Something from Nothing

So I’m taking this wonderful Sumi-e class {ancient Asian ink painting}.  I’m the only beginner in a class full of women who have been taking the class for years.  They are painting magnificent tri-paneled screens, silk panels as tall as I am, and intricate avian and floral works that take my breath away.  I’ve spent the last six months practicing painting hundreds of bamboo leaves over and over again each class. Two weeks ago I “graduated” and received my first set of colored inks and am beginning my first simple 12″x12″ piece.

To say I am intimidated and out of my league is the understatement of the year.

Adding to my level of awe of the women around me is their level of dress and accessorizing.  I tend to ready myself to paint by throwing on my oldest clothes ~ or at least when I was only working in black sumi-e ink, by wearing all black.  Not this crowd.  I have two teachers who are mother and daughter.  The younger sensei wears suits to paint in.  I kid you not.  Never spills a drop on herself.  And her mother wears a gorgeous kimono  each and every time.  And I’ve never seen her come close to dipping one of those silk sleeves in the ink; not a once!

In addition to being more put together than me in the wardrobe department, the other students in the class have art bags like I’ve never imagined!  I thought I was pretty collected for gathering all of my materials into an LL Bean tote bag.  I’m such an amateur.

There’s a woman in class who carries her supplies in a leather Louis Vuitton tote bag {not even the monogram canvas!}, and another who uses some other large leather designer bag that I’m not even cool enough to recognize.  All of the women have gorgeous pouches for their ceramic dishes for paints, and beautiful boxes they’ve purchased on their travels in which to store their paintbrushes.

And then there’s me.

I’m still wrapping my stuff in the original bubble wrap it came in {shrug}.

While on the Shinkansen coming home from Kyoto the other day, Cute Grammy purchased a box of treats for us to eat.  After we finished them, she went to throw out the trash and I quickly stopped her, explaining that I thought the box would be the perfect size for my sumi-e paint brushes.

I’m so classy like that.

I got home and took out our ever-growing stash of washi tape.

Picked out a few and got to work covering the lid of the box.  It only took a couple of minutes and a few yen worth of washi tape to do this~

Which, in fact, does work perfectly for my brushes.  And I even managed to sneak in a touch of preppy pink on the inside!

It’s an improvement over a rubber band, right? ;-)

Linked to:

Creative Jewish Mom, C.R.A.F.T., Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Mad in Crafts, The Girl Creative, Making the World Cuter, Sew Chatty, Craft-O-Maniac, Skip to My Lou, Hope StudiosHome Stories A to Z, Coastal Charm, Sugar Bee Crafts, Tip Junkie, Today’s Creative Blog, Not Just a Housewife, Vintage Wanna Bee, Funky Polka Dot Giraffe, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Live Laugh Rowe, CSI Project

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11 Responses to Something from Nothing

  1. Laura says:

    it depends on your rubber band…=)

    Very fun to be taking a class, sounds like an experience you will remember!

  2. marli says:

    I like the title of your post. One of my kids favorite books when they were little was “Joseph Had A Little Overcoat”, which claims you can always make something out of nothing!! Marli ~~

  3. Raawwr! says:

    I am so jealous! My husband & I are moving to Takayama next month & I’m hoping I can find some good classes like that – it looks awesome!!

  4. Thanks so much for sharing, the class sounds amazing, always wanted to learn Asian brush painting myself! Can’t wait to see some of your finished works!

  5. Sandra says:

    Found your post about Sumi-e, and wondered if you could pass on some info about where the classes are, and maybe a contact name or email. We are hoping to come to Japan for a visit later in the year, and I would love to pick up a class with a real Japanese teacher. We were there in 2009, and found it difficult to find something, except the really expensive tourist classes. I have been studying with a teacher in Australia for a couple of years. Look forward to hearing from you. BTW the box you covered was just the perfect thing for brushes!

    • feltsocute says:

      My class is a long-term class through the Tokyo American Club. If you contact them, they may be able to either connect you with the Ohta Senseis or know of another teacher locally who would teach a one day seminar for you. Enjoy your visit!

  6. Angela says:

    Hi there, I read this post and tears filled my eyes. I took those very same classes last year and the year before, they were my saviour after the big EQ, my therapy. The mother/daughter team are just so talented and modest. The mother has a wicked sense of humour, the daughter so gracious. I so miss those classes, I miss Tokyo and Japan. We are now living back in Belgium, we lived here before we moved to Tokyo where we only spent 3 years, way too short to embrace such a wonderful country. Still sad at leaving, but husbands promotion…. How can a place, so far away, have such a hold on you? Enjoy the experience, embrace it, run with it because one day, the dream will be over and maybe you’ll too feel this way.

    • feltsocute says:

      I absolutely ADORE them both, so I can totally see how you miss it so. I was actually home sick yesterday and missed class and was so sad about it. Tokyo has been the most incredibly experience in just 8 short months and I can’t wait to see what else it holds!

  7. Angela says:

    So sorry to hear that you felt home sick, it does get easier, although I am not sure where home is anymore, we always say that home is where we are at that time with “our” family. I felt, that immediately after the earthquake in 2011 the sumi-e class was my savior, my haven, my sanctuary. Please tell the sensai that I said hello, I hope that they remember me, I only joined for a year sadly, just tell them that Angela (the English woman) who moved back to Belgium said a big hello! There is also a lovely Japanese lady Nobuko-san who is so lovely, please say hi to her for me too, I have her email address and will email her one of these days. Also a very nice English Lady whose name I don’t remember, but I think that her husband is in charge of The Hilton Hotel and the countless others in the class, please remember me to them.

    Remember, it will get easier and TAC does help, but I know that those low days are also not nice and I send a big hug to you when you are feeling down, just remember that.

    Take care and best wishes from a former Tokyoite
    Angela

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