The Snake Basket






Comics from Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2017.


Etegami morning


Wednesday morning I practiced etegami. The subject of etegami is whatever you can have in front of you, so I gathered some vegetables and fruits from the kitchen: garlic, yam potatoes, oranges, onions.


Etegami was invented in 1960s by Kunio Koike a calligrapher from Japan.  He was frustrated that art was only made by professional artists, such as the art printed on New Year’s greetings postcards that were sold in Japan. He invented the principles of etegami so people can make and share their own art.


All you need for etegami is ink, watercolour, and rice paper. To make etegami, you hold the brush at the tip, with two or three fingers. You don’t have control of the brush so, as you move very slowly, the lines are squiggly, imperfect, and there are blotches, but it’s okay. In etegami, they say the lines are ‘alive’.


Once the artwork is done you have to add a short sentence, or greeting. I tried to be spontaneous.


I enjoyed adding watercolour. It added a new dimension to the artwork.


Today I used large sheets or rice paper to practice. Next time, I’ll use a small brush and postcards-size paper. etegami means imagee (e) and letter (tegami).  It’s not etegami until you mail it, so I’m hoping to send some for New Year’s.


I’m grateful to instructor Darlene Dihel, assisted by Dorothy Matthews and Melinda Brottem who gave a workshop  at Seabeck Haiku Getaway and introduced me to etegami.  It was a lot of fun, not having to stress about the quality of the final product, but to simply enjoy the process. This allowed me to make art again.


My favorite part of the process was just focusing on the line and the breath. To be present. In the moment.


In the next coming weeks, I’ll learn to make a seal out of an eraser so I can sign the artwork. This should be fun too.

The Clam Show


Razor clams are the buried treasures of Hood Canal.

During his talk at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2017, David Berger explained clam digging is a family activity.

At low tide, everybody goes on the beach to dig for clams with shovels and buckets.

If you see bubbles on the surface of the water, it means there’s a clam buried in the sand. This is  called…. the Clam Show.




Sharks in the lagoon



When I read this post on the Seabeck Haiku Getaway Facebook page dated February 3 2017, I thought it was a joke.


lagoon facebook

Sharks… in the lagoon?!

When I arrived at Seabeck Conference Centre, someone confirmed they were, indeed, mud sharks in the lagoon.

One morning, I headed for the lagoon. And guess what I saw….


A V shape… and a fin sticking out of the water!!!


I walked on the dock and the shark circled back because it was low tide and there was nowhere else to go.


Mud shark at Seabeck Conference Centre (photo: Jessica Tremblay)

Turns out there were two sharks, swimming side by side.


Mud shark at Seabeck Conference Centre (photo: Jessica Tremblay)

I took multiple photos (and a video) before they swam away.


Mud shark at Seabeck Conference Centre (photo: Jessica Tremblay)

The mud sharks are about 1 meter long, but they do look like real shark. It was very impressive.



Etegami workshop



At Seabeck Haiku Getaway, instructor Darlene Dihel introduced us to etegami (e= image; tegami= letter).

The technique consists of holding the brush at the very top, so your lines are squiggly and the sketch a little rough, but that’s the look you’re looking for. The clumsier it looks, the better.

The workshop was really fun. Even though we started with the same templates – pumpkins, grapes, wine glasses — each artwork was different.


Etegami intructor Darlene Dihel at Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2017.


Etegami workshop at Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2017.


Etegami workshop at Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2017.


Etegami created by a participant of the workshop at Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2017.



the gift

or imperfection

  • Jessica Tremblay

Rainman, the Frog, and the Willow



Hanufada game cards.

On a rainy November morning, I was playing hanafuda, a Japanese cards game featuring trees, plants and flowers for each month of the year  (hana=flower, fuda=card).

The suit featured in November is the willow.


Hanafuda cards for November.

The most important card in this suit is a man with an umbrella, often referred to as ‘The Rainman’.

I noticed a frog on the card and was curious to know if there was a story behind this image of a man with an umbrella and a frog under the willow.

It turns out the man is Ono no Michikaze (“Rainman”) a famous calligrapher in in Japan.


Rainman, the frog and the willow (Hanafuda card)

One day, Ono no Michakaze was considering abandoning calligraphy. He went for a walk in the rain.


He saw a frog trying to grab a branch of willow.



Each time the frog jumped, the breeze would move the willow branch. The frog would try again, and the wind would move the branch again.


The calligrapher thought this frog would never reach the willow, but after seven attempts, the frog finally grabbed the willow branch.


Then, the calligrapher knew he shouldn’t give up.

He went on to become one of the most important calligraphers in Japan.


If you have a difficult project, and you feel like abandoning, think about the little frog trying to reach the willow branch.

Photos by Jessica Tremblay.

Objects: hanafuda cards by Nintendo,  Japanese paper doll made by a Japanese senior, paperbag cherry tree made by a Burnaby Public Library librarian, frog figurine from a flea market.



Kite making workshop



The Seabeck Haiku Getaway included a kite-making workshop with James Rodriguez during which we built an indoor kite.



Kite-making instructor James Rodriguez


Kite-making workshop at Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2017.


Kite-making workshop at Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2017.

the kite builder


the wind

  • Jessica Tremblay (inspired by a quote from James Rodriguez)