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a time to reflect

September 18, 2017

where do you find inspiration?

I want to share this

hear an interview with Tetsuya Noguchi

his perspective on the act of creating is deeply thoughtful

he creates detailed, miniature models of samurai

“human beings must live by the rules of their time, the world that they live in”

and believes that “good design is creating that thing that your environment calls for”

watch 73-year-old Satoshi Tachibana handstitching the intricate, detailed work of traditional armor

 look at the simple hanten? he is wearing

then there is the photo exhibit of Everett Kennedy Brown’s

“modern samurai – battling natural disasters and nuclear accidents”

his images are stunning

there is something for anyone who thinks of themselves as an artist

a lesson for all of us in this time of our history

“the idea of living for something greater than yourself”




more paper

September 17, 2017

several hours a day have been spent in the garden

tidying up, pruning, composting etc.

starting first thing in the morning

 stopping when I simply couldn’t bend over one more time

and today when it started to rainthe bees are enjoying the Autumn crocus

I lined the shifu bag with indigo dyed paper

and because it seemed a shame to waste all the cut ends

a little paper tassel seem an appropriate finishing touch

once I started making woven squares it was hard to stop

a kami-ito nine patch – about the closest I will come to quilting

the dark ones are dyed with sumi ink

the center square is woven with a secret message

Japanese paper covers the back and makes a tidy edging

binder clips came in handy

the roses are made with paper shopping bags

what next?


playing with paper

September 14, 2017

the kami-ito stash

making paper thread is addictive

I cut the paper with a T-square

it took me ages to figure this out

it makes the process so much quicker and more accurate

I use a Olfal knife with break-off blades

in the first picture you can see how the blade fits into the handle and moves up with the button

just break off one section of the blade with pliers for a nice new sharp blade

when I first started working with shifu, at Kawashima in 1987

I bought the knife and a package of extra blades – still going strong!

the handle fits in the hand comfortably and reduces wrist/hand strain

still available to order on-line

  weaving on my old weave-it loom is much easier than my “nails on a board”

the thread could be a bit thicker

in the early morning sun

I stitched four squares together with paper thread to make a little bag

the stiff paper thread makes it three-dimensional

the squares are also good to make flower pins

and a knitted sample

you have to be careful as the thread doesn’t have any elasticity

but the knitted piece is very stretchy

this thread has been dyed with sumi ink

having fun
































September morn

September 8, 2017

finally, after a very dry summer

we had a light sprinkling of rain

the hardy cyclamen are popping up all over

weaving is progressing slowly

but that is o.k. as I’m busy spinning silk weft for the second scarf

book pages for this month are started

why did I weave such a bright page?

what to do?

I used stamps sent from Velma

 they weren’t very clear on the woven fabric

so I chain stitched over them

and on the facing page a flowery colour wheel

the box is a very old cigar humidor that my mother kept her embroidery threads in

have you ever had one of those brilliant ideas

that isn’t quite so brilliant when it comes to doing it?thank goodness I at least tried sampling

a heart shape woven with cotton carpet warp – used for arashi shibori so it is indigo dyed

but the pattern is wonky (that is the best word I can think of)

and I strung the first threads horizontally

make a new pattern, pull out the nails and start over

test sample – again – with shifu/paper thread

think I’ve lost the original enthusiasm

more success with this orchid I’ve been nurturing for 3 years

nature is always perfect


simple pleasures

September 3, 2017

a family dinner at our favorite pizza place

 Friday night before a holiday weekend and the place was packed

watching the cooks make pizza at breakneck speed – sitting in front of the wood fired oven

yes Velma, our favorite waiter was there, working hard

for years the grands have delighted in measuring their growth against grandmother

who is that little old lady – I don’t recognize her!

it was so hot at the Saanich Fair yesterday

I almost forgot to take pictures

it took all my energy to just keep going – and stop for drinks along the way

at an old-fashioned country fair produce still holds an honored place

look at the size of those onions!

and the flowers were beautiful

I think this was the first year book arts had a separate category

I took these pictures for Velma

hard to believe it is already September

and the kids are preparing to go back to school

sweet sixteen

September 1, 2017


remember to shoulder check!

now you can drive four wheels

set-up and judging day at the Saanich Fall Fair

opening tomorrow

  Saturday Sept., 2 – Mon. Sept. 4

what is this Needle Arts stuff – where’s Mom, she said she wouldn’t be long

she’s talking again

who is getting the rosette?

oh, well done Helen

I’ve just received my copy of Hand Papermaking

Summer 2017 – which I ordered ‘specially because…

it has 2 articles by Velma Bolyard – one with a paper and shifu thread sample

an article on hanji by Aimee Lee

and another article on hanji written by Dorothy Field

Dorothy lives in Victoria, I have known her for many years and have taken one of her workshops

and have several of her books

lovely to see all three in print



slow works

August 27, 2017

this sashiko pattern was a pleasure to stitch

it is called Shippo-Tsunagi or linked flower crests

the stitching is done in lengthwise chains

working rhythmically, back and forth, from right to left

not in circles as one might expect and the stitching goes quite quickly

the weavers are back to work

inside and out

inlay on plain weave

it is going more quickly than I expected

the warp is all handspun

2 ply silk and camel with a contrasting thread of 2 ply quivet and 120/2 silk

(still working on the stash!)

the inlay is also handspun silk

very fine, so as not to distort the fabric

production weaving is not my “thing”

I love getting my fingers in the threads

and constantly thinking what comes next

while pruning the grape-vine I left a pile of leaves in the sun for a couple of days

fantastic colour scheme – would make a wonderful warm, wooly blanket

and a lucky find at the secondhand shop

two lacquerware sake cups, never used, still in their original boxes

few people here understand the craft and think it is plastic

the selling price is ridiculous