Textiles: Indigo, Japan to Indiana

3c665b69-ddc6-4b1c-9250-889d338d5fb2When I was in grade school, my parents would travel around the world for three months at a time. They left my twin brother and I at home. When they came back there was big excitement. Their luggage smelled like world travels and my mother had gifts for us. From Japan, she had chopsticks (of course), a pin cushion for sewing, a pearl ring and the big surprise was a kimono. Keep in mind, in the 70s, unless you traveled around the world, you would not find these special items.

I fell in love with the color indigo when my mother gave me this special kimono from Japan. My mother loved kimonos. The kimono was a lovely white / indigo pattern with a bright pink sash. For those of you who might not know, indigo is a color between primary blue and violet. It’s a very majestic color.

A few years ago, I went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum for the “Mood Indigo” exhibit and learned that a man, Rowland Ricketts, had an Indigo farm in Indiana. He had a beautiful exhibit at the museum. It was in one room, he had textiles hanging in a tall circular direction (see here), so we would have to walk in a circle viewing the shades of indigo. Brilliant idea to add the plants around the room that produce the indigo color. He wanted us to connect the fact that the blue dye comes from plants.

This was such a surprise, because I am from Indiana, not a lot goes on in Indiana. We do have farm lands with sweet corn, cabbage, sunflowers, etc., but I would never have thought a farm for indigo. This was interesting! Oh, HOLD ON, Mike Pence our Vice President is from Indiana. Forgot about politics. Otherwise, just corn.

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Indigo plant

Ricketts’s story is that in 1996, he apprenticed in Japan for 2 years to learn the art and process producing the indigo dye color. He was looking for a job that would bring meaning to his life, creating indigo dye was it. The process is a long and laborous one, because the dye comes from a plant, which needs to be grown, dried and fermented. He met his wife, Chimani, while they apprenticed together. They make a good team, he does the farming side of the business and Chimani weaves the yarn into fabrics.

Ricketts is an Associate Professor in the School of Art, Architecture & Design at Indiana University.

Clearly, I am excited that with so many art forms dying out that Ricketts has brought the Japanese textile art of indigo to our home state of Indiana!

Happy New Year 2019: If one wish could be granted…

I’m excited to start a new year. Each year, we all wonder what lies ahead of us. Would be great if we had a crystal ball to give us direction, but we don’t.

Which made me think, as we set our goals for 2019….

What if we had ONE WISH that could be granted each year, WHAT would that be?

I’m thinking about that. What is the BIG accomplishment, miracle or surprise that I would like to happen this year. Right now, I feel like I am sitting by the ocean and the water is so vast, I can’t see any islands in site AND that is what I need, to be able to see at least “one island,” and then I will know my direction.

So, I am OFF to contemplate my BIG WISH!

AND YOU… What is YOUR big wish?  Say it out loud, write it on a paper, or just think of it.  We ALL have different ways of putting out to the Universe what we would like. Do what works for you, but DO IT and let’s see what happens!

I’m back… Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays!

Shoe HospitalHello Fellow Bloggers… I’m back. I didn’t know I was going to take a break. One week of missed blogging lead to the next week and the next week. Suddenly, I realized, “Wow, I haven’t written a blog post in a while.”

Yesterday, I was walking down the street and saw this funny store sign. THEN I thought, “Hey, I need to start blogging again.”

My grandparents/parents would “never” buy new shoes. ALWAYS fix the ones you have. So, when I saw this shop’s sign, I got a good chuckle! As a chore, my father would give us his shoes to shine. We were taught to use saddle soap, then polish, buff/brush to an amazing shine. I have to say, I was a pretty good shoe shine girl!

UPS is on fire right now. Not literary, but the news is talking about the UPS process of packaging and deliveries for Christmas… that is an “intense” process. We really need to pat them on the back, even better have a surprise Starbucks card ready to give to the next stressed out UPS employee who delivers our package!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Did you know Tootsie Rolls are made in Chicago?

4808E90E-6DE6-4429-A5C0-6D35C99382C0This week I got the biggest surprise. My daughter and I were entering the freeway when she yelled, “Mama, LOOK, it’s the Tootsie Roll truck.” As I was driving I couldn’t take a look, so I said, “Quick, take a picture, my blogging friends will enjoy seeing this.”

As you can see, she was quite the photographer, she got a GREAT shot of the truck. Then one night she was “behind” the Tootsie Roll truck and got a picture of the Owl and the famous saying of “How many licks in a tootsie roll pop?”

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Why the smiles and excitement? With our changing world, it is nice to know there are a few things from our childhood grade school days that still exists — AND — that is the Tootsie Roll, which has been produced in the United States since 1907.

Oh, and Leo Hirshfield (an Austrian immigrant) created this candy for his five year old daughter whose nickname was “Tootsie,” and there you have the name “Tootsie Roll.”

American soldiers ate tootsie rolls as field rations during WWII, because of the hardiness of the candy in different environmental conditions.

So, if you are ever in Chicago, keep your eye out for the Tootsie Roll truck. When you see it go buy, you’ll have to smile and THINK, “How many licks ARE THERE in a tootsie roll pop?”

Football: Notre Dame v.s. Northwestern University

55E8AB61-E124-4291-A275-7521F8F7FEC3For those of you who follow football, this weekend (November 3, 2018) the University of Notre Dame plays Northwestern University in Evanston (North of Chicago). It supposed to be a BIG game, we have not played them in 40 years and we lost last time. Of course, I am an ND fan. Game Day t-shirts are on sale now. ND fans, wear your blue/gold with PRIDE!

Go IRISH!