Friday, October 17, 2014

fishy, fishy...

the crazy busy days might finally be slowing down a tad... maybe

just returned home from a few wonderful days spent with a my best friend cheryl in vancouver

we decided a few months back to take in a couple of the maiwa textile symposium lectures
every fall maiwa on granville island hosts a textile symposium extending over a period of three months - lectures and classes in all things related to textiles from all over the world

we took in two by japanese textile artists noriko narahira and kyoko ueda
wonderfully wonderful

at the end of her lecture noriko spoke of a project she was involved in titled "shake hands"

in japanese, shake is the word for salmon

the area of tohoku in northern japan was hit hard by the tsunami of 2011 and has still not recovered, with many people not yet returning home to live there

it is the hope of noriko and others involved in this project that funds raised will help restore tohoku to a place where the people can come home, to live together again

many of the women of tohoku have worked together to create small salmon made of cotton, lightly stuffed to make them 3-dimensional with a small hanging loop at the snout end

the fish are sold as they are for $5 each - they can be embellished in any manner or technique desired and then returned to noriko

the salmon will be displayed in kyoto in spring of 2015 and then sold to raise money for the restoration and re-vitalization of the tohoku area

at the end of the lecture cheryl and i each purchased a fish to embellish

driving back to her condo, mulling over ideas, wondering what to do when i was far from home and my stash...

earlier that evening i had serendipitously purchased a packet of hand-dyed japanese fabrics along with several strands of very sparkly clear and smoky beads

i had some more mulling to do...

cheryl set to work right away - chain stitch in a heavy ivory thread, wrapping and twining around the salmon, reminiscent of fishing lines and nets, coiling and swirling, making me think of catching up all the people and taking them home again... a single circle of gold chain stitch, because as cheryl said, even in great tragedies, all that is beautiful is not lost, not forever

for mine i decided on snippety bit scales with a bead in the centre of each

oddly enough, as i removed the label from the packet of clear beads, there near the top, hidden by the label, was a single red bead - shining clear and bright and vivid against the bright whiteness of the others
reminding me of the japanese flag

cutting tiny squares of various colours, securing them in place with a single bead, working from side to side to maintain balance, trimming the corners every so often

the image below is what i thought to be right side up, why i have no idea but i think i couldn't let go of the idea of an outward curving backbone... cheryl pointed out the issue of the dorsal fin being on the belly then - argh!

 i had been quasi-trying to get the shading of the scales with the pink on the top and the darker bluey-green on the bottom... now it would be all upside down...

but as i turned it right-side up i proclaimed that tsunamis make everything topsy-turvy anyway so i had just interpreted that!

the scales are closer together near the head, and there are many, tapering off and drifting away toward the end - that i did on purpose, to represent the people being pulled or drifting away

 we worked until we were drop-dead tired and then got right back at it the next morning, working steadily until they were done, handing them back that evening

for some odd reason i had thrown my sewing case into my bag at the last minute - no project to work on, nothing that could easily have been taken, but i saw it sitting there and thought it should come...

so very glad it did


Createology said...

What a lovely and thoughtful gesture to raise funds for the people to move back home. Out of tragedy comes kindness. Both of these little Salmon are beautiful and simply profound. How wonderful to be part of this retreat and experience so far from us. Bless you Jillayne and your best friend Cheryl. Safe Travels and Blessings...

Laura said...

Loved reading this post - so happy you two were able to do this together and create such stunning little fish for such a wonderful cause! XO

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What lovely creations to help aid people to be able to return to their home and rebuild.


Marj Talbot said...

What a lovely time you had with your best friend. Stitching the fish and sharing ideas..... sounds wonderful and the result helps someone else. Doesn't get any better.

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Hi Jillayne, you and your best friend made precious memories together working on your gorgeous project. What a wonderful idea to raise the finds needed to help others in their loss.
I love how both yours and Cheryl's fish turned out. I can see it was a lot of work being small and time consuming but they are beautiful and the best part, tells a story all their own in your artistic interpretation.

Beautifully done!
Have a great weekend.

Suztats said...

I loved reading this and seeing all the symbolism in your salmon. For me, the scales seemed to be the pieces of lives torn in the tsunami-- torn from friends, family, homes and community. I like that you are weaving these pieces back together, in your salmon, and in your actions. Caring hearts reach out to others. Isn't it wonderful?! Thank you.

Cheryl said...

Aside from the joy of creating something for charity with my best friend, it was also profound that the Japanese women were present with us. We were stitching on a project that someone else across the world had started and we were making something together. What a way to change the world!