As usual, Bryan started the day with pictures and a history of Japanese textiles and dyeing, whetting our appetites for the projects to be assigned that day.
We were even able to get inspiration from the floor cushions that we sat on.
He gave us our assignment for the day and we got to work.
There was always time for another “foodie” experience and one day we went to a Korean restaurant where the food was delicious and served boiling hot in clay pots.
Again, we did not think about taking notes so we cannot remember what all we ate. (Another reason we must go back-so we can fill in our notebooks with this important information!!!) We can only remember that it was good and we were stuffed when we left.
The atmosphere was rustic with a lot of interesting items spaced throughout as decorations.
Hiro is not only an excellent cook but he is also a master ikebana flower arranger. Ikebana is a disciplined art form with specific rules of construction. One afternoon Hiro gave us an abbreviated lesson in the principles of the art and then had each of us choose from a variety of flowers and natural items to try our hand at arranging. We had varying degrees of success (and failure). It was part of our education in another aspect of Japanese culture and a fun afternoon involving a different kind of activity.
Most of our workshop was centered strictly around indigo dyeing, but we did get to try some dyeing with hibiscus and madder, overdyeing some scarves to achieve various shades of indigo, red, yellow, green and purple.
Doesn’t Debbie make a great model for her scarf?
So that we did not get cabin fever, Bryan often planned small outings (like the Korean restaurant) including walks around the area he lived. We walked to a house being built by an attorney friend who lives in Tokyo and plans on using the house as an artist’s retreat. It is an architectural gem with all kinds of interesting features.
As usual, our walks were through truly beautiful areas. During our time there it was often raining with low fog which made everything green and fresh.
Momo needed her nap. It was tiring keeping up with a house full of strangers.
One night Hiro cooked salt encrusted steaks on the outdoor open grill. To these Texans who know their steaks, they were outstanding. Steak and wine or sake around the campfire was a special treat.
You will want to watch for our next blog which includes the silk farming process, udon noodle making, weaving and yarn dyeing.
Debbie and David