Frustrated. That’s how my husband felt after he spent an evening with friends attempting to describe my art work. He asked my why I couldn’t just do something that was easy to describe. My biggest cheerleader and I never gave him a clue as to what my work was all about, what my motivation and most especially the Japanese vocabulary!
So here goes, dear:
Most basically my work is The Four Seasons (shiki, 四季) presented on cotton fabric (men, 綿) hanging scroll style (kakejiku, 掛け軸). Each season’s motif, such as sakura or momiji, is hand crocheted (kagibariami, かぎ針編み) and a unique scene is created on each scroll combining the motifs with embroidery thread. I paint with thread and yarn.
Starting Oct 16, I and 7 other artists here in the Tokyo area will be showing at the Hagiso gallery in the Yanaka neighborhood next to Nippori Train Station.
My Four Seasons Hanging Scroll Project is finally coming to fruition. Lots of fun little sakura, colorful summer flowers, multiple colors of momiji and white snowflakes are the core of my project exploring the updating of my personal internal clock since moving here to Japan.
Markers of time such as Thanksgiving, Tax Day and Halloween are not observed here in Japan so I needed to find a new clock. Japan celebrates the fleeting, ephemeral beauty of nature. Every month there is a new flower in peak bloom or the momiji are turning colors.
Yes, he owed me big for this one. Words would not suffice this time, only actions. We’ve been married for almost 12 years so I know what would be pure torture for him, the most odious task on the planet. I made him do this horror breakfast, lunch and dinner that day. What task could I have my husband successfully do for the first time in our lives that felt so wonderful to me?
Seriously, he has never successfully cooked a meal for me, ever!
Until yesterday :)
It was just a cup of tea and frozen pizza and I had to show him how to use the oven, a Japanese Denshi Range, but he did it!
Normally I do all the cooking and baking from scratch, while less expensive, can be time consuming and soul-zapping as it isn’t my fav activity. His cooking yesterday freed up my time and thoughts to work on my upcoming group show at Hagiso Gallery in Tokyo. I got an amazing amount of work done! Each panel is planned out already with a few more crocheted flower motifs and a LOT more crocheted snowflakes, the show will be a beautiful!
I know it will be a long time coming before my husband will need to pay a heavy price to please me so I am grateful for the chance to simply work as long as the inspiration is there vs only the time between meals.
Now I wonder what I should make for dinner after I bake this loaf of Blueberry Banana Bread?
In June, yet again, I found myself moving…Move #27 arrived the same day I left on a 3-week trip through Thailand and Bali with 3 amazing women.
By nightfall on moving day the stress of boxes and packing paper quickly changed to the stress of international airline travel and the airplane morphed into my new studio. With a de-stash acquisition of a thin blue 99%wool/1%nylon yarn, my newest project became a simple scarf. Simple, Meditative, with a quiet pattern. Narrow, at only 4 inches (10cm) but with a plan to make it as long as I had yarn with which to crochet, it became an easy companion.
This scarf was the best option for a busy backpacker style tour through Thailand; small enough to fit in a small protective zip bag, simple enough to not worry about a complicated pattern and crushable to stuff into my small suitcase.
While I didn’t finish this scarf on the trip, that’s a good thing. Thailand and Bali were so wonderful and the so food amazing that I was too busy to complete it!
Upon my return to Tokyo I hit the ground running to find a new place to live and didn’t get back to working on the scarf until this past week. The original idea for this scarf came from one of my favorite, albeit, expensive yarn shops in Shibuya, La Droguerie. A narrow knitted scarf/necklace with bead work on the ends was exactly what my stressed out self needed to get through all this moving and traveling around.
While the crochet work has been finished I still call it a Work in Progress because I have yet to get to the store to choose the beaded end pieces. I’d like to expand upon the idea of just to searching for a nice clip to attach whatever the user may need to keep handy. Items such as keys, stitch markers, an ID tag…What might you like to keep handy at the end of your scarf?
Our neighbors have a big Mickey Mouse topiary in their front yard that has been begging for a Minnie Mouse white polka-dotted red bow.
Thanks to a quick trip to a nearby Yuzawaya I found the perfect shade of red and made quick work constructing the piece. A bit of 100% acrylic Minnie Mouse red yarn, a bit of white lace thread for the dots, red copper wire to retain its form and a bit of green colored copper wire to attach it to the shrub forehead and I was done.
It took a couple of days to find a good time to place this site specific piece surreptitiously as we live on a street with a lot of pedestrian traffic. Now that it is placed I see it is a bit smaller than I’d like at approx 30cm x 13cm x 5cm. Unfortunately, the shrub is around the corner from our place and I won’t be able to see my neighbor’s moment of discovery. I’ve never even met them as we are new to the area.
Now I’m curious to see how long it will last. Will the neighbor remove it? Or leave it in place and trim the Mickey/Minnie Topiary? Or will a passerby remove it for themselves?
About a year and a half ago, still horribly jet-lagged from an overseas trip, I attended a BBQ hosted by a coworker of my husband’s. I didn’t know anyone that was there and of course there was a lot of shop talk and gossip so my cranky, jet-lagged self just pulled out a bit of crochet work to complete while I simply listened.
I didn’t realize my work on a simple dishcloth would draw so much attention including that of our host, Akiko. She asked to learn and we met at a nearby coffee shop the next week. Our first crochet session was the completion of a small round coaster and the start of a really sweet friendship.
We met most Mondays, sometimes Wednesdays and each worked on our respective crochet projects. In this all too short 18 months, it has been amazing to see her progress from a beginner to an expert through persistence and patience. We are both moving away from this area and will no longer be able to sit at Tully’s together while completing rows and rows of lacework.
She gifted me one of her most amazing pieces to date and I am so very, very happy she was brave enough to approach this very cranky crocheter that October day. I will miss our sessions so very much,
Thank You Akiko for being such a wonderful friend!
She completed this very large doily, approx 12″ across, in the smallest of lace thread!
I bought this lovely cashmere hooded sweater in a nice neutral off white. It will go with everything! Yes, it does go with everything and is wonderfully warm in the cool air conditioning but it is also an ever so boring neutral off white.
My lovely but boring sweater was an empty cashmere canvas in which to add my own crochet design work. Mixing and matching a couple of crochet edging designs I had along with a coordinating off white #20 sized lace thread, beige satin ribbon, and a sweet variegated yarn of pinks, greens, and golds this addition adds a bit of me to a simple manufactured sweater.
The thin variegated yarn is in the same color spectrum as many of my other clothes and am happy that my hand crocheted addition of lace edging still goes with just about everything I already own
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