arts and crafts

Holidazed and confused

Happy holidays! It’s been very busy around here. We’ve been remodeling our kitchen since September—so long, peeling 1994 formica! I’ve also been helping our son with college applications, planning for a couple of trade shows next month, filling holiday orders, and rehearsing for concerts with my choir—all while my husband and helpmate has been sidelined by a back injury.

So we don’t yet have a Christmas tree, nor have I done my holiday shopping. But last week I finally managed to heave our Halloween pumpkin into the woods, so there’s that!

If your holiday season has been as full of hustle and bustle as mine, you might appreciate some ideas for meaningful gifts. Makino Studios is offering free shipping on US online orders of $20 or more thru Sunday, Dec. 16 with promo code JOYFUL2018.

Humboldt folks, you can find these featured items and more at the Makino Studios booth at the Holiday Craft Market in the Arcata Community Center this coming weekend (10-5 Saturday and 10-4 Sunday). I hope to see you there.

Whether the holidays have got you merry and bright or dazed and confused, here’s wishing you all the best of the season!

warmly, Annette

P.S. My 2019 calendars, boxed notecards and small prints are also available at the Pierson’s Made in Humboldt fair thru Dec. 24.

A trail-blazing woman

“with age comes wisdom” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is available as a  birthday card . © Annette Makino 2015

“with age comes wisdom” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is available as a birthday card. © Annette Makino 2015

Today I mailed this “wise owl” card to my great-aunt for her 109th birthday. No, that is not a typo. Helene “Helli” Stehle was born to a butcher and his wife on December 6, 1907, in Basel, Switzerland.

But longevity is by no means the most remarkable thing about Helli. This pioneering woman first achieved fame in Switzerland as a stage actor playing strong characters. She has always been a vibrant, strong-willed woman with a great zest for life, so I can imagine how riveting her performances must have been.

She gradually began working in radio, performing and directing plays and reciting poetry for Basel’s state-run radio station, Radiostudio Basel. With the outbreak of World War II, all her male colleagues were called to active duty. So in 1939, Helli became Switzerland’s first female newscaster. She was soon widely known through the region; when she was out in public, strangers would recognize her by her voice.

She eventually became the chief newscaster and a mentor to many younger journalists. Meanwhile, she continued to act in and direct radio plays until her retirement in 1967. She is now Switzerland’s oldest living actor.

My great-aunt never married or had children—in those days, only single women were allowed to work in state jobs. But she had one great love, Otto Crone, a calm and quiet actor who grew up in Russia. He eventually moved into another apartment in Helli’s building; over their decades together, Helli learned to speak Russian.

When I was eight, my adventurous aunt joined my family as we travelled around Japan, soaking in the communal baths and sleeping on the floor in traditional inns. On train rides, she and I enjoyed many conversations in a secret, nonsensical language we made up called “Bochisch.” And she would perform comic vignettes for my sisters and me again and again on request.

Deep into retirement, she continued to travel. On one trip to Russia, her suitcase got lost on the flight over, and she gamely spent the week wearing shirts borrowed from the gentlemen in her group. She took gymnastics and Russian conversation classes well into her 90s, and had a circle of dear friends, many of them much younger.

In 1939, Helli Stehle became the first woman newscaster in Switzerland, for Radiostudio Basel. She is seen here in 1955.

In 1939, Helli Stehle became the first woman newscaster in Switzerland, for Radiostudio Basel. She is seen here in 1955.

When Helli turned 100, the Basel radio station threw a big party in her honor where she was warmly feted. A few months later, she finally moved into an assisted living home, but she gave an interview as recently as 2010, on the occasion of her 103rd birthday.

Back in 1999, when my grandmother turned 100, her birthday party was attended by a Basel city official. He joked with my grandmother that he would be back in five years for her 105th. Ever witty, her sister Helli replied to him, “Ah, but whether you will still be around…?”

My grandmother lived to a ripe old 104. Who would ever have thought that her little sister would beat that record by five years and counting?

However much longer my dear aunt Helli sticks around, she has inspired me and countless others through her example as a powerful, creative woman, forging her own path.

leaping waves
all the strong women
before me

warmly, Annette Makino

UPDATE: Helli Stehle died in Basel, Switzerland on August 27, 2017. She was 109.

Makino Studios News

Mother's sculpture show: My mom, Erika Makino, took up sculpture around age 80, and now, at 88, she is showing her clay and cement pieces in a solo exhibit. The show opens this Friday, Dec. 2 in Ukiah, California (details in this Ukiah Daily Journal article).

