Inspire :: Tsutomu Komine


'A moonlit night underneath my eyelids'

from 'Sankai'
~ Tsutomu Komine ~
Born in Tokyo, Japan, 1973.
In 1997,  he graduated from Tama Art University, Dept. of Oil Painting,
but often works in photography, sculpture, stitch, fiber & encaustic as well.
His mixed media collages (shown here) often contain
sea sand, acrylic paper, tako thread, and hemp string, amongst other things.
Currently, Komine continues producing works
while operating his cake & tea shop in Hitachi City.

There are loads of his images on Pinterest,
but no website and very little information found elsewhere
(with the exception of his gallery show announcements and what appears to be
a quite active Twitter account)
and   most everything about him/from him is written in Japanese ...
which unfortunately, I have no knowledge of.
So in our enjoyment of this work, many of us will have to be content
with his visual poetry instead.
Which suits me just fine.

September, 2017


Inspire :: following a thought born from emotion


Many times over the last months I've wondered why I haven't
been able to bring myself back to this blog. In truth, I've missed it sorely.
This spot used to be like a favorite room in my house,
fairly comfy (without the dust) where I gladly resided with a warm cuppa
(or a wee dram) and a contented dog companion glued to my feet.
But gradually, I grew uncomfortable with spending
time here and rather than push the issue for the sake of continuity,
I simply left the room altogether.  Not unlike relationships in life, I suppose,
where the best move can be to offer distance and reprieve.

Finally, today, I've sorted the reason 'why' I left, after months of not knowing.

I simply got sick & tired of talking about myself.

I do a bit of it still, if I'm honest, over on Instagram, but in much smaller doses
where the emphasis always feels like it's more about the pictures -
for some reason that feels more palatable for now.

I remember when I first started blogging, how difficult it was to express
thoughts and emotions to some invisible audience "out there." A most uncomfortable
position for an introvert to be in, while at the same time a  most perfect
outlet for an introvert (if that makes any sense at all).
Over time - years, in fact - that uncomfortableness waned ... until it didn't anymore
and I found myself full circle, poised in front of the keyboard
absolutely tongue-tied.

So what this all comes down to is that I'd like to reshape a way to be around.

One of my most valued pastimes is perusing artwork produced by those who strike
some sort of chord ... work wherein I find inspiration and/or solace
and which can often produce a launchpad for new creative ideas.
Although any genre has the spirit to pull, my particular love & focus is on textiles
and remains an abiding constant. Gosh, truly, there is SO MUCH amazing work 
happening with cloth; from massive installations, to incredible books, to even
the tiniest bits of recycled scrap embedded in collage. Often this work is made
by names I barely recognize or have never heard of altogether.
I'd like to post some of that work here.
To no set schedule.
To no particular timetable.

I'll call the album, 'Inspire'
and maybe it will do so for some of you, too.
And maybe then we can get back to some jolly good conversations again,
like the ole days.
I've missed that.

More soon.




Sometimes it's advantageous to set a project aside when it reaches an impasse.
I can't remember exactly why I stopped working on this series in the summer of 2013,
but I remember exactly why I started ....
beadwork on naturally dyed cloth
that hopefully could symbolize thoughts I was having about
how we humans guard ourselves.
Not only the different ways we protect ourselves from each other, 
how we wear masks so that our real selves can't be seen or fully known,
but also how we guard ourselves out in the world.
Somewhere there's a list - a long list of words I wrote to itemize all the ways we might do this.
Need to dig that out now
because I think the time is ripe for carrying on with this.


The window as a metaphor


Following the thread of a thought brought on
by this morning's post to Instagram, I made a curious discovery;
I discovered that since my very first post on IG in 2014
I've posted a total of 14 images related to  the window.

Just what is it about them I find so intriguing?

~ view into the woods right after dawn, posted August 2017 ~

A quick hop to googleland took me on a merry journey exploring symbolism.
There was this article in particular, 'Windows: Exploring the History of a Metaphor' by
H. J. Krysmanski

“The ‘window’ metaphor has a long career in the history of art and, in fact, in the evolvement of the human perspective in general.” 

It's long, but comprehensive, with a thought-provoking list of subtitles to choose from:

The Evolution of the Window
The Evolution of the Window Metaphor
Source of Eternal Light: the Gothic Cathedral
Renaissance: the Appearance of the Screen
Light on Privacy: the Windows of Jan Vermeer
Window Dressing: Staging the Theatrical Stage
Through the Looking Glass: Virtual Reality in Victorian England
Space and Time: the Epistemology of Screening and Framing
The Eye: Mirror and Window of the Soul
The Window Metaphor in Islamic Culture
The Window Metaphor in Buddhism and Confucianism
Walls of Glass: the Essence of Architecture
Modern Painting: in Defense of the Classical Screen
‘Peep Show’ and ‘Fensterln’: Folklore of the Windows Experience
Window Shopping: the Commodification of Desire
The Window Metaphor in Modern Science
Journeys through Space: the Cinema Screen
Surveillance: Monitoring the Radar Screen
Archaeology of the Computer Screen
How ‘Windows’ Chanced To Become A Registered Trade Mark

~ bedroom window overlooking the wild Atlantic :: Isle of Harris, Scotland, posted August 2017 ~

So what if I just compile all my windows here, as a group? ... ALL of them
in the order they were posted starting with this morning's, working back thru time.

