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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Lee

Teach Only What You Love

My aunt, Somi, inspired me to swim. I used to be a great breastroker in high school. But life sets in. I just didn't have the time to swim anymore. While on vacation in Hong Kong, I swam at the Kowloon Tong Club, a place where I used to frequent as a kid. After the swim, my aunt told me that the lifeguard thought I swam well and that I should keep on swimming. When I returned to the states, I have been swimming every since. Swimming somehow reminds me of Shibori art.

The cloth you see above are made on 20 year old drawings. When I was young and very naive, I made some drawings on bedsheets. Instead of destroying my artwork, I found a way to renew them, by dunking them into a container of indigo dye. The clothe reemerges from the water refreshed, a feeling that I get after every swim. How neat it is that I can add another layer to them through Shibori. This obsessive act of folding, creasing methodically is mesmerizing to me. The fact that cloth has memory and that patterns come from the activity of folding is amazing to me.

Every idea/dream/obsession needs some kind of catapult. Mine is my friend Maryam and my mentor Jon. Together they keep me accountable to realize this discovery. In western culture, painting is seen as the epitome of art. In eastern culture, art is inclusive of craft and surface design. I'm very excited to embrace this part of my culture. Jon inspired me to, "teach only what I love." A message that is very hard to live by, but it is a must.

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