Shibori & Gyotaku

Shibori is the topic, of course. In many respects, the topic’s covered. It has been for 400 years or more. I don’t know that I can add to the knowledge, but I’m part of the pool. There are a lot of us out there who are “addicted” to the processes, colors and personal exploration. Every person comes do it differently and that’s the fun.

I started by teaching it informally to friends. Now I teach it through United Arts, or to my own language classes as a bit of culture, or at Artspace in the summers. I’m teaching other things as well. I did a unit on Japanese kite making last spring, so I added that to my UA workshops as well as fish printing (gyotaku).

In February, I worked with close to 400 elementary students (grades 3-5) over a series of 5 days. I was there every other day, between my regular classes at my own school. I’m not used to the age, but they were so attentive and then really got into it with zest. Their sensei requested that they make hachi maki (head wraps) with the gyotaku as the imagery on them. If the paint wasn’t too thick they dried quickly enough that most could be worn by the end of the class. Even if they were a little wet, some still wore them.

Earlier this month, I did a shibori workshop with art classes at my own school. The students worked with cotton and silk, dyeing not only pieces for use in other projects later, but scarves and shirts as well. They didn’t really catch the fever until they unwrapped them from their bindings. Some really fell in love with them. Those are the moments.

This weekend was the first time in quite a while that I’ve been able to think about my own work. I finally started focusing on a piece to enter the instructor’s exhibit at Artspace later this spring. I need at least 2, to give me some flexibility.

Apart from that, a book called Koe ni Dashite Yomitai Nihongo (Japanese that I want to Read aloud) arrived. It came with a CD and I was up past midnight last night listening to it. Completely in Japanese, it’s an eclectic collection of excerpts from ancient to modern Japanese literature as well as tongue twisters and a piece of Rakugo called Jugemu, that I had my level 2s memorize this year.

I’ve meandered, but I think it’s clear that this blog will have many different threads weaving through. It isn’t quite what I had in mind with my title though. I’ll tackle that another day. It’s late and I’ve missed my segment of Atsuhime on NHK tonight. I’ll have to watch it later.

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