shifu and healing

i went to visit wendy in toronto last week. also to attend a talk given by master shifu artist hiroko karuno. i took the train from brockville. i was gone only a few hours. in that time i experienced many amazing things.
the AGO. an amazing collection. reinvented with these wooden ribs that vault to the ceiling of the old structure. i was here in 1975 or thereabouts. then i looked at the henry more sculpture. now i look at the group of seven and some inuit work. and wendy took me to soma. serious chocolate. heaven. i had hot chocolate that was like a meal. 

wendy and i went to the japanese paper place to hear hiroko karuno talk about her work, about a special installation she did last spring, and see her demonstrate spinning (twisting) kozo for her shifu.
 straightening paper prior to cutting
 opening up the sheets after cutting
spun kozo
 spinning (twisting) kozo
 skeins of naturally dyed kozo
a sample of hiroko's shifu
hiroko concentrating, with a smile
we got to know hiroko and her wonderful husband riding home together. the spinning wheel had pride of place in the front passenger seat. so funny because as any spinner knows, the spinning wheel takes as much space as it needs to! people can squish together, wooden spinning wheels do not!
you may remember this tapestry. it now is used by the children that wendy golden-levitt works with. this girl used my tapestry as a part of her sand table healing work.
 do you see her treasure? i am sheltering her. this young girl is anorexic, eight years old, and she almost died. 
she told me she doesn't need to look pretty anymore. "now i try to just look." i love that! wendy transcribes the children's messages to the artists whose textiles wendy uses in her work and places them in a special cairn on a table in the studio. when i read notes from s. or p. i am so moved. and i learn from them, too. 
and the velma book is still being used, it has place keepers in it, a stick, textiles. can't really be transported in it's current enlarged state, but once the children remove them, it will be movable. some work with it has been done by first nations elders and children. then it travels with wendy to the place she works with these wonderful people. i feel often like these pages that i made, these plants that became paper have much strength for people. more than i ever thought possible!

this trip was surprisingly centered around two other things, unexpected things. one was a deepening friendship with wendy, another was healing from an unsettling taxi experience. i came home with new ideas, hopes and dreams, friendship, taxi-induced headache, some books...and a sense of having been through a threshold. or a fibershed.