Free shipping through November: Use shipping code FREESHIP2016 for free shipping in the US through this Wednesday, November 30 on orders of $15 or more from the Makino Studios Etsy shop. There you will find my 2017 calendar, laser-engraved wooden keychains, holiday and everyday greeting cards and signed prints.

Arcata Holiday Crafts Market: My only public event of the holidays, this fair includes many local artists and craftspeople, plus music and food. It runs Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Arcata Community Center, Arcata.

Pierson Made in Humboldt Fair: You can pick up my calendars, cards and prints at this fair of crafts and specialty foods handmade in Humboldt County. It runs through Dec. 24 at Pierson Garden Shop, 4100 Broadway Street, Eureka.

Election Edition

“redwood time” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is also available as a  greeting card  or print. © Annette Makino 2016

“redwood time” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is also available as a greeting card or print. © Annette Makino 2016

Apparently there is some sort of election coming up. Lately I’ve been grinding my teeth at night and, although this could be one of Hillary Clinton’s secret conspiracies, I prefer to blame it on Donald Trump.

campaign sign
the dog registers
his opinion

Last weekend I attended the wonderful Seabeck Haiku Getaway in Washington State. Sprinkled among the presentations and activities, there were several “Write Now” sessions in which we had five minutes to draft haiku on a particular topic. Here are a couple from a session on the elections:

swing state
leaves land on both sides
of the fence

kissing the baby still undecided

This is truly one of the most bizarre, unpredictable and ugly U.S. elections ever. Each day has brought new revelations and accusations. It will be very hard to heal the nation after this divisive process.

campaign season
geese practice leaving
the country

But when I look out my window at the forest outside, I am reminded of another time frame, where a four-year election cycle is no more than a breath.

redwood time . . .
the steady journey
from earth to sky

No matter the outcome on Tuesday, I am rooting for common sense, compassion and a sense of perspective.

warmly, Annette Makino

(“campaign sign” was first published in Haiku News, Vol. 1, No. 44, November 2012)

Makino Studios News

Senryu award: I’m honored that this poem, which I wrote in Japan, recently won third place in the annual Gerald Brady Awards for Senryu held by the Haiku Society of America (HSA). (View all the winners plus judges' comments):

sacred shrine
worshippers raise
their selfie sticks

Haiku award: And this haiku won second honorable mention in the HSA’s prestigious Harold G. Henderson Awards for Haiku (View all the winners plus judges' comments):

our easy silence
every puddle
sky-deep

Annette Makino’s  2017 mini-calendar  of art and haiku features animals, landscapes, and other scenes from nature. The calendars are $11.99 plus tax and shipping on Etsy.

Annette Makino’s 2017 mini-calendar of art and haiku features animals, landscapes, and other scenes from nature. The calendars are $11.99 plus tax and shipping on Etsy.

Free shipping through November: Use shipping code FREESHIP2016 for free shipping through November on orders of $15 or more from the Makino Studios Etsy shop. There you will find my 2017 calendar, laser-engraved wooden keychains, holiday and everyday greeting cards and signed prints.

Arcata Holiday Crafts Market: My only public event of the holidays, this fair includes many local artists and craftspeople, plus music and food. It runs Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Arcata Community Center, Arcata.

Pierson Made in Humboldt Fair: November 15-Dec. 24. Ongoing fair of arts, crafts and specialty foods handmade in Humboldt County. Pierson Garden Shop, 4100 Broadway Street, Eureka.

Exploring art in old Japan

“maple leaf” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper and digitally edited. It appears as a page of a 2017 calendar of art and haiku. © Annette Makino 2016

“maple leaf” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper and digitally edited. It appears as a page of a 2017 calendar of art and haiku. © Annette Makino 2016

Besides a grand family adventure, my trip to Japan earlier this summer (see Journey to Japan) was also an exploration of Japanese art and haiku—and a chance to stock up on hard-to-find art supplies.

A major highlight of the trip was a visit to a famous art supply store in Kyoto, founded by a painter in 1863 and still run by his descendants. At the one-room Saiun-do (“Painted Clouds”), I found the fine brushes, made of weasel hair and bamboo, for which I had spent years searching. I also scored a fragrant new sumi ink stick and several ceramic pots of special "gansai" watercolors that are found only in Japan.

Later, I painted the Japanese maple leaves shown here with my new brushes, delighting in their smoothness on the page. How liberating to find brushes that work with me, not against me!

Through sheer serendipity, I was able to see woodblock art prints by one of my favorite artists, Hiroshige, at four different museums around the country. Ukiyo-e (literally, “pictures of the floating world”) were hugely popular in the Edo period, when the merchant class enjoyed decorating their walls with prints of beautiful geisha, kabuki actors and landscapes. "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" by Hokusai is probably the best-known example of ukiyo-e in the West.