I'd like to see what their collective voice may have to say.

~ better than the movies, posted February 2017 ~

~ sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, west Cork, Ireland, posted October 2016 ~

~ first crack, posted September 2016 ~

 "It doesn't interest me if there is one God or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world with its harsh need
to change you.  If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand ..."
~ from 'Self Portrait' by David Whyte, posted June 2016 ~

~ after a big swim, posted December 2015 ~

~ sometimes it takes darkness, posted April 2015 ~

~ threshold :: St. Conan's Kirk, Scotland, posted November 2014 ~

~ seasonal changes afoot :: watching rainclouds mass, posted September 2014 ~

~ 9:05 a.m. on 9/05/2014, posted September 2014 ~

~ first evening in Edinburgh :: view at twilight, posted August 2014 ~

~ my friend's house :: needs a wee bit of housekeeping, Newburgh, Scotland, posted July 2014 ~

~ self :: riding the wind, posted April 2014 ~


straight photography,
app-ed photography;
the real, the imagined, the wished for
... the simple 'what was there.'

“Above all, though, windows have permitted man to experience the essence of light, from Chartres Cathedral to the paintings of Vermeer, and to this day even their most mundane use implies some sort of interaction with the unknown and with infinity.”

I don't mind keeping the question open for now.


Minding my maps


Merriam-Webster defines  map :
1 a:  a representation usually on a flat surface of the whole or a part of an area
b:  a representation of the celestial sphere or a part of it

2 :  something that represents with a clarity suggestive of a map
~ the Freudian 'map' of the mind -- Harold Bloom

so I got to thinking ....
could photographs act just as easily as maps of a  life?

If I mapped myself, what might that look like?
And if I focused on, say, my creative life, would it be telling?
Could I show the route from back there 
to here?

So I gave it a try & here's where it led me ...

To the convergence of paper and books

to beads on cloth with an uncertain latitude

towards an elusive north star

with an ever present guiding light

and a dear navigator who teaches all the compass points.

Just a small smattering of map pages - old directions & new ...
so yes,  I can see how I got here

but perhaps the more important question is
just where am I going?

[ this is where a hushed voice offers, "Only the cartographer knows for sure..." ]


Considering a world view


There are many ways to say a thing.

For those of us who don't feel particularly eloquent in the political arena and
are far more comfortable with other forms of expression,
perhaps we can look more closely
at our other ways of speaking.

Because it is my opinion that now, more than ever in my living memory,
we somehow MUST keep speaking  out loud.  It's of critical importance.
So we don't feel lost.
So we don't feel helpless. 

Even the quiet work of hands and heart is not to be underestimated during this time ...
this time of which  -  to some of us  -  is looked upon
as a frightening & uncertain period in our world's history.

Again, there are many ways to say a thing....
and I think we can be a mighty choir if we don't feel so afraid.


Following the thread of a thought


page one ~ from, The Illustrated Glossary of Dye Plants

page two ~ from, The Illustrated Glossary of Dye Plants

page three ~ from, The Illustrated Glossary of Dye Plants

In retrospect, I probably should have named this playful compendium
The Imaginary Illustrated Glossary of Dye Plants
The Illustrated Imaginarium of Dye Plants
for I don't believe this will ever be anything but a little book
that lives solely in my mind, produced for a bit of fun on Instagram.
But I suppose it's been good practice should I decide at some juncture
to try my hand at the real thing ...

Along another line of thought, the title of this post is not original to me.
I'm sure I gleaned it from jude at Spirit Cloth at some point and
I sincerely hope she is given fair credit & attribution from others
for all she offers there.

This is a sore subject with me at the moment ...
the *borrowing* - no, let me speak plain - the stealing
 that I read and see running rampant on the internet amongst
artists, creatives, workshop organizers
and a whole host of wannabes, coat tail riders and ladder climbers.
It's a double-edged sword out here on the web; the need & desire to share work
counterbalanced by all those who are watching, researching,
and will so blatantly 
rip others off

Is it really so hard to come up with one's own original words or works?

Is it that difficult to ask permission first?

Or to put some dedicated energy
into coming up with personal work that is truly authentic
and not just a blatant copy of someone else's work?

I've seen this rampant in the world of photography for years
and now sadly, I see it running rampant amongst the cloth dyers
[eco-dyers, eco-printers, contact printers, natural dyers, and many stitchers],
a tribe I am somewhat new to and a little on edge about of late ...
it's incredibly disheartening.
And I'm feeling the need to take care.


I have no intention of getting into arguments with folks over this subject
and I'm half inclined to close the comments section because of it,
but there are some friends who visit here who I don't want to silence
so I'll leave it open.
Talk to me.


