MUSUBU - Ties that Bind
Musubu, a Japanese word meaning “the ties that bind” or “to join hands”, is the title we are using for the Portland Handweavers Guild booth at the ANWG Conference coming up in June. We originally meant it as connecting our textiles with Japanese textiles, but I am beginning to see an additional meaning. At the April 28 Guild Meeting we collected all the textiles for the booth and had a giant show and tell of what members had created in the last year inspired by Japanese textiles. It was, at the very least, phenomenal. We received over 100 textiles, all of which are very appropriate for the booth and will be shown at the conference.
Even more striking than the gorgeous work were the feelings of everyone who had worked so hard – pride, satisfaction at a job well done, pleasure for what was learned, and just plain excitement that we as a group had come together and created so much. We did indeed experience musubu.
So where do we go from here? How can we maintain the energy we have created? I think it is really important that we have another shared theme to work within next year. I’m leaning toward African textiles, about which I know practically nothing. But I do know that Kente cloth is one of the most beautiful forms of weaving known, and that the Berbers wove fabulous wool tunics and cloaks, and the tradition is being revived. And of course, African indigo dyeing is legendary.
Shall we look to Africa for inspiration and learning? Or is there an entirely different tradition you would like the Guild to look at? Or should we continue with what we have just started to learn about Japanese textiles and all that we did not have a chance to study?
Let me know what you would like to do, what excites you and makes you want to get back to the loom or the dyepot. I look forward to hearing from you!