The Art of Gaman in Internment Camps, a Display at Hina Matsuri Festival


An amazing display of the Art of Gaman at the recent Hina Matsuri Festival.  Art of Teizo Nonaka created during his four year internment at a “camp” where the family was imprisoned after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Gaman is a Japanese term which is hard to translate.  It is best described by a feeling in your heart and a determination of your will.  The words from your heart and spirit are hard to find but Gaman has sometimes been translated as “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity”, “perseverance”, “patience”, “tolerance, “self-denial”, “stoic endurance”.

Gaman for those imprisoned in the internment camps was to act with honor, to maintain self-control and discipline.

120,000 men, women and children were living in these internment camps.  They faced guards with machine guns in towers and barbed wire.

They had no furniture except for a black potbellied stove and cots.

My mom had many stories of making do in “camp” as she called it.  My dad was a soldier and interrogator for the US Army so he was not relocated to camp, although his wife was…

The internees used any piece of scrap wood and metal they could to practice their art.  A form of meditation, keeping their souls alive, practicing Gaman.  If they ran out of scraps they used anything they could, such as these peach seeds, for their art and carvings.





Can we today imagine how long four years of such uncertainty felt?


The Art of Letter Writing


What can a letter accomplish? Can it change somebody’s day? Change their life?

Not just the recipient.  What does writing letters do for the writer?

I’ve been writing to somebody in prison for about three years.  He and I have become friends and I am also getting to know his dad.  His dad has told me many times how much my letters are appreciated.

I was surprised at how hard it was to sit down and write an interesting letter.  Now that I have shared enough stories about my life with him the writing has become easier.



I wonder if writing letters is like writing a book? At first you have to get the reader acquainted with the story. As the reader learns more and more about the story, the story flows from your thoughts.

I wonder, when he reads my letters and since he knows so much about me now, is he able to escape into my story sometimes?

Reading my friend’s letters and remembering how hard it was for him to share his life in those first few letters is amazing.  It’s amazing because his writing has improved so much and now sometimes when I read his letters I can imagine what his daily life must be like.

My friend is a true artist. I just realized if I stuck all of his letters together it would be one awesome story!


Rice fields of Japan

This was received in an email.  I don’t know where the email was started but this is amazing!

Rice fields of Japan Incredible !!!

Looks ordinary  enough……. but watch as  the rice  grows!!!!!! 





Stunning crop art  has sprung up across rice fields in  Japan , but this is no  alien creation. The designs have been  cleverly PLANTED!  

Farmers creating the huge displays use  no ink or  dye.   Instead, different  colour  rice plants have been precisely and strategically  arranged and  grown in the paddy fields.   As summer progresses
and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork begins to   emerge.



A Sengoku warrior on  horseback has been created  from  hundreds of thousands of rice plants.   The colours  are  created by using different varieties of rice plants,  whose  leaves grow in certain colours.   This photo  was taken  in Inakadate , Japan

Napoleon on  horseback can be seen from the  skies.   This was created by  precision planting and  months of planning by villagers and  farmers located in  Inkadate , Japan .


Fictional warrior  Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife, Osen, whose  lives are  featured on the television series   ‘Tenchijin’,  appear in fields in  the town of  Yonezawa in the Yamagata prefecture


This  year,  various artwork has popped up in other   rice-farming areas of Japan ,  including designs of deer  dancers.   Smaller works of  ‘crop-art’ can be seen  in other rice-farming areas of  Japan such as this image of Doraemon and deer dancers.
The farmers create the murals by planting little  purple and yellow-leafed Kodaimai  rice along with their  local green-leafed Tsugaru,
a Roman  variety,   to create the  coloured patterns in the  time between  planting and harvesting in September.
The  murals in  Inakadate cover 15,000 square metres of paddy   fields.



From  ground  level, the designs are invisible, and viewers have  to  climb the mock castle tower of the village office to get  a  glimpse of the  work.

Closer to the  image,  the careful placement of the thousands of rice plants  in  the paddy fields can be seen.   Rice-paddy art  was  started there in 1993 as a local revitalization  project, an idea that grew  from meetings of the village  committees.   The different  varieties of rice plants  grow alongside each other to  create the masterpieces. In the  first nine  years, the village office workers and local   farmers grew a simple design  of Mount Iwaki every year   but their ideas grew more complicated  and attracted more  attention.   In 2005, agreements  between landowners  allowed the creation  of enormous rice paddy art. A year  later,  organizers used computers to precisely plot the  planting  of four differently colored rice varieties that bring  the  images to life!   TRULY A WORK OF   ART!!

Jennifer Lim at Arts & Crafts Showcase 10-19-2014, Rescued Broken Jewelry

I took my friend Jennifer Lim an huge plastic bag of broken and “I’m tired of this piece” jewelry.

I had been saving all this jewelry with no idea what I was going to do with it.  Since at least half of it was broken I couldn’t take it to the thrift store.

She does this amazing thing with bits of forgotten or discarded jewelry, she re-purposes the bits and pieces and makes entirely new pieces of jewelry!

I wish I had taken a picture of that plastic bag of broken jewelry, sigh, but here are a few examples of what she did with those castaways:


Thank you Jennifer for being so fun and giving me back some memories!



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If you would like to see Jennifer’s creative pieces in person, bracelets, earrings and necklaces, join us at Simpson UMC on 10-19-2014.  Her prices are unbelievably reasonable.  All proceeds she donates to the Simpson UMC Chancel Choir for special music and adding musicians to help our extremely talented pianist with Christmas and Easter Cantatas.


A light lunch will also be served until sold out.  There are many amazing artists that display each year and you will not be disappointed!

P.S.  If you would like to donate some broken jewelry Jennifer will make it into something amazing which she sells and donates all proceeds in support of the Simpson UMC Chancel Choir.  Bring your plastic bag of bits and pieces!

Favorite Artist at 25th Annual Friendship and American Indian Cultural Celebration


Angelique was filled with good energy.  Her art was also filled with good energy, happy and moving.


Dream horses she made to ride to your dreams.



Cheerful jewelry to pick up your spirits!


Favorite artist at Peach Festival



Christal Chapman was my favorite artist at the Lafayette Peach Festival, and she was fun too!

She rescues scrabble, dominoes and mah-jongg and other small game pieces from thrift stores. She then turns them into the bases for her works of art these adorable, creative and fun little pendants.



This is a very small sample of her work. She tells me that sometimes her projects take over her house. I hope to go and maybe watch her while she’s creating some day soon but at least go and pick out some more pendants!

She also rescues magazines and books for their art and to incorporate into her art.

Her mother also does some amazing paintings on these itty-bitty toy pieces, I was dismayed when I got home and realized I forgot to pick out one of her mother’s painted pendants. A lot of detail on a small canvas. Definitely need to hook up with Christal soon and I hope I can find and rescue some dominoes and mah-jongg pieces from the thrift store for her artwork.