ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We’ve been quietly staying at home mending, cleaning, eating! and reading for a very long time now! Working on many projects. We got a lot done, not going out. Not seeing people. It has been good – up to a point!

The Kintsugi was easy! Many of my too many broken dishes are now brought back to life beautifully, thanks to a skilled artisan I found, Hirayama san, at Dark Eyes Gallery in Karuizawa who mended them seamlessly. The zabuton floor cushions are nearly all mended – it takes me a very long time! The masks took a little time to figure out which was the best pattern, and how to make them.

But lives are harder to put back together. We weep at the unbelievable tragedies happening in Minneapolis now and around the US, and around the world. Will the wounds ever heal? Will things ever be put right again? We must all do what we can to help mend these deeply broken places.

We got used to the new order of things after a while. Keeping our distance. Not going out to restaurants or museums or movies. We found ways to exercise. But not going outside? No hugs? No BLUE & WHITE ? REALLY? What is life for after all? It’s TO LIVE! So we’d best do as we’re told, and get back to living in a new way. Sensibly, carefully, considerately. Picking up the pieces. Mending them if need be. Then slowly, cautiously going back to life as we once lived it. It may never ever be the same, but let’s give it a go. Try, and see what happens! Softly, gently. Ever careful not to get too close. Avoiding crowded places. Remembering to keep safe at all times. Enough of isolation!

Indigo Shibori mask by Ikeda Daigo of Ikeda Kasuri Kobo in Kurume

BLUE & WHITE will open quietly, gently, safely on Friday, June 19. We will have hand sanitizers and other protections. Handmade masks will be for sale. Tenugui will also be available. Tied around your your head, they also also do the job of keeping your mouth and nose covered.

Customer’s home made mask made with our Genki tenugui

We need each other now. More than ever we need to connect. To chat. To share our lives. BLUE & WHITE is a space for connecting, for keeping community strong. Being together, again! At last!

Hayasawa Sayoko, stylish in Boro

From Friday June 19, we will be here at BLUE & WHITE. Eager to see you again. Old favorites will be waiting for you.

One of a kind ZAKU ZAKU bag – Crazy Sashiko by NONO ICHI – workshops 4th Friday of the month. From July we hope!
Smart little Sashiko Indigo satchels by Yoshiura Kazuko. Workshops 2nd Tuesdays of the month. Colorful embroideries by Sora to Umi, Special Abilities Workshop in Funabashi, Chiba
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A broken dish
a torn pair of pants
A finger poked through a paper screen
a shirt torn on a too sudden lunge
a sweater caught on a passing hook
The end of the world?
No! Just the start of something new – and satisfying.
Better maybe. More rewarding surely.
Piece the plate back together.
Sew the pants. Patch the shirt. Darn the sweater
and you wind up with something original, that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Something that has a story to tell.
Dropping, tearing, ripping, snagging are easy. Mending requires time, technique, skill and above all patience.
But the satisfaction of bringing something back to life, not giving up, restoring the tear, patching the pants, honoring what we wear, use, live with, can renew a contract we have with the things we make or buy. For better or worse, in breakage and in use, we will care for them, and keep them.
Things can be fixed.
No reason to give up on things just because they’re broken.
A wonky coffee pot by my favorite potter, Omine Jissei in Okinawa, was just a trial piece, he told me. One of a kind. It was long my most precious treasure for its oddly handmade pulse. Until an earthquake tipped a piece of charcoal bamboo over on it and broke the lid. Oh no! It is ruined, I thought. Of all pieces to break! But then I gingerly wrapped it and took it to my favorite mender at Morita antiques in Aoyama who repaired it with the most delicate tracings of gold lacquer.

And then – voila! the magic of taking the shattered, the smashed, the ripped, the broken and painstakingly piecing it back together again into a newly viable whole which contains the disappointment the sadness of the break and reconstitutes it with the reassurance and gladness of the newly whole and usable. The empowerment of not giving up! You realize that Ah hah! this has beauty too. I can wear this again. I can use it again. Better than ever maybe !?

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Tokyo closed down today – at last! Just for the weekend to begin with, but it is a start at keeping people apart and isolated in their own space, at home. Keeping COVID 19 from spreading. BLUE & WHITE also reluctantly closed for a month today, until the end of April. But who knows, maybe shorter, maybe longer, in compliance with the demands of the Corona Virus. In any wise, it was a painful decision.

NOW WHAT? How to spend those long weeks, months until the crisis passes? Everything is closed now. No entertainment, diversion, stimulation. Shops are closed in Tokyo. Museums, and flea markets at well. When I gave my friend Becky Wells some odd bits of molten glass

and old blue and white shards from the beach in an old covered and holey basket that I had inherited from somewhere, she responded gleefully. WOW! this is better than a flea market! and it’s free! She couldn’t wait to start creating. She also did some killer potato prints! But then she is gifted.

However can we go on with our lives with Flea Markets cancelled, and BLUE & WHITE closed? It’s not simple, but try reaching inside ourselves and our drawers. Finding long forgotten flea market finds that you had stowed away and forgotten, or maybe even hidden from your husband as I would sometimes do! Search drawers and cupboards and closets. You may be lucky enough to find some sashiko thread from Blue & White there. A bit of indigo cloth. Plain white is also good.

paper cupboard at home with old calligraphy papers, tissue, masking tapes and twine and silk kasuri threads for tying

Find forgotten plastic bags filled with ropes (as I recently did), or rags or bottles. Take them out. Wash them, reminiscing if you can, about when and where you found them. If you can’t go to the market at least remember the joy of the time you found these things. I took out the ropes I had squirreled away in an old basket, and I was happy to see the dirt fall away from them as I soaked them in warm water and shampoo. The pleasure of washing these old ropes that some farmer had twisted together to use in his work, making the best of leftover rice straw and cloth. These ropes remind me to dig deep within myself, to follow the spiral into what lies within.

Thinking about life. Contemplating about where we are. Perhaps something good, something beautiful can come out of sitting still, taking time to consider the beauty of forgotten things that once brought a bolt of joy when we first found it. Taking stock of what we do have, not racing off to get yet more.

Carpe diem yes, but even more, carpe res – seize the thing that you have, and enjoy it, even a thing so humble as a farmer’s rope made of leftover cloth. Even something you made yourself out of something someone else, you even! had thought to throw away. Take time to enjoy it. Make something new with it if you will.

GONE ARE THE DAYS! of runaway acquiring and uncontrollable hoarding, and unbridled speed in trying to do and buy more and more and more. Let’s follow the spiral and see where it leads us. And do less and less. Try sewing some of those indigo bits together. Make a cushion out of the sleeves of a kimono that you bought last year for Y1000 and forgot about. Learn kintsugi (restoring broken ceramics with gold and lacquer) and mend some of your broken and chipped plates.

Reach inside those drawers, inside those forgotten flea market bags. Inside yourself, and you may be surprised at what you find.

BLUE & WHITE has reluctantly decided to close its doors – but NOT our windows or our ON LINE SHOP, or INSTAGRAM, or OUR BLOG – for the next month. Until the Corona Virus storm passes. Please keep in touch. We are as active and as passionate as ever. Order on line and we will do our best to fill your orders.

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