It is estimated that in the 1850s, four to five million ukiyo-e were printed every year! The visual style, in which thin black outlines were filled in with blocks of color, was the forerunner of manga (Japanese-style comics). It also deeply influenced the beautiful anime (Japanese animated films) by director Hayao Miyazake, among others.

Annette Makino buys Japanese art supplies at Saiun-do in Kyoto, Japan in June 2016.

Annette Makino buys Japanese art supplies at Saiun-do in Kyoto, Japan in June 2016.

But it was only on returning home this summer that I realized how much my own art owes to ukiyo-e. Though painted on paper rather than carved into wood, my paintings typically consist of thin outlines of black sumi ink that bound areas of color. And my art, like Hiroshige’s in his day, is mainly intended to be printed and enjoyed by many, rather than hung in fine art museums.

I came to Japan to study the old masters—and found a part of myself.

rice paper moon
pine trees brush
the inky sky

Makino Studios News

North Country Fair: Humboldters, come celebrate the fall equinox at the 43rd annual North Country Fair on the Arcata Plaza this Saturday and Sunday! The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. There will be 170 art and craft vendors, three music and entertainment stages, local food booths, activities for kids, and a daily parade at 1 p.m. Come visit my Makino Studios booth on G Street near Moore’s Sleepworld!

New2017 calendars: For the fourth year in a row, I have created a mini-calendar of my art and haiku. Featuring animals, landscapes, and other scenes from nature, the 2017 calendars have just come off the press and will debut at the fair. They can also be ordered through the Makino Studios shop on Etsy.

New keychains: I have designed two different wooden keychains featuring my art and haiku, one of a playful dog and one of a Humboldt redwood. These laser-engraved keychains will be offered at the fair this weekend and are also available on Etsy.

New card designs: Heirloom tomatoes, redwood forests, and river landscapes are the subjects of some of my latest greeting cards, due off the press this week. Check them out at the fair or the Makino Studios Etsy shop.

Seabeck Haiku Getaway: This fun and inspiring haiku retreat takes place Oct. 27-30 in Seabeck, Washington next month. I will be presenting on my trip to Japan with photos and haiku. I look forward to playing and learning with other haiku poets in a beautiful natural setting!

Light in the time of darkness

“’Twas the night”  is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

“’Twas the night” is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

As you may have heard, the holidays are upon us. Amid the Christmas muzak and urgent appeals to buy mass-produced widgets, it’s easy to lose sight of the true spirit of the season. There is such pressure—to buy the perfect gifts, to cook lavish meals, to decorate the house festively, to have the most wonderful time ever.

toobusytostophamsterwheel

(Prune Juice, July 2015)

But I believe that behind all that, there is a simple urge. We are looking for meaning and connection with the people we love. Even if we’re not particularly religious, in the darkest time of the year, we are seeking light: the spark of magic at our holiday gatherings, the light on the faces of our family and friends, and at the most primal level, the return of the sun.

My sister once did some custom work on a house that had a special closet just for storing the family’s artificial Christmas tree, with the ornaments attached. It just needs to be carried out and dusted off each December.

The mind reels.

Instead of that painfully efficient and bloodless approach, today we are going to put on some holiday music and decorate our old-fashioned, real spruce tree with quirky ornaments. There are charmingly awkward clay decorations that the kids made in pre-school. Odd mementos from our travels, like the satin girls and boys holding their Little Red Books that my husband and I once bought in China. A family of gray and pink velvet bats that my mother once sewed for us, just because.

“naughty or nice”  is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

“naughty or nice” is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

The bottom 37 inches of the tree will be left bare because my curious two-year old nephew is coming to town, along with my two sisters, daughter, and mother. There will be much cooking and feasting, piles of presents (several handmade), and wintry walks on the beach. In this time of deepest darkness, such light.

Happy holidays to you and yours.

warmly, Annette Makino

Makino Studios News

Holiday Craft Market: Makino Studios will have a booth at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13. This is my only in-person fair this season.

Made in Humboldt: A selection of my cards, prints and calendars is available at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA through Dec. 24.

2016 calendar: You can still order my wall calendar of art and haiku, featuring twelve of my paintings of landscapes, animals and flowers. For US addresses, order by December 14 to receive by Dec. 24 via standard mail.

