was cleared and some seeds sewn directly.  The task should have been done about a month ago, but that's life; we still have plenty of summer left I'm hoping we'll get some tomatoes and zucchinis in addition to quite a few varieties of red/purple lettuces.  All I need to do is water, weed and wait.    

If you didn't know, Connie has another blog; it changes name from time to time to reflect Connie's take on life, but it's a lovely place where I can check where I am in life and feel led by Connie, in knowing and not knowing why we do what we do. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Last post of the day.  With most of my Japan posts done, (I'll show you my loot when I receive my parcel,) part of me wants to get stuck right into some making, part of me still wants to linger in the not-thinking state.  Then, there is the small problem of my arms not being quite right.  Still. 

As I wrote a few days ago, Group R met at the end of November while I was still away.  The minutes, kept for my benefit because we don't them any more, says the meeting was a little low-keyed/spirited:

"We were all feeling low or slow or lethargic for various reasons and the meeting started by acknowledging our low energy levels. We talked about the limitations we place on ourselves as we work at our “art”, the expectations we set, trying to control the outcome, not wanting to fail, and how these factors were negatively influencing our ability to think of creativity as play."

Ergo the homework.  And the journal to go with it. I'm still not keen on the idea, but at lunch on Thursday, everybody else was so excited about their little pieces of cloths, I can't help but join in.  So here goes; it ends, I think, on our next meeting which is scheduled for mid-January.  The other girls will have had seven weeks with their cloth; I for three, but it's worth a try.

The Cloth Homework

December 9, 2011: Received Minutes of the November 28 meeting, which included the homework.  I am so in the Mom's Real Life mode, so not in the airy-fairy, arty-f@rty mode, that I didn't want to take part and waste my life.  But I knew that eventuality I will cave.  

December 17: Discussed the homework with Mama, and that I intended to take something back from Japan.  I had in mind an old piece of cloth stained in the rain which we dyed in the leftover Pomegranate solution, but forgot.

December 22: Group R lunch; with different degrees of initial excitement, Ronnie, Jo, Pat and Maria are enthusiastic about their cloth.  I still couldn't get excited, but when asked by Ronnie whether I'll do it also, I said yes.

December 26: An idea of what to use for the homework popped up in my mind.

December 27: Cut out my square.  This is a piece of pale pink curtain fabric I bought about 18 months ago. Back then, in Ronette's drawing class, we gessoed a whole lot of paper and cloth and drew on them.  I never liked the drawing I did on this piece of fabric, so when I culled three years of drawings in October, I soaked, bleached and washed it several times to see how far back I could "reset" the cloth This is a small piece from it. 
Side A: you can still see the yellow and purple conté I used to draw the figure.  I can't tell how much gesso came off, as the cloth still feels stiff-ish, but then it's thick-ish curtain fabric dunked in water over and over again.
Side B looks closer to the original state, telling me that gesso doesn't so much as soak into the cloth, as sits on top of one side.

I was soaking some plastic kitchen utensils in bleach this afternoon, so the cloth went in there for half an hour; no visible changes. 

I can talk the talk; I'm just not sure if I'm going to learn anything from this at the moment, though don't want to let that become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Japan - Part 11: Last Lot of Random Pics

A station named "Princess", Gifu Pref.
Gifu Castle Tower.
Where I was standing when I took the Tower pic.  Which should have warned me of things to come...
My big mistake, or adventure: The Path of Contemplation.  I chose it among the five or six paths available to come down from the castle tower because I liked the name; about 70% of the track consisted of descending steep rock face, (not like the path shown here.)  Many people had proper climbing shoes and climbing poles; I had my town sneakers on, and a water bottle and some snacks in my purse.  I grossly underestimated the serious side of Japanese walkers, but in the end, I came off the mountain unscathed and refreshed.  But late for my bullet train.
The size of your bottom...
Mom had some help moving Dad's office into the living room so he can blog and Skype from the comfort of the... living room, and so Mom can join in or look at weaving blogs.
Bye bye, my country; until next trip.

For an uneventful trip, (especially compared to Jan 2010 trip,) with a smaller-than-ever number of photos, I found quite a few I find interesting. I can't wait for my next trip to Japan so I can venture into another smaller city, wherever that will be.

