June 1, 2016 Japan

Hiroshima Taxi drivers polishing their cars while they wait for fares, lace seat covers bright white in the sun. Crows cruise the sky over Hiroshima. It’s a strange sight. Ominous to me, nothing new to the locals. Promenade of Peace is a tree-filled, narrow park between hotels, offices, and a main road. It has a…

May 31, 2016 Japan

Kyoto to Hiroshima Aizenkobo Dye Shop – The dyer Mr. Utsuki is kindly, enjoys teaching, very relaxed and happy to share. He treated me with kindness. His wife said the scarf I picked out was a “firefly” design. Husband said no, no. It’s “beating heart”, 35 year old design. Still new. I like it very…

October 27, 2014 Houston, TX

Houston House Building (Airbnb) – 2014 Houston International Quilt Market At night, looking out over a flat, glittering city. Feeling oddly settled now that I know my way around this part of Houston from walking miles and miles of circles through it every day. Knowing this building isn’t going to crumble in an earthquake is…

May 22, 2013 Japan

On the Ginza line heading to Asakusa Trains are efficient, clean, and feel more spacious than the Underground, but not as smooth as British trains. Prices aren’t bad. BART could learn a lot: Destinations are shown lit up on a sign above each door. Racks for baggage above seats. A little song plays before doors…

May 20, 2013 Japan

Koyata Okonogi-san’s silk worm farm He uses an older breed of silkworm from the Edo era to reproduce finer quality silk. Lime is sprinkled on the worms and leaves to keep them dry. Noriko is his apprentice. Awareness of how alive textiles are here. From raising silkworms and spinning the silk to tending the indigo…

May 18, 2013 (part 2) Japan

Itchiku Kubota Museum Wayside flowers = tsujigahana “I want my textiles to tell a story. I will discover new techniques.” – Ichiku Kubota Gold work on kimono “Ou” c. 2002 #17 in exhibit – At least four types of thread. Bricked and sometimes top outlined. Thin and thick bands, gold and silver. Kimono colors gold…

May 18, 2013 Japan

Isobe, Gunma, Japan If there is space to stand, there is space to put a garden. If there is space for a stone monument, there will be a cemetery. Side by side out here in the country, stones and flowers comfort the living and the dead. Things you find at a shrine: salt and water;…

May 14 & 15, 2013 Japan

Traveling with The Silk Experience tour Day 1 On the bus. Cemeteries so compact, rice fields everywhere, so green with trees. Our group is like a flock of birds, chirping, settling down, taking off again. 10 am the sun is breaking through. Walls along the highway cut off most neighborhood views. Tile roofs, electrical wires…

Nov. 11, 2012 Cardiff, Wales

Sunday in the pub, Cardiff There’s a pervasive loneliness to solo travel. I’m the sort of person who makes off-handed comments to strangers all the time, but here I feel out of my depth. Everyone seems so settled, not interested in chatting with a somewhat scruffy stranger. I suppose I’m much the same as them…