Sitting Between Heaven and Earth

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It started as a chair for my mother who is no longer on earth. I thought she would have liked this view on a hill overlooking the ocean. I wished she were still here to talk to. I have new questions for her, ones I wasn’t pondering before. I have new understandings I didn’t have before. I always wanted us to be peers, to be able to speak woman to woman. Now it can only happen between worlds.

May this seat hold me between heaven and earth as I face new challenges. May the earth and sky be my allies. May I have conversations with my mother as I look out to the infinite sea.

Light and honor the dark season with artmaking

 Light and honor the dark season with artmaking

The healing power of art and how it informs us

Ancestor Guide

It seems so simple: write an intention, make art, and journal. It may appear to be an easy practice – so easy that you wonder, “Why do it? What could I possibly get out of it?” Well a lot! Continue reading “The healing power of art and how it informs us”

Ordinariness

Spent the day turning the soil and adding compost after finding the last few hidden potato jewels, bathed away the sweat and dirt, and put the used art materials from yesterday’s creating back into their places. Dinner was left over sausage pasta made crunchy by oven reheating. A mystery movie and a quick beginning reading of “Buddha in the Attic” before a sinking into a cozy bed. It’s been a precious day of small joys strung together to make a necklace of summer memories.

Cutting away

I’ve become a cutting fiend over the last few weeks. Using small scissors, I’m removing the flowers printed on an old silk kimono. It is a strange and satisfying feeling. So many emotions and thoughts float through my brain as I continue with my obsession.

This all started as a piece about the loss of my ancestors and my disconnection with my culture. Now it has become much more and the messages keep unfolding.

Sometimes I feel like the crane woman who plucked her feathers in the night to weave them into wondrous fabric, but instead of making something, I am taking it apart.

Other times I can’t help but think about the Yoko Ono performance. She presented herself to an audience to cut away pieces of her garment as she wore it.

My goal is to have four deconstructed kimonos completed for a show at Enso Gallery in Half Moon Bay in August…I’ve got a lot of work to do!

If you would like to find out about the first deconstructed kimono click here.

A gift of time, March 2, 16, 30

Two hours. It doesn’t seem like much. But it is enough time to sew a curtain, restring a necklace, add a face and hair to a puppet, refine a New Year collage, sort through a bunch of photos, work on a grandmother’s needlepoint, and cut out images for a vision board. One person even did exercises from a visual thinking book. These are just some of the projects that participants brought to the “Do Your Own Thing” Women’s Night at Kitsune Community Art Studio.

With our busy schedules, it can be difficult to carve out time for ourselves. The only rule at the drop in night is that participants must NOT bring work, it has to be a project for themselves. As one woman said, “it is a real gift of time. Permission to take time for oneself.”

For $5 donation, not only do you get time and a cozy space for your project, I also provide tea and snacks. The next drop-ins are March 2, 16, 30.

After seeing the value of blocking out these 2 hours, I’m hoping the women will start to integrate more time for themselves in their everyday life.

My mother’s gifts

As some of you know my mother, Doris Shintani, left this earth on August 13, 2009. She had Alzheimer’s disease for about 12 years leading up to her death. Recently I spoke about the many gifts she gave me at a community memorial and at the United Methodist Church in Lodi.

As a healing and an honoring of her, I decided to make art around these gifts.

emptychair

The first small piece I made was a red chair drawn and sewn on to a piece of birch bark. I wove the red thread hanging from the chair into a braid and at the end of this I tied a red envelop. Inside the envelop I placed 3 needles. I wanted to convey my sadness and the empty place in my heart. And I wanted to convey the gift she gave me – the ability to always create my path and to stand on my own two feet.

The other piece I am working on is a real meditation. When I was going through my mother’s photos I found my mothers childrenthe pictures of her classes. She taught first through fourth grades. I thought about those 23 years she had been a teacher. She was very dedicated to her students. My mother had touched so many of their lives. Some students even sent her letters through the years. I decided to make a bead of each student’s face and to string them together. I have made about 150 beads and have 500 more to go. The core of each bead is made of joss paper which is used for funeral rituals. The art making has helped me through my grief. I made beads sitting in waiting rooms during my father’s surgeries. I made more beads on plane trips. I continue to make beads in my studio. They are keeping me connected to the impact my mother had on my life and on the lives of others. The gift to make a passionate difference in others lives is a gift I want to keep giving.