From Japan with Love video by The Perennial Plate

So many posts to write about including a new finished quilt! But couldn't resist this quick little video which I instantly fell in love with - From Japan with Love by The Perennial Plate. Okay, so it's not technically craft but really, it is. In Japan, food is a craft. And they are really, really good at it.

The imagery had me from the start, stunning food shots all pulled together in such a way to get me so excited about visiting Japan next month. The food, oh boy, the food! And guess what? That entire video above was shot with my same camera! Yes, there is hope I can take some fun video while we're there to share with you.

Udon Miso n' Cheese recipe. Image from www.theperennialplate.com
When I went to The Perennial Plate's website though, I was really hooked. So many wonderful videos and great stories shared about eating sustainably. 114 of them at the last check. Uh oh ... there goes my evening. Good thing I finished that quilt the other night. Head on over for some inspiration and some really good recipes.



I thought I'd kick off an early spring (it was 70 here in San Francisco yesterday!) with a few features on Japan. What does spring have to do with Japan? Well besides having a culture that celebrates spring like no other (life revolves around cherry blossom season), we're taking a two week trip there in late March! This will be my second trip to Japan. When we visited thirteen years ago, I was obsessed by photography (see my photos below) and carted around my vintage Leica that required a tripod for every shot. This time we'll have our eight year old daughter along with us which will make for a very different experience.

Cleaning person's sandals at a Kyoto shrine, 2000.
I know the best place in the world for textiles and ceramics is Japan, so I've got a lot to try to see while we're there, all the while trying to make this a relaxing family vacation. We will be staying in a traditional ryokan in Kyoto, hop over to balmy Okinawa to visit family and end in Tokyo, where we will stay at the Ritz Carlton for free (so there is an upside to my husband's countless business trips last year)!

Kyoto street scene (left), Tokyo street scene (right), 2000.
We're all so excited! In the meantime, I'm researching like crazy trying to figure out where to visit and what to see. It also helps that quite a few of my fellow students at the pottery studio I attend, Sharon Art Studio, are from Japan. I've been able to practice my rudimentary Japanese with them while they offer all sorts of advice on what to see and do.
Ladles at a Kyoto shrine, 2000.
I've purchased Hello Sandwiche's Tokyo Guides, read through DesignSponge's Tokyo Guide and have started compiling a list of cool places to visit and of course places to eat. When in Japan, it's also all about the food! It helps that my daughter's favorite food is Japanese, she gets excited when she sees a plate of masago.

Garden clogs in a Kyoto ryokan, 2000.
I plan to post a lot of the research I find on Pinterest this time, so be sure to follow my Japan board if you're planning a trip over there yourself.


work table : part two

Part two of the work table involves the foreclosure quilts. At some point, I thought I was finished with the quilts. The fact is, the crisis continues. But there's something new in the equation. What happens to the neighborhoods after the storm has passed over? It seems most cities are still grappling with this problem.

The research I've uncovered makes me realize that there needs to be more help at the federal level provided to these areas. Sure, the HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grants have helped. But there needs be more bigger picture thinking. Each city is certainly different and requires different solutions but I'm not seeing much communication happening between cities and states about next steps. We can learn from each other, we can share our mistakes to ensure other cities don't make the same ones.

I starting thinking about this when I started working on a museum commission of a Flint, MI neighborhood. An hour away, Detroit is rapidly encouraging urban gardening on abandoned lots to ensure good quality vegetables and fruits to local residents. Urban gardens encourage community building while decreasing crime as more eyes are on the street. It can bring income into communities as well. It seems in Flint, people are having to go to battle with the City to farm the vacant land. Flint River Farm's process was documented last year in this video. Here's a little clip below.

So I continue to make the quilts, hoping that I can make at least one that shows new thinking over the old abandoned lots. If you know of an area that has bounced back, I'd love to share it. The quilts will be shown all together this June at Gallery Nord in San Antonio, TX in conjunction with the Surface Design Conference, Interface.

In the meantime, the article in Surface Design Journal can be read in its' entirety here. It's always a great magazine, but everyone seems to agree this issue is particularly good so I'm excited to be a part of it.


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