Tuesday, July 15, 2008

By Water and By Air

This is a river near our house.  
I'm going to miss this tall buddy the next few weeks!  I am flying to VT tomorrow morning which means I have way to much to do before Mikel and I drive to Nagoya after school today.   I will try to get some blogging action in while I'm gone!  I can't wait for some time to relax, talk a LOT in English, and see family and friends.  I need to rejuvenate my creative spirit and get out of this sweltering Japanese summer humidity.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


The beading workshop was a total success yesterday!  

Mikel and I were giddy with relief and excitement when it was all through.  I had a total of 15 people with three very crafty boys in that group.  The most important thing I learned was that I love teaching workshops! 

Mikel and I were a little late arriving at the building for the workshop (due to a little flea market shopping and some seriously fast scarfing of Indian food with Sarah at our favorite restaurant in Matsumoto).  Although the last minute scrabble for a DVD player and to organize all of my materials was stressful, many people arrived late anyway so I started my presentation at a really good time.  Mikel made coffee, we set out snacks including some vegan chocolate cake and blueberry scones we had baked, and got down to some beading fun.

I learned a lot about the range of abilities in a workshop class.  I had some very beginner beaders and some people who have beaded before but maybe not using the techniques I taught.  I had people who asked really great questions, people who could learn best from my "idea book" (which worked a little like a manual).  Some beaders kept to themselves but created amazing designs in their four hours of focus.  I think everyone was excited about what they had made in the end.  The best moments are when people suddenly understand something new and get a certain look of excitement and pride on their faces.  I love it!

I was nervous for the workshop, of course!  It was my first one and there were a lot of unknowns.  The funny thing is that Mikel was WAY more nervous that I was.  He was a really nice guy and tried to hide it from me (although his nervous silence made the air as thick as pudding on the way up to Matsumoto). It was really great how the stress just melted off of him by the end so that we were both maniacs with excitement during our "parking lot picnic" after the workshop.
What a relief and an accomplishment!  
I am so proud of myself for trying this new experience out in Japan.  It took a lot of hard work but now I can just relax and start packing for my trip to Vermont next week.  I could not have done it without the help of Sarah Kissler (who is in the middle of getting ready to move back to Canada from Japan) and Mikel who proves to be the best assistant and technical support anyone could want.  
Thanks Sarah and Mikel!!!!!

I am really excited for my next workshop, but for now, I need a break!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Brainstorms and Eye Ooze

Here is another commission from Ashley!  
I hope she likes it.  The fabric sewn onto the felt is from old kimonos.  She gave me a list of colors she likes as well as two artists to look at (Julie Peppito and Kristaraak). I recently got a simple kit to attach snaps to any fabric as well as an easy grommet pincher (I don't think that's the real name...)  I think I am addicted to attaching metal to fabric.  I like the ease and the contrast of texture.  
My workshop on Sunday will center around beading cuffs.  I want to concentrate on learning through basic stitch guidance and experimentation, and I want to discuss and try out ways of brainstorming to find or clarify ideas for any project.  I will also talk about my use of an "idea book" (or sketch book) in my art practice and provide the class with booklets full of "how-to's", space for collecting ideas, and thoughts on beading.  Of course I will have lots of specific tips and techniques for beading, but in general, it is the creative process that I find most important, more than skills.  Through the creative process we acquire skills.  It is part of the creative process of my students that they are joining my class.
For now, I am attempting to load things onto my website through the e-mail tutorial of my lovely, computer-savvy husband.  I hope it doesn't make my eyeballs ooze out of my head.  At least it's Friday!!

Here's where I ate lunch on Wednesday in Nagano-Shi.