Thanksgiving abundance

“warmest holiday wishes”  © 2015 Annette Makino

“warmest holiday wishes” © 2015 Annette Makino

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m thinking about the fact that we in the U.S. have a holiday that is completely devoted to gathering with our loved ones and giving thanks. Isn't it cool that in deepest, darkest November, family and friends come together to share a feast that represents abundance? Covered in gravy, with a side of cranberry sauce.

I’m grateful to be enjoying a less stressful holiday season than usual. For this month and next, I’ve consciously stepped back from some commitments and opportunities just to keep from getting overwhelmed.

As a result, I’ve had time to exchange foot rubs with my daughter Maya, who is home from college this week; play hard-fought games of Scrabble with my son Gabriel; take long hikes in the redwoods with the whole family; and pursue a few new art projects.

Quality family and creative time: that to me is true abundance. But I won't say no to a slice of pumpkin pie—or two!

More fundamentally, I’m deeply thankful to be able to create and share my art with the world. The gravy is to hear from so many of you how this work brings people joy and meaning.

Happy Thanksgiving!

warmly, Annette Makino

Makino Studios News

Free Shipping: With thanks to you, my customers and supporters, I’m offering free shipping on orders of $20 or more from my Etsy shop. Through this coming Monday, Nov. 30, type in coupon code FREESHIP2015 at checkout to qualify. You’ll find new holiday and everyday cards, art prints and a 2016 calendar of art and haiku.

Made in Humboldt: A selection of my cards, prints and calendars is now available at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA  through Dec. 24.

Holiday Craft Market: Makino Studios will have a booth at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13.

The path unfolds

“leaf light” is based on a 19×12 original, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on rice paper. It is available as a signed 11×14 digital print or a card. © 2013 Annette Makino

“leaf light” is based on a 19×12 original, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on rice paper. It is available as a signed 11×14 digital print or a card. © 2013 Annette Makino

Our daughter started college this fall. Before it happened, I couldn’t fully understand how much lies behind that simple statement—hope and excitement for your child’s future mixed with worry and sadness at their leaving.

For weeks after we dropped Maya off, the smallest thing could bring me to tears, like measuring oatmeal for three instead of four. My husband, son and I all miss her effervescent spirit, affectionate nature and hilarious observations. She has left our home quieter, tidier, and less exciting. It seems unfair that after eighteen years of the hard work of parenting, now that she’s pretty much perfect, she’s gone!

But happily, I got to visit Maya at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington earlier this month. (In a sweet bit of synchronicity, my freshman roommate at Stanford lives ten blocks from campus, so I also got to visit this dear friend.) To my delight, Maya decided to accompany me to the Seabeck Haiku Getaway.

geese arrowing south
part of my heart
in the passenger seat

For four days along beautiful Hood Canal, fifty poets talked, wrote and shared haiku, and I enjoyed giving a presentation on the process of creating my haiga (haiku art). As ever, it was a fun and inspiring retreat, and there was even time to hike through the woods and soak up sunlight by the lagoon.

awakened
by the breakfast bell—
sun through cedars

Haiku ahead! Annette Makino and daughter Maya at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway, October 2015.

Haiku ahead! Annette Makino and daughter Maya at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway, October 2015.

Between studying and writing essays for school, Maya penned some fine haiku of her own, like this one:

autumn clouds
all the people
I could be

And at the end of the long weekend, two of my poems, less than an hour old, won prizes in the “kukai” haiku contest. This one, written while lying under a big maple tree with Maya, is a gentle message to myself in this time of transition:

a gust of wind
swirls through the maple—
the art of letting go

Back in 2013, when I returned from Seabeck, I created the “leaf light” piece above based on a forest trail there. Thinking about Maya’s leaving, it is a reminder to have faith in times of loss, change and uncertainty—and to keep walking.

leaf light
tree by tree
the path unfolds

 •

Makino Studios News

2016 calendar: A wall calendar of art and haiku, featuring twelve of my paintings of landscapes, animals and flowers, is now on sale in stores and online. From ocean waves to oak-covered hills, this mini-calendar provides a monthly dose of Zen wisdom.

New cards: I’ve posted eleven new and updated card designs to the MakinoStudios Etsy shop and they are also available in stores.

Made in Humboldt: More than 50 card designs, plus prints and calendars will be offered at this holiday sale at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA Nov. 17-Dec. 24.

Holiday Craft Market: Makino Studios will have a booth at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13.

Connecting: I appreciate the kind responses to my last post, “One brushstroke at a time.” You can also get news, art and haiku on my Makino Studios Facebook page and my Twitter feed.

"leaf light" has been published in The Sacred in Contemporary Haiku, edited by Robert Epstein, 2014; and in the 2013 Seabeck anthology, A Warm Welcome (it is also used for the cover art).