Uniquely Dyed Textile Art by Fujisaki Hitoko

Now showing through Sunday, April 13, 2014, Fujisaki Hitoko’s uniquely dyed textile art works are at the AC Gallery in Ginza, Tokyo. I found Fujisaki-san to be very personable, amazingly talented, and her show to be worth the trip to Ginza.

IMG_0390 These beautiful earth tones from the palest of sakura pinks to the rich terra-cotta reds are all obtained naturally using dirt. Yes, really, she uses dirt to delicately dye textiles of all kinds.

A fun fiber she weaves in one of her looms is coffee filters. IMG_0388They take the colors beautifully as you can see in this traditional geta, titled Spring. Her amazing dyed textiles are constructed into bags, jewelry and more.

Stop by AC Gallery in Ginza to see her work soon! Show ends Sunday.


Japanese Ceramic Art Appreciation – John Dix

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a ceramic workshop with John Dix at Shiro Oni Studios in Gunma Prefecture here in Japan. John Dix has been living here in Japan for the past 20 years studying and perfecting his Japanese ceramic techniques so I was excited to learn about another creative medium from an expert.

The last time I played with clay was to create an ashtray in 3rd grade art class so I haven’t understood what is so great about the uniquely raw, highly coveted, highly priced traditional Japanese ceramics. Now I do!

IMG_0329Using 100% Japanese clays and traditional Japanese wood firing techniques in an oven he built, John Dix explained how the glaze on the fired ceramic pieces is naturally occurring during the firing and not an addition ‘painted’ on as I did to the ashtray in 3rd grade. Much of the color and glaze patterning is really completely up to chance. His oven is completely filled with finished cups and other vessels and is only fired up 3 or 4 times each year. That’s a lot left to chance! 3 – 4 months worth of work at a time is fired and wood needs to be added at approximately 15 minute intervals 24 hours a day until the firing is completed.

We watched him create few smaller pieces. IMG_0330

Starting with a bottomless bowl and the side sliced open, he showed how a huge sushi platter is created. IMG_0333

Then explained what would most likely happen during the firing…

IMG_0337 IMG_0339

My first ceramic vessel using the “pinch pot” technique.IMG_0342

IMG_0343 My friend, Lori, was more creative in the shaping of her pinch pot.

A cup created from using two pieces of clay and scoring the edges for a tight fit.IMG_0344

IMG_0345 Design Fail: I attempt to get fancy by pressing a Sakura Doily into a cup to create an interesting design within. Clearly this was beyond my skill so instead I rolled the cup into a tube and sliced off round pieces which I made into buttons to hopefully use with my crochet designs.

The firing for our pieces will be during Golden Week, at the beginning of May. So check back in May to see the fiery results!

Stitch Swap Score!

De-Clutter. Stash Down. De-Stash. Organizing. Which ever you do to remove the old, unwanted items from your studio, you know it feels great when you’ve unloaded those extras.

Our local stitch groups held a really, really free Stitch Swap to help each other with a bit of spring cleaning. Some members are moving back to their home country so we all had a good selection and a great opportunity to try out new yarns and supplies.

I was able to unload several books and a big, bunch of extra crochet hooks I had laying around. We all tell ourselves that we won’t pick anything up but seriously, I know better. I always have a running list of items I’d like to purchase on my next trip to my local craft store so if the item was already on my list, then it was ok to pick up. Plus, I only brought a small backpack to ensure I didn’t have room for much more than I brought :)

So how did I do? Weight-wise I came out ahead, I took heavier items and returned with much smaller lighter-weight items.

Just last week I was wondering how weird I would look to pick up one of each color of embroidery floss from the huge bank of DMC & Lucien drawers of floss colors. I’ve saved myself the embarrassment by picking up a big messy, ball of floss.

IMG_0317After an hour of organizing I am now the proud owner a huge rainbow of floss colors!


IMG_0320A piece of leather and buttons in just the right colors to enhance my art book ideas.

Sparkly Star felt and plain felt for a SuperStar Sewer project.IMG_0326

IMG_0327Purple. I just can’t resist Purple.

Embroidery Floss neatly organized for storage or my next project: IMG_0321