Life is not lived in a straight line


"There isn't one right path for you or anyone else.
And there isn't a set of timelines of milestones ...
You're allowed to backtrack.
You're allowed to figure out what inspires you
at different stages of your life.
You're allowed extra time when you need it.
Life is meant to be a series of zigs and zags.
It should look like a mess, but a beautiful mess.
It shows that you have changed and grown.
You've had your ups and downs.
You went down one path, but decided to change course ...
perhaps on many occasions.
That's how life should be."

~ Angel Chernoff ~

First, I'd like to start by saying  Thanks  to each of the kind folks who've written
wondering where I'd wandered off to and why.
A disappearance wasn't planned, but it began and then it felt totally natural
and right to follow and to somehow trust that'd I'd know where I was meant to go
once I got there,
which wasn't to be here it seemed, blogging.
Except now it  is.

Have I confused you completely already?

To backtrack: I resorted to a few fairly strict measures to bring my body back to
some semblance of rightness, and again, I felt inclined to keep my concentration there
and not out here telling everyone about it.
Which is not my way anyway.
So while that was on the slow road to sorting itself out
I unexpectedly found myself on a new threshold
- literally -
when a space I'd put my name on a waiting list for suddenly became available.
This was a dream come true.
A small space for a textile / beading / photography studio ... at last.
Room to stretch my wings, dive into multiple projects at a time, close the door
on big beautiful messes  without having to clean up first  and then 
return the next day to pick right up where I'd left off.
And one of the best bits is that I can bring my dear doggy.

That's her new sleeping spot over there on the left wall
although I think she prefers the little rug by the door actually.

That quote up top from Angel popped into my email this morning and
as I read it, I knew today was the day to say a little something here.
I'll keep it short for the moment
[in truth, I am feeling somewhat rusty at this]
but I have quite a few tales to catch up on,
many pictures to share,
and I'm greatly looking forward to being out here with you all again.


She can't eat what?


Sometimes your body screams at you so loud 
there is no choice but to listen
and take heed.

I've long held the belief that the majority of modern day ailments in
Western society are, without a doubt, strongly linked to what we eat.
Or don't eat in some cases.
In the last 10 years or so I've had this belief put to the test within my own framework a
time or two, and if my current health adventure provides the same positive results that I
was blessed with before, I shall be kicking up my heels quite well thru this decade.

You know that expression about making lemonade, right?
A short tale follows ....

While over in America the other day (that's what we islanders call the mainland)
I found myself driving around in circles.  Was a hot day (for here), just past 80F, 
and I had my dear woofie with me in the car.  She loves to travel so she goes 
with me whenever possible.  Anyhoo, on this particular afternoon I was taking
care of some body testing & adjusting and my fluffy one was in need of
a cool place to be parked while I was otherwise detained.
Hence the driving in circles.
Finally, rounding a corner somewhat near a park, I spotted a wide leafy stretch
of available curbside underneath the most magnificent trees.  I was gonna
have to walk a fair bit to my destination, but the deliciously cool shady spot for my 
dear fluffy one was absolutely worth the trek.
As I got out of the car and looked up to actually identify the gorgeous 
canopy we were parked below, I stopped dead in my tracks.
For there we were underneath two enormous black walnut trees
which happened to be dropping all their fruits over sidewalk & parkway
in great profusion.

Now the backstory to my stopping dead in my tracks is that last year
I looked high and low for one of these trees because I wanted to try my hand at
brewing some black walnut dye - deep, dark, tannin-rich goodness.
I asked around amongst all my island friends - and they of their friends - and
even went so far as to place an ad in the local online news rag ...
"Who's got trees??"

Nada.  None to be found.

Some suggested I go to eastern Washington where they're farmed in abundance
and then there was the ever present option of mail-order.  But I was keen for local so I
finally put my little dream on the back burner & moved on to something else.
So this particular day, which could very easily have been viewed as one filled
with one lemon after another, suddenly had me grinning like an idiot on the roadside,
chuffed to no end that this part of my particularly grueling adventure had brought me to
the very trees I'd been seeking for so long.

All this to say (in my somewhat roundabout sort of way) there will be
a slight delay to my next posting of the  52 weeks : bead sketches  installment.
I've been somewhat sidetracked by the inner voices so I'm more than a wee bit behind
although my iron cauldron is gratefully, now quite full.

I'll be calling this my black walnut "lemonade."


Despite everything


the amphibian inside us

Because it's summer.  Because the air is heavy with heat and nostalgia.
Because this is what we have to keep remembering, the way our bodies
know the waves, the amphibian inside us unafraid of going under,
of what ripples beneath the surface.  Because waiting on the dock
for the signal to jump is like thinking someone else is responsible.  Because
there is no one else responsible.  Because despite the current,
it is possible to swim against it, or even stand, inverted, balancing
on a slippery mulch of murk and mud, and stay perfectly still.
Because when the world tips from view, we have to do everything we can
to tip it back.

~ Maya Stein
:  :  :

from Maya Stein's "10-Line Tuesday" poetry series
... the backlog can be enjoyed  here