Creating kimonos by hand, day one

I’ve spent a couple of years deconstructing kimonos. I wondered what it would be like to make a kimono. I found the perfect class at the Workshop Residence in San Francisco. These photos are from the first day of the four day workshop.

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Tsuyo Onodera has devoted fifty years of her life to the art of kimono making in Japan, having trained hundreds of students to become licensed kimono makers during five year long apprenticeships at her school in Sendai, Japan. She serves as the president of Miyagi Kimono Association, and in 1982 invented Mai Yamato, a pre-tied kimono and obi system.

Collaborating in Onodera’s Workshop Residence project is her daughter, Sonoma based artist Maki Aizawa. Maki grew up in her mother’s kimono making school surrounded by creativity, studying floral arranging, calligraphy and studying the musical instrument the Koto.


Light and honor the dark season with artmaking

 Light and honor the dark season with artmaking

New and updated classes at Kitsune Community Art Studio

Intergenerational accordion art book making

The Senior Coastsiders hosted my 2nd book making class offered in Half Moon Bay. Open to all ages with first class spots reserved for elders, we ended up with a mix of ages. Two women brought their daughters.

I first taught how to make the hard covers and how to integrate that with the accordion folded pages. Then the participants took off running, using collaging materials, pens, pencils, sequins, magazines to embellish their interior pages.

Everyone created something special. One woman created a memory book for a sick friend.

I especially enjoyed watching the mother/daughter interaction. What a wonderful way for them to spend a couple of hours together.

I look forward to offering more book making classes soon.

Happenings at Kitsune Community Art Studio, March/April

Kitsune Community Studio had a bit of a break, but things are getting rolling again.
I am expanding to conduct some talks and classes in other locations. So I hope to see you in some of these venues too. I’m planning an open studio evening in April and I’ll keep you posted!

Book Club Alive and Kicking! It’s the one year birthday of our club! This has been truly inspirational in getting many of us reading again.

Our next meeting is 3/10, 7pm in Half Moon Bay
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
“Instead of celebrating the mystical side of “sensitives,” the people who travel England’s contemporary psychic “fayre” circuit, Mantel (A Change of Climate, etc.) concentrates on the potential banality of spiritualism in her latest novel, a no-nonsense exploration of the world of public and private clairvoyance. Mantel’s portraits of the two leading characters as well as those of the supporting cast—both on and off this mortal coil—
are sharply drawn. This witty, matter-of-fact look at the psychic milieu reveals a supernatural world that can be as mundane as the world of carpet salesmen and shopkeepers.” – review from Amazon

Please join us, for discussion and snacks. Contact me at for more info.

Family Censorship Talk, 3/16, Oakland
Your Aunt Doesn’t Want Your Art Exhibited in Seattle, Now What?

Sometimes the ones you love are your toughest art critics or maybe they just don’t say anything about your work. But what do you do when they call at midnight and ask you to pull out of an art exhibit that is opening in a week? Come hear me talk about family censorship and how I dealt with it. We have a hunch others have stories about this touchy issue and want to hear your experiences too.

Wednesday, March 16, 7-9pm
Sponsored by Northern California Women’s Caucus for the Arts
free and open to public
Judy Johnson-Williams’ studio
347 Lewis St (2 blocks from West Oakland BART)
Oakland, Ca 94607

RSVP to Judy Johnson-Williams at judy_j-w@ix.netcom

Wellbeing Mandala Workshop, 3/26, Three Rivers, CA

Almost everyone is concerned about his or her health, but how often do we create art to honor our wellbeing?

In this workshop you will have the opportunity to focus on your health using meditation, writing, art making, and sharing. Artists can choose to give attention to on an issue or to honor their body. For example participants may choose their hands challenged by carp tunnel, or their heart due to sadness, or pay tribute to their strong legs that have carried them throughout their lives. We will explore and discuss the power of intention, and learnings that arise out of artistic concentration. Examples will be shown of how different cultures and artists have used art and symbology for healing, health, and expression. A variety of materials will be provided for artists to pick and choose and they may also bring their own media.

Three Rivers Art Center
3/26 10-4pm
Click here for more info:

Book Making Classes, 3/28 and 4/25, Half Moon Bay
I’m teaching these two classes with the Senior Coastsiders at Ted Adcock Community Center. Seniors 60+ get first signups, but the class is open to others too. There is a very reduced fee for the class. Great way to get your feet wet making books and experience taking a class with me too.

Book Making 1, March 28th 10-11:30am
Learn how to make softbound books that can be used for journaling and make nice gifts too. Learn how to do pamphlet stitch binding, and decorate the covers with paint, and collaging.

Book Making 2, April 25 10-11:30am
Learn how to make an accordion book and embellish and collage the pages and cover.

Contact Vicki Cormack to sign up at: 650-726-9056

Thank you for your continued interest in Kitsune Community Art Studio! Contact me for more info on events and if you have an idea or need a venue.

Honoring ancestors through art

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What a beautiful offering we created on Sunday! Nine wonderful women came together to focus on an ancestor of their choice in a workshop I facilitated at JFKU, Berkeley. The class was in conjunction with the “Distillations, Meditations on the Japanese American Experience” exhibition that is at JFKU till September 18.

