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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26 Responses to REACHING WITHIN

  1. Riina Hultquist says:

    Your books and your store have long been an inspiration to me. I have a stash of silk fragments, tenugui, kasuri and other indigo fabric from earlier visits to Japan. I will definitely dig into them again to remember, enjoy and create.

  2. jillheppenheimer says:

    The most inspiring blog entry yet.  Thank you, Amy

    Jill Heppenheimer Entrepreneurial Strategist and Creative Consultant Santa Fe NM 505-690-6695

    • Thank you Jill. Your comment means so much!
      Have a look at our new post today. A Time For Mending. I hope it will ring true as well.
      Sending GENKI! and encouragement for getting through these terrible times.
      But maybe. They are a HUGE lesson to us to suss out what is important in life. And live simply.

  3. Bobbie S Cohen says:

    Thank you for continuing to inspire us! I hope to visit your shop again when we are once more able to travel.

  4. J. Gogatsu says:

    ever resourceful – ever creative -ever inspiring. That’s our Ami!

  5. Betty Rubenstein says:

    Blue and White, I recently took a Kantha design class which inspired me to pull out my treasures from a long ago trip to Japan, Tokyo, and B&W with Jerry and Carol Saber. You will recognize a “Boro” riff in the bottom tote and your beautiful Indigo gauze appliqués on the top. Your suggestion of venturing inward inspired me to post this. Betty Rubenstein Sent from my iPad


    • Hi Betty. Thank you for writing. Sorry I was unable to see your BORO riff. Could you send it again? It is surely a time for reaching within, and I am not surprised that Katha design and Boro and Blue & White inspired you. Have a look at our new post today. A Time for Mending. Keep well and creating!

    • Dear Betty thanks for writing and sorry it has taken me so long to reply. One good thing about this staying at home is pulling up treasures put aside from log ago. Sorry I couldn’t see your work, but happy to hear your were inspired by your trip to Japan. When this is all over, come again. Til then be GENKI!

  6. jodi says:

    I love your newsletters. do you have any tutorials I can access? would love to make a braided mat, or something beautiful like the one in your latest email. thank you for them – they are lovely and so inspirational!

  7. jltt52 says:

    I’m sewing face masks for health care workers from my scraps and leftovers. I’ve gone from fabric hoarder to Ms. Preparedness overnight.

  8. Susan Chatelain says:

    How do we shop online from you? Thank you for lifting my spirits as we in Texas as also “hunkering’ down” to avoid the spread of Covid19.

  9. Lauren says:

    Lovely post and very inspiring. thank you

  10. I think it was wise to close, although I miss Yoshiura sensei and sashiko class in your sunny space. It’s a time for values clarification and reaching out to friends and family through technology. And contemplating some projects…. glad I have a stash of indigo and sashiko thread. :). And very glad David and I popped in recently for one of the charming square plates made by special abilities adults – love it so much! Tender fingerprints in blue.

    • thank you Cynthia for your sweet comment. Yes. Our life is empty without Yoshiura Sen and Blue & White, and you and David! But you are right. It is time to think about what is important in life. To simplify. And to commit to making it better. Happy you got the plate from Tamagawa Fukushi Senta. Sorry I didn’t get one. But someday . . . . we’ll be together again! Keep Safe ! and Genki!

  11. Lindsay Turner says:

    Hi Amy, Maggie McVeigh’s daughter here hunkering down and reaching inside in Indiana. I’m a quilter and knitter who has many unfinished projects and ideas that might actually get done in the next few months! I have fond memories of the shop and of visiting with you. Thank you for continuing to support the beautiful crafts of my home country.

    • Oh Lindsay! I can just hear your Mother now talking about you with such pride. I am so happy to hear from you and know you are carrying on the great tradition of a very special lady! Happy to hear you are knitting and quilting. But how is your TAP? We’ll get through this. Keep stitching!

    • Oh Lindsay! I am so happy to hear from you and can hear your Mother always talking about her beloved Lindsay! Glad you are following in a hallowed family tradition of knitting and quilting and enthusiastic engagement with the world. This crisis too shall pass, and we will meet again, and remember the saints who gave us joy.

  12. Meg Hanna Kuroyanagi says:

    Dear Amy and all your wonderful team, You are always an inspiration and fountain of encouragement to those of us who are lucky to be in Japan and can also visit your shop! Reading your blog gives me the same. My mom in Calif who is 90 created a mask from tenugui that I often give her from the Blue & White. Stay healthy and safe. Meg Hanna Kuroyanagi

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