Japan - Part 10: More Random Pics

An antique shop in my parents' current neighborhood.  I didn't go in, but spotted the empty silk spools outside.
Mt Fuji in the rain from the bullet train.  I took a two-night-three-day trip to Gifu Prefecture (historic Mino Region) to learn more about Oribe style pottery; Mama and I have been nuts about Oribe since we watched a wonderful documentary during my last trip.  It's a very whimsical, erratic and modern style that flourished only for one generation, and it was wonderful to learn the historical context.

In retrospect I realize I don't have any photos of true (old) Oribe ware, as local museums didn't allow photography.  When my catalogs and postcards arrive from Japan, I will post some here if I remember.  
Gifu-Hashima Station, the most underutilized (is that even what I want to say?) bullet train station in the nation.
A preserved street in Gifu City.
This house comes with its own mini shrine!
Historical dig of a 1500s (I think) fort-castle in Gifu city.
Preparing the trees for snowfall, Gifu Castle Park.
Gifu Castle Tower seen from the local train; it's the blip on the highest hill towards the right, but I could see it from miles and miles away.
1600s climbing kiln, Toki City, Gifu Pref; home of Oribe pottery.
The "feet".
Recreation of how one level of the climbing kiln would have been stacked.  The new pieces were stacked on the "feet".
Climbing kiln, exterior.
Between the Toki City Ceramic History Museum and the climbing kiln.
Spotted at the back of a smaller-than-a-whole-in-a-wall sushi shop; Tajimi City, Gifu Pref.

Japan - Part 9: More Textile Stuff

My finished piece. (Yarns discussed here.) 12.5EPI; first time I used a boat shuttle on a Rigid Heddle, but it worked well. I wished I photographed the shuttle; it was thin and long (about 30-35cm?) and most probably one of Mama's loot from Sweden last century.

I haven't decided what I want to do with the fringes.  The overall texture is soft and... frothy; I might be tempted to call it angel wing if it were white or pale blue, but the Polwarth warp gives it some heft.  The generic look is devoid of personality and reminds me of something from a low-end department store, (which I frequented while home,) partially due to the rather drab yellow/green/light brown. But I'm not dissing it, just describing. It is a color that goes with a whole lot of things I own, and it'll be a very handy piece. 

This is a cashmere piece Mama wove after we experimented with whimsical warp making almost three years ago. She wore it for a couple of seasons, and now I've pinched it.  It's not only warm and light, but has a slightly meatier feel than cashmere scarves I weave, with same/similar yarns.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Japan - Part 8: Random Pics

Train station at bottom right, the first gate to Chinatown in Yokohama in the middle. From memory the cream colored obscenity was a freeway weaving through town.
Chinese tea shop at the entrance of Chinatown.
After hours of walking up and down Chinatown in a downpour, we finally settled on this restaurant.  As  you can see, it was rather late by the time we came out.
Partition of the room where we were served.
"Beware of pushy Roasted Chestnut merchants!" an official warning from the Police.
At a fancy "fruit parlor"; one of the last outings  before Ben came home.
Fruit wholesaler (?) near Akihabara.
Aki-Oka, a new development near Akihabara Station famous for the electronic shops.  They cleaned out under the railway tracks and installed 30+ craft shops.
Our favorite; a handmade leather wallet shop.
Almost six, and learning how to wash rice from Grandma.
Hee hee.
Mt Fuji above our roof - the gray roof in the foreground is us.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Japan - Part 7: Random Pics

I've always lived in houses facing West.
A dye shop.  In the old days if you got tired of a kimono, or if you inherited one, these shops could take it apart, wash/dedye it, and dye to your taste.
A fruit shop at the bottom, residence above. 
Kitchenware shop in the neighborhood I lived until May 1970.  Ben was looking for a tea pot. 
Poultry shop Mama patronized. 
From memory, there was a veggie shop at front left, a fruit shop at front right, but the fish shop at the back is still there.
One of the three eatery I spotted which remained more or less unchanged since the mid-60's.
Two buildings.
Tofu shop; all products made at the back of the shop.
"Osozai" shop.  They sell cooked/prepared food; probably precursor to large-scale food processing companies. 
The small black building is a small warehouse well-to-do houses used to have.  I've seen these in the country, but very seldom in the cities.  This was very near where I used to live until 1970.
More future.