What does an artist pack in their suitcase?

I've been away from the blog and art for a long time. We've been in the process of moving from Japan back to the states. Right now we are bouncing around Wyoming seeing family. Then it's off to New York/Pennsylvania to see more family and then finally we get to settle into our new lives in Missouri.

I've packed up my studio, said good bye to my sewing machines, and agonized over what projects to pack in my suitcases to work on for the next three or so months. One never knows how long it will take for our household goods to cross the ocean. Or more realistically, sit on the docks or storage yards. Though we did get word that our stuff has crossed the Pacific and is now somewhere in the states.

Projects I packed in my suitcase:

  • Kogin-zashi table runner: It's going to be a navy ground with light grey, dark grey, and a soft pink patterns. I don't have all the thread with me to finish it so we'll see how far I get. The more I work on it the more I want to do something crazy with the patterns and make them my own. I always have this problem when I'm faced with too many hours repetitive stitching. 
  • Scribble embroidery: Bea and I collaborated on a new embroidery series that I want to start with her as she grows up. She drew on the fabric with markers and I'm stitching over it to make the marks last. It's lots of fun but definitely one of my slower moving projects.
  • Socks: I started a pair of socks last winter and never finished them. I got way to involved in all my other craftiness. The yarn is fabulous because it's dyed with bugs. It's a soft green variegated with pink. I got one of the socks knitted up the other night only to find out that the pattern doesn't have enough stretch to accommodate my heel. I was so angry. I think I'm going to just start another pair, preferably a lacy pair, and just unravel that mess up sock. I wasn't all that enthusiastic with that pattern anyways. Probably why I never finished it.
  • Linen and thread: I wanted a project that would allow for some travel inspiration so I packed a piece of linen and some small packages of coordinating threads and beads. The beautiful thing is that inspiration has struck! While my mother and I were sorting through my grandmothers crafting supplies I began to find odds and ends that would go with my linen and threads as a sort of fabric collage or assemblage. My grand mother was a compulsive saver, partly because she grew up in the depression and partly personality. There will be more on this embroidery as it develops.
  • Ikebana shears: The only piece of my ikebana equipment that I was sure I wouldn't be able to get in the states. Now I wish I had brought a kenzan.

I wanted to jump right back into ikebana in the states. I'm going to try and use found plants from my families yards and so far I have been lucky. Today was my first arrangement.

 Crab Apple and Lilac

My mom and dad have a crab apple tree and a lilac bush in their front yard so I have lucky to have at least two plants to pair together. I love how the reds and oranges of the crab apple are complimented with the greens of the lilac. Isn't the texture of the lilac pods fabulous?

I tried to do a take on slanting style but it was really difficult to get things right without tape, sticks or wire to help prop things up in the vase. Learning how to do it all without help from the non plant elements will make me a better sensei. The lilac would also have done better in a kenzan arrangement because of how short the branches grow before they section off into another branch. Good things to know for the future.

More creating to come!