Everyone came in the classroom in a bit of a whirlwind – the traffic, the heat, time, just navigating life to make it there! Yet by the time the participants finished the workshop, I felt the shift that focus, creativity, and sharing can make.

We started with a tour of the Distillations exhibition, focusing on those pieces that were about ancestors. The work in the gallery is done by four Sansei Japanese American women: Reiko Fujii, Lucien Kubo, Shizue Seigel, and myself, Judy Shintani.

The workshop participants shared a bit about their intentions for the art making day. I really value the group that comes together to share the space. It was wonderful bunch of artists of different ages, ethnic backgrounds and art experience.

I led a visualization meditation to help them access some details and clarification for their process and they spent some time journaling to capture what came out of the meditation.

Then I gave a short demonstration on painting backgrounds with acrylic paints and using the glue gun. We were using bases of pizza rounds to create the ancestor mandalas, bringing in the sacred aspects of the circle – wholeness and unity.

Artists spent the next 2.5 hours working on their pieces, integrating photos, fabric, sewing, string, paint, pastels, organic materials, writing, buttons, and paper.

At the end we all shared our works that honored grandfathers, uncles, mothers, grandmothers, home, parents, sisters. I appreciated the stories and the art making, the sharing of love, tears, commonality.

A big thank you to all the participants, JFKU for providing the space and publicity, Jen for putting up great directional signs, Jane for helping me set-up and sharing her wonderful materials, and Shelley for helping me clean up.

Elder earth art mandalas in Half Moon Bay

I recently taught an Earth Art class at the Coastsiders Senior Center on Half Moon Bay. We had a brief talk about Andy Goldsworthy and mandala symbolisn. The elders had bunches of material to work: stones, flower petals, leaves, sticks, and more. Most of the materials were gathered during a walk and some donated by a flower shop in town.

We had an “instant art show” at the Senior luncheon for the enjoyment of the diners.

History, Healing, and Hope art workshop created intergenerational memories

I had the honor of facilitating and collaborating with Legacies of War on a History, Healing, and Hope Community Workshop at ArtXchange Gallery in Seattle.

I led a workshop exploring how art can be a powerful force in expressing history and personal experiences. Legacies of War is a non-profit that uses art, culture, education, community organizing and dialogue to bring people together and create healing and transformation out of the wreckage of war.

Legacies’ representative Sakuna Thongchanh and I spent a great deal of time on the phone talking about Laotian imagery and icons before settling on a tree to be the framework for the workshop. I constructed the tree in Half Moon Bay in California and drove it up to Seattle in my little Toyota pickup.

The morning before the workshop Sakuna and I collected various materials specific to Laos, to be used for the individual memory art creations – things like banana leaves, tamarind seeds, spices, papers, tea, orchids and rice. These were laid out beautifully on fabulous fabric, along with ribbons, and scissors, and threads, and photos.

Sakuna did a short lecture about her organization and I showed examples of how I use art as a healing and storytelling vehicle for my own family and culture. I then lead a grounding meditation and posed questions to help the participants form their writings and imagery for their memory art pieces. It was very special that different generations came together to work on this creative healing. The created works were hung on a Memory Tree structure.

The entire Memory Tree work  will now travel as part of Legacies’ educational art exhibitions, where more people will have chances to add their stories to its branches.


* 260 million cluster bombs were dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War, 210 million more than have been dropped on Iraq. * More than half of all confirmed cluster munitions casualties in the world have occured in Laos.(Source: Handicap International)

* Each year there continue to be close to 300 new casualties in Laos. About 40% of accidents result in death, and 60% of the victims are children.



Free arts education workshop, 8/3-4

ISKME’s OER Academy Course on Arts Integration

Integrating and Sharing Teacher-Led Curriculum in the Arts using Social Collaboration (all grades)

Dates & Times: August 3 – 4 | Mon – Tue | 9:00am – 4:00pm

Location: Mills College 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Education Complex Room 101 Oakland, CA 94613

Participants will gain:

* Hands-on art and multi-disciplinary approaches to learning using easy-to-procure material* Open access to lessons and other materials that support learning, especially in the arts

* Experience with finding and sharing resources with others and using online networking and digital media tools and methods

* Practice in resource search and identification, and an introduction to licensing that makes content legal to adapt and share online

* Continued online support and networking through the OER Commons site and education programs

* Opportunities to connect and collaborate with teachers internationally


ISKME: Amee Godwin, Director, Strategic Initiatives and digital media and open education leader

Megan Simmons, Education Program Manager and K-12 educator

Judy Shintani, artist, arts educator, and arts research consultant

plus special guest presenters

More information available on the OER Commons wiki .

Join the Academy by contacting Megan Simmons, ISKME’s Education Program Manager or 650.728.3322

Please provide the following information: Name; Email; School, Subject, and Grade taught; and if you will be bringing your own laptop

Breakfast and snacks provided by ISKME. Participants are responsible for bringing their own lunch.

Each course is free of charge for 20 teachers.

Feel free to spread the word to other educators that might be interested in attending the OER Summer Training Academy.