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Archive for November, 2016

img_1367The aim :

to make the longest strip of denim in the world , or certainly in Sussex to support the Jeans for Genes Charity – Genetic Disorders UK. the charity that aims to transform the lives of children with genetic disorders.We shall create denim covered collecting boxes along the trail around the garden !

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How will it work :

Running as a trail from our entrance right through the garden , sinuously weaving through the borders. Stitched into the piece will be tabs dispensing information and facts about the process of making denim (the good , the bad and the ugly facts ) facts about indigo seeds and the dyeing process , and the story of the wearing of denim work pants by north american pioneers etc… zips, button flies , tags and pockets will create the joints along the way and will add to the fabric wonder.Have calculated the trail will be at least 1km long.Yikes !

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The First Rules I have set myself

  • only to use orange cotton to stitch it all together (Levis used orange stitching which was originally designed to match the copper rivets first used in jeans by Nevada tailor Jacob Davis).
  • the strip will be kept at 7″ wide
  • vow to go and see the  Ian Berry exhibition Gallery Different at Catto Gallery- Ian is famous for making photo-realistic pictures in denim

img_1378Day 1 – Friday 18th November 2016

I make a start with three of our lovely volunteers starting to cut up the first swathe of jeans and a big learning curve begins !

  • The difficulty of cutting up a really tough fabric – you can see why it was the workwear fabric of choice (first casualty -brand new pair of Japanese scissors !)
  • The realisation that I won’t be able to actually use the zips for linking the strips !
  • The discovery that the button waistband fasteners will have to do the job
  • The obvious discovery that bog standard machine needles are not up to the job (second casualty – 2 broken machine needles)(note to self – order denim grade needles for machine )

to be continued……….

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There are feasts for the eyes a plenty in Japan from dawn to dusk but take time to cast your eyes downwards to the pavement and you will be well treated .Firstly you notice that Japan is immaculately kept . Tidy and pristine in the extreme . There is no rubbish to be seen anywhere .Streets  are beautifully clean without a scrap of litter . In fact they probably are scrubbed clean on a daily basis.So if you look down underfoot you catch rare treats aplenty.

Here an exquisite  threshold mosaic makes a very simple statement as you enter a property …..

P1020592.JPGI had already clocked the delightful love of ornament and pictorial  fancy that abounds in Japan so I wasn’t surprised to see that this playful decorative vibe also extends to the street scene itself .

p1010763Man hole covers are the first thing that are up for grabs for a bit of decorative adornment .P1010784.JPG

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And what about a few decorative pavement tiles thrown in for good measure! I love these two birds which I came upon by pure accident and which were beautifully inserted into an otherwise unremarkable pavement surface.

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and what about a panda tile for good measure ?

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p1000526Shinto shrines seem to be heaving with super luck or bad luck. It’s a gamble isn’t it what your day might hold for you and happening on a shrine on a particular day or at a particular time might just seal your fate for the day,month , year ahead.Pick a lucky spill and draw a site of fortune paper. Then read your fortune. It could be good , very good or pretty bad .

p1000543I have been particularly taken with the fortune telling strips, or Omikuji ,which I have seen tied up on racks at many of the shrines we visited . The ones that are tied up and left are apparently the bad luck fortunes which have been drawn . These are then left behind to finally dissolve ,disintegrate and blow away in the wind . Good fortunes are secreted about your person and are carried away for safekeeping.

p1000542These are not to be confused with the wooden wishing plaques ,or Ema boards ,which can be  purchased for a nominal amount and  hung up at the shrine for general good fortune wishing . Some of these boards can be particularly specific in their directed wishes.

p1010634Stacked up in wishing piles on special rails  they have an extraordinary texture and sculptural quality – whatever the wishes may be and I love the idea that your paper bad fortune finally will blow away and be lost to the winds.

p1010635Cats of course feature heavily in a all good luck scenarios.

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p1010748Its not just size that matters – Space matters in Japan .Finding that luxury of an inch  is precious, so making that every inch count in gardening terms is crucial. And so it is with squeezing your green spaces into an urban environment.

p1000632Looking for a leaf- squeeze it in a brick-thick slither of ground next to your front door.But it has to compete with all the other paraphernalia of life at the same time.

p1000690Looking for that green gasp of texture – shoehorn it into a pot or container artfully cramped on the threshold.There is rare beauty captured in a second.

p1020166Collections of pots seems to work as well to build up a range of textures and variations on a theme – very much a theme of -green.

p1000651And there is of course the very essence of the thing which is all about control and discipline.An ikebana of a paring down to what is essential and what can be taken away until all you can see is the chosen plant or planting. The bare essentials of a garden.

p1010298I admit I feel like I am in a bit of a strait jacket here in this place.Straining against the constraint .Japan – This place of extreme control.I long for our wide open space of Sussex Prairies. I yearn for that voluptuous exuberance of planting again .. oh for that luxury of space.

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